Monday, January 23, 2012

White Belly Fish for Lunar New Year

White Belly Fish

I have no idea what the English name of this is, but directly translated from Chinese, it is called "white belly fish," and it is specifically eaten for the Lunar New Year holidays. I was told that no one really eats it any other time of the year, and that the price skyrockets just before the holidays, in part because it's the spawning season now and the fish should be filled with roe.

In that sense, it was similar to that fish we got the other day, although this meat was much cleaner-tasting, presumably because it was a saltwater fish instead. Ours was done two ways: one sauteed with garlic and leek, while this one above was fried to the point where the meat was almost jerky-like, but in a good way.

Yes, those are two skeletons sitting underneath the uneaten fish in the center; I liked it enough that I ate three of them in one go. Granted, there really wasn't much meat in these things. In that sense, it was a bit like eating Chesapeake blue crabs: a lot of effort for not that much meat, but the point was more of a savory nibble to be washed down with some suds rather than a proper meal.


... said...

The fish looks like a white or silver pomfret. It's a delicious fish with a fine flesh and is good steamed. There's also a variety called a black pomfret that has a coarser texture and that's usually served fried.

y said...

This fish is a must for Teochews during Chinese New Year and we eat them steamed; full of freshness.

bma said...

I don't think it was a pomfret - the shape of the fins and body didn't look like it, anyway.

Kimo said...

ooh yes the Teochews have it steamed. And it's dipped in white vinegar with chopped chilli and garlic. Awesome stuff!

A said...

the english name for the fish is the rabbit fish. see here -

and yes - it's eaten usually by Teochews at CNY for the roe at this time of the year - it's a little early in the season and that is probably why your first experience was a little more bitter (my dad says the taste gets cleaner once it's filled with roe). We would steam it - not sure why it was fried in your case. :)