I recall Walter Cronkite relating a story that may have happened in the '70s, where he and his wife were guests of honour at a dinner in China. His wife was served a fish in a nice brown sauce. The trouble was, it was still breathing; gasping for air and its gill slots opening and closing.
Recently I saw a video of some sort of cooking competition where the fish was served gasping; but I haven’t tried to find it again. (Not that it’s gross; just don’t feel like it right now.)
Are these fish prepared in any way? (‘Now fish, very soon you will meet your Maker…’) ISTR they are scaled (probably unpleasant for them). Are they gutted just before serving, so that they are still alive but not flopping off of the plate? What’s the actual procedure?
My understanding, albeit anecdotally, is that the fish is actually dead. The gasping motions are mostly residual nerve firing, since the cook doesn’t do anything to the head and gill areas of the fish - the dish is made by dunking the bottom of the fish in a deep fryer.
That being said, I still wouldn’t eat it. It may be dead but it’s still creepy. And I’m a pretty adventurous eater by nature.
I saw the one I remember seeing. Looks like they scale it, then dip it in hot oil. I didn’t see the typical gut-cut, but it looks like the innards may gave been removed through the lateral slice at the ‘throat’.
Well, I think you have found my culinary bounday. Although, Raw Oysters might still be twitching… guess I might eat live Urchin, Oyster, Scallop, or Clam… possibley shrimp, lobster or langostine “writhing sushi”. Would most pointedly dispatch any fish I might eat. The live baby octopi that they eat in Korea are not for me.
However, I have eaten a salad of boiled and traditionally Japanese marinated baby octopi with seaweed… very good- I like their tentacles better than their globulous and cartilagenous heads… some strange texturous eatings, there… I know they were fresh, but at least dead at inception and preperation.