Black Sea horse mackerel, red mullet, mullet, anchovy, omul, nelma, muksun, Murmansk cod, Far Eastern red fish, chum salmon, chinook salmon, coho salmon ─ all this is just a small part of Russian fish delicacies. Moreover, Sakhalin shrimp, Kuril scallop, Kamchatka crab and Far Eastern hedgehogs have long been in high demand, and it is difficult to imagine a festive table without sturgeon and lightly salted red fish (read also: “From the royal table: three royal fish dishes”). Prior to the imposition of sanctions, Norway was the main supplier of salmon and trout to the Russian market. Today, more and more often it is necessary to look for decent fish from a domestic producer. Polina Kirova, development director of Rybset TM, told Marie Claire how to do it right.
The main difference between Russian fish and “Chinese counterparts” is that it is wild and commercial, while Chinese fish is farmed.
Of course, there are exceptions, for example, sturgeon, the fishing of which is prohibited on the territory of the Russian Federation, and the entire Russian sturgeon is aquaculture, like trout and salmon. But when grown in China - this is no secret for a long time - the fish is in unnatural conditions, where it is stuffed with artificial additives, hormones and antibiotics so that it regularly grows in size, does not hurt and acquire a beautiful color.
However, supplementary feeding and overfeeding are not all. Chinese production is also famous for various additives in processing - from gelling agents and water to increase weight, to phosphates and colors to improve the appearance of the product. In most cases, when purchasing Chinese fish, you can not only overpay for water, but also get completely unnecessary hormones and antibiotics in the place with the fish. To summarize: conditionally, Chinese fish is broiler chicken, and Russian fish is farmed. Which do you prefer?
It is better to eat chilled Russian fish only in proven restaurants of a high price segment, and you should not harbor the illusion that an excellent product can be bought “cheap and cheerful” in a store. 90% of chilled Far Eastern fish on the counter ─ defrosting (also see "10 types of fish that are better not to eat").
In this case, it is definitely better to buy frozen fish, defrost it correctly and cook it yourself.
But if you are determined to buy just chilled fish, check it as follows: the general appearance of the fish should be pleasant: note the absence of growths, humps, cuts and press your finger on your side to see if a hole remains. If the hole is well pressed and remains after you remove your finger, then the fish is stale and it is better to look at something else. When buying frozen fish without a head, look at the cut - there should be no bright orange bloom on it. The best option is transparent packaging, which does not interfere with fully and fully evaluating the product. And remember that it is not worth buying frozen fish in the market without packaging, as in hypermarkets of a low price segment. Also, when choosing a fish, be guided by several factors.
First, it is important where you buy your fish. In large chain hypermarkets of a low price segment, the probability of buying high-quality fish is extremely low for a number of reasons: the price threshold, which Russian products do not pass and a large assortment of modified Chinese products that are difficult to compete with in price. It is sometimes dangerous to buy fish in the markets - it is not packed there, and the storage rules are regularly violated. The most appropriate place to shop is in specialized fish supermarkets, where multilevel quality control operates, and due to the turnover, the products are always fresh.
Secondly, focus on the region of the catch. It is always indicated on the packaging, and if you see Made in China there, then the products are really Chinese. Of course, you won't notice this on the market, but you can always ask for a marking coupon and a veterinary certificate for a batch - the seller must provide them to you.
Thirdly, choose popular Russian fish products, which are much tastier and healthier than Chinese ones made in Russia.
Here are some of them:
Our Kurilian scallop is small and yellowish, with a characteristic aroma, while the Chinese one is large, even "washers" with a diameter of 6 cm or more of an even white color, which is achieved by bleaching with starch (which is why it is frankly tasteless and has almost no useful properties).
This is the most popular Chinese position in our market, despite the fact that it is Russia that supplies pollock to China. The Chinese add weight gain gelling additives and glaze to pollock fillets. Be careful and after defrosting, pay attention to the color of the liquid ─ it should be cloudy white, but not brown or brown. In a restaurant, look at the integrity of the fish fibers ─ after cooking, the meat should not fall apart and acquire a mushy consistency.
It would seem that this is a healthy product rich in protein, but it is useful only if it is a Russian commander squid ─ not very large, with yellowish-pink meat. The Chinese counterpart is usually pumped with phosphates to increase weight, add up to 30% glaze and bleach, so it is not difficult to visually distinguish it from the domestic one (besides, the Chinese squid has almost no smell).
There are many varieties of wild Russian shrimp (Botan, Angle-tailed, Magadan), which are now well represented in shops and restaurants. Chinese shrimp (the most popular type is Wanamei) is most often grown on an aqua farm, which involves adding antibiotics, hormones and dyes to the feed (as well as coloring the finished product).
This fish should not be consumed at all in the form in which it is supplied to us from China and Vietnam, since it contains a whole range of heavy metals and chemicals dangerous to the body. The most, perhaps, unpleasant thing is that pangasius is often served in restaurants under the name "sole", and this is a fish similar in appearance to it in a much higher price segment (and, unlike pangasius, very healthy). There is only one recommendation here: if you are not completely sure about the restaurant, it is better not to order the sole.
About the expert:
Photo: Getty Images, press archives
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