My mother brought home the other day two one-foot-long fish that looked fresh. We steamed them and they were delicious! She said they were salted fresh fish, 鹹鮮魚. Specifically, they are 馬友, a fatty, tasty fish. They can be steamed fresh, or made into salted (and dried) fish, 鹹魚. 鹹鮮魚, on the other hand, are made by salting fresh fish, and then air-drying for a day or so. I think these (in the photo) that we found in Tai O were they, although I am not absolutely sure. They cannot normally be found in markets anyway. Only very few people know how to make them anymore, or are willing to go through the trouble. They are unlike salted fish, 鹹魚, in that they are not allowed to dry up too much. That’s why they are called 鹹鮮魚. It takes some skills to salt them the right amount, to dry them the right length of time, and to know when to stop. In other words, it is an art.
Now what are these?