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99 Ranch Market--20 Kinds of Unknown Fish--Help!!!

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Well, went to the 99 Ranch Market in Anaheim today. I usually buy fish, but I was just completely overwhelmed for some reason today. There are so many kinds of fish I have never heard of before. The "Permit" looked good, but what the heck is a "Permit" fish?

Why are the fish selections there so different from Santa Monica Seafood, for example? Are they of lesser quality?

What varieties have you purchased before, and what do you recommend?

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  1. Why are they "so different" than, say, Santa Monica Seafood? Well ... it's because we Asian (and particularly Chinese) folks will eat just about anything that moves.

    You'll find stuff in the Ranch 99 tanks that most other American/Euro markets would not touch because the demand just isn't there. In fact, for example, if you read the recent LAT Food article on boullabaisse it mentioned that Ranch 99 carries a variety of rascasse (or scorpion fish) for use in the broth. Rascasse is so visually unappealing that most markets won't carry it because it looks like a mutated cockroach.

    Happy shopping ...

    7 Replies
    1. re: ipse dixit

      I have had good luck with everything I have purchased there (crab, lobster, shrimp, and familiar fishes), but I want to step out of my comfort zone...a little.

      Can anyone recommend some of the unfamiliar fish varieties they carry there?

      1. re: Funwithfood

        Funwithfood -

        I would happily recommend some of the marine varieties offered by Ranch 99 (or any of the other Asian markets), but I only know the Chinese names ...

        Sorry .. :-(

        1. re: Funwithfood

          Well, what kind of fish do you like? i.e. white meat, dark meat, freshwater, sea water. If you like delicate white sea water fish, the chinese yellow fish is very good, then they carry an assortment of basses. Perch and Cods are also very tasty. Depends on what you like. If you're into dark meats then there're all sorts of mackerels. They always carry a good amount of live catfish and tilapia (I think)
          Enjoy!!!

          1. re: Funwithfood

            I always buy three fishes from 99 Ranch.

            White pomfret and black pomfret.

            The white is usually more expensive than the black, but has a firmer texture. These are white fleshed fish that are used commonly in Thai restaurants.

            They are great deep fried whole.

            A simple preparation is to score the flesh all the way down to the bone several times on both sides, leaving about a half inch between each cut. Then brine it with a solution of salt and garlic powder. Then deep fry until GB&D (golden brown and delicious). Eat with white rice, stir fried veggies. Light and healthy!

            Image: http://www.smei.mc/images/uploaded/wh...

            1. re: elmomonster

              Silly me, I said I buy three fishes, but I only mentioned two. The third is tilapia. At my local 99 Ranch the black pomfret and tilapia are both $1.99 per pound. The white is $2.99 per pound.

            2. re: Funwithfood

              I'm still learning about some of the Asian-market fish myself. However, as someone mentioned concerning the rascasse, there are varieties popular in Europe which are available only and/or affordably in the Asian markets, most notably (in our estimation) skate, or sting ray, the wings of which are used in raie au beurre noir, a classic and very yummy bistro favorite. Fish King in Glendale was our source for a while, and they were nice enough to call me when they had some, but they get about $15/lb for theirs, whereas San Gabriel Superstore (for instance) sells it for $4.99 or so.

              BTW, if anyone knows of a restaurant that has this dish, please share the knowledge. And if you'd like a recipe, email me.

              1. re: Funwithfood

                Well....I recommend the black cod when it is there (alive of course). You can marinate it in miso a la lots of Japanese restaurants or just steam it or the way we eat it cooked with garlic, scallions, vinigar, soy, water, and sugar.

                The other cod (the red one with the big eyes) is really good just steamed as is the sheephead!

            3. Quality?

              99 Ranch and other Asian markets have fish that are still swimming. I've never seen that at SM Seafood.

              The fish itself may not be as high quality as SM Seafood, but it sure is fresh, which means a lot.

              And the difference in price is astounding.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Joe MacBu

                I went to the 99 in Van Nuys---- I didnt see any fish in tanks, just stacked in ice bins. Didnt smell all that good. They had tanks of shell fish, but even that smelled pretty bad too. Fish felt slimy, I dont think that is a good thing?

              2. I have an etiquette question about ordering fish at 99 Ranch, Hawaii Supermarket, and the other great Asian markets in the San Gabriel Valley. I'd like to order the fish that are still swimming so that they are super fresh, but I'm far too squeamish to actually fillet, descale, and otherwise de-fish a fish.

                Can I order a fish from a tank and ask the supermarket employees to cute the fish all way into steaks? Is that common? Would I be charged for the weight of the fish in its intact state? (That would be fine, as the fish is generally so cheap there; I just want to know.) Thanks!

                3 Replies
                1. re: Sarahpet

                  Sure you can!!! you can even have it pre-fried so that you can make a fairly tasty sweet & sour fish with a few finishing touches. Just make sure they completely understand what you want.

                  1. re: Sarahpet

                    If you stand and watch for a few minutes, you can observe that most customers get their fish cleaned and filleted or cut into steaks. They also have a deep frying service, which I will never use because I am not sure about the quality of the oil.

                    All of these services are free of charge. I usually get the live catfish or tilapia and have them clean it and cut into steaks. Also popular among Indians is the grass carp, which they have live on occasion.

                    1. re: Sarahpet

                      At some 99's there is a picture card on the wall that shows 7 or 8 ways you can order the fish. ie... whole, scaled, filleted, steaks, fried, head off, head on, etc. You can just tell the guy a number. Also, a lot of the mongers speak spanish if you know that better than chinese.

                    2. anybody know of a 99 ranch market that is close to Hollywood?

                      1. anybody know of a 99 ranch market that is close to Hollywood?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: blackbookali

                          The closest would be Van Nuys or Monterey Park. During off peak traffic hours, it shouldn't take more than a half hour to get there. See 99 Ranch webpage link below.

                          Link: http://www.99ranch.com/Default.asp