Firstly, writing potato “scallop” in that headline felt enormously wrong to me, as I am from Victoria, and where we come from, it’s a potato “cake”, thank you very much.
But now I have that petty grievance out of the way, let’s move on to what we all came here for. A celebration of one of the most deliciously simple foods that you can buy with a bit of loose change.
It’s hard to imagine somebody not liking a potato scallop. It has so much going for it. The humble spud-disc, battered and deep fried, then doused in tomato sauce (or white vinegar if you know what’s good for you), its persistent affordability meant it was always included in a fish and chip order, to fill overtired, ratty children. And since then it has had a place in all our hearts. It’s a deep-fried nostalgia hit.
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A well-executed potato scallop is a thing of beauty.Source:Supplied
While the recipe is fundamentally simple, it’s also true that not all potato scallops are created equal. There’s the potato to batter ratio, the thickness of the potato slice and the quality, temp and time in regards to oil. It’s actually a fine alchemy that produces the perfect example of the genre.
Last week Wotif.com announced the winners of this year’s Uniquely Aussie Awards – the annual guide to the country’s most underrated gems.
According to the awards announcement: “With ongoing travel restrictions due to COVID-19, recent months have seen Aussies opt for local destinations to get their immediate travel fix, a behaviour Wotif has coined a state-cation. So, with intrastate trips more relevant than ever, this year’s awards, now in their third year, celebrates all there is to love about a classic local getaway, helping to inspire Aussies to plan their next state-cation when the time is right.”
One of the categories in the Uniquely Aussie Awards was the hunt for the nation’s best potato scallop. The remit was that it should be: “Crisp and fluffy, should melt in your mouth, but shouldn’t be too greasy.”
Wotif managing director Daniel Finch said: “By now, many Aussies have realised travelling further afield is currently off the cards, however what 2020 has highlighted is the incredible local hospitality available in their own backyard.
“The bowlo, fish and chip shop and Big Things may not be as far flung and worldly as a trip overseas, but they sure are uniquely Aussie experiences that Aussies are privileged to have in this country. With summer in reach, many of these businesses need Australia’s support so for those that can, now is the time to start planning your next local state-cation.”
So if you are wondering where to go for your next road trip, why not take a drive to sample the potato scallop that has just been voted Australia’s best? These are the top 10, as voted by members of the public through the Wotif survey earlier this year.
1. Blue Lips Fish & Chips, Exmouth, WA
We’re talking serious potato business here – homemade with mashed potato, leek and cream, Blue Lips doesn’t mess around.
2. Morgan’s Seafood Market & Takeaway, Scarborough, QLD
The handmade potato scallop at the iconic Morgan’s Seafood Market is a mere $1.80.
3. Heathcote Fish & Chips, Heathcote, NSW
4. Coffs Harbour Fishermen’s Co-op, Coffs Harbour, NSW
The co-op has been operating on the foreshore of Coffs Harbour since the early 1950s and is owned by about 50 local fishermen. Their potato cakes are out of this world.
5. Sea Salt Fish & Chips, Sawtell, NSW
6. Banana Coast Seafood, Coffs Harbour, NSW
According to a number of reviews of this place online, Banana Coast Seafood has “the best fish and chips on the north coast”. Their potato scallops consistently get two thumbs up.
7. Ballina Fishermen’s Co-op, Ballina, NSW
This has long been acknowledged as a great place for fresh local seafood. By carrying Australian species (which are caught by local fishermen who also own and operate the Ballina Fishermen’s Co-operative), you are assured that you are eating fresh, sustainable fish and supporting the local economy. On top of that feel-good element, their takeaway section also does a mean potato scallop.
8. Hunky Dory, South Melbourne, VIC
9. Cadell Street Fish & Chips, Goolwa, SA
This is an old-school fish and chip shop that reportedly still does hand-cut chips and potato scallops. A rare and delicious treat in this day and age.
10. Wellington Point Takeaway, Wellington Point, QLD
Also known to locals as Mary’s Seafood, this place serves up value for money, and a potato scallop that is perfectly crispy and more-ish.
And elsewhere in the country …
Best Potato Scallop in the NT: Frying Nemo Fish and Chips, Darwin
Best Potato Scallop in Tassie: Mykonos Takeaway, Hobart
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