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Types of Fish in Chinese Wedding Menu

The expensive ingredients such as fish, abalone, fish maw, sea cucumber, scallop, prawns used in Chinese wedding menu make the packages pricier. Fish is popular dish served in Chinese weddings as a symbol of abundance because the Chinese word for fish sounds like the word surplus (yu 余). Here are some of the more popular types of fish dishes served at wedding banquets. 

1. Local Chinese Pomfret/ Ikan Bawal Tambak (上斗鲳) priced at a whopping RM98 per kg (MySeafoofMart) is the most expensive pomfret and is a popular wedding dish (steamed). Commonly known as 斗底鲳 (Dao Dai Chong), usually given a ‘nama glamor’ in Wedding Menus. Prices of other pomfrets are much lower: Golden Pomfret (銀鲳) RM35 per kg. Black Pomfret (黑鲳) RM22-35 per kg. White Pomfret (白鲳) RM16-35 per kg, depending on size. MySeafoofMart claims that their Local Chinese Pomfret is free of formaldehyde. Some imported ones in the market are soaked with Formaldehyde to preserve freshness.

Chinese pomfret is much sought-after due to its delicate white flesh with subtle “non-fishy” flavour. Unlike white pomfret, the flesh does not break up easily on the plate, yet it still maintains its flaky textures. It also provides a ‘meatier’ and fuller-bodied mouth-feel.

Pomfrets at Chinese weddings are usually steamed with superior soya sauce.
Ying Yang Pomfret, Oriental Banquet PJ.


2. Cod Fish (鳕鱼) – RM75-120 per kg. The flesh is snow white, flaky, delicate with a buttery, mild taste, melts in your mouth if cooked correctly. Mostly served in hotel weddings; Westin KL, Renaissance, Grand Hyatt, JW Marriott KL.

Speed Steamed Cod Fish, Duo of Shimeji Mushroom in Soy Sauce from Westin KL weddings.
Steamed cod fish topped with crispy garlic and preserved vegetable (Grand Hyatt KL weddings)

3. Grouper

3.1 Dragon Tiger Grouper (龙虎班, ‘Loong Fu Pan’) RM68 per kg (from MySeafoodMart) – Similar to normal grouper; the flesh silky and smooth with a distinctive taste but firmer to bite and slightly chewy. It is a hybrid between Orange-Spotted Grouper (tiger) and Giant Grouper (dragon).

Feb 2015: To cook the Dragon Tiger Grouper I got from MySeafoodMart, we brought it to Yuen Kee restaurant at Sunwaymas Commercial Centre. When you have a fish so fresh, you’d want to keep the seasoning to a minimum. The cooking style is soya sauce based with a seasoning mixture of minced ginger, caramelized onions and bird’s eye chili for an added kick. It was delicious and the texture of the flesh was very similar to normal grouper – sweet and smooth but firmer to bite.

Dragon Tiger Grouper from MySeafoodMart, steamed with soya sauce, ginger garlic mix. 

3.2 Sea Grouper / Ikan Kerapu (石斑魚, Sek Pan) RM56 per kg. Grouper meat cooks up very firm, with big flakes and holds its moisture better than many other fish. It has a mild but very unique flavor.

3.3 Giant/Estuary Grouper/ Ikan Keratang/ Long Dan (大龙旦) 68-640 per kg. The giant grouper is a deep sea fish that can grow up to 9 feet long. The value of the Giant Grouper lies in the large amount of collagen found in its skin, head and fins, also the size of the fish.

Left: Grouper. Right: Estuary Grouper (Ikan Keratang)

Ikan Keratang

Steamed Estuary Grouper Fish with black Fungus – wedding at Jaya Palace, PJ.

Jul 2015: Estuary grouper (loong tan) is a very nice fish for eating – no bones to content with and a thick layer of collagen between the skin and the flesh. Jaya Palace slightly overcooked the fish but it was still a great dish.

4. Red Snapper/ Ikan Merah (红鱼) RM39-44 per kg. (Supplier: SeafoodMalaysia, MySeafoodMart)
Red snapper is a lean, moist fish with a firm texture and a sweet, nutty flavor which makes it a very versatile fish to cook. It is perfect for grilling, baking (stuffed), steaming and frying. The sauce can be intense, spicy, tangy or the milder soy sauce with coriander leaves garnish is fine too.

Aug 2013: 8-course Chinese wedding banquet at The Gurney Resort Hotel & Residences, Penang. Fish is commonly served in Chinese wedding as a sign of abundance in life for the newly married couple. We had steamed red snapper with soy sauce which was fresh, simple and delicious. 

Wedding banquet at The Gurney Resort Hotel & Residences, Penang. Steamed red snapper with soy sauce

Here are some of the fish names in Malay:
Pomfret – Ikan bawal
Grouper – Ikan Kerapu
Red Snapper – Ikan Merah
Golden Snapper – Ikan Jenahak
Silver Catfish – Ikan Patin
Asian Redtail Catfish – Ikan Baung, Sobong – 白须公 (Bái xū gōng, bak sou gung)
Catfish – Ikan keli
Marble Goby – Ikan Ketutu – Soon Hock
Indian Mackerel – Ikan kembung
Narrow-barred Spanish Mackerel  – Ikan Tenggiri
Eel – belut
Skipjack Tuna – Ikan Tongkol 
Yellowfin Tuna – Ikan Aya Sirp Kuning
Snakehead Murrel – Ikan Haruan
Wolf Herring  – Ikan Parang
Yellowstripe Scad – Ikan Selar Kuning
Barramundi – Ikan Siakap
Toli Shad – Ikan Terubok
Stingray – Ikan Pari
Fourfinger threadfin – Ikan Senangin – 馬友 (Ma Yau)
King Threadfin – Ikan Kurau

Ref:,,,, fishclub,,,

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