Serious seafood

As a midwesterner I’ve always been almost completely ignorant of seafood. I’ve had some decent Great Lakes fish and some good imported salmon, but the more exotic offerings like squid and snail at local places like Red Lobster have always been stale and rubbery. I never thought I could really get into seafood, but then I started to visit places where seafood is fresh and delicious.

Sampling the cuisine in the Florida Keys earlier this year started to broaden my horizons. I had a variety of fish and conch snail fritters that put midwest seafood to shame. It opened my mind to what came next.

My seafood adventures really took off when my wife and I visited Taiwan last week. Seafood is a staple there, and with our adventurous palates we were fortunate enough to try foods that ranged from “amazing” to “not so great, but at least interesting.” Although we ate seafood at every lunch, perhaps the best restaurant we visited was near Yehliu Geopark:

DSCF2600

Great seafood restaurant photographed 12/06/2012 near Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan.

The restaurant next door had a more decorative facade, but I imagine the cuisine was similar:

DSCF2601

Great seafood restaurant photographed 12/06/2012 near Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan.

As we approached the building we noticed many saltwater aquarium tanks holding live seafood for their menu:

DSCF2590

Live crab and fish photographed 12/06/2012 near Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan.

DSCF2592

Live lobster photographed 12/06/2012 near Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan.

DSCF2595

Live eels photographed 12/06/2012 near Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan.

DSCF2596

Live urchins photographed 12/06/2012 near Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan.

DSCF2597

Live octopus photographed 12/06/2012 near Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan.

The fried octopus was my favorite. I don’t know if I could eat whole tentacles with the suckers and everything, but when prepared like this the meat was somewhat chicken-like and the breading was great. The garnish was dried fruit:

DSCF2586

Fried octopus photographed 12/06/2012 near Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan.

The tofu and oyster was a close second. I never would have imagined I could like tofu or oyster. I’ve had some bad tofu, and I had heard oyster was like snot, but in this dish both were flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth tender:

20121206_131222

Tofu and oyster photographed 12/06/2012 near Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan.

These fried fish were meant to be eaten whole, and I obliged. The heads were a bit fishy-tasting, but the rest was great. Surprisingly there were no bones:

DSCF2587

Whole fish photographed 12/06/2012 near Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan.

Although I’m not a fan of shrimp, these proved to be better than most. I don’t know if they were meant to be eaten whole like the smaller fried shrimp we had in Taiwan, but I played it safe and removed the heads. There’s just something weird about eating shrimp eyeballs:

DSCF2585

Whole shrimp photographed 12/06/2012 near Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan.

By far the most interesting dish was this seaweed soup with young fish. I thought it was edible, but the texture and flavor was somewhat disagreeable:

DSCF2584

Seaweed and young fish photographed 12/06/2012 near Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan.

Street markets also featured a wide variety of seafood, and the most common was probably squid. The squid we had at a couple of other lunches was quite good.

DSCF2377

Street market squid photographed 12/06/2012 in Taipei, Taiwan

I was really impressed with most of the seafood in Taiwan, and I could get used to eating food like this on a regular basis. I’m eager to visit more coastal areas of the world to see what they have to offer.

Advertisements

About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Culture, General, Invertebrate Zoology, Vertebrate Zoology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Serious seafood

  1. A Simple Guy says:

    yum yum!!! The seafood look so delicious. Missing them already =)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s