Ingredient Name: Golden Threadfind Bream or Hung Sam

Traditional Chinese Name: 紅衫魚 (hóng shān yú)

What is this?
  • A type of fish that is found in the Western Pacific
  • The Chinese name is directly translated as “Red Shirt Fish” which means the fish is colored red
  • It is a popular type of fish found in the East and South China Sea
  • They reach maturity in less than 15 months and do not grow very large in size, reaching 2 feet in length at most
  • Since they can be purchased relatively small in size, a whole batch is ideal for soup

How do I prepare it?

  • If you are buying frozen, you will have to thaw the fish first by letting it sit in room temperature for a few hours
  • Clean the fish inside and out, removing all internals and cutting the fins off
  • Use a bit of salt on the inside and outside of the fish and let it stand for an hour
  • In a pan with a moderate amount of oil, fry the fish on medium heat until thoroughly cooked and the skin is crispy and brown (this will ensure that the fish doesn’t fall apart too much in the soup and give it lots of flavour)
  • USE A FISH BAG!  These are useful in soups (it will keep all the bones and fish together).  Definitely use this if you’re giving this soup to your children.  The bags are disposable.

Where can I buy this?

  • You can buy this fish fresh in Hong Kong wet marts and supermarkets – be sure to ask the vendor to de-scale and clean the fish for you
  • In Canada, you can purchase this fish frozen in Asian supermarkets

What is the cost?

  • Frozen golden threadfin bream costs around $3.99 CAD per pound
  • Fresh golden threadfin bream costs around $40 – $60 HKD per pound

Any substitutes?

  • Most any little fish can substitute the golden threadfin bream in soups
  • Ideally, use fish that have scales (this is especially true in women who are doing confinement because non-scaled fish are considered poisonous)

Any benefits?

  • It is a very affordable fish to use for soups (as compared to other fish)
  • Fish are low in saturated fat and have a high content of Omega-3 fatty acids (which are good for the heart)
  • Fish are high in protein with the fewest calories as compared to other meat choices

Any precautions?

  • If you’re purchasing fresh fish, be sure to check the gills to make sure they are bright red (which means its still fresh)
  • Avoid purchasing large fish for soups, as it can potentially contain higher levels of mercury and toxins

Additional Information?

  • Frozen fish can keep in the freezer for up to 6 months
  • Fresh fish should be consumed within 2-3 days