Having paua in a pie has always intrigued me. I love me some paua. When I was young, it was introduced to me as abalone or by it’s Cantonese name. Then later on in life, I discovered in Aotearoa it is called paua. I usually don’t have it often as I don’t really know anyone that dives but when I get my hands on it like any kaimoana I love it.
So on my travels around Northland, I discovered two bakeries that make and sell paua pies. The first place I tried was Wild Nekta Cafe & Bakehouse and it was purely by accident. The paua pie here was $8.50. For my first experience of a paua pie, it was good. You could definitely tell it had paua in it by the smell. The pastry was really good, but although you could smell the paua, it was difficult to know how much paua was in there. Either it was cooked really well and it was really soft and tender, or there was not much in there. Any interesting conundrum.
The next stop was Houhora Honey Bees. It is more obvious that they sell paua pies as they have big sandwich boards on the roadside. I saw it going up to Cape Reinga and decided to give it a try on the way down. Here the pie is $10, so I expected a better pie. Here the pastry is very different to your typical pie crust. It is less flakey and more short pastry-based. It is also a lot thinner. The paua smell is not as identifiable in this pie. However, there is a lot more paua in this pie as you can see the little bits in the filling.
Overall, what an interesting pie flavour. Was interesting in trying the different versions and would be interested to try others. I may one day have to try the famous Paua pie at Cafe 35 in Tokomaru Bay and see why people talk about this pie.
Wild Nekta Cafe & Bakehouse: 568 State Highway 10, Taipa 0420
Container cafe: Pukenui 0484