East End Surf Challenge: Fish tea spices it all up

The East End Surf Challenge, the year’s first major sporting event, promises to be just as fun-filled and enjoyable as previous ones when watercraft enthusiasts and supporters congregate at Colliers Public Beach on Monday for a series of races.

Heroes weekend is guaranteed to be another safe event, partly because so many involved are now certified in first aid and safety measures to a high level.

Event organiser Shane “Nobee” Edwards says, “We look forward to another safe and well organised East End Surf Challenge on Heroes Day at the new venue of Colliers Public Beach, which is 2.9 miles further along the coast from the Heritage Field.

“Many thanks to our sponsors East End Seaport, Flowers Bottled Water, What’s Hot, Vibe FM, Red Bull, Signs of Paradise, Admiral Administration, Digicel, Cayman Screen Print, First Impression, Massive Equipment Rentals, Caybrew, Maedac Supply, Quality Installation, Intec Research and Naya Wear.”

While the Jet-ski racers are heating up the action during the East End Surf Challenge on Monday, there will be some spicy happenings on-shore that spectators will discover to be their cup of tea.

It’s the Flowers Bottled Water Fish Tea Cook-off, to be exact.

The cook-off features cooks from the various districts of Grand Cayman preparing their mouth-watering brews that, according to local lore, can add years to your life or even do what the spam email can only promise.

Edwards of Team 2Frenzied is very passionate about the event, now in its seventh year. “Not only did I grow up with it, I can cook fish tea as well,” Edwards said. “People all over the district made the tea; it was a crucial part of the social gatherings and parties. I can remember it always being on hand during the famous New Year’s Eve (Old Year) parties in the district. What a time!”

Edwards is not the only one who touts the beneficial aspects of this tasty beverage.

“It’s a combination of fish and staple ground provisions with spices, which are boiled down to a soupy texture. Certain fish are preferable. For instance, there is the snapper and kingfish (wahoo), but the best of all nutritionally is the grouper. In fact, the people of East End were known to be strong, possessing a lot of endurance, and the word was that their staying power could be attributed to the fish tea, which mainly featured the grouper.”

Add to it those mainstays of cassava, yam, green banana, pumpkin, sweet potato, and cho-cho cooked down in coconut milk and seasoned with black pepper, salt, thyme and season-all, and you’re on your way.

Those who attend on race day will be able to sample the fish tea and be part of the Flowers event simultaneously. The entrance fee is a package deal whereby the buyer will be issued a ticket, making them eligible to sample the tea cooked by the various competitors.

Judges will circulate among the pots of tea to choose the tastiest concoction. Prize money of $250, $150 and $100 will be awarded to the first three places along with a trophy. The fourth prize is a “people’s choice” award.

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The fish tea contest is popular.
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