Monday, June 25, 2012

The Great Kiwi Hangi

Where: 4369 Happy Valley Road
When: Anytime after 12pm August 11, 2012
Cost: $12 [or at least that was the price in 2011] if you bring a salad or dessert to share
Notes: BYOB & camping equipment to stay the night. At this point, I found the info on Facebook and I have no idea of more details but keep checking for more info!

Please RSVP - "Campers are welcome. Bring a tent, camper or motorhome and stay the night. Just let Dave Cresswell know. 250-478-2476"

So last year, we participated in* "The Great Kiwi Hangi." (A Hangi is a Maori way of cooking things by burying them underground with fire). Once a year, Dave Cresswell turns his farm in Metchosin into an epic little slice of New Zealand. Some years he's had more than 200 people! The entire Kiwi community plus a bunch of Aussies and some Canadians comes out, pitches a tent/brings a trailer and has a great time. There was live music and Polynesian dancing and lawn games aplenty. 

The top ten reasons why the Hangi is like the Hospital:

  1. You get a free bracelet.
  2. You leave sleep deprived but feeling happier than when you arrived.
  3. Half the people smell like alcohol.
  4. Your food is cooked en mass and the smell of it permeates everything.
  5. You leave with a sore back from sitting in uncomfortable chairs for hours.
  6. They tell you to come back again but how long that will take seems like a lifetime.
  7. Americans mock it as inferior and Canadians don't know how good they have it but the Kiwis know where it's at.
  8. Arriving too late means there will be huge line ups and a long walk from where you parked your car. 
  9. The bathrooms aren't as scary as you anticipated going in.
  10. You are surrounded by people you don't know, but there is a general sense of kinship because you're somehow all in this together. 

Ok, ok, all kidding aside, why I am I writing about this on a food blog? Because of what came out of the ground:

  • 2 lamb
  • 1 pig
  • 1/4 cow
  • 10 smoked chicken
  • 10 steamed chicken
  • 10 sockeye
  • Assorted root vegetables
The process of cooking the meat was pretty interesting. It started way ahead of time, when a giant pit is dug in the ground. Stupid early that morning, the meat is placed underground with dirt and heat and burlap bags. It cooks for hours and hours so it gets really soft and smokey with essence of dirt. 

If that wasn't enough, remember that half the people brought salads? As you can see, we were too Canadian and didn't run for an early spot in line. Still, there was plenty to go around!

This was the end result of my plate. I am salivating looking at it a year on! So incredibly good. 

Then they had a contest to see who made the best Pavlova. I was too full to remember to take a picture of the dessert table. Sorry. I swear it was a mile long!

While the primary demographic for this epic event is expat New Zealanders, food-loving Canadians or ex-pats from other countries seemed quite welcomed. It's not really my place to invite people at all, but it was my impression last year that it was pretty much a public event provided that you aren't a troublemaker... and you bring your appetite!

* by which I mean watched on the sidelines with appreciation and then left at 3 in the morning because someone [me] forgot our foamies and we had pitched our tent on rocks. hopefully we will be able to improve on it this year!