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Fish etc in China


liuzhou
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Wow! I just found this thread and read it end to end. As always, I am grateful to you for sharing your knowledge and for your determination to find information to share with us.

Growing up in the Midwest we did not have access to fresh fish except for that terrible, boney carp from the irrigation canals. I have never been a fish aficionado but your beautiful presentation has inspired me to go buy some fish.

Thank you.

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1121888965_fishroe.thumb.jpg.9bce5e40951acd045f130962536b08cd.jpg

Flying Fish Roe

 

I’m fairly certain that 鱼子 (yú zǐ) Roe only became popular as part of the Japanese style sushi restaurant fad about fifteen years ago. It is found on the sushi counter in one of my supermarkets. We get various types. I’ve mentioned capelin roe before, but more common is flying fish roe (飞鱼子 - fēi yú zǐ). Then crab roe (蟹黄水 - xiè huáng shuǐ).

 

1029603133_crabroe.thumb.jpg.dfc5e05f17aeda85019f8876752e406f.jpg

Crab Roe

 

Only rarely do we see lumpfish roe (圆鳍鱼子 - yuán qí yú zǐ). To be honest, they all taste pretty much the same and are used more for decoration than flavour.

 

1204536874_ScrambledEggwithFlyingFishRoe.thumb.jpg.ce3b5ae0645c73db1db82997dea09e39.jpg

Scrambled Egg with Red Crab Roe

 

1568695105_spaghettiprawnsroecu.thumb.jpg.4f07e68ba17bd6d8cde2b147c0939220.jpg

Spaghetti Prawn with Flying Fish Roe

 

Then I must mention true caviar. It is little known, but China is now the largest  supplier of caviar in the world, with one company in Zhejiang province alone supplying 30% of the world market. Eat in a 3-Michelin starred restaurant in Paris and there is a high probability that the caviar will be from Kaluga Queen. In 2017, out of the 26 3-star restaurants in Paris, 21 served Kaluga Queen caviar. This is a can of their 7-year old eggy delight which I have in my fridge for Christmas morning. 10 grams / 0.35 ounces for the equivalent of $21 USD.

 

caviar2.thumb.jpg.335ceb393888534875e7f08f10b82074.jpg

 

P.S. The same company also sells its smoked sturgeon which is to die for.

 

sturgeon caviar.jpg

Smoked Sturgen with Caviar

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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38 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

This is a can of their 7-year old eggy delight which I have in my fridge for Christmas morning

Ah, now that is something that I will not be envying you about. I have never developed a taste for caviar but I do love salmon roe in sushi. There is just something satisfying and soothing about those little balls popping in your teeth.

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1 minute ago, Tropicalsenior said:

Ah, now that is something that I will not be envying you about. I have never developed a taste for caviar but I do love salmon roe in sushi. There is just something satisfying and soothing about those little balls popping in your teeth.

 

All the more for me then!

Many years ago, I did  some work with the then-USSR government and spent a week eating caviar by the kilogram in the Soviet Embassy in London. Heaven! More on that here.

 

I can usually buy salmon roe online, but last time I tried it was out of stock. Covid related supply chain issues, methinks. I should try again.

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5 minutes ago, Tropicalsenior said:

From the fact that they have such an international market I guess the Chinese caviar is comprable to the Russian?

 

Absolutely. If not better. And the sturgeon are not endangered as the Russian and Iranian was until it was largely banned.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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saury.thumb.jpg.a57a5a20718c8134a69e7eee4fa6e4ba.jpg

 

When I saw this in the supermarket freezer this morning, I was immediately suspicious. Frozen pollock? Pollock is a species from the north Atlantic and, as far as I can tell, isn’t farmed. But the sellers screwed up their pitch by giving the scientific name on the packaging. This is 狭鳕鱼 (xiá xuě yú), Cololabis saira, Pacific saury. They do give the correct name in Chinese, although they are sometimes also known as 秋刀鱼 (qiū dāo yú). And of course, they come from the Pacific. These were landed in Shenzhen in Guangdong, right beside Hong Kong.

 

pic_Fis-22864.jpg.4eb429abb1051b86d94b8dccba985c8e.jpg

AquaMaps (2019, October). Computer generated distribution maps for Cololabis saira (Pacific saury), with modelled year 2050 native range map based on IPCC RCP8.5 emissions scenario. Retrieved from https://www.aquamaps.org.

 

‘Pollock’ in my terminology is Pollachius pollachius – end of story. I read that, in America, the name ‘pollock’ is also used for Pollachius virens but in the UK we call them ‘coley’.

 

Anyway, I bought a packet to try them out. Cost me a whopping $2.60 USD for 180 grams / 6.4 oz. Examining the packet rear, I find a bizarre recipe which I won’t trouble you with. It is given in Chinese and in what someone imagines is English. It utilises some discordant and non-Chinese ingredients and, most memorably, it advises cooking carrots and asparagus ‘until they are broken’. I’ll be giving that recipe a miss. Whatever I end up doing will show up in the dinner or lunch threads very soon.

 

saury0.thumb.jpg.856cd95f634e1cacba709f52800fd00f.jpg

 

They are also popular in Japan, where they are called サンマ (sanma) and can be used in sushi and as sashimi, but are often salted and grilled.

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The labeling is intriguing. It can't be it an attempt to defraud the Chinese customers because it is written correctly in Chinese. Is it possibly something that is also exported and in that case, is it meant to defraud or just a poor case of translation? That's just a thought but it's interesting.

I'm not familiar with Pollock. Is it similar enough to get away with fraud?

Edited by Tropicalsenior (log)
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22 minutes ago, Tropicalsenior said:

The labeling is intriguing. It can't be it an attempt to defraud the Chinese customers because it is written correctly in Chinese. Is it possibly something that is also exported and in that case, is it meant to defraud or just a poor case of translation? That's just a thought but it's interesting.

I'm not familiar with Pollock. Is it similar enough to get away with fraud?

 

I don't think it's deliberate fraud as such. As you say, who would they be defrauding? Not the locals. And there are very few non-locals likely to run into it - especially in these times.

 

I think it's just more of something I encounter literally every day. Well two things really. 

 

a) They don't care. They just think having an English name looks exotic. They know at least 90% of people won't understand.

 

b) They do care. A bit. They want a translation, but they don't want to pay for a professional one because the janitor's daughter studied English in high school and she can do it for the price of a hamburger and a flat Coca Cola lookalike from a fake McDonald's. Me bitter? Not a bit!

But it's not only China. I have seen it all over the world. Not just about fish. Anything. In both directions. A very close friend who is Chinese, but has lived in England for many years tells me that she wants to scream every time some idiot in England asks her what their 'Chinese' tattoo means. "What moron gets something they can't understand tattooed on their body?" she asks. Then points out that 75% of the time the tattoos aren't  even Chinese! Usually random Japanese words (she speaks that, too. Not the random variety).

 

I'm sure you must see similar in Costa Rica.

 

I've long resisted posting some of the more ridiculous mistranslations I see. It would take up too much time and I don't generally think mocking someone's ability in a language other than their own is a cool thing to be doing.

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1017941403_cuttlefish.thumb.jpg.dbdf661c31d81719e1f27fcc69bdf563.jpg

 

墨鱼 (mò yú, literally ínk fish), Sepia officinalis, Cuttlefish, a further member of the squid and octopus family, is also a popular seafood item here.

 

It is sold fresh, dried and made into seafood preparations such as fish balls etc. The dried is the most popular and is shredded and eaten as a snack or added to hotpots and soups to enhance umami.

 

1516253327_driedcuttlefish2.thumb.jpg.8db576bdbf80317c9efb6e5a41d641a3.jpg

Dried Cuttlefish

 

The 18th century Chinese cookery classic 随园食单 (suí yuán shí dān) by Yuan Mei praised the high quality of cuttlefish roe, but noted that it i sdifficult to prepare. I've never seen it.

 

However their ink is sold in bags and used to colour noodles etc. I have a bag of ink somewhere, but can’t find it right now. Here are instead are some dried cuttlefish ink hand-pulled noodles.

 

lamian.thumb.jpg.781d114db5a3866b4bedc6246b77681f.jpg

墨鱼汁拉面 (mò yú zhī lā miàn) - Cuttlefish Ink Hand Pulled Noodles

 

The cuttlefish is regarded by some as being one of the sea's most intelligent creatures (along with octopus) and so avoid eating them.

 

1270683710_tofuandcuttlefish.thumb.jpg.f76256f50393320c39ac822999c34ba8.jpg

Fresh Cuttlefish and Tofu Salad

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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  • 4 weeks later...

949662423_supermarketclams.thumb.jpg.94982166558ad01ee548d7e8956fb5de.jpg

 

I have to mention clams. They are extremely common and popular; every supermarket and market has them. My problem is that I’m unsure what precise clams most of them are, so this post might be shorter on information than I would like. There is a difficulty with nomenclature. The dictionary translation of ‘clam’ is 蛤蜊 (gé lí), but round here they are 车螺 (chē luó). That said, each variety is given flowery names on which no two market traders ever agree.

 

The most common are these

 

clams2.thumb.jpg.d1dbdd62583e488f1a11b8aed17ef5d8.jpg

 

These are nearly always served in a soup with  mustard greens; so much so that the two are often sold prepackaged together.

 

1017499594_ClamandMustardGreenSoup.thumb.jpg.cddf8da5437689ae891494cbbf1403f8.jpg

Clam and mustard greens soup


1387713798_prepackedclamandmustardgreensoup.thumb.jpg.c1c3617b826c1cf5d5d3dfb8dd5fc03f.jpg

Prepackaged clams with mustard greens

 

Many people are unaware that they can be cooked differently. Some years ago, I served some friends these clams in a fermented black bean sauce and they were both amazed and delighted. They still talk about it and a couple of them cook it.

 

89323708_Blackbeanclams.thumb.jpg.fb6b3acedc6202262a0ffd6280130275.jpg

Fermented black bean clams

 

Some other clams we get include

 

1328589024_HuajiaClams.thumb.jpg.97ff115a729c9f8951ab4cc76467d577.jpg

 

2110787573_whiteclams.thumb.jpg.7af7d466a3c8e94803f393a8e02c3cd6.jpg

White clams

 

and dishes such as

 

430639691_clamsandseasnailsinoystersauce.thumb.jpg.0e4d86fd98574572b93fe51273e546f9.jpg

Clams and sea snails in oyster sauce

 

277027266_prawnsandrazorclams.thumb.jpg.8cf970373e50738d8fcdd8d9b1b43286.jpg

Shrimp with razor clam meat

 

We also get dried clams which are mainly used as unami enhancers in many dishes. I've also seen canned smoked clams.

 

613306055_clams.thumb.jpg.39184e224a228f29534ddda84dd0159a.jpg

Dried clams

 

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1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

949662423_supermarketclams.thumb.jpg.94982166558ad01ee548d7e8956fb5de.jpg

 

I have to mention clams. They are extremely common and popular; every supermarket and market has them. My problem is that I’m unsure what precise clams most of them are, so this post might be shorter on information than I would like. There is a difficulty with nomenclature. The dictionary translation of ‘clam’ is 蛤蜊 (gé lí), but round here they are 车螺 (chē luó). That said, each variety is given flowery names on which no two market traders ever agree.

 

The most common are these

 

clams2.thumb.jpg.d1dbdd62583e488f1a11b8aed17ef5d8.jpg

 

These are nearly always served in a soup with  mustard greens; so much so that the two are often sold prepackaged together.

 

1017499594_ClamandMustardGreenSoup.thumb.jpg.cddf8da5437689ae891494cbbf1403f8.jpg

Clam and mustard greens soup


1387713798_prepackedclamandmustardgreensoup.thumb.jpg.c1c3617b826c1cf5d5d3dfb8dd5fc03f.jpg

Prepackaged clams with mustard greens

 

Many people are unaware that they can be cooked differently. Some years ago, I served some friends these clams in a fermented black bean sauce and they were both amazed and delighted. They still talk about it and a couple of them cook it.

 

89323708_Blackbeanclams.thumb.jpg.fb6b3acedc6202262a0ffd6280130275.jpg

Fermented black bean clams

 

Some other clams we get include

 

1328589024_HuajiaClams.thumb.jpg.97ff115a729c9f8951ab4cc76467d577.jpg

 

2110787573_whiteclams.thumb.jpg.7af7d466a3c8e94803f393a8e02c3cd6.jpg

White clams

 

and dishes such as

 

430639691_clamsandseasnailsinoystersauce.thumb.jpg.0e4d86fd98574572b93fe51273e546f9.jpg

Clams and sea snails in oyster sauce

 

277027266_prawnsandrazorclams.thumb.jpg.8cf970373e50738d8fcdd8d9b1b43286.jpg

Shrimp with razor clam meat

 

We also get dried clams which are mainly used as unami enhancers in many dishes. I've also seen canned smoked clams.

 

613306055_clams.thumb.jpg.39184e224a228f29534ddda84dd0159a.jpg

Dried clams

 

 

Surf clams or river clams?

 

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Posted (edited)
On 1/8/2022 at 6:16 AM, Captain said:

Shrimp or Prawns..😉

 

We get both and I am always careful to differentiate. They are NOT just different names; they are different species.

 

https://www.southernliving.com/food/seafood/difference-between-shrimp-prawns

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Captain said:

 

I suggest that, instead of quoting Wikipedia at me, you do some research among marine biologists and aquaculturists. There is a good reason why Wikipedia is banned as a source in most universities and scientific journals world wide.

 

There are plenty of reliable sources  available. Wikipedia is not one of them.

 

In fact it is self-contradictory.

 

Quote

Shrimp and prawn are types of seafood that are consumed worldwide. Although shrimp and prawns belong to different suborders of Decapoda, they are very similar in appearance and the terms are often used interchangeably in commercial farming and wild fisheries. A distinction is drawn in recent aquaculture literature, which increasingly uses the term "prawn" only for the freshwater forms of palaemonids and "shrimp" for the marine penaeids.

 

Where does that come from? Yes, a different Wikipedia entry.

 

Here is a good summary of the differences.

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On 1/8/2022 at 7:08 PM, liuzhou said:

There are plenty of reliable sources  available. Wikipedia is not one of them.

Wikipedia is pretty good for basic biographical information, book reviews, and information on the entertainment world. Other than that, everything else has to be taken with a grain of salt. The problem with Wikipedia is that anyone can contribute their two cents worth and anyone can change an entry to suit themselves. The old complaint about the internet, garbage in garbage out, certainly applies to Wikipedia.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Spotted these in the supermarket this morning. They are 红鱼 (hóng yú) which translate directly as 'red fish'. Well, we knew that, thanks!

 

As far as I can make out they are some type of red snapper, but there's a lot of those.

 

1942374457_.thumb.jpg.7b8f9f5b95ba82b3e23ff4f56cf21348.jpg

 

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