Saturday, December 29, 2012

My father and the fish market

I like the fish market.  I like particularly going to the fish market with my father.  He seems to know everything there is to know about fish.  I learned from him the difference between the almost identical 馬頭 (horsehead fish) and 青斤, with faint lengthwise lines.

My father also taught me that eels 白鳝 (鰻魚, 鳗鲡) for steaming (softer) are different from eels for hot pot (firmer and more crispy).  But with little outward difference.  You simply have to ask the vendor. They grow up in rivers and ponds, lay their eggs in sea water near the river mouths, spawn in the sea and return to the rivers and lakes to live.  To raise eels, one has to find where they spawn, and catch the glass eels - very young eels and then grow them into the eels that we buy from the market. 

I found out myself how grass carp (鯇魚, 草魚), with smaller head and larger scales, is different from bighead carp (鳙魚, 大頭魚, 大魚), with eyes set lower.

The fish market is really fascinating.  There are crabs tied with straws that probably weigh more than the crabs themselves, clams that look more like very thick pencils, and frogs that do not look very appetizing but turn out to be quite tasty. 


YTSL said...

Nice post! I still have problems IDing lots of fish but am better at it these days thanks to my love of sushi.

Re eels: for sushi, there's freshwater eels (unagi) and saltwater ones (anago). Unagi's more commonly found but I prefer anago because they're softer. :)

StephenC said...

Yeah. Our "white eels" 白鳝 are really unagi. We also have salt water eels that we call 油錐。Very tasty, but also expensive. Not sure if it is the same as anago.

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