Dried fish shop | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Dried fish shop

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Dried fish shop
Authors: 

Probably taken in Sheung Wan.

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Tuesday, August 4, 1981

Comments

Hi there,

The six boxes in front were sun dried squids of different grades.  Those darkish pieces in boxes behind are sun dried oysters of different grades.  More squids in plastic bags on the side.

T

Thanks T

I've often wondered whether the squid, when re-hydrated tastes as good as fresh squid.  Any thoughts?

Andrew

Hi Andrew,

The flavours of dehydrated squid and oyster would be similar to other dehydrated food.  The flavour would be more concentrated.  The texture would be very different to fresh ones too.   For dehydrated squids, one of the ways is to roast them over charcoal for a short period before consumsion.  The texture would be a bit like beef jerky.  The concentrated flavours would depends on how much salt or other raw material were being mixed into it before drying them, and for how long.  I guess it differs from batch to batch and from where it was produced.

Anyway, all of these has a distinctive scent of their own.  If you wander along Des Voeux Road West, you should be able to experience within quite a few blocks.

T

Hi T

Thanks for the insight into the mysterious food of the Far East.  As I read the last sentence I had a momentary recollection of the 'heady' smells coming from some of those shops.  The last time I smelled them was in 2007, so it just shows how powerful a memory smell can create.  Now, can you tell me of any 'English' foods that would cause a Chinese person to be, shall I put it - ''surprised'?

Andrew

Hi Andrew,

I couldn't think of much of anything at the moment.  I have not been exposed to British food stuffs that much.  All I have tasted are limited tot some from Marks & Spencer.  Or maybe Welsh Lamb..... , Scottish Smoked salmon.....

 I have one thing in mind but I think that might not be limited to the British people:  Licorice candy.   For these stuffs the feeling about them is sort of bi-poler.   You would be surprised as we Asians like all kinds of spices and herbs.  We use Anise for cooking but many of us could not stand the Anise flavour/aroma in Candies.  I especially like those licorice candies with Anise flavour though.  Maybe it's just me, but I am sort of an odd ball character to some......  Those are an acquited taste anyway.  I don't like them when I was a kid.

Might come up with something later.

T

Hi T

Licorice has long been popular in Britain.  I believe that its origins were as a medicinal plant many, many years ago and it grew and still does in a part of England around the town of Pontefract.  Hence many of the licorice sweets (candy in England means just one very sugary sweet) - Pontefract cakes being one and other sweets using licorice were largely made in that area.  Chocolate is also very popular.  Sometimes, as a memory of Hong Kong, I buy the plum based Haw Flakes here and they are very nice.

As a youngster in England in the late 1940s and early 1950s, we had a very traditional diet - roast meat and cooked vegetables for main meals, with eggs and cheese being the basis for many other meals and we consumed lots of bread.  Macaroni and cheese was a very exotic food.  Away from London, which has long been a cosmopolitan city, cafes and restaurants serving foreign foods were rarely found and it would be a very unusual shop that had such things for sale.  In Manchester, a large city, there were only two or three Chinese restaurants and no Indian ones.  You would expect that Hull being a large port and where I grew up, would have international foods and restaurants but I remember none. I guess that things took off in a big way in the seventies.  Now, I suspect that we have, if one chooses to eat it, one of the most international diets in the world.  Certainly I know of nowhere in Europe that has such a wide range of international foodstuffs.  It's the same with wine.  As we have only a really small and infant grape growing sector, we import wines from literally all over the worl, whereas each continental country tends to favour its own wines - which may or may not be as good as the ones that we import from all over the place.

Best wishes  Andrew

Hi Andrew,

Still couldn't think of anything as such.  I think we Chinese, especially Cantonese, wouldn't be surprised by most any food.  Generally speaking Cantonese people (if we do not count personal preferences) would eat most anything.  I don't find food like Haggis repulsive at all as we have similar items which have something to do with stuffed stomach or intestines.

I can think of two examples:

1.   Slow cook chicken in broth wrapped in a pig stomach;

2.   Sticky rice stuffed in pig intestine.  Usually steamed before slightly grilled;

T

Hi T

Food is food and barring genetic or medical intolerances people should be capable of eating any food.  I'm afraid that many people in the west are just too 'faddy'.

Andrew

I can think of vegemite as a 'surprise food' when I lived in Australia, although the 'surprise' comes more in the taste than the smell. 

Is vegemite sold the same way in Britain as in Australia? 

breskvar

Hi there,

Ugh..... Vegemite is a surprise food for all except for Aussies........  I have been told even the McYuck down under has it.  Strange enough, I have seen Vegemite in local supermarkets.

T

I'm not sure whether Vegemite is readily available in Britain - but Marmite, which is very similar, sells well mainly used as a spread on bread or to give a 'kick' to casseroles, etc..

Andrew

Thank you for confirming, Andrew and T.  Because I did not prefer vegemite on my bread or any other food, I never cared to find out whether there was any marmite/promite/vegemite on sale when I visited the UK. 

Apologies to any Australian Gwuloers.

It seems that vegemite is mainly spread on bread in Australia too.

But how come all the "-mites" come with a capital letter?

breskvar

That's easy Breskvar - they are brand names, and 'proper nouns' like Hong Kong or Andrew

Also, Breskvar, should you hear something being referred to as 'it's like Marmite' it means that (like Marmite !) you either love it ar hate it, no in-betweens.

H.

My final comment on this culinary theme is that, for me, Marmite is not too dissimilar to strong soy sauce. I suspect that in an emergency, we could use the former when making our 'Chinese' meals and not be disappointed! Andrew