Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Fish etc in China


 Share

Recommended Posts

980733896_tench-cruciancarp.thumb.jpg.559a783a86a2d3897ae41a826990a445.jpg

Crucian Carp (centre)*

Although grass carp (see first post) is probably China's most consumed species of fish, more valued is 鲫鱼 (jì yú), Carassius carassius, the Crucian Carp. Resembling overgrown goldfish, to which they are related, as are all carp, these freshwater fish are native to northern Europe but have long since been introduced worldwide. Indeed, the are considered an invasive species in many places.

China has been raising crucian carp for over 1,000 years, and until relatively recently, in inland areas such as the land-locked provinces of Sichuan and Hunan, carp was often the only fish easily available and crucian carp were the prime choice.

 

Their flesh is described as “particularly delicious” and “similar to cod”, although they are quite bony. They are generally fried or grilled and sauced or added to hot-pots, stews and soups. It is also used to make a delicious, milky-white fish stock.

* Note, in the image above, that the fish is mislabelled as 鲈鱼 (lú yú), a totally different (seawater) species. This is one of the problems I am up against all the time when trying to identify fish. Mislabelling is the norm. The tank also contains (left) the cheaper but less common, 丁桂鱼 (dīng guì yú ) or tench to which I will return.

 

179798288_sweetandsourfish.thumb.jpg.1cf8797f7d9413663091f8a27006760c.jpg

Sweet  snd Sour Crucian Carp

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

333051256_2.thumb.jpg.992bbbad01db64b57adb479ce927c4db.jpg

 

For a long time I've been puzzling over what these are. The are labelled as 芒鱼 (máng yú). Google does turn up a few similar looking fish, but the vast majority look nothing like these.

 

Today I worked out what they are!

They are about 30 cm - 51 cm / 12" - 20" long, dark skinned on the back and lighter on the belly and shiny bodied. I'm was fairly sure that they were a seawater species, but whether they were just a local or more widely distributed one, had no idea. One suggestion that they are caught in coastal areas around Guangdong and Hong Kong proved false.

 

 I decided we really needed a better look at the mysterious 芒鱼 (máng yú), particularly its unusual head. Today, I looked a bit more closely. And got some stats. The fellow below is 48 cm / 19 inches from tip of nose to end of tail. It weighs 1.2 kg or 2.7 lbs before evisceration.

 

They are a river fish, but imported from Vietnam's Mekong Delta where the fish enjoy the brackish water, hence them being included in the seafood sections of the supermarkets.  Yes it's good old pangasius / basa fish as discussed above.

 

Apparently, the 芒鱼 term  is a Cantonese translation of the scientific name for the entire genus, although Cantonese uses the rare character 𩷶 which is not available in Mandarin.

 

539603022_2.thumb.jpg.1a5bfbce54849c52933491df98df9015.jpg

 

1323823978_1.thumb.jpg.a13a7bef48e0defbe01c1fd81040c362.jpg

 

2071137481_2.thumb.jpg.27191bed6bf2a615599a43b111efdc4a.jpg

 

He's now sitting in my fridge waiting to become fish and chips for tomorrow's lunch!

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I mentioned in this post that, when the fish counter staff clean your fish for you, they will try to hold on to the creatures’ float bladders (aka fish maws) in order to sell them separately. Another part they like to collect is the liver. Again, these will be sold separately, even though they made up part of the weight which determined how much you were to be charged.

 

64039906_Fishmaw.thumb.jpg.a2c5bd24d0aa59f4bb2e4404ce30a297.jpg

Float bladder (maw)

 

OK. They don’t usually weigh much and one won’t go far in feeding a family. But some can be sizeable. What I see in the supermarket is this.

 

2040662643_fishlivers.thumb.jpg.071aec61dc43cbe9395739f1ea58bf58.jpg

 

These are freshwater 鱼肝 (yú gān) fish livers - mainly from various carp . That ¥9.80 is the equivalent of $1.54 USD for 500 grams / 1.1 lbs. These are best fried and, in my home, eaten on toast. My neighbours probably don’t know what toast is. They are mild tasting and not overly fishy - the livers, not my neighbours. They taste of pork and some definitely seem a bit fishy.

 

If you get the chance to buy a monkfish liver 安康鱼肝 (ān kāng yú gān), jump at it. They are delicious. Like eating foie gras by the beach. They cost more. Last time I bought them, they were ¥65 per 500 g. These I like to briefly brine (usually in soy sauce and vinegar) then steam in foil wrappers. I've also happily eaten them raw as sashimi in Japan.

 

1745925553_monkfishliver.thumb.jpg.5ba6717b9e1c2e162329f0ada0acc590.jpg

Monkfish Liver

 

Strangely, although I can get the monkfish liver, I've never seen monkfish among any fishmongers' wares in China. It is available frozen, online.
 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Epinephelus_akaara_Toba.thumb.jpg.06e0e4426ab3410215921503d157be10.jpg

Image by Totti - This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

 

This is a fish I rarely see. In fact, it’s been about two years. For good reason. This is 石斑鱼 (shí bān yú - literally ‘stone spotted fish’), Epinephelus akaara, Grouper, specifically Hong Kong Grouper. Groupers are, again, a huge family. The HK grouper is native to the East China sea from Japan and down to the Tonkin Gulf, passing HK en route.

 

The species is considered to be endangered due to over-fishing. China, excluding Hong Kong, has introduced some controls. Farming the fish has proved unsuccessful as few of the hatchlings survive.

When it was available it was, like so many other varieties, mainly steamed and dressed with soy sauce. I hope it recovers.

 

81472432_grouperfish.thumb.jpg.82d02b916a691c3256a8a71ec161290a.jpg

 

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 4

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1786611366_babysquid.thumb.jpg.abadcdc125479547c33caeadd59c2746.jpg

 

The Chinese love 鱿鱼 (yóu yú), Squid. 70% of the world’s catch is landed in China. In order to satisfy the demand, fleets of boats travel all over the oceans in search of the shrinking squid populations. This naturally causes disputes and recently the Chinese agricultural ministry has announced that they will limit the amount permitted to be caught. Whether they follow up on that remains to be seen.

 

The squid I buy is fished in the Gulf of Tonkin area and landed in the coastal city of Beihai a short way south of me near the border with Vietnam. The city is famous for its squid and squid products. Exactly what species of squid, I’ve never been able to determine. In fact, it may be a mixture of species from the Loligi genus.

 

Untitled-1.thumb.jpg.9c878c6c04fa016f282e0689233cf1d0.jpg

Public Domain image.

 

It goes by many names in English. I’m using ‘squid’ as it seems to be the oldest, but it is also known as ‘calamari’ (in various spellings), cuttlefish, pen fish etc. Of course, they aren’t fish, but cephalopods.

 

Here, I never let the fish sellers clean them for me. They only know one recipe and always prep the critters for that dish. There is nothing wrong with that dish (I often make it myself), but I also use it in different ways. Anyway, I like cleaning squid! Although, they occasionally surprise me.

 

1084446980_Squidsdinner.jpg.ca2f1467c4ffda7353f41dc4176bc851.jpg

Surprise! Squid hadn't finished dinner. Now he's my dinner.

 

Their preferred dish is made by removing the innards, then cutting open the body sac and scoring a cross-hatch pattern before cutting them into bite size pieces. These and the tentacles are then stir fried with garlic, ginger and chillies along with snow peas, before being dressed with soy sauce. The snow peas go in early as the squid is only fried for the briefest of times. Once it curls up, it’s done. I never order this in restaurants; it's always overcooked. The skin is edible, but is normally removed for aesthetic reasons.

 

squid5.thumb.jpg.4601e0826cd3f2eb407e888c2c4bdbd0.jpg

Cross-hatched squid

 

squid4.thumb.jpg.ae7f7ca3645d9b53fcb1d61782dfff87.jpg

Squid with snow peas

 

We also get baby squid which are cleaned but left whole and stir fried.

74574832_babysquid2.thumb.jpg.573293cf40d0fa81ad1e9fcb462818bc.jpg

Baby Squid

 

I should note here that the 'salt and pepper squid' which seems to appear on so many 'Chinese' restaurant menus, I've never seen here. It may exist somewhere, but...

Also very popular is dried squid which comes in many forms. I see it as whole animals and as strips sold as snacks. Many bars will serve you some dried squid with dips as beer food. Apart from t hat it is also used to add unami to soups and hotpots etc.

 

518264931_driedsquid.thumb.jpg.011a7916e7f5e79ed014662cad634a34.jpg

Whole Dried Squid

 

1035314357_driedsquid2.thumb.jpg.c4f491009da1582c36b8551f275310ea.jpg

Dried Squid Strips

 

371970683_driedsquidwithdips.thumb.jpg.e031f2c6b11ebd16301ca5d6e0d3766d.jpg

Dried squid served with dips in a local bar. Top: soy sauce and fake wasabi. Bottom: Black rice vinegar.

 

And if you still haven't had enough:

 

Squid.thumb.jpg.202e629c50671b4605a9da13be8d6384.jpg

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1282450724_yellowtailfish1.thumb.jpg.22ca33529e7d203a1eb2ba3327c89fd4.jpg

 

Another mystery today. These are labelled as 黄尾鱼 (huáng wěi yú) which translates as “Yellowtail fish’. Given that hundreds of different species are labelled as ‘yellowtails’, this is less than unhelpful.

 

They are about 15 – 18 cm / 6 - 7 inches long and I would classify them as an oily species, similar in taste to mackerel, but not so strong. I like them a lot and would love to finally nail down an identification.

 

They are usually gutted and fried whole, but would work well on a grill, too I suppose.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

1282450724_yellowtailfish1.thumb.jpg.22ca33529e7d203a1eb2ba3327c89fd4.jpg

 

Another mystery today. These are labelled as 黄尾鱼 (huáng wěi yú) which translates as “Yellowtail fish’. Given that hundreds of different species are labelled as ‘yellowtails’, this is less than unhelpful.

 

They are about 15 – 18 cm / 6 - 7 inches long and I would classify them as an oily species, similar in t aste to mackerel, but not so strong. I like them a lot and would love to finally nail down an identification.

 

They are usually gutted and fried whole, but would work well on a grill, too I suppose.

were they similar to a hamachi type yellowtail? Those match your description (but I think they're typically a bit bigger)... one of my favorite fishes for sushi/sashimi.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, KennethT said:

were they similar to a hamachi type yellowtail? Those match your description (but I think they're typically a bit bigger)... one of my favorite fishes for sushi/sashimi.

 

They are similar but, as you say, himachi (Japanese amberjack) tend to be larger than mine.  Also, they aren't native to local waters, not that that proves anything. Also, most of the images of himachi I can see seem to show more coloured heads in the himachi than in my find.

I need to find an ichthyologist urgently!

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

tuna.thumb.jpg.3cefc22c8c45914617cec9a5362f5471.jpg

 

金枪鱼 (jīn qiāng yú) Thunnus, Tuna is not an important fish in China. Both Thunnus albacares, Yellowfin Tuna and Thunnus obesus, Bigeye tuna were available a few years ago when there was a craze for “Japanese” sushi restaurants (all Chinese owned and operated) but that has faded.

 

I’m not even sure if there are any remaining in town. There used to be four in my local shopping mall alone. One supermarket did sell fresh sashimi grade tuna, but hasn’t for a long time. Now I can only buy it online at crazy prices.

 

Most tuna that is caught, is exported to Japan.

 

1950841661_salmonandtuna.thumb.jpg.8d11b519beee28c706f08b14f38d467b.jpg

Salmon and Tuna Sashimi

 

In any case, bigeye tuna is considered to be an endangered species and should be avoided.

 

986107548_cannedtuna.thumb.jpg.bd82fbcde8e34842854d834cca4b748a.jpg

Thai Tuna in Olive Oil

 

Canned tuna in varous oils or water, mainly from Thailand or Korea, is available in speciality stores and online, but is expensive compared to the domestic canned fish I mentioned before.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/25/2021 at 8:03 PM, liuzhou said:

1282450724_yellowtailfish1.thumb.jpg.22ca33529e7d203a1eb2ba3327c89fd4.jpg

 

Another mystery today. These are labelled as 黄尾鱼 (huáng wěi yú) which translates as “Yellowtail fish’. Given that hundreds of different species are labelled as ‘yellowtails’, this is less than unhelpful.

 

They are about 15 – 18 cm / 6 - 7 inches long and I would classify them as an oily species, similar in taste to mackerel, but not so strong. I like them a lot and would love to finally nail down an identification.

 

They are usually gutted and fried whole, but would work well on a grill, too I suppose.

Could these be Decapterus macarellus, or related?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, catdaddy said:

Could these be Decapterus macarellus, or related?

 

Maybe related, but not the same, I suspect. The body shape is quite different. Mine are more rounded. Also, other distinct features and markings of that species are absent.

 

But thanks for the suggestion.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/26/2021 at 2:03 AM, liuzhou said:

1282450724_yellowtailfish1.thumb.jpg.22ca33529e7d203a1eb2ba3327c89fd4.jpg

 

Another mystery today. These are labelled as 黄尾鱼 (huáng wěi yú) which translates as “Yellowtail fish’. Given that hundreds of different species are labelled as ‘yellowtails’, this is less than unhelpful.

 

They are about 15 – 18 cm / 6 - 7 inches long and I would classify them as an oily species, similar in taste to mackerel, but not so strong. I like them a lot and would love to finally nail down an identification.

 

They are usually gutted and fried whole, but would work well on a grill, too I suppose.

That's a type of jack mackerel, both based on its physical appearance and from your description of taste (I have fish them extensively both in Europe and in Australia).

You may get the exact species you get from their genus page in Wikipedia, because they may came from anywhere, not necessarily from near chinese waters: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trachurus

 

cheers

 

Edit: my mother use to eat the large ones open (butterfly) in the oven, throwing some garlic, olive oil and salt on top of it, and even sometimes, a bit of red vinegar. Smaller ones at home classically eaten deep fried.

Edited by farcego
add a recipe (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, farcego said:

That's a type of jack mackerel, both based on its physical appearance and from your description of taste (I have fish them extensively both in Europe and in Australia).

You may get the exact species you get from their genus page in Wikipedia, because they may came from anywhere, not necessarily from near chinese waters: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trachurus

 

 

 

Thanks for that. While I'm certainly not ruling them out, I'm not completely convinced, though. Of those pictured, although close, none quite match those I get. I will  investigate further.

 

I've already said which waters they come from proves nothing, (although West Pacific is more likely)

 

 

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMG_5591.thumb.jpg.2d4d3ec4e5d4a4d14cbbe36e164445c5.jpg

Cooked Hairy Crab

大闸蟹 (dà zhá xiè), Eriocheir sinensis, Chinese Hairy Crab, also known as 上海毛蟹 (shàng hǎi máo xiè ) or Chinese Mitten Crab, in reference to their hairy legs, are highly valued in China, especially in the east of the country around Shanghai. But I get them here, too.

 

These small crabs are native to China and Korea but have been introduced in both North America and Europe where they are considered to be an invasive species. Possession or trading in them is banned in the European Union and in most US States.

 

scale.thumb.jpg.f755277599cd1680b1b8983e609ed5b8.jpg

 

They inhabit rivers, lakes and rice paddies but, in Autumn, move to saltwater to spawn. Most prized are those from Yancheng Lake in Jiangsu Province, with rich Chinese prepared to may hundreds of dollars for each one. This lead in the past to massive fraud, until the Jiangsu authorities stared laser etching individual security numbers on their shells to ensure traceability. This reduced the number of fakes significantly, but not entirely.

 

524299907_hairycrab2.thumb.jpg.7db0178d92db88cffcd7283f01674b38.jpg

Laser etched Yangcheng Lake Hairy Crab

 

Doubly desirable are the females, especially just before spawning as their roe is particularly tasty! So, the two genders are usually sold separately in supermarkets, with the females attracting a premium price. The males make good eating, too though.

 

1253081399_Hairycrab3.thumb.jpg.848e41a915179f7a81a6028f5fe5c59e.jpg

Female (母 - mǔ) Hairy Crab in Liuzhou Supermarket

 

These crabs are always steamed and their sweet meat picked using chopsticks or crab torture instruments such as these.

 

795286120_crabtools.thumb.jpg.8c81453fb6b252616091f20c9d74e392.jpg

 

318324106_HairyCrab-cooked.thumb.jpg.687fadc46151faa09ee6add420713f1a.jpg

Steamed Hairy Crab

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 4

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, liuzhou said:

IMG_5591.thumb.jpg.2d4d3ec4e5d4a4d14cbbe36e164445c5.jpg

Cooked Hairy Crab

大闸蟹 (dà zhá xiè), Eriocheir sinensis, Chinese Hairy Crab, also known as 上海毛蟹 (shàng hǎi máo xiè ) or Chinese Mitten Crab, in reference to their hairy legs, are highly valued in China, especially in the east of the country around Shanghai. But I get them here, too.

 

These small crabs are native to China and Korea but have been introduced in both North America and Europe where they are considered to be an invasive species. Possession or trading in them is banned in the European Union and in most US States.

 

scale.thumb.jpg.f755277599cd1680b1b8983e609ed5b8.jpg

 

They inhabit rivers, lakes and rice paddies but, in Autumn, move to saltwater to spawn. Most prized are those from Yancheng Lake in Jiangsu Province, with rich Chinese prepared to may hundreds of dollars for each one. This lead in the past to massive fraud, until the Jiangsu authorities stared laser etching individual security numbers on their shells to ensure traceability. This reduced the number of fakes significantly, but not entirely.

 

524299907_hairycrab2.thumb.jpg.7db0178d92db88cffcd7283f01674b38.jpg

Laser etched Yangcheng Lake Hairy Crab

 

Doubly desirable are the females, especially just before spawning as their roe is particularly tasty! So, the two genders are usually sold separately in supermarkets, with the females attracting a premium price. The males make good eating, too though.

 

1253081399_Hairycrab3.thumb.jpg.848e41a915179f7a81a6028f5fe5c59e.jpg

Female (母 - mǔ) Hairy Crab in Liuzhou Supermarket

 

These crabs are always steamed and their sweet meat picked using chopsticks or crab torture instruments such as these.

 

795286120_crabtools.thumb.jpg.8c81453fb6b252616091f20c9d74e392.jpg

 

318324106_HairyCrab-cooked.thumb.jpg.687fadc46151faa09ee6add420713f1a.jpg

Steamed Hairy Crab

how much meat are in one of these crabs?  I'm sometimes disappointed by crabs because I find that they're often a lot of work for very little payout.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, KennethT said:

how much meat are in one of these crabs?  I'm sometimes disappointed by crabs because I find that they're often a lot of work for very little payout.

 

Yeah. I'll go with your assessment in this instance. Not a lot of meat. But, my neighbours don't think that way. The crabs wouldn't ever be served on their own, but as part of a larger meal with several dishes. Think of them more as a condiment. Or a starter, if Chinese cuisine really did starters.

I do love crabs and shall return to some of the more common ones later. They make more complete dishes.

 

  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Abalone.thumb.jpg.9ee5ac895d35f74f4a57185c52215b30.jpg

Abalone

鲍鱼 (bào yú) Haliotis, Abalone are not to be confused with halitosis, which is something very different. Whether eating haliotis causes halitosis is not for me to speculate.

 

The little muscles of sea snail are a luxury item here. To say they are tough is to be polite.

 

They are sold cleaned but have to be trimmed of their outer skin, then sliced thinly and beaten into submission. This can take some time and effort, but you will eventually feel that muscle relaxing (unless you have given up in disgust after the first hour).

Then they can be eaten as sashimi, if that is your preference. Or they can be cooked in one of two methods.

 

Either they can be flash fried at high heat for mere seconds (about 5 on each side*) or they can be slow -cooked in not quite simmering water (92-95℃ 198-203℉) for up to six hours. For obvious reasons, I’ve only ever used the former method.

 

That said, I’ve only ever cooked them once. Too much trouble, but I will have them in restaurants. They are said to taste like foie gras crossed with scallops. Hmmm.

 

*Some online sources suggest up to two minutes per side. That seems excessive to me.
 
They are, I’m told, sold canned (not here) but I can’t comment on how good they are. I avoid cans.

 

The only abalone product I do sometimes use is this abalone sauce, which is an upmarket variation on oyster sauce.

 

303442190_abalonesauce.thumb.jpg.8da7548bbb5e02e969e2e7c3ce5c160a.jpg

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Abalone.thumb.jpg.9ee5ac895d35f74f4a57185c52215b30.jpg

Abalone

鲍鱼 (bào yú) Haliotis, Abalone are not to be confused with halitosis, which is something very different. Whether eating haliotis causes halitosis is not for me to speculate.

 

The little muscles of sea snail are a luxury item here. To say they are tough is to be polite.

 

They are sold cleaned but have to be trimmed of their outer skin, then sliced thinly and beaten into submission. This can take some time and effort, but you will eventually feel that muscle relaxing (unless you have given up in disgust after the first hour).

Then they can be eaten as sashimi, if that is your preference. Or they can be cooked in one of two methods.

 

Either they can be flash fried at high heat for mere seconds (about 5 on each side*) or they can be slow -cooked in not quite simmering water (92-95℃ 198-203℉) for up to six hours. For obvious reasons, I’ve only ever used the former method.

 

That said, I’ve only ever cooked them once. Too much trouble, but I will have them in restaurants. They are said to taste like foie gras crossed with scallops. Hmmm.

 

*Some online sources suggest up to two minutes per side. That seems excessive to me.
 
They are, I’m told, sold canned (not here) but I can’t comment on how good they are. I avoid cans.

 

The only abalone product I do sometimes use is this abalone sauce, which is an upmarket variation on oyster sauce.

 

303442190_abalonesauce.thumb.jpg.8da7548bbb5e02e969e2e7c3ce5c160a.jpg

 

 

I had hips of those (both the black and green lip ones) back in Tasmania, where it use to be a big business for those lucky enough to have commercial license, as they (together with the crayfish) were mostly shipped to china (I guess abalone business may be as down as crayfish in what matters to AUS-China state of affairs, as in the last year they became in local seafood shelves around Hobart supermarkets).

I have never liked much (probably got tired of them), but I have sen them canned (small ones) labeled both in English and Chinese, maybe targeting Chinese tourists. As far as I've been told, some abalones, dried in an specific way, are most priced; a matter of texture.

 

cheers

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2035118243__20211130121803.thumb.jpg.c8f402afc49d6361b4363524259a9357.jpg

 

Another crab we get is the 三点蟹 (sān diǎn xiè), Portunus sanguinolentus, known variously as the three-spot swimming crab , blood-spotted swimming crab or red-spotted swimming crab. This confused me at first as the three spots on the shell are often decidedly black and not red. However, when cooked, they do turn red.

 

They are native to the inter-tidal zones of river estuaries in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean areas (see map below). They can grow as large as 20 cm / 8 inches wide, but those sold as food, both fresh and frozen, tend to be younger specimens around 10 to 15 cm / 4 to 6 inches.

 

pic_W-Bch-1061758.jpg.65b82a2432fe529d042d0d60c533ee73.jpg

Image licenced by AquaMaps (2019, October). Computer generated distribution maps for Portunus sanguinolentus (threespot swimming crab), with modelled year 2050 native range map based on IPCC RCP8.5 emissions scenario. Retrieved from https://www.aquamaps.org.

 

These crabs can be steamed or fried. I like them simply steamed and served with a soy and vinegar dip.

 

1268360026__20211130121811.thumb.jpg.766cb1ff1581a752e08b5647563ce2e9.jpg

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1885124019_mussels2.thumb.jpg.cb09b2acdd884866396756da99408ac5.jpg

 

I don’t see 青口螺 (qīng kǒu luó, literally ‘green mouth snail’), Mytilus edulis, Mussels in supermarkets very often but when I do I always buy some. More often, I eat them in restaurants or from night market seafood stalls.

 

They tend not to be common in tropical waters, so most here come from the cooler north-eastern waters off China. They are extensively farmed. 乳山 (rǔ shān), a city in Shandong province is famous in China for its mussels. I can buy their mussels online, but have to buy a minimum of 2.5 kg (approx 5½ lbs) at a time and delivery costs more than the molluscs – not so convenient for someone living alone.

 

The locals cook them strangely to my western mind. I prefer the simple European styles - moules marinière or moules-frites. Also, although it is highly atypical for me, but I do reluctantly admit to liking the Cantonese* favourite, mussels in soup with fermented black beans. However, I prefer my own take on the combination, cooking them broth-less with the black beans.

 

mussels.thumb.jpg.94263329178b997ccc3dcb08e7458ac9.jpg

Mussels with Fermented Black Beans

 

The locals narly always shuck them and grill them covered in minced garlic. Nothing wrong with that, but I don't want it every time.

 

809940792_grilledmussels.thumb.jpg.e789cdc511e36f464e1d79e1358ba740.jpg

Grilled Mussels with Garlic

 

*My least favourite type of regional Chinese cuisine.

 

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/30/2021 at 9:16 PM, liuzhou said:

1885124019_mussels2.thumb.jpg.cb09b2acdd884866396756da99408ac5.jpg

 

I don’t see 青口螺 (qīng kǒu luó, literally ‘green mouth snail’), Mytilus edulis, Mussels in supermarkets very often but when I do I always buy some. More often, I eat them in restaurants or from night market seafood stalls.

 

They tend not to be common in tropical waters, so most here come from the cooler north-eastern waters off China. They are extensively farmed. 乳山 (rǔ shān), a city in Shandong province is famous in China for its mussels. I can buy their mussels online, but have to buy a minimum of 2.5 kg (approx 5½ lbs) at a time and delivery costs more than the molluscs – not so convenient for someone living alone.

 

The locals cook them strangely to my western mind. I prefer the simple European styles - moules marinière or moules-frites. Also, although it is highly atypical for me, but I do reluctantly admit to liking the Cantonese* favourite, mussels in soup with fermented black beans. However, I prefer my own take on the combination, cooking them broth-less with the black beans.

 

mussels.thumb.jpg.94263329178b997ccc3dcb08e7458ac9.jpg

Mussels with Fermented Black Beans

 

The locals narly always shuck them and grill them covered in minced garlic. Nothing wrong with that, but I don't want it every time.

 

809940792_grilledmussels.thumb.jpg.e789cdc511e36f464e1d79e1358ba740.jpg

Grilled Mussels with Garlic

 

*My least favourite type of regional Chinese cuisine.

 

 

Most appetizing photos yet!

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1725853838_Bluecrabs.thumb.jpg.5e8de3990d50dbc47b3fbe6d617e9f5d.jpg

 

The crabs we see here most often, by far, are what appears to be 蓝蟹 (lán xiè), Callinectes sapidus or the Blue Crab. I guess that these, being native to the Americas, have been introduced at some point to local waters.

 

They are slightly less available since the pandemic, but I have no idea what causes that given that other aquatic supplies from the same area are still plentiful. Maybe coincidence.

 

My lovely seafood gal in the market sells them live, but will clean them for me in seconds if I require, which I nearly always do. I can do it myself, but it takes me longer.

 

crab2.thumb.jpg.2cc1be69b658ecb438c7c3edf0c8209c.jpg

Cleaned Crab

 

The biggest compliment I was ever paid was a few years back when I was invited to a family Chinese New Year dinner and the hostess, a proudly wonderful cook asked me to cook the crabs as “you do it best!” For a Chinese cook to hand over her kitchen, even for one dish out of many, is a rare honour.

 

Yet, what I cooked is actually quite simple and I had shown her several times how I do it. Simply fry some garlic, ginger, chilli (lots) and fermented black beans then add the crab. Stir fry until almost done and add oyster sauce and soy sauce. How much? The correct amount, as every Chinese language cookbook advises! Finish off with some Chinese chives.

 

2095682903_KensKillerCrab.thumb.jpg.8deffc1c082b598857b2d8f81cbf4b6d.jpg

Ken's Killer Krab

 

  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/29/2021 at 1:33 PM, liuzhou said:

 

I  think that unlikely. More probably targetting Chinese (or other Asian immigrants) to Australia.

You are wrong. The "local" Chinese (or Asian) have their 'own' stores/restaurants far away from the fancy waterhouse, better prize frozen; I use to go to their stores as the fainthearth Aussie stores won't have in the counter simple stuff like sheep brain etc. I have never seen a kind of "local asian" inside one of these places; in fact, a couple of them I use to visit stop having them for sale after the ban for tourist and foreigners into Oz.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Big Plate Chicken - 大盘鸡 (dà pán jī)
       

       
      This very filling dish of chicken and potato stew is from Xinjiang province in China's far west, although it is said to have been invented by a visitor from Sichuan. In recent years, it has become popular in cities across China, where it is made using a whole chicken which is chopped, with skin and on the bone, into small pieces suitable for easy chopstick handling. If you want to go that way, any Asian market should be able to chop the bird for you. Otherwise you may use boneless chicken thighs instead.

      Ingredients

      Chicken chopped on the bone or Boneless skinless chicken thighs  6

      Light soy sauce

      Dark soy sauce

      Shaoxing wine

      Cornstarch or similar. I use potato starch.

      Vegetable oil (not olive oil)

      Star anise, 4

      Cinnamon, 1 stick

      Bay leaves, 5 or 6

      Fresh ginger, 6 coin sized slices

      Garlic.  5 cloves, roughly chopped

      Sichuan peppercorns,  1 tablespoon

      Whole dried red chillies,   6 -10  (optional). If you can source the Sichuan chiles known as Facing Heaven Chiles, so much the better.

      Potatoes 2 or 3 medium sized. peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

      Carrot. 1,  thinly sliced

      Dried wheat noodles.  8 oz. Traditionally, these would be a long, flat thick variety. I've use Italian tagliatelle successfully.    

      Red bell pepper. 1 cut into chunks

      Green bell pepper, 1 cut into chunks

      Salt

      Scallion, 2 sliced.
         
      Method

      First, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and marinate in 1½ teaspoons light soy sauce, 3 teaspoons of Shaoxing and 1½ teaspoons of cornstarch. Set aside for about twenty minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

      Heat the wok and add three tablespoons cooking oil. Add the ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, Sichuan peppercorns and chilies. Fry on a low heat for a  minute or so. If they look about to burn, splash a little water into your wok. This will lower the temperature slightly. Add the chicken and turn up the heat. Continue frying until the meat is nicely seared, then add the potatoes and carrots. Stir fry a minute more then add 2 teaspoons of the dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the light soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of the Shaoxing wine along with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium. Cover and cook for around 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are done.

      While the main dish is cooking, cook the noodles separately according to the packet instructions.  Reserve  some of the noodle cooking water and drain.

      When the chicken and potatoes are done, you may add a little of the noodle water if the dish appears on the dry side. It should be saucy, but not soupy. Add the bell peppers and cook for three to four minutes more. Add scallions. Check seasoning and add some salt if it needs it. It may not due to the soy sauce and, if in the USA, Shaoxing wine.

      Serve on a large plate for everyone to help themselves from. Plate the noodles first, then cover with the meat and potato. Enjoy.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Way back in the 1990’s, I was living in west Hunan, a truly beautiful part of China. One day, some colleagues suggested we all go for lunch the next day, a Saturday. Seemed reasonable to me. I like a bit of lunch.
       
      “OK. We’ll pick you up at 7 am.”
       
      “Excuse me? 7 am for lunch?
       
      “Yes. We have to go by car.”
       
      Well, of course, they finally picked me up at 8.30, drove in circles for an hour trying to find the guy who knew the way, then headed off into the wilds of Hunan. We drove for hours, but the scenery was beautiful, and the thousand foot drops at the side of the crash barrier free road as we headed up the mountains certainly kept me awake.
       
      After an eternity of bad driving along hair-raising roads which had this old atheist praying, we stopped at a run down shack in the middle of nowhere. I assumed that this was a temporary stop because the driver needed to cop a urination or something, but no. This was our lunch venue.
       
      We shuffled into one of the two rooms the shack consisted of and I distinctly remember that one of my hosts took charge of the lunch ordering process.
       
      “We want lunch for eight.” There was no menu.
       
      The waitress, who was also the cook, scuttled away to the other room of the shack which was apparently a kitchen.
       
      We sat there for a while discussing the shocking rise in bean sprout prices and other matters of national importance, then the first dish turned up. A pile of steaming hot meat surrounded by steaming hot chillies. It was delicious.
       
      “What is this meat?” I asked.
       
      About half of the party spoke some English, but my Chinese was even worse than it is now, so communications weren’t all they could be. There was a brief (by Chinese standards) meeting and they announced:
       
      “It’s wild animal.”
       
      Over the next hour or so, several other dishes arrived. They were all piles of steaming hot meat surrounded by steaming hot chillies, but the sauces and vegetable accompaniments varied. And all were very, very good indeed.
       
      “What’s this one?” I ventured.
       
      “A different wild animal.”
       
      “And this?”
       
      “Another wild animal.”
       
      “And this?”
       
      “A wild animal which is not the wild animal in the other dishes”
       
      I wandered off to the kitchen, as you can do in rural Chinese restaurants, and inspected the contents of their larder, fridge, etc. No clues.
       
      I returned to the table with a bit of an idea.
       
      “Please write down the Chinese names of all these animals we have eaten. I will look in my dictionary when I get home.”
       
      They looked at each other, consulted, argued and finally announced:
       
      “Sorry! We don’t know in Chinese either. “
       
      Whether that was true or just a way to get out of telling me what I had eaten, I’ll never know. I certainly wouldn’t be able to find the restaurant again.
       
      This all took place way back in the days before digital cameras, so I have no illustrations from that particular meal. But I’m guessing one of the dishes was bamboo rat.
       
      No pandas or tigers were injured in the making of this post
       
    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and led us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      It sometimes seems likes every town in China has its own special take on noodles. Here in Liuzhou, Guangxi the local dish is Luosifen (螺蛳粉 luó sī fěn).
       
      It is a dish of rice noodles served in a very spicy stock made from the local river snails and pig bones which are stewed for hours with black cardamom, fennel seed, dried tangerine peel, cassia bark, cloves, pepper, bay leaf, licorice root, sand ginger, and star anise. Various pickled vegetables, dried tofu skin, fresh green vegetables, peanuts and loads of chilli are then usually added. Few restaurants ever reveal their precise recipe, so this is tentative. Luosifen is only really eaten in small restaurants and roadside stalls. I've never heard of anyone making it at home.
       
      In order to promote tourism to the city, the local government organised a food festival featuring an event named "10,000 people eat luosifen together." (In Chinese 10,000 often just means "many".)
       
      10,000 people (or a lot of people anyway) gathered at Liuzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre for the grand Liuzhou luosifen eat-in. Well, they gathered in front of the centre – the actual centre is a bleak, unfinished, deserted shell of a building. I disguised myself as a noodle and joined them. 10,001.
       

       
      The vast majority of the 10,000 were students from the local colleges who patiently and happily lined up to be seated. Hey, mix students and free food – of course they are happy.
       

       
      Each table was equipped with a basket containing bottled water, a thermos flask of hot water, paper bowls, tissues etc. And most importantly, a bunch of Luosifen caps. These read “万人同品螺蛳粉” which means “10,000 people together enjoy luosifen”
       

       
      Yep, that is the soup pot! 15 meters in diameter and holding eleven tons of stock. Full of snails and pork bones, spices etc. Chefs delicately added ingredients to achieve the precise, subtle taste required.
       

       
      Noodles were distributed, soup added and dried ingredients incorporated then there was the sound of 10,000 people slurping.
       

      Surrounding the luosifen eating area were several stalls selling different goodies. Lamb kebabs (羊肉串) seemed most popular, but there was all sorts of food. Here are few of the delights on offer.
       

      Whole roast lamb or roast chicken
       

      Lamb Kebabs
       

      Kebab spice mix – Cumin, chilli powder, salt and MSG
       

      Kebab stall
       

      Crab
       

      Different crab
       

      Sweet sticky rice balls
       

      Things on sticks
       

      Grilled scorpions
       

      Pig bones and bits
       

      Snails
       
      And much more.
       
      To be honest, it wasn’t the best luosifen I’ve ever eaten, but it was wasn’t the worst. Especially when you consider the number they were catering for. But it was a lot of fun. Which was the point.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Chinese food must be among the most famous in the world. Yet, at the same time, the most misunderstood.

      I feel sure (hope) that most people here know that American-Chinese cuisine, British-Chinese cuisine, Indian-Chinese cuisine etc are, in huge ways, very different from Chinese-Chinese cuisine and each other. That's not what I want to discuss.

      Yet, every day I still come across utter nonsense on YouTube videos and Facebook about the "real" Chinese cuisine, even from ethnically Chinese people (who have often never been in China). Sorry YouTube "influencers", but sprinkling soy sauce or 5-spice powder on your cornflakes does not make them Chinese!
       
      So what is the "authentic" Chinese food? Well, like any question about China, there are several answers. It is not surprising that a country larger than western Europe should have more than one typical culinary style. Then, we must distinguish between what you may be served in a large hotel dining room, a small local restaurant, a street market stall or in a Chinese family's home.

      That said, in this topic, I want to attempt to debunk some of the more prevalent myths. Not trying to start World War III.

      When I moved to China from the UK 25 years ago, I had my preconceptions. They were all wrong. Sweet and sour pork with egg fried rice was reported to be the second favourite dish in Britain, and had, of course, to be preceded by a plate of prawn/shrimp crackers. All washed down with a lager or three.

      Yet, in that quarter of a century, I've seldom seen a prawn cracker. And egg fried rice is usually eaten as a quick dish on its own, not usually as an accompaniment to main courses. Every menu featured a starter of prawn/shrimp toast which I have never seen in mainland China - just once in Hong Kong.

      But first, one myth needs to be dispelled. The starving Chinese! When I was a child I was encouraged to eat the particularly nasty bits on the plate by being told that the starving Chinese would lap them up. My suggestion that we could post it to them never went down too well. At that time (the late fifties) there was indeed a terrible famine in China (almost entirely manmade (Maomade)).

      When I first arrived in China, it was after having lived in Soviet Russia and I expected to see the same long lines of people queuing up to buy nothing very much in particular. Instead, on my first visit to a market (in Hunan Province), I was confronted with a wider range of vegetables, seafood, meat and assorted unidentified frying objects than I have ever seen anywhere else. And it was so cheap I couldn't convert to UK pounds or any other useful currency.
       
      I'm going to start with some of the simpler issues - later it may get ugly!

      1. Chinese people eat everything with chopsticks.
       

       
      No, they don't! Most things, yes, but spoons are also commonly used in informal situations. I recently had lunch in a university canteen. It has various stations selling different items. I found myself by the fried rice stall and ordered some Yangzhou fried rice. Nearly all the students and faculty sitting near me were having the same.

      I was using my chopsticks to shovel the food in, when I noticed that I was the only one doing so. Everyone else was using spoons. On investigating, I was told that the lunch break is so short at only two-and-a-half hours that everyone wants to eat quickly and rush off for their compulsory siesta.
       
      I've also seen claims that people eat soup with chopsticks. Nonsense. While people use chopsticks to pick out choice morsels from the broth, they will drink the soup by lifting their bowl to their mouths like cups. They ain't dumb!

      Anyway, with that very mild beginning, I'll head off and think which on my long list will be next.

      Thanks to @KennethT for advice re American-Chinese food.
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...