Monday, September 10, 2007

Wasai--- Buying fish

After living in Taiwan for a couple of years, I was invited to go to Yalio for the weekend. It was a lovely time; we saw the sights and swam in the ocean for the first time. In the evening, we sat around, drank copious quantities of beer, and even sat in on a few rounds of mahjong. In the morning, our friend, who is also a very good Chinese cook, decided that we should go to the harbor and see what fresh fish the fishermen were selling. When we got there, I noticed a nice big sea bass still swimming around in a small wash bucket. I asked the price, and since it was very reasonable, I decided to purchase this particular fish. Then, the fisherman asked me if I would like him to clean the fish for me. Since cleaning a fish is messy work, I said sure.Well, he grabbed the fish, raked all the scales off its body, cut open the belly and removed the innards, and then ripped out the gills. After a quick rinse, he put it into a plastic bag. But the fish was still alive and kicking, flicking around in the bag, gasping for air that it could not breathe. I felt very sorry for this poor fish that was dying as I walked down the street.

Then my friend noticed some fresh octopus. So we decided to purchase one to add to our brunch menu. The vendor opened the mesh bag that held one of these live octopi and proceeded to grab it around what would be considered its neck. Then with his thumb and two forefingers, the fisherman flicked his wrist and turned the octopus head inside out! Then he ripped the insides out of its head. Again, a quick rinse and into a plastic bag, wriggling and writhing as I walked back to the house to start making lunch.

Unfortunately, the two living-dead that I was carrying made me lose my appetite. Go figure.
Submitted to Wasai Taiwan by: P. Tyler (Taipei)

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