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Trying to buy fish in HK – attempt #1

September 18, 2009

I’m a bit reticent to buy fish from the supermarkets in HK at the moment.

MSC regSo often the dead fish with their heads still on have milky eyes which is a sign of a not particularly fresh specimen, and I haven’t seen anything fresh or frozen yet with the Marine Stewardship Council’s mark.

I’ve also heard that fish flash frozen at sea are probably the best to buy if you can’t buy really fresh fish from your local waters, and so I thought I’d give some frozen Pink Cusk Eel Ling a go that I saw in Taste (Park’n’Shop).

I’ve no idea whether the Ling was flash frozen, but it looked like a big meaty fish that might might do well as a replacement for cod.  I don’t buy cod at the moment as it’s generally not sustatinably fished (unless its from the Bering Sea), and I know that Ling stocks are good.

So, I unfroze it and decided to bake it double wrapped in foil with a crust of lots of herbs, spices, onion and coconut.  It looked and smelled real good:

ling_hongkongphoodey

However, it was less than satisfactory when cooked.

I have yet to work out whether it was my oven or the fish but it took twice as long to cook as recommended (30minutes rather than 15) and it’s texture once finally cooked was slightly rubbery.

Now of course this could be a case of a bad workman blaming his tools, but usually I’m pretty good at baking/grilling and poaching fish.  I’ve bought an oven thermometer as a result of this to check my appliance, and now I’m just wondering how the texture of fish changes the less fresh it gets.  Anyone got any tips for me?

I bought some other fish as well this week that I know was flash frozen, so I’ll be experimenting with that in the next few days. For now though, the rest of the Ling I’ve got in the freezer will be consigned for use in fishcakes (great recipe) only, as I don’t think it’s worth trying it in anything more simple that shouts for quality of ingredients over anything else.

Click here for quite a good guide to buying fish (even though it’s for America), and here for the WWF sustainable fish guide, which has a pocket sized version for when you go shopping.

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