21 Sep2009

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Although my first choice of New England coastal seafood festivals would have definitely been the Island Creek Oyster Festival in Duxbury, Massachusetts on September 12, we were roughly two hours drive away, and weren’t assured tickets, so we opted for the Seafood Festival at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire instead. The weather was blustery, wet and cold that day, but with little else to keep us amused, we set off for Hampton Beach with some high school classmates/friends, aided by their trusty GPS thingee in their rental car (gosh, I LOVE those GPS thingees)…

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Celebrating their 20th anniversary, the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival was surprisingly large, with over 50 tents/vendors for non-food items, and another 50-70 vendors under large tents for various types of food and drink. Furthermore, the usual shops lining the the Hampton Beach boardwalk had more food and amusement on offer, so the ingredients for a serious festival that would draw huge crowds were in place!

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With temperatures in the 50’s with strong gusts of damp ocean air, we were wet and hungry well before noon, but decided to walk the entire length of the massive food tents to check out the variety of dishes on offer, then start eating our way back to the beginning…

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There was a mind boggling array of seafood from lobsters to oysters, clams, shrimp, fish, etc. There were also stalls selling Italian sausages and sandwiches, fried potatoes and onions, drinks, desserts, barbecues, burgers, etc.

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We started our lunch time foraging with some shrimp cocktail. Large Atlantic shrimp perfectly boiled and served on a bamboo skewer. Shockingly expensive to me at $6 (I didn’t ask the price when I picked it out, then gulped when I had to pay up…) for three pieces of shrimp, but they were excellent. There is a slightly different taste and texture to shrimp caught in cold waters and it was perfect with the classic cocktail sauces of ketchup and horseradish.

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Appetizer under our belt, we decided to try several soups which seemed like a perfect choice given the prevailing weather conditions…

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Some stalls were selling classic creamy New England chowders…

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…and we opted to try a shrimp and roasted corn chowder from a stall that claimed it they were the reigning champions in this category. I must say the shrimp and corn chowder was superb! Not too thick or creamy, it had the clear flavor and aroma of roasted corn, along with lots of small shrimp in a seafood stock. Just a touch of cream to balance the flavors and texture. Delicious!

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Next, Mrs. MM had to check out a lobster bisque which was even better than the shrimp chowder! Served with those little crackers so common to New England and its soups, this was a refreshing bisque with a nice depth of flavor.

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The smell of frying onions and red and green peppers along with a large selection of sausages at this stall were EXTREMELY tempting, but we thought we should stick to seafood…

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So we had another lobster roll which was pretty good, and great value at $8.95!

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Yes, adults and kids alike did wear these lobster claw hats… :)

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For dessert, how about a large bowl of berries with some shortcakes and lots of whipped cream?

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And if that wasn’t enough for your sweet tooth, then perhaps you would end your meal with a freshly made caramel apple instead? :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. silly lolo says:

    Marvelous! These festivals have always been a favorite of mine because of the food! Hawaii was particularly fond of festivals and the Portuguese community used to hold one for 3 days continous!
    As you know, here in Norcal, our sunniest weather is in the fall and I just heard of a festival for next weekend: Russian River’s Thong Panty Marathon! I’m there!

    Sep 21, 2009 | 6:19 pm

     
  2. rhea says:

    drooling over the great seafood selection. will take shrimp, crab and lobster over meat anytime! yummy!

    Sep 21, 2009 | 6:42 pm

     
  3. bearhug0127 says:

    mm, the food photos look good and delish… but the 3 pieces of shrimp for $6.00 was a bit expensive, i would say. i would have enjoyed the lobster bisque and the lobster roll.

    Sep 21, 2009 | 6:48 pm

     
  4. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Yummm…everything looked so good..makes me so hungry…too .yup I too like those GPS thingies…it was just a dream years ago…so useful…….

    Silly Lolo ,you’re so funny!!

    Sep 21, 2009 | 7:05 pm

     
  5. Marketfan says:

    MM, those shrimps are P100 a pop!

    Silly Lolo, are you sending us pictures of that festival you are going to?

    Sep 21, 2009 | 8:06 pm

     
  6. Marketman says:

    Marketfan and bearhug, yes, they were pricey. I would take local shrimp value wise, any day… :)

    Sep 21, 2009 | 8:43 pm

     
  7. mila says:

    Silly Lolo, Russian River might still be a gay community stronghold, so just be ready for all kinds of thongs when you get there :D
    MM, did you buy a claw hat?

    Sep 21, 2009 | 9:40 pm

     
  8. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    I too love them GPS. Driving coast-to-coast (SF to NYC and back) for the NY fancy food show in 2007 was a breeze. I drove the Charles Chocolate van filled with 15,000 pieces of chocolate truffles, pralines, pate-de-fruit, etc. without a hitch. And the perfect electronic gadget to pair with a GPS on a cross-country trip is a satellite radio.

    The bread bowl NE chowder looks inviting. The lobster roll looks good as well. And who can refuse the fresh strawberries and heavy cream!! If only its not as hot and humid here in Cebu, I would also make some caramel apple

    Sep 21, 2009 | 11:38 pm

     
  9. sunflowii says:

    Marketman, we just finished our 2 week East Coast of Canada trip as well and loaded up on oysters, lobsters and mussels. Drove from New Brunswick, through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont to get to Lake Placid, NY last Friday with the trusty GPS and backup triptik from CAA/AAA. Was on the lookout for a marketman lookalike. haha
    If you’re up for more, PEI will be having their shellfish festival this week or next.

    Sep 22, 2009 | 12:08 am

     
  10. Vicky Go says:

    Should have posted this under lobster roll post but was off for a week in the Berkshires MA. (not a foodie stronghold & w a 2 yr old in tow – forget it!)
    To whoever posted the caveat re eating lobsters I just have to remind everyone – Maine & other New England coastal cities are dependent on the lobster “industry” & would love to encourage you to eat lobsters at whatever going market price. I have to add though that it is a very regulated industry involving licenses as well as restrictions on time & quantity of harvests. Eg., you can only catch & sell lobster bigger than a minimum length (there’s a calipher to measure EACH lobster), anything smaller you have to throw back. You cannot catch females w eggs. There are hefty fines for violations & the rules are strictly enforced. There are state lobster “hatcheries” (we visited one in Bar Harbor) & they carry out extensive research on lobsters & their growth cycle, breeding habits, ideal environment, etc., in these hatcheries as well as at N.E. universities as in URI (Univ of Rhode Island) – a former PhD co-worker did graduate work there on what nutrients are needed to help lobsters grow faster & shed their shells easier (they must molt before each stage in growth can commence).
    What I want to say is: Lobster lovers – go ahead and eat as much as you can (if you can afford them)and suffer no qualms! As long as they come from legal establishments/suppliers & not illegally trapped.

    Sep 22, 2009 | 12:12 am

     
  11. Tricia says:

    OMG those strawberries with shortcake & whipped cream!!!!!!

    Sep 22, 2009 | 1:04 am

     
  12. netoy says:

    Marketman – is Manila already GPS-capable? I was thinking about this when I bought mine. I know in other countries you could use your device and all you have to do is download (buy) the software. Just thinking because I think Manila’s streets are too complicated to navigate if you’re not familiar with the area and this is where the GPS thingie is going to be a lot of help. Thanks…

    Sep 22, 2009 | 2:04 am

     
  13. thelma says:

    i can eat 4 bowls of lobster bisque! i, too, love my gps.
    i am so poor in getting directions so the gps is great.
    i am not so sure if i would have the courage to drive in
    manila or angeles city, but still, the gps would be nice
    to have there…

    Sep 22, 2009 | 3:32 am

     
  14. wanto 99 says:

    We are a company engaged in the seafood trade, with spealisasi seacucumber. Sea Cucumber is a tasty meal and usually served on special occasions and the Lunar New Year. Also efficacious for the treatment.

    Sep 22, 2009 | 6:32 am

     
  15. tna says:

    I thought the crackers were some sort of kropek (shrimp crackers) but the lobster roll looks mouth-watering! Speaking of mouth-watering (or maybe just “watering”)…@SillyLolo: don’t forget YOUR thong! =)

    Sep 22, 2009 | 8:14 am

     
  16. ANDRES says:

    MArket Man.

    Are you still in the area?

    Sep 22, 2009 | 8:51 am

     
  17. Marketman says:

    ANDRES, no, I have been back in the Philippines for a few days already… :)

    Sep 22, 2009 | 9:54 am

     
  18. Ariel says:

    love that lobster roll perfect with a lobster bisque. When I used to go fishing on night trip in the East Coast, we use to eat those before going to fishing boats. sarap

    Sep 22, 2009 | 12:28 pm

     
  19. Lee says:

    GPS? Great Piece of Shrimp?

    I’m in a landlocked arid place and a fresh and succulent piece of shrimp is what I really need.

    Sep 22, 2009 | 2:37 pm

     
  20. diday says:

    Dissecting the sausages on-line… chicken sausage? beef? or pork? I could smell the onions and the sausages, yummm..

    Sep 22, 2009 | 3:05 pm

     
  21. chris says:

    what can i say but yummmmmm!!!!! i am drooling now… :)

    Sep 22, 2009 | 4:27 pm

     
  22. sggirl says:

    Yuuummm!!! what I really want though, are those caramel apples. :)

    Sep 22, 2009 | 4:46 pm

     
  23. Joyce says:

    lovvee chowder. all the yummy food pics is making me hungry.

    Sep 22, 2009 | 4:49 pm

     
  24. chrisb says:

    MM, sayang re the Island Creek event. I’m definitely setting my sights on their future oyster fests…

    Those gps devices are really helpful but can also be a little confusing when in talk mode. “Ano daw?” is always the reaction to the spoken instructions, haha

    Sep 22, 2009 | 5:04 pm

     
  25. Ed B. says:

    All that food pron got me hungry…want…shrimps…now… T_T

    Sep 22, 2009 | 7:47 pm

     
  26. CCA19 says:

    Market Man, How do you find about about these fairs and festivals? I’d like to go to one on my next travel?

    Sep 23, 2009 | 4:49 am

     
  27. Franky says:

    Cruel and unusual punishment sir! Gapapayat baya unta ko…paita uy….

    Sep 23, 2009 | 5:14 am

     
  28. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Lee!!! hahahaha….still witty as ever, despite being stuck in a landlocked country.

    Sep 23, 2009 | 11:28 am

     
  29. Vicky Go says:

    @tna: crackers traditionally served w clam chowder are called “oyster crackers” but contains no oysters, are usually round & crisp like regular square soda crackers.

    @CCA19: most Tourist info centers, even Welcome centers on the highways, provide free maps & brochures detailing what’s happening in the area for the current season. If you have time & know exactly when you’ll be in the area, you can write to the official state tourism boards (google their websites) & request free maps & pamphlets. I don’t think they will airmail it to foreign addresses (outside USA); so if you can provide a USA address, they will gladly mail you guide packets usually a couple of weeks from receipt of request.

    Sep 24, 2009 | 1:59 am

     
  30. betty q. says:

    CCA19: Another option…the web! 2010 Seafood festivals are already scheduled! …not just US based but worldwide too!

    Sep 24, 2009 | 5:09 am

     
  31. Gener says:

    I just arrived from Rabat Morocco yesterday and there is actually a huge FOOD FESTIVAL participated from almost all countries there!(except the philippines) most favourite was the mongolians and followed by japanese and indian cuisines, italian & turkish are flourishing and thai food are swarmed. arabic foods are indeed atracted by the european crowd as if innocent to taste as first timers. western cuisine are presently having advantage due to the presence of reality show chefs from US & UK but they are quite expensive as a result….

    Sep 24, 2009 | 2:30 pm

     
 

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