Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Friday Food 77 – Chinese Sardines

Friday food is a weekly article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week, fishy fish.

Sardines are, I realise, not a specific species and the term “sardine” can refer to all sorts of fish. But as ivery fule noes, sardines live in cans.

Most Chinese supermarkets or markets will sell you what they refer to as 沙丁鱼, clearly a phonetic rendition of ‘sardine’. Sadly they resemble nothing I’ve ever been tempted to describe as a sardine.

Possibly the best meal I ever ate was a dish of BBQ’d sardines in a French fishing village some years ago. What the local markets sell doesn’t come anywhere near.

Chinese sardines are small (about the length of my forefinger), pale and not as oily as a true sardine.

Chinese sardines

Chinese sardines

They are OK – perfectly acceptable stir fried whole with chilli and the usual accompaniments – garlic, ginger, etc. No need to gut or otherwise prepare them. I like them. But sardines? Not in my book.

I’ve also deep fried them, again whole, like whitebait.

Canned sardines are widely available. We once were able to get these wonderful Portuguese sardines in olive oil, but I haven’t seen them for years.

Instead the most common variety are these Smiling Fish brand babies from Thailand. I’ve only found them in tomato sauce or in tomato and lime sauce. I prefer them plain, so I just wash off the sauce under a sieve.


. This entry was posted on Friday, May 3rd, 2013 at 7:00 am and is filed under Food and Drink, Friday Food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Friday Food 77 – Chinese Sardines”

  1. Da_Wei Says:

    I used to love sardines on toast as a child – mash them (not too much!) with a beaten egg, add them to lightly toasted bread, then grill to finish.

  2. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    I still love sardines on toast. Have it often.

    But the dish fades away beside fresh real sardines plucked straight from the sea and BBQd.

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