4.294 Steamed Wuchang Fish (Salad Oil)

Cycle 4 – Item 294

26 (Sat) October 2013

Steamed Wuchang Fish (Salad Oil)


at Hongyi Hotel

-Wuchang, Wuhan, Hubei, China-

with meeting participants

APACPH 45: The Wuhan Follies (Day 4)

  1. 4.291 Roasted Pigeon in Shiqi Style
  2. 4.292 Mushrooms & Morning Glory
  3. 4.293 Yabozi
  4. 4.294 Steamed Wuchang Fish (Salad Oil)

In Wuhan.  Here to attend the 45th Conference of the Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health (APACPH).


Wuhan University, School of Global Health.

The Climate Climatic Factors and Occurrence of Dysentery in Sri Lanka Incident.  Ostensibly, the whole point of the trip for me was my presentation.   I know a few things about a few things, but climate climatic factors and occurrence of dysentery in Sri Lanka isn’t one of them.  So, I just presented on our WHO project to assess health laws in countries throughout the Western Pacific.

Lunch was provided by the organizers.

For some reason, they didn’t provide seating, so everyone had to find random benches or steps where they could squat and eat.

The food wasn’t good.

First time eating a meal with a toothpick, probably the result of a well-intentioned but poorly executed idea of providing a “fork” for the convenience of the foreign attendees.


The Gala Banquet was hosted by APACPH at the Hongyi Hotel.  Buffet.  Nothing special.  Except for the bug.

Tuantoufang is a type of bream aka blunt-snout bream aka Wuchang Bream aka Megalobrama amblycephala.  Native to East Lake.  According to the Hubaei tourism website: “With delicate meat and plenty of fat, Wuchang fish can be cooked into many kinds of courses by different ways, of which steam in clear soup has the best flavor. Its fish is rich in protein and fat, and has high medicinal value on preventing anemia, hypertension and so on.”

Here, the fish was steamed with soy sauce and ginger.

The flesh was delicate in texture and sweet in flavor.  However, it had so many slender bones that felt like human hair that I couldn’t get beyond the first bite.  Oh well.

For some reason, the descriptions of all the dishes included the words “Salad Oil,” even on the hand-written labels.

Chateau Senbao: I’m sensing that all Chinese wines are sweet.

The Bug Incident.  The title of the incident tells the whole story.  Specifically, it was a larva of some kind, deep-fried to a crisp along with the chicken.  How apropos of the absurdity, symbolizing with delicious irony all that had gone wrong throughout the trip, I couldn’t have scripted a better ending.

While ate a lot during the trip, enjoying some of it, I never had the wherewithal to study the food and expand my rudimentary understanding of Chinese cuisine.  Over 4 days and 4 nights, my meals were sourced from just 2 restaurants, 2 hotels, plus a lunch box at the conference, what a travesty.  From that limited exposure, my general impression is that the Hubei cuisine is spicy, similar to the more famous Sichuan and Hunanese traditions nearby.  That’s all I got.


The Duty Free Store Incident.  At the duty free store in the airport, thinking that, whatever crap that I’d endured throughout the trip, at least I’d be going home with a trunkload of Scotch, I carefully selected 6 bottles – technically, Korean customs allows 1 liter per person, but I was traveling with several people, most of whom weren’t buying anything themselves, so I could hand the additional bottles to them if customs got picky – waited in line while the cashier hand-wrote each serial number into a ledger (no scanner) and wrapped each bottle in plastic and tape (no bags), only to be told as I handed over my credit card that they accept only domestic credit cards.  WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF DUTY FREE STORE ONLY ACCEPTS DOMESTIC CREDIT CARDS?  I’d imagine that this kind of incident occurs with foreigners on every out-going flight, every day of the week.  And yet, that’s the way it remains.  Goodbye, Wuhan.  Don’t expect me back anytime soon.  While yesterday evening’s bug in the food did indeed represent the climax, this was the coda.

In the departure lounge, the breastfeeding room and the smoking room are adjacent to each other, doors wide open – I would wager that none of the locals see the irony in this.

(See also BOOZE)



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