Best season to travel to New Zealand

Whitebait Season in New Zealand 2024

Whitebaits fritters made of transparent worm-like baby fish fried with eggs and flour is a prime New Zealand's delicacy

Best time: mid-August–late November

Whitebait Season
Whitebait Season

Whitebait is a name of tiny immature fish, that looks like a translucent worm. Despite its unpleasant appearance, waitbait is considered to be the most expensive seafood in New Zealand and its prime delicacy. They are characterized by a rather delicate taste, so they should not be cooked with other strong-flavored ingredients.

Whitebaits may be consumed raw or preserved, but the most popular dish is whitebait fritters. This is an omelette made naturally of some eggs, flour and as many fish as you wish. Even though the delicacy is extremely costly, it is not liked by everyone. Some people find its taste to be revoulting, whereas the others on the contrary try to intensify whitebait`s flavor using only whites while cooking fritters, since yolks overpower the taste of the very fish.

The most delicious fritters are offered in restaurants ​and cafes of the South Island's west coast. Waitbaits are abundant in New Zealand between mid-August and late November, except the west coast, when the harvest is at its peak between August and September.

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