The freshwater fish is tightly packed into a barrel and left to ferment for eight days. (Photo/CGTN
Stinky Mandarin Fish may not be a name to make the mouth water, but don't be put off: This unique delicacy from Anhui Province is sure to appeal to the taste buds.
The dish, made with freshwater fish, is stinky for good reason – it is traditionally marinated with salt, crammed tight under heavy stones in a barrel and left to ferment for eight days. Why? Traveling merchants 300 years ago loved the fish so much they wanted to take it back to their families, and were desperate to prevent it from rotting.
The texture and flavor of the meat are transformed by the process, the flesh firm and packed with unusual tastes. The merchants discovered that when fried with garlic, ginger, soy, and chili, the fish was fit for an emperor – even with the curious smell.