In one of the late columnist A A Gill's columns collected in The Best of A A Gill, there is a paragraph where he is giving both sincere and ironic praise to a traditional pub lunch he had after fleeing a worse restaurant:

And the lunch was a perfect pub lunch, just the way you imagine it when you've got a temperature. Roast beef that tastes like it has been cut off at the bottom of the Morris men's pantomime horse, Yorkshire pudding like dry rot, kedgeree that's hunt-the-fish and the colour of Chinese cowardice, sticky-toffee pudding, and beers that sound like characters from P.G. Wodehouse. ‘Ah, Hook Norton, glad you could make it. Do you know Beamish and Tolly Cobbold? Marston is in the gents.’ It all cost nothing, or next to a metropolitan nothing.

I am a native BrE speaker and at a complete loss to what ‘hunt-the-fish-is’ (and googling gets me results about going fishing).

It sounds like rhyming slang, in that it's an idiomatic phrase with two main words, but I don't know of what the rhyming referent could be (and I have no actual evidence it’s rhyming slang). I'm fairly sure (could be wrong) that the point here is that it is (with more than a touch of ironic overwrought style) that the dish is objectively flawed but so in keeping with the English ideal of and fondness for a pub lunch that it is far better than the ghastly upmarket trendy place Gill fled from to have the lunch. However, all this context doesn't help me know the specific meaning of ‘hunt-the-fish’.

  • It's saying that there was almost no fish in the kedgeree (so you have to hunt for it). Mar 15 at 22:32

1 Answer 1


Kedgeree is a dish consisting of rice, eggs and flakes of smoked fish.

I think "hunt the fish" means that there is too little fish in the mixture, so it's mostly rice and eggs. You can't find the fish unless you look carefully.

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