UPDATE: Snapper NZ is no longer open for business. This article is being archived.
Snapper NZ originally opened in the small alley of Sukhumvit Soi 11 where the drift wood decorated Cheap Charlie’s used to be. It was the first restaurant to introduce New Zealand cuisine to Bangkok. It was also the venture of 3 New Zealander’s who were simply craving home cooked “fush n’ chups“.
Craig, Clint, and “Moose” were school friends each involved in the livestock and seafood businesses living in the Big Mango, Kiwiland, and in Brunei of all places. Lamenting the absence of any place in Bangkok that could satisfy their desire for traditional New Zealand style fish and chips, they decided to use their business connections and experiences to bring the ingredients to Bangkok and open a restaurant specializing in the dish.
Their focus on authentic New Zealand cuisine brought them many loyal Bangkok customers. But then a real estate developer bought up many of the properties in the area which left them scrambling to find a new location. That location is now on Sukhumvit Soi 8. After a year of fine tuning their menu they recently held their grand re-opening on October 19th. I had an opportunity to sample some of the popular dishes as well as a few new menu items. I’m impressed! I think you will be, too.
An impressive meal…
One thing I quickly learned was that everything on the menu at Snapper NZ has a story. There is so much attention to keeping the flavors authentically New Zealand. They use New Zealand cream, butter, peas, and even Mānuka wood in their smoking process.
“Fush n’ Chups”
Most fish and chip menus in Bangkok offer maybe 1 or 2 fish options. Snapper NZ offers 5 different fish options, 4 of which are fish plucked from the pristine waters of New Zealand. The red snapper is the only white fish not from New Zealand. Instead it comes from the wild catch of the day from a fish monger in Ranong who they’ve developed a relationship with. It’s much fresher than importing from overseas. All of the seafood at Snapper NZ is wild caught.
They researched 18 different fish and chip shops in New Zealand to develop their batter and cooking methods. This is their must try dish. They know what they’re doing here. If you’re a fan of fish this is the place to go as 89% of their fish offerings are unique to Thailand.
I chose the most popular fish, the NZ Deep Sea Cod (280 baht). The prices for the fish range from 260 baht (NZ Southern Hake) to 380 baht (NZ Lemon Sole). What’s great about the menu is that each fish has tasting notes so that folks can dial in what it is they want.
Customers have a choice to have their fish battered, bread crumbed, or pan fried. If you’re worried that the battered fish will be greasy, don’t. At Snapper NZ they heat the oil to a temperature where they can do a quick fry–the batter immediately seals the fish from the oil. What you get is a crunchy batter with a slight chew, and a flaky, flavorful fish filet. It isn’t oily at all. It’s delicious!
Once you’ve selected your fish, it’s time to select your “chips”.
There are 4 options of chips on the menu. For the fan of authenticity they offer 2 different NZ Chips (steak or standard cut) for 120 baht. They also offer 2 hand cut options American spuds Hand Cut with skin on (150 baht) or Kumara (sweet potato) fries (160 baht).
I chose a generous portion of kumara fries with a side of sour cream and sweet chili sauce. It reminded me of the purple Japanese sweet potatoes–a bit chewy on the outside and sweet on the inside.
They also offer several sides with the meal. I’ve never seen battered pineapple rings (50 baht) on a menu as a side option. Apparently it’s a very popular thing in New Zealand. I wish I’d tried it!
Tip: if you’re a fan of fish and chips check out their weekly special noted at the end of this article!
Who says smoking is bad?
Snapper NZ does all of their meat and seafood smoking on site. They use a mix of hickory, cherry, and New Zealand mānuka wood. It’s incredible and unique. The NZ Mānuka Wood Smoked NZ Seafood (280 baht) platter comes with a mix of mussels, salmon trout and blue warehou. The platter is accompanied with toasted bread and onion relish–which you will probably ignore because the smoked seafood is so amazing.
I could eat a mountain of this. Each item captures the smoke flavors differently. The large mussels are lightly smoky, meaty, and delicious. The salmon trout is nice and fatty with a little more smoke intensity. The white fish, blue warehou, is completely saturated with the smoke–in a good way. The small flake meat soaks up the intense smoke flavors like a sponge. I highly recommend this dish as a sharing starter and then watch the table go silent when folks start tasting it. It’s that good!
Snapper has more than fish…
There’s more to Snapper NZ than seafood or fish and chips. They’ve also got lamb, beef, chicken and pork on their grill menu. But if you’re like me and wanted to try the fish and chips, don’t deny yourself the pleasure of sampling from their other meat options with this delicious NZ Spring Lamb Croquettes (260 baht) appetizer.
Each croquette contains slices of tender lamb meat tightly rolled in a ball which is rolled in seasoned breadcrumbs and deep fried. They’re served with a vinegary mint sauce and a side salad. Yum!
A unique vegetarian option…
From their new menu, Snapper NZ presents a very tasty and unique vegetarian option. This NZ Green Pea Risotto (280 baht) is made with New Zealand puréed peas, sautéed mushrooms and spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and shaved parmesan. What you get is a very creamy protein packed risotto. I’m not a vegetarian, but I’m always up for a good risotto!
There are other vegetarian salad and pasta options on the menu to accommodate meat averse diners. But as this risotto is such a unique dish it’s worth mentioning.
Something for the sweet tooth…
Most folks are aware that the relationship between Australia and New Zealand has a tinge of sibling rivalry. I have both Aussie and Kiwi pals, and it’s funny to watch their playful taunting (though admittedly I often don’t get the references they’re talking about). But I had no idea the rivalry extended to desserts!
The story is that the first Kiwi Pavlova was created by a hotel chef in Wellington, New Zealand for the visiting famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova during her world tour visit there in 1926. Though Aussies will argue that the dessert was stolen from one of their earlier meringue with fruit filling recipes. Regardless of the origin, it’s considered a national dish of both countries. After eating it I can understand why.
For an instant sugar rush you will enjoy this dish. The Kiwi Pavlova (220 baht) is made with crispy meringue crust and whipped cream center. It’s topped with slices of fresh kiwi and drizzled with tangy passionfruit sauce. Included with the cake is homemade New Zealand Hokey Pokey ice cream (vanilla ice cream with chew bits of honey comb). That’s what it’s all about!
A chat with the owner…
As I mentioned earlier Snapper NZ originated with 3 friends, Craig, Clint, and “Moose”. During my visit I had a chance to chat with Craig McLean. Craig’s family owned a fish n’ chips shop in New Zealand. Though his background was in the food import business, he always knew that someday he’d open a fish n’ chips shop, too. It just took a few years in Bangkok to get the desire to do so.
Craig is passionate about the menu at Snapper NZ. He has ensured that wherever possible fresh, local, organic ingredients and imported New Zealand ingredients are used in the recipes. A frequent traveler, he carries a small notebook in his pocket where he jots down notes of new sources. An example already mentioned being the fish monger in Ranong who supplies the red snapper fish.
But other interesting examples are the honey and vegetables they use. They only use wild jungle honey from a single source farmer he met during his travels along the Chang Rai and Burmese border. Additionally, much of the vegetables they use in the restaurant are organically grown and support a Thai school through the Beaumont Partnership Foundation.
Craig confided that when they first opened Snapper NZ all those years ago they felt very unsure about the restaurant business. After all, their expertise was in the importing business. But he attributes the success of the restaurant to the fact that they focused on the quality of the ingredients and the authenticity of the New Zealand cuisine. Though he is much more savvy now with the restaurant business side of things, he still ensures that there is always a laser focus on the food.
I’m hungry. Where is it?
Snapper NZ is located on small dead end alley off of Sukhumvit Soi 8. It’s an easy walking distance from the Nana BTS station. See the Google Map at the end of the article for the exact location.
There are 3 floors to Snapper NZ. The downstairs has ample seating inside and outside.
The second floor has an open kitchen and additional booths for seating. The third floor contains additional seating but is also used for private venues and special events such as Quiz Nights and Comedy Hour nights. I had a chance to catch the comedy show and had a great time (Asahi beers for 90 baht kept me in good humor, too!).
If you’re looking for a place to hold a private function or event reach out to them.
Tip: Check their Facebook page!
Along with some great events, Snapper NZ also has some great deals. I highly recommend that you check out their official Facebook page. Currently Wednesdays are All You can Eat Kiwi Fish n’ Chips for 490 baht (for an extra 50 baht this includes sides, too). On Thursdays it’s All You Can Eat Shellfish Pots (clams or mussels) with NZ chips and homemade bread for 380 baht. All of these prices (and all prices in this article) are NET.
So if you’re interested in trying their seafood I highly recommend you check out one of these special nights. If you do visit I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below. Try the battered pineapple rings and tell me about it!