Snakehead Fish

Ingredient Name: Snakehead fish, “raw” fish

Chinese Name: 生魚 (shēng yú)

The word sounds like “raw” fish in Cantonese and that’s the idea I had while getting this recipe from my veggie vendor.  This readily available fish at most wet marts in Hong Kong comes LIVE – flipping and flopping for your viewing pleasure and is not expensive.  I have never eaten this fish before and glad that someone introduced it to me – definitely another breed to my limited repertoire of the huge fish variety in Hong Kong.

What is this?
  • A type of predatory fish with a head that resembles that of a snake
  • They have become an unwanted fish in natural environments as they eat other fish and have no known enemies in the natural environment – which is why it is a very common and readily available fish in Asia
  • Adult snakeheads can grow up to 1m in length, but in general, the wet marts carry ones that are about 30 cm in length
  • Commonly eaten in most Asian dishes (soups, fried, stews)

How do I prepare it?

  • When purchased, have your fish vendor de-scale, gut and chop your fish into a manageable size
  • Rinse with warm water prior to frying
  • With a few slices of ginger and a tsp of oil, pan fry your fish before using in soups
  • Use a soup bag when boiling in soups

Where can I buy this?

  • Available fresh in most wet marts in Hong Kong
  • Unsure of availability in North America

What is the cost?

  • A 30cm length snakehead fish cost around $13 HKD
  • It is considered a very common and accessible fish and therefore very affordable

Any benefits?

  • Excellent source of protein
  • Low in fat

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to thoroughly clean and cook your fish prior to eating
  • Buy your fish from a reputable source

Any substitutes?

  • Any other fish is a great substitute for fish soup