Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Friday Food 88 – Capelin


Friday food is a weekly article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week, we are looking at Capelin.

Many years ago, I took a train from central Hunan to Kunming in Yunnan. I had been somewhat sick and really wanted a rest. At the time, the journey took a couple of days. No sooner had I sat down in the hard sleeper compartment than a bunch of giggling students turned up and informed me that they were students in Beijing (where the train had originated)  but were heading home to Yunnan for the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) It was their firm intention to spend the next 48 hours “practising English” on me.

I declined their kind offer by informing them that I didn’t speak a word of English, but was in fact French. That confused them They trotted off in disappointment.

15 minutes later, a new bunch arrived. They informed me that they were French majors in Beijing returning to Yunnan for the Spring Festival. Busted!

I now inform all casual enquirers that I only speak Icelandic. I chose that on the basis that there are only around 20 people in the whole of Iceland anyway, and that only three Chinese people in the world can speak Icelandic and two of them live in Mexico.  It seems reasonable to assume the chances of me meeting Laowai Laowaisson in China is remote. I don’t speak a word of Icelandic, except for ‘Bjork’ and I probably pronounce her name wrongly.

This is just a long and only tenuously relevant introduction to this week’s Friday food.

Capelin are small fish, a type of smelt, distantly related related to salmon. They are apparently ubiquitous in Iceland and N.E. Canada ( I have no idea what language they speak, there.)

But they are unusual around here. The locals call them 多春鱼.


 About 120-125mm in length, they are on sale frozen in RT Mart for around ¥6 for 8. They need gutting – a simple process, but if you are as lucky as me, you will get a batch of roe stuffed females. Keep that! You may even have eaten it before. It is used in sushi – how it got from Iceland to Japan is anyone’s guess. It is known in Japan as 真砂子 or ‘masago’.

Capelin Roe
As for the fish, some people bake them or even roast them. I’m told that they are often smoked in Canada, but I usually just dredge them in seasoned flour (with chilli), then deep fry them until golden – beer food par excellence.

Capelin - fried

What’s the beer like in Iceland?

. This entry was posted on Friday, July 19th, 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.

One Response to “Friday Food 88 – Capelin”

  1. Ray Ducray Says:

    They look delicious and brilliant to eat. I miss that kind of food, but we eat a lot of smoked marlin here. It is thinly sliced, fairly cheap and with lemon juice and black pepper served on fresh bagette, Eh Pah !! Keep well my Icelandic Scottish French Friend !!

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