We watched a TV show about Westlake Restaurant in Changsha, China last night. It is the biggest Chinese restaurant on earth that hires 300 chefs for 5000 available seats. Westlake is some kind of theater restaurant where the guests can also enjoy traditional shows. If you eat in the Imperial Dining Room, you will be treated just like a Chinese Royalty of the past.
We really enjoyed the show until they showed how a Westlake Restaurant chef prepared a fried whole fish that was still gasping for breath when it was served. First the chef caught a fish that was still swimming about. Without killing it first, he firmly held the head of the fish and quickly he descaled it and later slashed the stomach to get rid of the guts and then he made few incisions on the body of the fish. Meanwhile, a large wok with very hot oil was ready to take the poor fish. Still holding the head, this time wrapped in cloth, the chef dunked the body of the fish with the tail down into the boiling oil in the wok. The head that he was holding did not touch the hot oil.
It was fried very quickly and when he was putting it in a plate ready to serve, to our horror, we could see that the unfried fish head was still moving. The large open mouth was still gasping for air. The descaling, the cuttings, the gutting and the frying did not kill it at all. The diners at the table was so impressed that the fish was still actually alive. Laughing and cheering, they poked a chopstick to the open mouth to make it move when the doomed fish was just about ready to die. When they saw the gill still managed to move, they squealed happily.
To this point, I had tears rolling down my eyes. I could not imagine the pain and agony that the fish must had been endured before eventually it was eaten by what supposed to be ‘civilized’ human beings!
No more, the sight was just too much…. we quickly changed the TV channel to watch something else…. but I could not concentrate anymore as the sight of the gasping deep fried fish was still fresh in my mind.
A Youtube link to watch a fried fish that was still alive. Warning! Gross images!