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Feb 21, 2009 08:00 AM

Salt of the earth... erm, sea: a new taste for this Van Hound

Thanks to a Chinese DC, I am now a convert to salted fish fried rice. We had it for lunch yesterday at Fortune Garden and it is well yummy. I liked how you get little bombs of salted fish mixed in with the comforting and familiar fried rice -- I'm not sure I'm quite ready for an entire dish of this umami-heavy, assertive item. Does anyone know of other restos that offer it in fried rice or other preps where it is a component part?

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  1. Salted fish is one component of a classic Cantonese comfort-food dish that consists of rice topped with a layer of pork "hash" topped with salted fish (often served in a claypot) -- because the salted fish isn't mixed in, you can control how much you get with each bite. Should be easy to find in Vancouver.

    Here are some meals from the SF board that include it:

    6 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Malaysian/Singaporean restuarants also have versions of salt fish fried rice. Seri Malaysia on East Hastings St makes a good one (see attached) - lots of flavour and 'wok hei'.

      These little guys are also used in 'sambal ikan bilis' which you can order as a side dish to spice up your other dishes...notably 'nasi lemak'. It is also incorporated in curry-like dishes here and there.

      Filipinos also eat fried dried anchovies ("dilis") as a beer snack. I don't know of any restuarant that serves it this way, however.

      1. re: fmed

        Hmm, I wonder if I've had this before at Malaysian restos and didn't realize it, fmed. Will be more attentive in future! And what is wok hei, please, o learned one? I always find out something new from your posts, guy!

        1. re: grayelf

          'Wok Hei' is that discernible flavour you can achieve when cooking with a blazing hot wok - it's sort of like a 'toastiness'. You can only achieve it if you have a restaurant grade rocketship of a gas wok burner (though you can come close at home with a hot enough gas burner). Ever wonder why home renditions of Chinese restaurant favourites just don't taste the same when you cook them at home? Wok hei is the most likely missing component.

          1. re: fmed

            Cool! I guess I knew what it was but didn't know what to call that missing element.

      2. re: Ruth Lafler

        Ruth, you are a goddess! I see the dish you described (which sounds brilliant) is/was available at Utopia, which is one of the only places we ever "found" by "ourselves" in SF, way back in 2003. So very on the list...

        1. re: grayelf

          "a restaurant grade rocketship of a gas wok burner "

          Nominee for alliteration-of-the-month if not year(!)

      3. Oooh this is my favorite fried rice =)

        1. If you like the salted fish, you may want to try one with shrimp paste, some people can't get past the smell but it's very tasty.