Cromer is a small traditional seaside town in North Norfolk, a 3 hour train journey away from London, famous for its crabs (photo below). We decided to investigate whether it is worth the travelling the distance to have a taste.
Like most famous seaside towns, e.g. Brighton, Cromer has its own pier. On a sunny day like when we went, it was full of people, all looking down. No, they were not trying to jump down- they were fishing/ checking out the crabs!
That was a welcoming sign- crabs in abundance! Surprisingly, most people did not eat their catch but returned them to the sea afterwards. I talked to a family, who said that they just enjoyed the experience. That was probably because the crabs were too small to eat. The big ones are in the shops!
We found a local shop which only sells crabs and lobsters. It was established in 1957 and it is run in a charming laid-back manner. Ring the bell and a lady will come out from her living room to serve you- sweet! The crabs are all lined up neatly behind a stone which is marked with a price- £2.20, £2.50, £3.00, £4.00, £5.00, £6.00, £7.00 and £8.00.
‘Would you like your crab dressed?’ the lady asked. I answered no, thinking that meant adding dressing to the crab, just like the dressed crab I usually get served in London (and I hate!). Only when I was served, I realised that in Cromer, no dressing is provided by default. You can add salt, vinegar or white pepper to season. As the crabs are freshly prepared each day, they were full of flavour and did not need any seasoning at all (dressed in Cromer means partially shelled). We tried the £4.00 ones and the meat was far tastier and more substantial than the expensive ones I had in London. Fantastic! (We actually went back for more later!)
We also checked out a local fish and chip shop which has the longest queue (photo below). The fish was served on a bed of mushy peas and chips (photo above). The deep-fried cod in batter was amazing- fresh, flaky, well-seasoned and only cost £3.20! It was deep-fried in beef fat, the classic British way!
I had never had mushy peas before- Winkypedia’s in-house mushy peas expert reviewed that even though it looked a little dirty green, the mushy peas were actually freshly made the traditional way from dried marrowfat peas. Tinned ones usually have a more attractive green, which comes from the dye. It was moist and formed a good balance with the deep-fried fish and chips.
I highly recommend a walk in the nearby Sheringham Park, which is run by National Trust. Part of the route led to coastal walk which was sensational- We could not believe there is such a beautiful sea in the UK! (top photo and photo below)