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Kaohsiung's Newly Developed Aquaculture Fish Products/漁鄉風華 高雄水產伴手禮

Kaohsiung's Newly Developed Aquaculture Fish Products

◎English translation: Peng Shin-yi
◎Photos by Pao Chung-hui, Lin Yu-en, Hsu Chih-wei

     Kaohsiung's coastline makes it very convenient to access the ocean's resources, resulting in many coastal townships developing aquaculture as their main source of income. Over the years, each district has developed unique fish markets. 

     A new trend of aquaculture tourism has also blossomed. Kaohsiung City has been further developing its local fishing districts and the development of fine fish products, using local ingredients. Some of these products include Kaohsiung Fishermen's Association's popular Canned Pacific Saury Braised in Tomato Sauce and Yongan Fishermen's Association's Mushroom and Grouper Hotpot Kit. Other popular products include milkfish balls developed in the Mituo District, Mullet Roe Gift Boxes from the Zihguan District and the collagen jelly from Linyuan District. Visitors can now purchase these delicious, local fish products and learn about the industry from the local, friendly fishermen.

※Mituo's Sing Yi Fish Balls

     Mituo District is famous for its thriving, high quality milkfish and for 40 years, Sing Yi has been selling this local product. A mouthwatering aroma fills the store, and there are always long lines at the counter. It is particularly busy early in the morning when customers seek the freshest fish, sell out in minutes. Sing Yi Fish Balls are made from the freshest, best local milkfish.

     Milkfish has many fine bones, so the back of the fish is the only part suitable to make fish balls. The fish is ground into a fine paste and put on ice to make it chewy. Sing Yi's recipe calls for a unique blend of secret spices. The fish pulp is then stirred until it reaches a pasty consistency. At lightning speed, a team of workers form gigantic balls and toss them into a huge caldron of boiling water. Sing Yi processes an average of one thousand catties (600 kilo) of milkfish balls per day.

     Sing Yi's owner has adjusted the fish ball recipe several times to meet customers' feedback. The current fish balls are juicy, with a hint of garlic. They have a fine balance of fish flavor and seasoning and have no artificial additives. The chewy texture comes from the vigorous stirring and ice-bathing process. They can be kept frozen for about three weeks and as long as they are defrosted before they are cooked, they will taste just as good.

     Every year Mituo District hosts a Milkfish Festival and the fish balls are the most popular product. Sing Yi also started an online shop, so customers who don't live near Mituo can still enjoy their wonderful fish balls.

※Mullet Roe in Zihguan District

     Mullet is a migratory fish and about ten days before and after Winter Solace schools come to the Taiwan Straits to lay their eggs. Mullet season lasts from December to March, peaking in January. The rich in protein mullet roe is extremely labor intensive and time consuming to process. It is due to this expensive process; it was once a delicacy enjoyed only by the very rich.

     Ms. Ouyang Fen, a representative from the Zihguan Fishermen's Association, quotes premium grade mullet roe can sell for about 2800 NTD per Taiwanese catty (600 grams, or 1.5 lb) in the current market. However, the less expensive option of Select Grade sells for 1600 NTD per catty and is perfect for people who are buying mullet roe for gifts. Ms. Ouyang also explained, over the past few years wild mullet roe has become extremely popular in Zihguan District where they have been focusing on developing new products. In 2010, the Agricultural Committee released the one hundred best agricultural products, with premium grade, wild mullet roe hitting the top of the list for the best aquaculture products category. This brought significant recognition for the product. The majority of Zihguan premium grade, wild mullet roe is currently exported to Japan. However the association also hopes to further promote these products by targeting high-end retailers in Taipei.

     Premium grade, mullet roe is harvested exclusively from the wild. The Association hired 20-year veteran mullet roe specialist, Mr. Liu Hecyuan, to oversee operations. Mr. Liu inspects the fish, allowing only the round and full-bodied ones to be manufactured. They are then processed, salted, and placed between weighted planks to squeeze out water. The roe is then sun-dried and put into subzero freezers where they are put through a dehydration process. The process is repeated several times and the roe gradually becomes firm, yet mildly elastic. The amount of salt and the timing of salting process are constantly adjusted, depending on the size and weight of the roe sacks. It is processes like these that depend on Mr. Liu's extensive experience.

     Wild mullet roe is darker and has a greater variety of shape and size, with a slightly uneven fat distribution. They have a great texture, are mildly chewy and a lingering fishy flavor. Ms. Ouyang describes the best way to serve mullet roe is by blanching it in boiling water and then cutting it into thin slices, placing it alongside thinly sliced pears, apples and garlic. The sweetness of the fruit softens the saltiness, whereas the sharpness of the garlic accents the fish's robust flavor. It is truly a gourmet experience to enjoy this multi-layered delicacy.

※Linyuan Fishermen's Association Collagen Jelly

     Collagen jelly is a new and popular product currently produced in Linyuan District. Ingredients include fish scales, bones and fins, tail of tuna and giant seaperch roe parts. It is rich in collagen, and has nineteen different nutrients and amino acids and a base component of protein. With smaller molecules, it is easy for the body to absorb. It is an extremely healthy food and in four years it has become one of Linyuan's bestselling products. This great popularity is due to three years of laborious trial and error before the Linyuan Fishermen's Association's R&D team finally perfected the recipe. Currently collagen jelly sales top 10,000 units on average per month and were also among the top products selected by the Fisheries Agency in 2010.

     Collagen jelly was created from previously discarded waste such as fish parts and by reusing them, turned them into gold. Nutrients are extracted through a process of boiling and then rapid freezing in a specialized freezer, maintained at -50°C. The freezing temperatures keep the product fresh as well assisting in pasteurization. It takes eighteen hours to transform the fish parts into gelatin; however it does not taste like fish in any way. Director General of Linyuan District Fishermen's Association, Mr. Liu Ruei-ching describes the fishy smell as being the biggest challenge for the R&D unit to overcome. The association tried everything to get rid of it and would not disclose the solution. The collagen jelly invention has meant so much to this district, It has not only brought in a significant and steady income, it has also created nearly thirty new jobs for the local people.

     Collagen jelly comes in two options, low sugar or sugar-free. Free of chemical compounds and synthetic materials, it has a shelf life of fifteen days and must be kept at below 5°C. The collagen is also used to produce cosmetic products such as BB cream (blemish balm) and jelly masks.


漁鄉風華 高雄水產伴手禮

◎文/張嘉玲、侯雅婷
◎攝影/鮑忠暉、林育恩、徐志偉

     高雄市沿海各區養殖業發達,各具特色的漁業專區也卯足全力開發出最具代表性的水產產品伴手禮,從高雄區漁會的茄汁秋刀魚罐頭、永安區漁會推出的「百菇養生龍膽石斑火鍋」、彌陀區的魚丸、梓官區漁會的野生烏魚子禮盒及林園區漁會的膠原蛋白凍,旅人們不妨規劃一趟漁村之旅,感受討海人特有的豪邁和熱情,帶點當地的漁獲伴手禮,細細品嚐豐收的滋味。

※彌陀興義魚丸

     走到興義魚丸老店門口,店前一字排開攤攤魚貨產品,絡繹不絕的來客起勁挑貨。一旁大煮鍋裡白煙冉冉上昇,一粒粒碩大的魚丸在工作人員的手裡俐落成形,店裡欣欣向榮。
彌陀區盛產質量俱佳的虱目魚,為國內虱目魚主要產地。製做虱目魚丸已近40 年的興義魚丸老店採用當地生產的新鮮虱目魚,取其具有彈性、沒魚刺的魚背肉,以機器絞肉後打成魚漿,適時以冰塊降溫保持魚肉脆度,並加入調味料等,直到魚漿黏度呈現濃稠狀,再以傳統手工捏成魚丸,下鍋煮熟。一天約使用一千斤左右的虱目魚肉 ,絕大部分製成虱目魚丸,一斤魚肉則可製成20顆魚丸。

     興義魚丸糖、鹽比例拿捏得恰到好處,加上以獨門香料調味,強調不加化學添加物,魚丸入口具有彈跳口感,散發濃郁魚肉香氣,因加入蒜頭去腥味,入口鮮美,滋味豐富、爽口。每日熱騰騰剛煮熟起鍋的新鮮虱目魚丸廣受顧客歡迎,一大早前來購買的顧客川流不息,每逢彌陀區舉行虱目魚文化節時,外地遊客反映更是熱烈。興義魚丸亦架設網路,讓遠距離的顧客也能享用。鮮美質佳的虱目魚丸,是年節時最佳伴手禮。

※梓官烏魚子

     每逢冬至前後十天,烏魚必會出現於台灣海峽附近洄游產卵,烏魚由12月到隔年3月都有產出 ,盛產期為十月份,具高蛋白營養價值的烏魚子產量少、製作過程繁複,價格高,是昔日富貴人家餐桌上才可看見的佳餚。梓官漁會歐陽芬表示 ,特級烏魚子一台斤可達2800元,適合一般人送禮的烏魚子禮盒,一台斤約1600元。近3、4年來 ,梓官區漁會所製作的野生烏魚子頗受市場歡迎 ,2010年農委會舉辦的百大精品選拔中,頂級野生烏魚子禮盒即名列水產精品品項之一,足見其品質精良,目前外銷日本,已建立固定客源,並將販售駐點擴大到台北市場。

     歐陽芬表示,梓官區漁會只採購野生烏魚製作烏魚子,漁會並特別聘請在地二十幾年製作烏魚子經驗的劉何泉師傅,負責挑選肥美的烏魚。採收野生烏魚後,就由漁會附設的工廠取出烏魚卵 ,抹鹽,壓制塑形後,重複曝曬、冰凍的步驟之後,肉質變得更有彈性,外觀上成為市面販售,呈現平扁狀的烏魚子。製作過程中劉師傅嚴格控管製作流程、抹鹽時間亦須依烏魚卵大小、重量作不同處理,劉師傅的經驗傳承,是梓官漁會烏魚子保持美味的關鍵。野生烏魚子色澤較深,形狀大小、油脂分佈不一,吃起來格外黏牙,肉質Q,歐陽芬說,常見的吃法會將烏魚子水煮過後切片,配上水梨、蘋果、大蒜調味,酸甜口感在嘴中漾開,層次豐富。

※林園區漁會膠原蛋白凍

     林園區漁會歷時3年研發出膠原蛋白凍,粹取大片魚鱗、魚骨、魚鰭、鮪魚尾巴和金目鱸魚魚卵等水產產品中的優質膠原蛋白,且富含19項胺基酸成分,因分子小,較易為人體所吸收,產品推出逾4年,廣受好評,每月熱銷1 萬盒,膠原蛋白凍更獲選為行政院漁業署2010年水產精品。

     拜膠原蛋白凍的暢銷熱賣,原本遭廢棄的魚鱗等原料成了典型的廢土變黃金,大片魚鱗經過二次加工處理,在零下50度低溫急速冷凍,以保持原料的新鮮,達到殺菌之目的,製造過程超過18 小時,純天然的膠原蛋白凍嚐起來QQ的,卻沒有惱人的魚腥味,漁會總幹事劉瑞卿坦言,研發之初為了去除腥味可說是煞費苦心 ,當然去腥妙方也被漁會列為最高機密。膠原蛋白產業蓬勃發展 ,更提供當地近30人就業機會。
林園區漁會強調膠原蛋白凍完全不使用化學或人工原料,因此必須保存於5度C以下,品質新鮮保存期限為15天,有微糖跟無糖二種口味。除了膠原蛋白凍,還有膠原蛋白臉部產品,如BB霜及凍膜等。

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