Friday, December 16, 2016

The Groupers (that we eat) in Hong Kong

The Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo is one of my favourite places in the world.  There you can find tuna that weight hundreds of kilograms, and a lot other amazing creatures from the sea.  But the fresh seafood eating culture in Hong Kong is no less amazing.  

In most places in the world, fresh seafood means the fish have not been frozen, the eyes clear and bulging, the scales shinny and firmly attached, the skin moist and slippery, the flesh firm and bouncy, the gills red and full of colour.  It is a skill honed through hundreds of inspections.  In Hong Kong, you only have to be able to see wether the fish is swimming in the tank.  To be really fresh, the fish have to be alive.  In Kowloon, every few blocks there is a wet market where you can find them.   There is no self-respecting seafood restaurant which is not equipped with a fish tank where you can go and pick your own fish, to be killed and steamed on the spot for you.  We eat all kinds of fish.  Considering 石斑魚 (grouper) alone, there are at least 20 kinds that are commonly eaten.  I have photographed many of my favourites

There is,of course, the prized 東星斑 (Leopard Coral Grouper, Leopard Coral Trout).  So called because there are many of them from the eastern part of the South China Sea, particularly The Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島).  They have tiny spots.  They are prized because of the white, tender flesh wrapped in generally red skin.  

And the counter part from the western South China Sea 西星斑, with bigger spots.

The biggest one of them all, 龍躉 (Giant Grouper).

The camouflaged 杉斑 (Flowery Grouper). 

The very similar 老虎斑 (“Tiger” Grouper, Brown-marbled Grouper), which has bulging eyes on top of its head.

The oddly shaped but very tasty 老鼠斑 (“Mouse” Grouper, Humpback Grouper).

瓜子斑 and 藍瓜子斑.

The once very popular but now displaced by 沙巴龍躉 - 青斑 (“Green” Grouper).

金錢斑 (“Gold Coin” Grouper).

芝麻斑 (“Sesame” Grouper). 

豹星斑.  Some call them 皇帝星.


花面星 ("scarface")

The recently popular 沙巴龍躉 (Sabah Giant Grouper), a hybrid of 老虎斑 and 龍躉 raised in a farm developed in Malaysia.

And, of course, the beautiful but eaten-almost-to-extinction 蘇眉 (Napolean Wrasse).

There are several others which I have not yet photographed.  I dare you to find another city where you can find such a variety of groupers swimming in the wet markets so readily.  In this aspect at least, Hong Kong is second to none.  

1 comment:

chrine said...

I'm hungry.