Dried Fish

Wow, I’m on a fish kick lately.

This is the last one for awhile, I promise.

I just couldn’t help but take a picture of this scene.  Where back at home we pickle and can and roast and smoke and cure to our hearts’ delights, here it seems that some take the DIY mentality to a whole new world.  Where some households have their underwear and bedsheets hanging on clothes hangers from their windowsill, this household has a few rows of fish tied up to dry.

I wish I was friends with this person.

Dumpling surprise

What already seems like ages ago was a trip to Zhongshan and a visit to a Cantonese restaurant specializing in regional dishes like roasted pigeon, horrible meat cookies, and this- tiny balls of ground pork wrapped in thin sheets of fish.

It sounds crazy, I know- like some ultra-modern, Noma-inspired-science of cooking-meets-traditional-with-a-twist type of dish. But it’s not, it’s just plain traditional. Small filets of fish were rolled out using a blunt wooden dowel, pausing only to flour the surface by dabbing a large flour sac onto the increasingly thin filet of fish.  Eventually a paper-thin sheet of what was once a cut of fish (which you can see in the pic above) is producted. The ladies who do this job amazed me in their proficiency at rolling out each filet to the perfect see-through thinness. I imagine if I gave it a try, the result would be a disaster.

After the fish sheet was rolled out, it was sliced into small squares, and then a pork and green onion filling loosely wrapped inside.  These little “dumplings” were then boiled in a clear consomme-like broth, and served as a mild appetizer.  If you hadn’t seen the little fish filet being rolled out, I swear you wouldn’t have known it was just that.  This kind of stuff inspires me, and once I perfect the art of homemade dumpling-making (something on my culinary to-do list), I may venture to try this as a kitchen experiment.