The name of Sichuan means “four rivers”. They refer to Jinsha, Yalong, Min, and Jialing Rivers.

That’s probably why Sichuanese prefer freshwater fish to seafood.

Cormorant fishing is a skill that many youngsters only see on TV, but in parts of Sichuan, it’s still being practised.

Cormorants are hard workers. They are willing to work on a minimum wage of 2.5 kg of fish per day.

The most common freshwater fish in Sichuan is the carp.

Rich in protein, easy to cook, and carp soup is said to boost breast milk production.



One simple recipe is steaming the carp, then pouring hot oil with condiments over it.

Celery is a must-have for any fish dishes. It helps to get rid of the fishy smell.

Or you can fry a carp in hot oil and chili bean sauce.

Channel catfish, small and having few bones.

The ya fish are native to the city of Ya’an in Sichuan.

They look like a cross between the common carp and the trout.

Pan-fried ya fish.

Then boiled in stock.

Simmer in a claypot.


Marinated in pickled red pepper and pickled ginger.

Then pan-fried.

Or made into soup with tomatoes and spring onion.

Since the fishermen went to so much trouble to catch them, every part of a fish is to be utilised.

Fish skin with pickled vegetables.

Deep fried fish bones coated in egg batter.

Fishballs made from grass carp, served with honey and tomato sauce.

Fish head soup with tofu and vegetables.


Deep fried.


Cooked in hot pot.

Unfortunately, fish population in Sichuan is dwindling. Partially due to overfishing (many of them are stranded on land and in the street after a flood):

Partially due to a large number of predators, young and old, human and beast:

So if you want to try out hotpot fish, you’d better hurry. Or you’d only be able to enjoy the taste of fish from a screen.

Image source


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About fmiswriting

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