For as far back as I can remember, the coolest things in the ocean have always been octopuses, sharks (of course sharks) and anglerfish.
If you don’t understand why, go google image search anglerfish. I’ll wait.
I’ve seen sharks at the aquarium and handled dogfish on the fishing boat, and we occasionally play with octopuses in our neighbourhood vegetable market. But I’d never seen a real angler fish until last night, when I was picking up take-out at one of our favourite local restaurants. They have a big display of live and nearly-alive seafood that changes every night, depending on what the boss finds at the seaside market. I wasn’t sure what these fish were at first, but the teeth got my attention:
The staff told me 安康鱼 ān kāng yú, which my dictionaries don’t have. But between Baidu and Pleco we found it: it’s a monkfish 鮟鱇 ān kāng, which is a kind of anglerfish (notice the real name is nearly the same as our initial search, except with a “fish” radical added to each character: 鱼 + 安 = 鮟 / 鱼 + 康 = 鱇).
Anglerfish! How cool is that? Their… bioluminescent things (I won’t even pretend to know what the actual word is) were plastered down on their heads and don’t show in the photos, but it was easy to lift them up for a look.
A google image search for monkfish turns up what looks like the exact same fish as in the restaurant — a particular kind of very ugly anglerfish.
A google search for anglerfish will give you nightmares.
I remember as a kid being told how there were people on other countries who were so poor they had to eat fish heads and rice. The general point about how good we have it in the West compared to most of the rest of the world is more or less legit, but it never occurred to me then that people in other countries might actually like fish heads.
(From one of our neighbourhood restaurants.)
Our group of Chinese preschool employees celebrating Teacher’s Day with dinner at an extravagant Chinese BBQ buffet last weekend was actually told to quiet down by the restaurant staff.
We were too loud for a Chinese restaurant. Too loud. For a Chinese restaurant! This has got to be a first ever. A world record. A major breakthrough in physics. A hole in the space-time continuum. Or something.
What, there’s a lineup of huge glass jars of whole snakes, lizards and deer penises soaking in booze on the drink counter? Well what did you expect to find there? This is China; China’s a whole nother version of normal.
Our preschool staff had Teacher’s Day dinner at an extravagant BBQ buffet, which included all-you-can-drink beer and traditional Chinese health tonics:
Lizards, snakes, various roots, gǒuqǐ berries (枸杞), etc. of various combinations soaked in hard Chinese liquor （白酒）:
These kinds of tonics are not uncommon in Chinese restaurants around here. They’re usually intended to 补阳 (supplement your male qualities).