Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Salted Mackerel in Oil

Another purchase from our recent visit to a Korean supermarket in Los Angeles was salted mackerel in oil, imported from Malaysia. 
I had strong misgivings about it, but decided I needed to try it. 
My misgivings were heightened when I opened the bottle and the strong smell of very fishy fish filled the room. There was nothing appetizing about it at all. Mackerel has a very strong taste and I have had some I've liked, and some I've really disliked. The fish strips were very spongy - very little firmness. 
I took a bite and could not get the outside pieces of flesh to break - they just expanded like a rubber band. It conveyed the essence of something that had been stored a very long time - from the smell, to the texture, to the taste. 
It was very strong, but not as bad as the smell and the texture had prepared me for. I ate two full pieces, but that was plenty enough and I have satisfied my desire for any future salted mackerel in oil treats.


  1. Reminds me of when i used to go shark fishing. We would go to the pier and catch some mackrel to use as bait. It was easy to catch and we would always have a lot more than what we needed. All we had to do was hold it up and someone would ask for it. Not sure why though it smells horrible even when fresh. Couldn't imagine what it would be like preserved. Sounds horrible.

  2. Gadzooks, Bob! The preserved salted mackerel is not meant to be consumed as is. I would love to be able to be able to find the salted mackerel you have.. it's pretty hard to find up here [in Oregon]. It's terrific when a few pieces are steamed with ground pork and ginger. For more on this, see: http://www.foodgal.com/2009/05/longing-for-pungent-dried-fish/.

  3. Anonymous - thank you! In my food adventures I am learning a lot as I go along. Much of it is by trial and error. Suggestions like yours provide a reason for me to try it again and use it in the way it is intended. I'll have to buy some more as the prior batch has already found its way into the garbage can.

  4. Bob: I like your spirit! I don't think very many people would make it past a bite of the salted fish, let alone 2 whole pieces! On your next try with it, if there is one, just follow the recipe in Carolyn's [FoodGal] blog. It's pretty authentic and I'm sure [if you like Asian dishes] that it will be a good experience for you.. and be sure to post your opinion of it here. BTW, you might poke around on FoodGal's blog site. There are a lot of interesting posts in it.

  5. Hi Bob, there are 3 "traditional" ways of eating this

    1) Steamed with ground pork and cuttle fish and spring onions and ginger.

    2) Fried, broken into a mash/mince to be added to fried rice

    3) pork patties, add a tiny bit into the minced pork and fry/grill like burgers.


  6. 1) http://wensdelight.blogspot.com/2010/04/steamed-minced-pork-with-salted-fish.html

    2) http://thaifood.about.com/od/thairecipes/r/fishfriedrice.htm

    3) http://craftiecookie.com/2011/07/28/pan-fried-pork-patties-with-salted-fish/

  7. u supposed to treat it as anchovies; where anchovies is small, mackerel have more meat. they are very salty so only use small bits at a time

  8. These foods taste better when served fried with a little oil like frying an egg..most Malaysian serve mackerel with rice and only eat mackerel in small amounts

  9. Chicken or Shrimp fried rice with salted fish, it's the best, sometimes steam with pork and ginger and serve with white rice, so delicious!