Tuesday, July 28, 2020


One thing I love about Asian markets is the availability of fish and seafood-based snacks. I’m the kind of person who can eat dried smelts or leftover shrimp or crawfish for breakfast, so the idea of munching on dried and salted mini-shrimp or dried and salted shredded fish the way other people would scarf down potato chips is heaven to me, and I always grab a few fish-snacks of that type whenever I hit the huge Asian supermarket “99 Ranch Market” in Houston or Austin (we don’t have one here in San Antonio, alas).

Therefore, I was happy to make the acquaintance of CHYUM SALTED EGG FISH CHIPS, buying three 4-ounce bags online, when the company recently offered a free shipping sale. My only question is…where has this product been all my life.

I’ve eaten dozens of kinds of dried and salted fish snack foods over the years, but have not had a fish skin-based one before. Evidently, this kind of product is very popular in Southeast Asia, and a brand named IRVIN’S SALTED EGG FISH CHIPS is the #1 snack food in Singapore!

The brand I’m discussing today, though, is sourced from Vietnam and distributed by a small American company out of San Francisco, CHYUM FOODS. Presently, this is their only offering, so I thought I’d help them along by promoting their delicious product.

I do love fish skin. Whenever I cook fish on the grill, the skin gets crispy and also absorbs the juices from the fish meat, and the rest of the family, most of whom are not fish-skin fans, offer their skin to me when they finish the non-skin part (do I hear someone making reference to the film I EAT YOUR SKIN, the re-titled zombie movie put on a double bill with I DRINK YOUR BLOOD in 1971 by Jerry Gross’ legendary Cinemation Industries? I remember well the ads for that show, although I was too young to get in as I DRINK YOUR BLOOD was rated “X” for violence—I had to wait until the VHS era to see it).

Essentially the product consists of strips of fish skin, fried in palm oil with a bit of tapioca starch and salt, and a coating mixture dominated by powdered (I’d guess) egg yolk and curry leaves. There’s also a bit of lard introduced somewhere in the process, and any tamale-loving readers know you can’t fake the presence of lard. Lard may kill me, but its basic creaminess and its meaty “bite” make the dying a pleasure. From a distance, you’d think these were chicharrones/pork rinds, but once you get closer, you notice the shiny fish skin and the green chunks of curry leaf. The egg yolk and the mix of coconut oil and sunflower oil give the chips a nice sweetness which balances the saltiness and the fishiness perfectly. And it’s as crunchy as pork rinds/chicharrones, so you’ve got the ultimate snack-food trifecta of crunchy, salty and sweet. The bag reads CRISPY CRUNCHY HAPPINESS, and I totally agree.


debbie downer said...

lol gross lol some real winners here lol

GL said...

Lard won't kill you - it's a well debunked myth.