Monday, July 10, 2017

Yin Yang fish --a frightening food.

Cooking, particularly Chinese and Asian cooking, is an interest of mine. And in that context I was recently scouring youtube and internet seeking tips on advanced Chinese cooking and knife use techniques, such as the ones used for "pinecone fish," a particularly complex and delightful sort of sweet and sour fish dish, when I stumbled across one of the most horrible dishes I've ever heard of.

Why is it horrible? Because part of the appeal is that it involves inflicting great pain on the fish and then serving it alive at the table.

To make "yin yang fish" (Yin Yang Yu) one first takes a live, whole fish and then wraps its head tightly in a wet towel. By doing this, one keeps the head from cooking and then also apparently protects the chef's hand from being burned or splashed.

Next one takes the fish and inserts all save the head into very hot, deep frying oil, thus cooking the body and tail but leaving the head uncooked, and the fish, technically, still alive.

The fish is then placed on a plate, body cooked while the head gasps for air, its body overwhelmed with shock and pain, and sauce, reportedly a sweet and sour sauce, is poured over its body.

The dish was reportedly first seen in Taiwan by a chef who claimed to have learned how to make the dish in China. Due to media attention and uproar focused on this unpleasant and sadistic dish, it is now outlawed in Taiwan (where I somehow doubt the ban is much enforced, although that does not make the dish common either) as well as, oddly enough, Germany.

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