The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever

Junior Burger
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2009/09/25 21:41:35 (permalink)

The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever

The annual Hanna United Methodist All-You-Can-Eat Lake Perch Fish Fry is coming up, Saturday October 3. Held in a small farm town in south-central LaPorte County (Indiana), it’s the single best fish fry anywhere – at least it’s the best I’ve encountered, by a mile. The pictures are from last year’s event.
The Hanna fish fry’s secret weapon is actually the Lions Club of neighboring LaCrosse, who are always hired to do the actual frying – in an old school bus that’s been converted to a mobile kitchen.

They’ve been performing this function for area fish fries since the 1950s and, believe me, they know what they’re doing. The breading they’ve developed for yellow perch (different from what they use for other kinds of fish) is a perfect complement to the perch’s mild flavor.

The filets are just remarkable, so light and greaseless it’s kind of hard to believe they’re actually deep fried. Except for the memory of my mother’s pan-fried blue gill, I believe it’s the best fried fish I’ve had anywhere (and that includes New Orleans, the Calumet Region, the Connecticut shore, and various points in Wisconsin).

The event itself has a great community feel to it. Doors open at 4:00 but a line starts forming long before that. People who know about this fish fry attend from as far away as Michigan, Hammond, and Indianapolis.

Pick out a piece of pie (homemade, naturally), find a seat at one of the cafeteria tables, and dig in. Servers circulate around the room, refilling your plate with yellow perch filets almost as fast as you can eat them. There’s also the usual sides of cole slaw, potato salad, sometimes baked beans. The price is $12.

Lake perch fish fries like this used to be the fundraiser of choice in LaPorte and Porter Counties. But the rising cost of importing the fish has meant that most organizations have switched to pollock or even pork chop dinners. The Hanna event is the last holdout. Connoisseurs of lake perch should seriously think about making the drive this weekend (about an hour-and-a-half from Chicago).
All-You-Can-Eat Lake Perch Fish Fry
Saturday 3 October, 4 to 7 pm.
Hanna United Methodist Church
101 W Hopper Street, Hanna, Indiana

post edited by Train - 2009/09/25 21:46:50

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