What did I see in the Asian food market?

In the fresh (to say the least) seafood section, there was all sorts of live stuff, most of which I easily recognized as eels, crabs, frogs, etc., but one creature baffled me.

They looked a little bit like frogs, but without legs–or maybe something like very lumpy fish. They were writhing around in a container, without water, though they seemed kind of damp-to-moist. (The frogs were up to their eyeballs in water, but not these guys, who were definitely alive, though maybe not for long.) They were brown and spotted, with shiny skin. They were about the size of large frogs.

This was in Flushing NY if that helps.

Possible to snap a picture?

They could have been sea cucumbers. The Korean grocer in my town sells sea cucumbers that look sort of like you described. Greenish brown, sort of torpedo-ish or pear shaped, somewhat squirmy if provoked. Of course, hilarious grotesquery ensues when you really provoke a sea cucumber, a disgusting display of darwinian theater of the absurd, to be sure.

I’ve never eaten one, so I can’t tell you how they taste; I think out of simple respect I could never consume an animal whose only defense mechanism was to turn itself inside out and hurl its own intestines at me…

Here is a picture from a website actually called the “Sea Slug Forum” - a valuable ally in the fight against an extremely specific form of ignorance…

The Sea Cucumber


Nuts, I was going to suggest mudskippers. They are edible. Apparently.

What’s your idea of a “large frog” (how many inches)? Did it have any appendages at all (tail, fins, antennae, etc)? Did it have two eyes and a mouth?

:eek: Without legs? :eek:
:eek: Shadow Over Innsmouth :eek: :eek: :eek:

How about Monkfish?

Well, they do look like frogs, but they don’t occur in the Americas and it’s pretty unlikely they would be imported live for food.

I seem to recall there are aquarium escapees established in Florida, and they’re fairly common there. Maybe a nature show about invasive foreign species or something.

Mudskippers, not monkfish.

Maybe this is what happens to the rest of the frogs after the French restaurant are done with them…

No, this is what happens to the frogs. “Couple dining in restaurant watch as a legless frog emerges from the kitchen pushing himself along on a dolly. Sign on wall says, ‘Try Our Frogs Legs.’)” Link to Sam Gross’ famous cartoon from the New Yorker.

I haven’t heard anything about this, and a quick Google reveals nothing. Are you sure you’re not thinking of Walking Catfish (which are common in Florida)? In anycase, I think it’s pretty unlikely that they would be sold in a fish market in NY, even an Asian one.

I’m thinking even more they might be mudskippers, Colibri’s point notwithstanding, having found some pictures of spotted ones. I’d have no problem believing some enterprising Asian is importing these things.

OK kids…It’s time for the Muddy Mudskipper Show! Happy Happy Joy Joy!!!

Yes, I agree they look a lot like frogs, but aside from the fact that they are very unlikely to turn up in a NY fish market, they are very agile and more likely to be leaping about than “writhing” (that is, from what I have seen of their behavior in the South Pacific and Africa). Also, they are mostly the size of fairly small frogs, not large ones.

Monkfish look the closest.

I have a brand new cell phone with camera, so new that I forget that I am walking around wth photographic capacity at all times. Shame, that.

Fine, if not mudskippers, how about mudpuppies?

Out of curiosity, which store did you see this in? Was it on Main Street, Union, or Roosevelt? Or one of the streets off Main?

A similar kind of fish is the Northern Stargazer, which is edible (also electric!), but I think much less commonly sold commercially than monkfish.