Toli Shad Fish

This is the Toli Shad, also known as Chinese herring, Ikan Terubok in Malay and local Teochew: Chi Kak Her.

Up till the 1980s, this was a very popular dish eaten with Teochew porridge. It was always sliced to 20mm thick fillet, wrapped with salted vegetable leaf and braised with tamarind for 8 hrs. It was then eaten with the scales and bone, just like canned sardine.

In Malaysia, many Bak Ku Teh stalls will also include this as a side dish.

Toli Shad is very scarce in Singapore. Most are imported from Trengganu and Sarawak.

It was a low-cost fish, probably 1/3 the price of grouper.

By the beginning of the new millennium, it became very popular with the Chinese nouveau riche. They call it 鲥鱼(Shí yú). Prior to the Chinese interest, it used to cost around $5 to $8 per kg, both in Singapore or Malaysia. Today, it costs easily S$25 or RM80. That is to say if it is available. Most catches are now exported to China.

The Malays love it roasted over fire. Others have it deep fried. For connoisseurs, they prefer HK steam or simply plain boiling with salt.

The bigger the Toli Shad, the better is the taste and so is the price. As a norm, it should weigh no less than 900 gm.

Another amazing fact is that this fish doesn’t have to be very fresh. Unless it is rotten, otherwise it still tastes very delicious.

It is extremely tasty but bony. You can’t gobble a whole chunk of it. Just like the Mexican abalone thinly sliced, you need just a morsel to enjoy and slowly appreciate its taste.

This fish weighs only 1.1kg. It is good for 6 pax with each gotten to taste at least ten bites.

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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2 Responses to Toli Shad Fish

  1. benkohtm says:

    very informative

    Liked by 1 person

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