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Tiny silver salt-water fish that are "fries" of herring and sprats. Because of their size other species are often mixed in, but to small to visually notice their differences, unless an effort is made. Whitebait are excellent whole - "floured" and deep-fried until they are crisp. Whitebait "feasts" were common in Inns along the Thames estuary during the 19th century.
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