Chinese Culinary Favourite, Hairtail Fish
Posted By : 2018/11/14 15:26:29

Hairtail fish can grow more than 1m in length.  It preys on krill, baby squid and other small fish and it hunts at night in imposing schools. This ribbon fish reckoned mostly by Chinese with their well-known deep fried hairtail. The hairtail (Trichiurus lepturus), known to the Chinese as daiyu?or the fish that looks like a belt was especially valued because it was a saltwater fish.

Image: The Strait Times


Western cooks tend to look down on the hairtail, considering it a poor quality fish, but Asian cooks have no such hang-ups and it is a prominent ingredient in both Chinese and Korean cuisines.

It is a fish that is easy to cook. The most common way is to shallow-fry it to a crisp, so that the thin edges can be crunched up while the flesh inside remains sweet and tender.

The fried fish can be processed one more step, by braising in a savoury brown sauce that varies in different regions. Sometimes, Welsh onions or scallions are added and the fish and herbs become a topping for noodles.

In the northern regions, they like to douse the fried hairtail with an appetite-whetting brown vinegar and sugar gravy, which also helps repel any lingering pungency.

The fish is often red-cooked until tender, with plenty of thinly sliced brown onions and shredded ginger. It can also be cooked with tangy tomatoes.

The Chinese appreciate this fish for its high fat content and it is believed that it is a food that can reduce cholesterol. There is also something in its silver coating that some believe is anti-carcinogenic.

There is no doubt, however, that it is a nutritious fish that is easily available and affordable.


This article’s citing an article in straitstimes.com with the title “Hairtail fish is no beauty but a culinary favourite with the Chinese”