Who sells the best fish and chips?

Grilled, battered or crumbed, fish and chips are a cultural icon in many parts of the world.

In the UK it might mean savouring them with mushy peas and a warm pint at the pub, while closer to home they are often enjoyed in the sunshine, by the beach, while guarding them from seagulls.

Celebrating Australians' fondness for fish and the charm of chips is the Australian Fish and Chips Awards, now in its third year.

Run by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) in partnership with state and territory fishing industry councils, the awards are an opportunity to support local businesses while educating consumers on the sustainability of the Australian seafood industry and the vast range of seafood options.

Shops will be judged by the public for the people's choice awards and they may nominate to receive a visit from a secret critic as part of the judged competition.

Fish and chips will be rated against a set of five criteria, whether by public or undercover judge.

Criteria include:

  • Taste: Does the seafood taste good, and does the cooking method suit?
  • Service: From the welcome to the goodbye, does the service meet customer expectations?
  • Choice: Does the menu offer customers options? Is there a variety of seafood, local or imported, are various cooking methods available such as grilled or fried, battered, crumbed or natural?
  • Information: Are customers given accurate information about the source and qualities of the seafood, and does the menu comply with the Australian Fish Names Standard?
  • Presentation: Is the store clean and inviting and is the food packed well to maintain quality?

Fish and Chip shops have until May 31 to nominate for this year's awards.

Albany's Hooked on Middleton Beach was judged last year's national winner.

The shop's Hayley Vale said the months after had been particularly exciting for the small, family-run store, which enjoyed a significant increase in business as a result.

"We have had such a diverse range of customers from all over Australia and even international tourists that have come down to Albany to visit us and eat our award-winning fresh and local fish," she said.

"We think the awards is a great way to showcase the wonderful fishing industry around Australia and highlight the amazing selection of Australian seafood we have available to us all."

Winners in both the judged and voting categories will be announced later this year.

  • www.fishandchipsawards.com.au