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Fish That Unites Peoples
06.12.23

We continue a series of publications under the general title Fish for Life, which talks about the role of fish and seafood in the life of peoples and various countries where the importance of fish and fishing is difficult to overestimate.


Fish That Unites Peoples

In the complicated conditions of the modern world, people need to find ways to stick together, put aside all conflicts and unite for peace and prosperity. We are accustomed to looking for and emphasizing differences in the lifestyle and thinking of people from different countries and continents. What if we paid more attention to what unites us and the best that each country or nation has?

Fish and seafood, as one of the most important sources of human nutrition, are popular all over the world in almost every culture and are best suited for this role.

As a health product, its benefits are countless. It is not surprising that fish can be found on the menu of many national cuisines around the world. Let's take a short gastronomic tour and find out what and how fish is prepared from in different parts of the world.                  

In China and many restaurants in Japan, unusual fish dishes are prepared; more precisely, the fish may itself be quite ordinary, but the methods of preparing and eating can seem very unusual to some.

Live Lake Carp

Thus, in the Chinese country summer palace of Yiheyuan, there is a well-known restaurant “Tingliguan” throughout the area - literally translated as “Pavilion for listening to the singing of the oriole.”

The restaurant menu includes hundreds of dishes of imperial Chinese cuisine. One of the main offerings is a lunch consisting entirely of gifts from the Kunminghu Inner Palace Lake. The most famous dish is “Live Lake Carp”. This is how they prepare it.

Before the meal begins, guests catch fish they like best with nets. And they give it to the chefs standing nearby, who in a matter of minutes cut up and fry the “prey”. Usually it takes no more than four minutes to do all actions - cutting, frying and serving. 

But most of all, guests are amazed by the fact that when the finished dish is served, the illusion is created that the fish is still alive: it still opens its mouth and moves its gills. And this can continue for up to half an hour, until only the gnawed ridge remains on the plate.

The secret of “Live Lake Carp” is in the cutting method, in which the central nerve node of the fish remains intact, as well as in the frying method: the head, wrapped in a damp cloth, is held over boiling oil, while the rest of the carp is immersed in it. Needless to say, this cannot be done without a magic cook - anyone would unlikely be able to perform such a trick.

“Liquid fish” from Japan

China's eternal culinary rivals, the Japanese, do no less amazing things with fish. We are not talking about the national delicacy fugu fish that is eaten after some highly poisonous parts have been removed. This is a separate story, worthy not of a superficial description, but of deep understanding. 

In the Land of the Rising Sun, there are plenty of other equally extravagant fish dishes. For example, not so long ago Japanese chefs invented an absolutely revolutionary product - the so-called. "Liquid fish".

Everything is very simple and there is no witchcraft: the flesh of the fish is dissolved in a complex of special enzymes, and the bones and scales are removed by separators. The result is delicious liquid canned food, which is enjoyed not only in a hurry, but also in very respectable restaurants.

But the imagination of Japanese chefs is not limited to this. Imagine that you bought frozen fish in a store, which, having thawed, as if nothing had happened, begins... to swim. 

The explanation is quite simple: before sale, live fish are placed in chilled water so that it is covered with a thin layer of ice. In such conditions, living beings do not die, but only lose activity, falling into lethargic sleep. 

To deliver such fish to the consumer, it is only necessary that the volume of water be 2 to 3 times greater than the volume of the fish itself. It turns out that fish can remain in such a lethargic sleep for a very long time - from a week to six months.

An unsolved secret from the ancient Greeks

Not only East Asian peoples had and have their own secrets of preparing fish dishes. For example, even the ancient Greeks had culinary secrets that have not yet been solved. How, for example, did they manage to cook a whole fish, a third of which was fried, a third boiled, and a third salted? There are stories about this, but our contemporaries do not yet know how to prepare such a “cocktail”.

In short, a great variety of dishes are prepared from fish, some of which can only be called exotic. But they are such only for you and me, and for those who are accustomed to eating them regularly, this is just a tribute to tradition and one of the ways to satisfy hunger.

Italian fondue

And finally, a recipe for making Italian fondue, which can be a great holiday fish dish.

In a deep frying pan with 50 grams of butter, fry 5-8 chopped garlic cloves until golden brown. Gradually add 100 ml of olive oil and make sure that the garlic does not burn. Cut 250 g of anchovy fillet as finely as possible and place in a frying pan. Stirring continuously, simmer the mixture over low heat until creamy. For the perfect consistency, you can add a little cream. It is best to serve fondue with fried porcini mushrooms, baked potatoes or boiled broccoli. All these combinations will please home gourmets.

Bon appétit.

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