Nobody can fail to notice the massive, satisfied smile on my face on this picture and what was going to happen next. Did my bliss have anything to do with the delightful seafood in front of me?
The answer is as clear as day, as obvious as any body language could indicate. The setting was in the heavenly San Franciscan Crab Restaurant, next to Fisherman’s Wharf overlooking the Bay, at sunset.
“Why do you love seafood so much?” John asked me. I was momentarily lost for an answer. Everywhere we go, I search for seafood, never pausing for a moment for a reason.
Now I wonder. My hometown was thousands of kilometers away from the nearest coast, and my earliest taste of the sea was the occasional dried squid or shrimps. So we can rule out that my ‘obsession’ to devour and savour as many marine delicacies as possible is either genetic or habitual. It’s an acquired taste which quickly developed and matured over time. Perhaps my Chinese inheritance does have an impact on my taste buds, as well as my adventurous spirit to try everything under the sun.
Is it the contrast between the hardness of the dark shells and the soft flesh of the mussels? Is it the satisfying sucking of tender oyster with its salty dreamy smell of the sea? Is it the slight chewiness and rubber-like calamari deep-fried from Aegean sea or the Tom Yum fish soup with aromatic enchanting smell of Thai spices, laced with lemongrass and a touch of coconut milk? Is it the steamed sea bass filled with ginger, garlic and sprinkled with spring onions and coriander or the smoked tiger prawns in their full glory of red, orange and white? Is it the mouthwatering, tear-inducing tastes of red snapper baked with a fruity spicy mixture, with minced chili, coconut power adding pineapple for sweetness combined with sour lemon? Or perhaps the waft of vinegary cod fish & chips from Scottish highland? Raw tuna and salmon sushi or a bubbling clay pot of fish stew? Best of all, have you tried the crab, shallow fried with fresh and dried red chili, Sichuan pepper and pickles? It would blow your mind away and leave you wanting for more!
There are endless ways to prepare and to cook the seemingly unlimited variety of seafood, not withstanding my condemnation of Japanese shark and whale hunting. I hope I have either impressed or horrified my readers with the numerous amazing gourmet seafood I have sampled during my many travels in different countries but words fail short to describe why I love seafood.
May you enjoy food and enjoy life! Thanks for joining us in this banquet, and please share your food stories or recipes with us!