Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dream with the Fishes

There's something fishy about my dream life. The other night I was blogging in my sleep (yes, I'm afraid that happens sometimes) about Seafood City, the Filipino supermarket in Eagle Rock mall with the killer selection of whole fish. In my dream, I had a famous seafood chef tour the market with me, picking out the best deals and showing me how to cook the unusual varieties of fish. After the dream, I felt strangely driven to buy a big fish so I went to Seafood City and took pictures of all the fish. There was no famous chef to be found, so I asked some of the ladies which ones they liked. People seemed to be buying an unnatural amount of tilapia, which I avoid, so in the end I bought a striped bass. The name was at least somewhat familiar, at $1.99 the price was right, and it said it was both from the United States and fresh. You bag your own fish from the ice-filled displays, and hand it over to the lady behind the counter for weighing and cleaning. Everything is sparkling clean and there's no fishy smell like some of the other fishmarkets suffer from.
Most of the other fish don't exactly involve eating locally -- they hail from everywhere from Ecuador to Vietnam to the Great Lakes, but they're almost all well under $5 a pound. Barely any of the varieties are recognizable as something you've ever seen a recipe for, so I just threw the bass on the grill and topped it with some charmoula. I also got one of those little red fishes in the bottom photo, called a redtail fusilier. The redtail was meaty with a good flavor, like a fresh sardine. The bass was mild with a firm, flaky texture, although it was hard to keep in one piece on the grill and didn't filet very easily. Here's some of the fishes at the market -- if you know which ones tend to be good or the best way to cook them, please let me know! Some of the other varieties found there include gasper goo, china bream yellowfin, sea bream, white perch, golden pompano, pony fish, mullet, round scad, yellow croaker (I know they fry these in Shanghai-style restaurants), moonfish or opah and the beautifully-colored parrot fish. Next, I think I'll try the big strawberry grouper, which Filipinos call lapu lapu.

7 comments:

Taste-Buzz said...

Being Filipino, I have a strange affinity to the Eagle Rock mall. Part of my better LA sensibility snickers when I hear people singing at the karaoke kiosk but my Filipino sensability thinks that I can do better and should demonstrate.

Pat said...

It's funny, I haven't even noticed the karaoke booth because I'm usually so focused on getting my chair massage at the Relaxation Station or whatever it's called. Between Target, the fish, and the massage, it makes for quite an afternoon, and I haven't even tried a halo-halo yet!

Donna said...

Hi, Pat. Just wondering if you avoid tilapia because you don't like the taste or because it might contain chemical contaminants, or another reason? Thanks.

oddlyme said...

I'm no help with the fish, but I have noticed that they have great prices on shrimp - and have you tried their frozen lumpia and potstickers? Fun!

Anonymous said...

"People seemed to be buying an unnatural amount of tilapia"

Filipinos consume large amounts of tilapia because it is abundant in the Philippines, very nutritious, and low in mercury. Filipino eating habits are very natural if you ask me.

jcmoore925 said...

Hmmmm, I sincerely hope I went on an "off" day. The smell of fish was so overwhelming when I wandered in here after shopping at Target last month that I quickly left. It was really bad. I will give it another chance though.

Pierre said...

I live in Seattle. I'm tired of going to Uwajimaya's (grocery store)because the fishy smell gets to me. From your review, Seafood City does not offend the nostrils like other Asian markets do. WE NEED A SEAFOOD CITY HERE IN DOWNTOWN SEATTLE!!!!!