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こりゃたまげた! あっという間に見つけちまうんだね

I'm shocked. You found the food in an instant

And his reply

ああ? 食い物なんて匂いで一発だ

From context I can gather it seems to be akin to ... I found it asap because of the smell but I'm not sure how the sentence is being constructed

"When it comes to food, with the smell..."

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The sentence structure is rather simple though it does not admit simple translation into English because 一発 wouldn't correspond to a simple English word.

The sentence is

  • 食い物は匂いで一発だ

with なんて adding 'such things as foods'. So literally:

  • Foods are 一発 by the smell.

一発 means literally 'one shot' or 'one trial'. (一瞬 has the similar usage: この宿題は一瞬だ would mean '(doing) this homework is one instant')

Here you can think (detecting) food is a matter of single trial by the smell (if preserving the structure as much as possible).

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