Andrea Maunder, locovore, wine expert and pastry chef, is the owner and creative force behind Bacalao, a St. John's restaurant specializing in "nouvelle Newfoundland" cuisine.

Regatta Tacos

This will be my third year as a food vendor at the Royal St. John’s Regatta. We hit on a winning menu (Fish Tacos, Beignet-style Doughnuts, Chef Maurice’s Magic Onion Rings, Rhubarb Lemonade and Hot or Iced Coffee) the first year and are sticking with it. The only change we have made each year is to prep more food – because we have sold out every year! As I was planning for our booth this year, I got to thinking about how the food at the Regatta has changed over the years.  

I’m recalling the sights, sounds and smells of the Regattas of my childhood as I write. The loud speaker broadcasting race times; cheers from the crowd: “Two tickets holding up the wheel!”; tunes from the bandstand; and the aromas from food vendors – from the glorious lard-filled French fries with malt vinegar and the buttery popcorn, to that heady sweetness of cotton candy and the pièce-de-resistance for me: the combination of smoky hotdog and tangy mustard. One year my family brought down a camper trailer. My grandmother, great aunt, uncle and cousins joined us and we had a big Jiggs’ dinner boil-up. That year I won a giant moose plush toy. I was nine years old and noticed it at one of the crown and anchor stalls. I persisted until my square came up and I won! Navigating back to the trailer through the crowd, with a plush toy nearly as big as I was, was a challenge I undertook with glee.

It’s remarkable how dining pondside at North America’s longest-running sporting event has evolved from picnic baskets and parasols to the multicultural smorgasbord it is today!  There is everything from toutons and fish cakes, pizza and poutine, to Caribbean, African, Mexican and Indian cuisines! I hope to find a few minutes away from the Bacalao booth to sample some other delicious goodies and check out what is new this year.

In planning our menu, we kept it simple so that we could make everything fresh to order.  We fry the cod for the Fish Tacos on site, add the fresh slaw, lime crema and homemade hot sauce to fresh flour tortillas for every order. Same goes for the onion rings – they are panko-crusted and sooo crispy. The beignet-style doughnuts are fried to order and topped with my rum caramel sauce or cinnamon sugar. If you’re planning to be at the Regatta this year, stop by our booth near the Bandstand and try our fish tacos. Then you’ll know how they should taste when you try this recipe at home! See you pondside!


Fish Tacos


1 cup flour

2 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 cup beer or club soda


Lime Crema:

1 cup full-fat sour cream (14% or  “restaurant style”)

Grated zest and juice of one lime

1/2 tsp salt



2 cups shredded green cabbage

1/4 cup shredded red cabbage

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup shredded carrot

1/4 cup finely sliced red onion, or green onions or chives

4 tbsp chopped cilantro

1-2 tsp chopped fresh jalapeño, to taste

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

3-4 tbsp white wine vinegar (to taste)

2 tbsp olive oil



1 L vegetable oil for frying

2 lbs cod filet – cut into 1"x3" strips

Salt and pepper to taste (for seasoning fish)

18 (6") flour tortillas

Extra cilantro sprigs and lime wedges for garnish, if you like

Hot sauce on the table to add as you like


Preheat oven to 250°F. Wrap flour tortillas in foil and place in oven to warm.

Prepare batter. In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Whisk in beer or soda until combined. Set aside.

Prepare slaw. Toss vegetables together with salt and sugar, and massage with your fingers a couple of minutes (to soften the cabbage a little). Add remaining ingredients, toss together and set aside. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, sugar or vinegar to your taste.

Prepare crema: Whisk together sour cream, zest and juice, and salt. Refrigerate. If you have a squeeze bottle, transfer to it.

In a tall saucepan or in electric deep fryer, heat vegetable oil to 350°F. Dry cod with paper towels if wet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and coat each piece in batter, then fry in batches until golden brown and floated to the top. Remove and drain, then place on a parchment-lined tray in the warm oven as you continue to cook the rest of the fish.

To assemble, lay out the warm tortillas, fish, slaw, crema, hot sauce, cilantro and lime wedges. To each tortilla add a couple of pieces of fish, topped with slaw and a drizzle of crema. Add cilantro, hot sauce and lime juice according to taste.  

Makes 18 tacos, serves 4-6 people. 

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