Barracuda fish

Scientific name : Sphyraena
Teochew/Hockien : Sua Coon
Malay : Ikan Kacang

Barracuda is a large, predatory fish known for its fearsome appearance and ferocious behaviour.

I have often been asked by those who are ignorant of this fish whether it could be eaten?

Up till the eighties, it was the preferred fish by those Teochew or Hainanese Tze Char hawkers and restaurants. There’s a lot to get from this fish. Only a short length of its snout is discarded. The belly is also very small. More than 90 percent of the whole fish could be eaten.

Unlike most fishes, Barracuda has a very mild fishy smell. Most kids and non-fish eaters could accommodate it. The fish is as sweet if not better than the Spanish Mackerel (Batang fish). In those days, the latter was a low-end fish. Only Horse Mackerel (Tenggiri) and Indo Pacific Mackerel (Tenggiri Papan) are commercially restaurant grade.

The texture of matured Barracuda fish can be very firm, almost like chicken breast. Most sliced fish when cooked usually breaks to smaller pieces and not presentable. Barracudas are similar to sliced meat or chicken, they don’t breakup easily.

In those days, the usual ingredients for wet stir fry noodle are pork, squid, pig stomach, pig liver, prawn, sliced fish (Barracuda) and cai xin (菜心). The soup version usually excludes the prawn, pig stomach and liver will cost slightly more than street pedaling hawkers. Nevertheless, the taste, ingredients and portion justify the higher cost.

Another favorite back then is Barracuda fish porridge. For most teenagers, just like poultry and meat, Tze Char food was then a luxury.

Two weeks ago, I was invited to congregate in the evening at Elias Mall foodcourt for “Happy Hour”. On the same day, that morning, my fisherman friend serendipitously caught a 3.2kg Barracuda. It is huge but slaughtering it was a cinch. Sadly, the Tze Char stall at Elias Mall Foodcourt refused to cook for us.

I happened to come across a package of ma po doufu paste in the kitchen. The main ingredient of the paste is fermented soy beans which is an excellent appetizer or rather very taste enhancing condiment. Together with fresh chili, spring onion and celery, I had it home cooked. It was more than 1.5 kg of boneless fish. 6 of us finished the whole pot with big thumbs up!

Infant Barracudas which usually gather in a big school is also very good for making fish balls.

In Singapore water, there are 2 species of Barracuda. The “yellow fin” is tasty and sweet. The other which I will not recommend is the “black fin.”

As Barracuda is not fishy, it is versatile and can be cooked and consumed in many variations. But it has not been known to be served as sashimi.

Sashimi is a Japanese culture and for others, an acquired taste. The divine truth is, all fishes can be eaten raw as long as they are fresh.

Written by Freddie Tan

About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I write for pleasure. I also write mainly for my family and friends.
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15 Responses to Barracuda fish

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Freddie, good write up and informative.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve asked him to write about his other passions ie golf and cars.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey Freddie, I wld like to try this at our clubhse soon.
    Thks BC

    Liked by 1 person

  4. chiatlim says:

    Once again interesting and very informative on the fishes we consume. When are you whipping up a yellow fin with ma po toufu paste at CGC?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Chiat,
      So easy to cook. Just buy a package of ma po tofu paste. Cut up the fish, add water, boil and eat..

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anonymous says:

    My experience with this fish is that it gives a good fight….

    Sometime back, in my days of fishing in Mersing, I caught one…

    I took it home and had it over a few meals…

    The head has not much meat with sharp teeth, but the body was cut in sections…

    Most were fried, meat tasted sweet with good texture…

    Can eat with sambal or other ways of preparation, as may be preferred…

    I won’t mind having another…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. JK says:

    As always very interesting and informative read on the fishes we consume. When are you whipping up yellow fin with ma po toufu paste at CGC?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anonymous says:

    interesting read. This fish is regarded as trash fish in most western countries

    Liked by 1 person

    • Freddie Tan says:

      HI Ben,
      Thanks for your compliment. Trash fish? No wonder many kept wondering if this fish can be eaten.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Chao Zhouzi says:

    Hi Freddie,
    I tend to disagree with your view that all fish can be eaten raw. All fresh water fish has a tendency to harbour parasites and others; hence will be transmitted to human upon consuming it raw. Case in point, recall the recent brouhaha over those fresh water fish (carp) eaten as 鱼生. Salmon is no exception as originally the japanese does not use the fish as sashimi. It is relatively recent that it is used as such.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Freddie says:

      Good day Mr Chao,
      First and foremost, thank you so very much for pointing out the risk of consuming raw freshwater fish.
      Next, I have never been a fan of most fresh water fishes.
      Finally, the intend of this article was mean to be for marine fishes.

      Liked by 1 person

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