Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Food: More Fish@Hong Kong Wet Market

I hope the entry Fish: Groupers@Hong Kong Wet Market helped those of you who are interested in learning grouper names.

I find it funny that my students are interested in knowing fish names all of a sudden, and I found it even funnier because their interest originates from a TV commercial of EPS with Jan Lamb and his look-alike who came from a band called "Rubberband".

Now what is there to do with fish names? If you know this musician, you will know his name in Cantonese.

The fish concerned is a very common fish in Hong Kong waters, found anywhere near pier and rocks and it feeds on meat and algae, and its name -- White-spotted Spinefoot.

Image from blogger

Being top on my dad's favourite fish list, this fish belongs to the category of rabbitfish or spinefoot. The fish can grow as big as 40cm and has a rabbit-like mouth, large dark eyes and a shy temperament. They have poisonous spines to defend themselves against threat. Though the poison is not life-threatening to human, it can cause severe pain.[1] (I have suffered from this in the past) The texture of the meat of this fish is smooth yet firm, and in my dad's and my opinions, it tastes better than many other expensive fish when steamed. In Hong Kong, they can be both farm fish or wild catch.[2]

Second on my dad's favourite fish list is ...

Turbot / Turbo Fish / 多寶魚

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They are highly prized as food fish and they field 4 fillets with the meatier topside portions.[3]

Third on my dad's favourite fish list is ...

Image from blogspot
There are many types of soles and I don't really know which one does my dad like to eat, but he definitely has a taste for flatfishes.

Well, if we don't want to talk about costly fishes here, how about some middle-priced ones?

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A fish very popular in Thai cuisine, the Barramundi has white, flaky flesh which is particularly smooth when steamed. There are both freshwater and saltwater ones.[4] In Hong Kong, they are often found as farm fish.

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My dad is a real fish lover and he must eat fish every meal. When my dad is home for dinner, he would always ask for this fish. He said it is affordable and the quality is not bad. Well, I don't find many differences between this fish and the Barramundi, except that this one tastes more like freshwater fish.

If my dad doesn't get the Russell's Snapper, he will settle for the Mangrove Red Snapper. Is there any diff?

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So much about my dad's choices, I am a natural soup lover! I love all kinds of soup, but if I can choose, fish soup always comes first. Topping my list of favourite fish for soup is the ...

Image from Hand Line Fishing
It has two short spikes on either side of the head that contain venom (poison) which is not fatal but can cause pain and infection. Terribly sweet and milky soup! Wide catch.

Second goes to...

Rockfish / 石狗公

Image from Flickr

Wild catch for sure, lots of bones, tiny and dangerous. One disadvantage, need a lot of them to make a pot of soup. Be careful of the bones when you drink.

In the third place, I have the ...

Small Snakehead / San Pan / 生斑 / (Channa asiatica)
Snakehead / Snake Head Fish / 生魚 / (Channa maculata)

Image from siamfishing
Two types of fish and one big concern -- as National Geographic puts it, "Fishzilla". They produce fast and in huge amount, say 150,000 eggs in 2 years? They are invasive and they cause ecological damage. This fish has already been banned from the USA! Can you imagine that?

Enjoy the fish!

look-alike -- someone or something that is similar in appearance to someone or something else
flaky -- coming off easily in small, flat, thin pieces
Fishzilla -- from the word "Godzilla", a Japanese fictional giant monster. Hereby metaphorically, a monster fish.
fatal -- causes death
invasive -- moving into all areas of something and difficult to stop