Hokkien Fish (REPOST)

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
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Hokkien Fish (REPOST)

Post by SimL »


I worked out that the weird wrapping in my original reply was because of some very long links to the pics of fish. I found the original reply almost impossible to read, because of the irritating wrapping, so I decided to repost here.

Hope you'll excuse me for doing so. Please reply here instead.


Hi Niuc & Heruler,

Great topic, fish.

For those readers who are not interested in all the additional details, I have extracted just a list of the fish-names.

Salt-water fish:

1. ang7-co5 ................... (approx) (red) snapper
2. chih8-khap3 ................ long-tailed shad / [Malay: ikan terubuk]
3. hang3-a1-hu5 ............... ray fish / sting ray
4. kam3-bong3-hu5 ............. horse mackerel / [Malay: ikan kembung]
5. kang7-hu7-kiann2 ........... anchovies / [Malay: ikan bilis]
6. kue1-kau5 .................. groper/rock-cod
7. ngee7-bue2 ................. (approx) trevally
8. uinn7-bue2
9. ngoo1-a2 ................... thread-fin salmon
10. sun7-hong1 ................ (approx) thread-fin salmon
11. oo7-chiaunn1 .............. pomfret (grey) / [Malay: bawal hitam]
12. peeh7-chiaunn1 ............ pomfret (pale) / [Malay: bawal putih]
13. tau1-te2 .................. pomfret
14. sai1-seng5 / ba1-gop4 ..... catfish
15. too7-sat4 ................. catfish
16. sia7-kap4 ................. barramundi, giant perch, giant seaperch, asian seabass
17. sua7-cuinn3 ............... whiting
18. sua7-hu5 .................. shark
19. ? ......................... sole
20. cia1-hu5 .................. (silver) mullet
21. bee1-ka1 .................. mackerel / tenggiri
22. ?gu7-la1-ma2 .............. (common brown) jewfish / [Malay: ikan gelama]
23. ? ......................... garfish
24. ? ......................... sea-bream / [Malay: ikan kuku]

Freshwater fish:

1. ? .......................... climbing perch / [Malay: ikan puyu]
2. le7-hu5 .................... snakehead murrel, common snakehead / [Malay: ikan gabus]
3. mua7-hu5 / mua5 ............ eel
4. sio3-phah1-hu5 ............. fighting fish

If anyone has any feedback, I'd love to hear it. For example, perhaps people know (better) names for some of the fish (either in English or in Hokkien) which I have left as a question mark above. Also, if people know the characters for these fish, it would be nice to have them.

At the end of the posting, I have a brief summary of the outstanding questions. Of course, if anyone thinks of additional fish, please post here!



Background Information

I spoke to my parents and asked for their recollections of the fish they knew in Malaysia. Some of these fish they haven't seen or eaten for more than 30 years.

As we all know, fish (and other plant and animal names) vary a lot regionally. The *same* fish might have different names in different regions. Conversely, two *different* fish might have the same name in different regions. This happens particularly if the regions are far apart and the two fish (or animals, plants etc) resemble one another, but one only occurs in one region, and the other only occurs in the other region. Also, names might change over time (for example, if new types of fish are introduced, then the old names might change in order to make finer distinctions). So the fish listed here are just my parents' usage, in Malaysia, in the 1960's and 1970's. Similarly, the English names given as equivalents are the ones used in Northern Australia, as this is the region we went to live in, and these are the terms we became familiar with there. Where I say "(approx)" I mean that the English term indicates a very similar looking sort of fish, not necessarily the same biological species or family.

The fact that the same fish has different names in different regions might explain why there is almost no overlap between my parents' list and Niuc's list: ngoo-a, kam-bong, and sann-pha-hy appear to be the only three in common (and even there, we have different tones for "kam", and my parents' and my usage is "sio" instead of "sann"). The one we call le7-hu5 is probably Niuc's lue5/7-hy5 / "ikan gabus", as both are freshwater fish.

I wonder whether Heruler's ka-láh hî 嘉鱲魚 (Pagrus major, English 'red seabream') might be the one my parents call "ang7-co5", as they are both reddish. Furthermore, his bián hî 鮸魚 (Miichthys miiuy; English 'brown croaker') looks to me a lot like what my parents call "sia7-kap4" (barramundi, giant perch). You'll be pleased to see that the other two fish listed by Heruler - chhiong hî 鯧魚 and "bé-ka" 馬鮫 are known to my parents.

Undoubtedly, part of the reason for this lack of overlap between our lists is because we lived in different regions and ate different sorts of fish, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were many more fish in common on both lists, but we don't realise it because they have different names. Where possibly, I've given a link to a picture of the fish in question.

I also give more detailed comments my parents made about some of the individual fishes. These often are concerned with the tastiness or cost of the fish, or how they were cooked. As usual, I write the forms with sandhi tones.

Additional comments:

a) In the descriptions, I use the present tense, e.g. "is cooked in" and "is cheap/expensive", but the statements below are meant to reflect the situation 30-40 years ago. It felt strange to use the past tense, e.g. "was cooked in" or "was cheap/expensive", which might imply that this is no longer the case, and the result would then have been a mix of tenses: present tense for what the fish looks like, past tense for the price and how it was cooked. In the end I forced myself to consistently use just the present tense, even though the statements might not be strictly true nowadays.

b) Many of the dishes described are specifically "Penang Baba" recipes, possibly unknown or uncommon in other parts of Malaysia. Also, inevitably, they happen to have been the dishes which reflect the personal preferences of my (extended) family. Other Penang Baba families might well have cooked the same fish with different recipes.

c) I describe some of the fish as "cheap", but that doesn't at all mean that they don't taste nice, nor that they are only eaten by "poorer people". We were an average middle-class family in Malaysia in the 60's and 70's, but we certainly ate and enjoyed many of the fish here described as "cheap".

d) When I had finished writing this up, I did some last minute checking on the internet, and found a number of English names which my parents didn't know. The Malay names that Niuc gave were very helpful for doing this, either specifically in the Wikipedia in Bahasa Indonesia, or generally on the internet itself.


Sea fish

1. ang7-co5 ................... (approx) (red) snapper


Despite its name, the ang7-co5 is more orange than red. It looks a bit like a red snapper in shape, but isn't a very tasty fish, in contrast to the red snapper (an Australian fish), which is extremely tasty.

My parents don't eat this fish. Apparently, it's quite popular with Malays, who cook it in curry.

It is a cheap fish.

2. chih8-khap3 ................ long-tailed shad / [Malay: ikan terubuk]
(and all other possible combinations)

I can't seem to get my parents to agree on the proper pronunciation of this fish: whether the final consonant is -p or -h, whether the start of the second syllable is k- or kh-

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g221/ ... talang.jpg
http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g221/ ... erubok.jpg
http://2.srv.fotopages.com/1/11247837/i ... -masin.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a140/ ... kBakar.jpg

This is a fish which is full of small fine bones, and is very "oily" (what is called "lemak" in Malay). It's commonly cooked with dark soy sauce, red-chillie, sugar and salt.

It is not a very expensive fish.

3. hang3-a1-hu5 ............... ray fish / sting ray

http://www.tncfellows.org/fellows/schla ... %20ray.jpg

Larger specimens are cooked as cutlets in curry, small specimens are steamed whole.

In addition, larger specimens are cooked by frying the meat with kiam7-chai3 (salted Chinese vegetables) and (crushed/pounded) tau3-ciaunn3 paste (black bean/brown bean) and sugar.

The method of preparing the meat is as follows: First the two flat "wings" are cut off, leaving the thin central "trunk" (=eyes, backbone, and tail). Of course, to maximize the amount of meat, the wings are cut off as close to the "trunk" as possible. This trunk is then discarded. The two wings are then cut into long strips, about 4 cm wide (so, depending on the side of the ray, about 6-7 strips per wing). Each strip then has some cartilage-like "bone" in the middle, between the meat on the top of the wing, and the meat below the wing. The meat from above and below the bone is then removed ("filleted off", as it were), which will then result in strips of meat without bone, the same width as the original strips. These strips are then cut into lengths of about 3-4 cm and cooked as described above.

This is a cheap fish.

4. kam3-bong3-hu5 ............. horse mackerel / [Malay: ikan kembung]

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g221/ ... mbung3.jpg
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y211/s ... embung.jpg

Cooked in curry, or the whole fish is boiled, the meat removed from the bone, and then added to laksa. My mother adds that in Seremban where she grew up, it is sold already steamed.

This is a very cheap fish.

5. kang7-hu7-kiann2 ........... anchovies / [Malay: ikan bilis]

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j64/l ... ion048.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v241/ ... 8/tw50.jpg

When speaking English we used the term "anchovies" to refer to kang7-hu7-kiann2. Originally I thought this was purely because both are a small fish, and that in all probability these are two very different species. However, Wikipedia says explicitly that ikan bilis is an anchovy: "Setipinna taty or ikan bilis is the anchovy commonly used in South-East Asian cooking to make fish stock or sambals. Anchovy is also used to produce budu, by fermentation process." (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchovy).

This is sold salted and dried. They are deep fried until very crispy and then added to Chinese rice gruel (mooi5/be5), or just as a dish with rice and other dishes. The bones are so small and crispy that the whole fish can be chewed up and eaten.

This was a very cheap fish [I'm told that it isn't cheap nowadays.]

6. kue1-kau5 .................. groper/rock-cod

http://www.oceanarium.co.uk/images/prod ... ls/311.jpg

The Cantonese name for this fish is "sek4-pan2" [I use Hokkien tone-numbers and spelling!].

It is often served in restaurants as "sweet and sour fish", either deep-fried or steamed.

A medium-expensive fish.

7. ngee7-bue2 ................. (approx) trevally
8. uinn7-bue2

http://www.hartflyfishing.demon.co.uk/a ... les_gt.jpg
http://www.gofishingworldwide.co.uk/Ima ... racuda.jpg
http://www.zerovisibility.co.uk/Gallery ... i_2683.jpg
http://www.gulliblestravels.co.uk/image ... Gambia.jpg
http://www.gulliblestravels.co.uk/image ... %20Man.jpg
http://www.gulliblestravels.co.uk/image ... evally.jpg

The ngee7-bue2 is grey and larger, the uinn7-bue2 is silver-white and smaller, with a yellow tail.

The ngee7-bue2 is cooked as cutlets in curry, or deep-fried.

Yet another method of cooking the ngee7-bue2 is to stuff a mixture of finely pounded onions, chilli and blacan into the fish. First, a long deep slit is made into the top of the fish, running down the entire length of the fish, starting at the top fin, and cutting down to almost the central backbone (along one of the sides only). The "stuffing" is then inserted into this long deep slit. The whole fish was then "pu5"-ed ("roasted" in an oven or over charcoal).

Apparently some families fry this stuffed ngee7-bue2, but my family don't do it because the stuffing tends to fall out and make the oil splash all over the place.

A fairly cheap to medium expensive fish.

9. ngoo1-a2 ................... thread-fin salmon
10. sun7-hong1 ................. (approx) thread-fin salmon

http://www.gulliblestravels.co.uk/image ... eadfin.jpg

The ngoo1-a2 and sun7-hong1 look rather similar.

Both are cooked as cutlets in curry, or the cutlets are covered with tamarind paste and then deep-fried.

Both ngoo1-a2 and sun7-hong1 are used in making "otak-otak". Note: the Penang version of "otak-otak" is *steamed* in banana leaves, "softer" and "wet", and is rather different from the version I see here in the Netherlands, which is presumably Indonesian. The Dutch version is "harder" and "dry", and seems to have been cooked over a flame (i.e. the banana leaves are slightly "burnt").

Also both ngoo1-a2 and sun7-hong1 are used to make a type of salt-fish called "ta(n)3-nau2 hu7-kuann1". This is a thick, very hard type of salt-fish, which is used in curries and very tasty. My parents further explain that "ta(n)3-nau2 hu7-kuann1" is a product of the Tenasserim Coast, in Burma.

The ngoo1-a2 is an expensive fish. The sun7-hong1 is cheaper.

11. oo7-chiaunn1 .............. pomfret (grey) / [Malay: bawal hitam]
12. peeh7-chiaunn1 ............ pomfret (pale) / [Malay: bawal putih]
13. tau1-te2 .................. pomfret

http://www.mcaorals.co.uk/Photos/Deep%2 ... omfret.jpg

These three are basically a flat sort of fish, quite similar to one another. The oo7-chiaunn1 is grey rather than black.

Most of the pics I find under "pomfret" or "pompano" (Heruler's term) are more "longish" than my memory of the "peeh7-chiaunn1". The ones i remember are very squareish, like a perfect square rotated 45 degrees, to look like a diamond. The link I give here is what I remember.

Quite by coincidence, I stumbled upon the term 烏鯧 (in simplified characters) in my Mandarin-English dictionary, when checking up on the word乌鸦 "crow". Interesting that the word is pronounced with a full nasal "chiong" in Taiwan, but with only nasalisation "chiaunn1" in Penang. From memory, my mother's variant of Hokkien would have pronounced it "chiunn1", also with nasalisation.

The oo7-chiaunn1 is never steamed. It is cooked in cutlets in a curry with okra (ladies' fingers, Malay "bendi"). The peeh7-chiaunn1 and tau1-te2 are both steamed with slices of ginger, Chinese mushrooms, fresh coriander, and sesame oil.

In addition, tau1-te2 is cooked in "gu7-lai7-tu7-mi1" (Malay: gulai tumis?). This is curry with blended onions, cang-mao (lemon grass, Malay: serai), blacan, chillies, and (fresh or powdered) uinn7-kiaunn1 (tumeric root). Sourness is provided by adding a3-sam3-ko1 (tamarind) water, and a bit of sugar is added as well. Optionally, a single "bunga kantan" is added. This is a bright pink, shiny/glossy, looking "unblossomed" flower, about 8-10 cm long. It consists of very tightly packed together petals. The "bunga kantan" is cut into half, and added to the curry. When cooked, the inside petals can be eaten as well, and have a marvellous flavour and taste.

The tau1-te2 is the most expensive of the three, presumably because it is the tastiest. Because it's so expensive, my family didn't eat it that often.

14. sai1-seng5 / ba1-gop4 ..... catfish
15. too7-sat4 ................. catfish

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/3 ... ish300.jpg
http://abdn.ac.uk/~nhi708/classify/anim ... atfish.jpg

The sai1-seng5 / ba1-gop4 is a silver-coloured, forked-tailed catfish. The too7-sat4 is a grey-coloured, eel-tailed (non-forked-tailed) catfish. Both types have spines which can give a poisonous sting. [My father tells me that the pain from the sting lasts for several hours, but that they are less poisonous than a sting ray. Apparently, in the catfish, the poison is not in the barb itself, but in the slime of the skin of the catfish, which enters the body because of the wound made by the sting.]

Both are cooked in pieces in curry.

Both are cheap, but the too7-sat4 is slightly more expensive.

16. sia7-kap4 ................. barramundi, giant perch,
giant seaperch, asian seabass

http://www.gulliblestravels.co.uk/image ... amundi.jpg
http://www.bbc.co.uk/lincolnshire/conte ... 03x152.jpg
http://www.waderson.com/images/fishing_ ... b3e157.jpg
http://www.waderson.com/images/fishing_ ... 67e119.jpg
http://www.waderson.com/images/fishing_ ... 44092d.jpg
http://img.alibaba.com/photo/11146822/F ... undi__.jpg

A very valued game-fish in Northern Australian waters.

Cooked in curry or "pu5"-ed.

Not an extremely expensive fish, but not cheap either - in the middle to upper price range, about the same as the sun7-hong1.

17. sua7-cuinn3 ............... whiting

http://www.charterboats-uk.co.uk/Photog ... HITING.GIF

Actually, these pics don't look very much like the whiting which I remember from Malaysia or Northern Australia. Could be that these pics are European whiting, and the ones I remember are Pacific ones.

They are deep-fried.

A medium-expensive fish.

18. sua7-hu5 .................. shark

I'm sure everyone knows what a shark looks like!

Cooked in a sour curry (using either tamarind or tomatoes for the sourness).

This is a cheap fish.

19. ? ......................... sole

http://www.simandl.cz/stranky/ryby/angl ... y/sole.jpg

These are cooked by a method known as "cien7-cuan2": the fish is cooked in a mixture of crushed/pounded tau3-ciaunn3 (black bean/brown bean) and coarse strips of ginger (in some variants of the dish, green chillies are also added) which results in a sort of thick gravy.

The interesting thing about sole is that it's the only fish which is cooked "fresh" using the "cien7-cuan2" recipe. Aside from sole, "cien7-cuan2" is only used to cook fish which has already been fried. Apparently, "cien7-cuan2" is used to "re-cook" fried fish, in the sense that if one has eaten fried fish and there is some left over, this is not very tasty when re-heated. This left-over fried fish is then cooked "cien7-cuan2" the next day.

A medium priced fish, more expensive than kam3-bong7 and thoo7-sat4, but not particularly expensive.

20. cia1-hu5 .................. (silver) mullet

http://www.boat-ed.com/fl/fl_specific_i ... mullet.jpg
http://www.csit.fsu.edu/naylorlab/Sulaw ... market.jpg
http://www.floridabayseafood.com/fish/s ... mullet.JPG

The small ones are deep fried until very crispy, and the whole fish and bones are eaten, except for the very centre backbone and head (similar method of preparation as the garfish, below). Large ones are cooked in "gu7-lai7-tu7-mi1".

21. bee1-ka1 .................. mackerel / tenggiri

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g221/ ... nggiri.jpg
http://s65.photobucket.com/albums/h215/ ... nggiri.jpg
http://www.flyfishingameliaisland.com/p ... os/506.jpg

Cooked in Indian curry, with Indian curry leaf and okra (ladies' fingers). The meat is also used to make fish-balls.

A fairly cheap fish.

22. ?gu7-la1-ma2 .............. (common brown) jewfish / [Malay: ikan gelama]

The Hokkien name for this fish is not known. It is used to make hu7-kuann1 or kiam7-hu5. It is rather tasteless, and the meat is soft and powdery ("hu7-hu1") but can be cooked with soy sauce, red-chillie, sugar and salt, much like ikan terubuk.

It is cheap, and common in markets.

23. ? ......................... garfish

http://www.charterboats-uk.co.uk/Photog ... ARFISH.GIF
http://www.heatons-of-tisbury.co.uk/ima ... arfish.jpg
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/jdsml/nature-onlin ... g0036X.jpg

This fish is caught by individuals when they go fishing for fun, not sold in the market. My parents don't know the Hokkien name for this fish.

It is deep fried until very crispy, and the whole fish and bones are eaten, except for the very centre backbone and head (similar method of preparation as the cia1-hu5/mullet, above).

24. ? ......................... sea-bream / [Malay: ikan kuku]


A delicious fish, not sold in markets, but caught individually by recreational anglers.

Fresh water fish

1. ? .......................... climbing perch / [Malay: ikan puyu]


The first 2 pics are of the fish itself but are so small that one can hardly see what they look like. That's the only reason I include the third pic, which shows the fish slightly bigger, but then cooked, so again, it's not really clear what the fish looks like.

It's a fish which is full of bones.

It's commonly cooked with dark soy sauce, red-chillie, sugar and salt, much like ikan terubuk.

A very cheap fish.

2. le7-hu5 .................... snakehead murrel, common snakehead / [Malay: ikan gabus]

Some people think that this fish has an "earthy" or "muddy" taste. Personally, I always thought they were a species of carp, but my parents say this I'm wrong. A search on the internet reveals that it most certainly isn’t a species of carp.

tua3-pui7-kue1-tiau5 is a dish using extra broad, flat, rice-noodles (i.e. white) in a rich "gravy" of chicken, pork, fish meat and prawns and some vegetables. When it is served in shops, the fish used is often le7-hu5. The meat is firm and white, and doesn't fall apart easily, which makes it very suitable for tua3-pui7-kue1-tiau5. I think I've seen this served in Singapore under the name "Seafood (or anything else) Hor Fun".

A cheap fish, though more expensive than too7-sat4. This is the most expensive of the freshwater fishes.

3. mua7-hu5 / mua5 ............ eel


This is a fish which my parents never ate as they had no idea how to prepare it, nor whether it is expensive.

4. sio3-phah1-hu5 ............. fighting fish

http://o-fish.com/Betta/kerabat_1.php (scroll down)

From the internet pics, this is the same fish which Niuc calls "ikan cupang" / "sann-pha-hy".

I should point out that we don't eat this fish (and I doubt if Niuc does either!), as they are only about 3-4 cm long. [Of course, "ikan bilis" is even smaller than that, but in the case of "ikan bilis", they can be caught in large quantities, whereas "sio3-phah1-hu5" never live in groups (for reasons which become obvious in the explanation which follows below)].

From my own childhood memories: As a young boy I used to go and catch sio3-phah1-hu5 in the padi fields. These were similar in shape to the very brightly coloured "Siamese fighting fish" which could be bought in aquarium- / fish-shops, but were much less brightly coloured. They did the same thing as the "Siamese fighting fish", namely, if you allowed two males to see one another, they would start behaving very aggressively to one another and "puff up" their fins and gills. When puffed up, the fins would be extra colourful, indeed sort of deep and vivid, *glowing* colours.

If I recall correctly, only the males were brightly coloured and fought. The females were a dull brown, and slightly smaller than the males.

As I recall, other people would put two males in the same bottle and allow them to fight. The fights could be very aggressive, with the fish actually attacking one another by biting one another. Fish which had been made to fight many times had scales and parts of their fins missing, and had scars and holes in their body, or even an eye missing.

I found this to be quite unpleasant, so I never did it. What I did like to do was to have two of them in two different bottles, and put the bottles next to one another. Then I could watch the whole fin-display and aggressiveness, without the fish coming to any harm.

I also recall that in the aquarium- / fish-shops in Malaysia, they used to have rows and rows of Siamese fighting fish, each fish in its own bottle, with a piece of paper or cardboard between each bottle so that the fish couldn't see one another. I was once in an aquarium- / fish shop in a non-Asian country (I no longer remember if this was Australia or England or the Netherlands or somewhere else in Europe). There, they also had the fish in separate bottles (presumably so that they wouldn't attack and damage one another), but they didn't know that they should put the pieces of paper or cardboard between the bottles. So, those poor fish spent all day looking at one another, and getting aggressive, and puffing up their fins. I felt very sorry for the fish, because they are biologically programmed to behave like that, and so would probably be very stressed, all day, every day, because they had to spend so much adrenaline putting on this aggressive behaviour.

I wish now that I had gone to the management and explained to them how Siamese fighting fish are kept in Asian countries. [Thinking further about it, it must have been on continental Europe rather than England or Australia, because if it had been an English-speaking country, I would probably have felt more confident about speaking to the management, and would have done so.]


Outstanding questions:

a. Proper pronunciation of the Hokkien name for terubuk.
b. Hokkien name for sole.
c. Hokkien name for ikan gelama.
d. Hokkien name for garfish.
e. Hokkien name for sea-bream / ikan kuku.
f. Price and method of cooking of uinn-bue.
g. Price of cia-hu.
h. Hokkien name for ikan puyu.

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Post by SimL »

I always see mistakes that I've made after I've posted!

Of course, it should have been "sio3-phah8-hu5", not "sio3-phah1-hu5".

BTW, kim7-hu5 (goldfish) was one fish I forgot (not edible, except for cats :shock:), and I checked up that a "carp" is apparently called 鲤鱼 "li2 hu5". Perhaps that's why I got confused with le7-hu5.

Posts: 734
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:23 pm
Location: Singapore

Post by niuc »

Sim, thanks a lot for the detailed postings about fish. Actually many fish in your list I have heard of too, not merely three, but our pronunciations may differ slightly. I can't help regarding your outstanding questions as I don't have the answers. Recently it's busier at work, so I'll comment more next time. Again, I really enjoy reading your postings about fish. :D

Posts: 535
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:04 am

Post by ong »

Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:33 am
Location: Amsterdam

Post by SimL »

>> Actually many fish in your list I have heard of too

Niuc: I was delighted to hear that! I rather guessed that we would probably know quite a lot of fish in common, as we didn't live so far apart in our youth .


>> http://books.oceantaiwan.com/986417682X.htm

Ong: thanks for the reference, it looks great.


Here are a couple of additions/changes to my original posting:

a. typo: "peeh7-chiaunn1" should have been "peeh4-chiaunn1", of course.

b. The small ray-fish which were steamed were eaten with soy sauce and sambal.

c. I forgot to describe two things when speaking about the fighting fish.

1) I said they puffed up their fins and gills when "displaying" for fighting, but I omitted to explain that the puffing up of the gills was very dramatic. For most fish, the gills are hidden inside/under 'gill-flaps'. When looking at a fish, mostly one can't see the gills at all, and in dead fish, one has to lift the flaps to see the gills inside. Well, when displaying, the fighting fish opens its gill flaps, and the gills become very large and swollen. They stick out *beyond* the open gill-flaps, and the whole thing looks quite bizarre and uncomfortable, actually.

2) One doesn't need two fighting fish to get a "fighting display". All one needs to do is to hold up a mirror to the side of the jar or aquarium where the fighting fish is. When the fighting fish sees its own reflection, it thinks it's a rival, and starts displaying.

d. The laksa which I mentioned, into which kam3-bong7 is put, is *Penang* laksa: rice noodles in a curry soup, with cieen1-hom2 (a Malay? aromatic leaf), po(h)4-ho2 (mint) and hee7-ko1 (a black/brown, very strong-smelling prawn-paste).

e. bee1-ka1 = mackerel. The Douglas dictionary gives 鮫 for the "ka1" part, and implies that the "bee2" is not 馬.

f. I rechecked with my parents on a couple of the outstanding questions from the initial post:

The "uinn7-bue2" is cooked by a method called "kong1-a3-sam1". The "kong" is the method of cooking, and the "a3-sam1" is "tamarind". The fish is put into a dish and the dish is filled up with water until the fish is (just barely) completely covered (i.e. enough water to cover the fish, but no more). "a3-sam7-phue5" (tamarind rinds?) are added, as are chillies, blacan, and one stick of crushed chang7-mau5 (lemon grass). The fish is then boiled until it is cooked.

Another recipe is to marinate "uinn7-bue2" cutlets in a paste made from tumeric powder (kunyit), and then deep fry them.

The "uinn7-bue2" and "cia1-hu5" are cheap fish.

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Post by Heruler »

Hi Sim,

Wow! Such thorough scholarship! I am totally impressed.


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Post by SimL »

Hi Heruler,

Thanks for the compliment! Erm... I'm what my friends call an "obsessive" when it comes to details (which is why so many of my statements are always qualified in brackets) ;-).


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Re: Hokkien Fish (REPOST)

Post by ezhiskaz »

thanks for sharing the info about the fish)) most of them are really new for me and i used google to find out what they are look like))