Life in China:A Picture A Day,March 25, 2016

Today we had a couple of friends from Shenzhen come to visit us :-) We tried a Chinese northern cuisine restaurant here in Songshan Lake that we hadn’t been to yet. This restaurant has only Chinese on the menu and it is SOOO much easier going for the first time with Chinese friends! The main dish we had was called Sōngshǔ yú 松鼠鱼 or Squirrel Fish. It has nothing to do with an actual squirrel though! And it isn’t the fish actually named “squirrel fish” either! It can be a number of different kinds of fish. There is a story that goes along with the name: In the 1700’s, there was a law against eating carp, but, an emperor wanted some and told his cook to prepare it or he would die! So, supposedly the creative chef made “squirrel fish.” It is supposed to look like a flying squirrel, or literally a “pine rat.” It is also called “sweet and sour Mandarin fish.” The bones are removed (for the most part) and the fish is cut in a cross-hatched pattern, coated with cornstarch, fried, then a very “ketchuppy” sweet and sour sauce is added. I’m curious…has anyone seen this dish in a Chinese restaurant outside of China?