Spotted Goby
Two Whole Spotted Gobies [family Gobiidae ??]

The fish shown here, wild caught in Vietnam, are not any of the "spotted gobies" listed on Fishbase, but fishbase lists 1786 species of goby and has photos of only half of them. I looked at all the photos and didn't find this one, so some goby expert will have to ID it - if it is actually a goby. These fish measured about 5-3/4 inches long and weighed about 1 ounce each.

More on Gobies.



Gobies are a bit of a challenge for a regular North American fish eater. They are very small, some have a unique and fairly strong flavor, the skins are tough and turn into glue when heated, they are bony and prickly. I have no idea how they're eaten in Asia, but I have come up with a method by which these fish can be enjoyed without an undue amount of effort.

The flesh is medium colored and has a distinct and fairly assertive flavor typical of gobies.

Buying;   These or similar gobies can be found now and then in markets serving Philippine and Southeast Asian communities. They are usually at a low price, often US $1.99 per pound.

Method;  

  1. Scrape off the scales. This fish has huge scales for its size, but they scrape off pretty easily.
  2. Cut off the head diagonally, forward at the top passing behind the pectoral and pelvic fins. Discard it.
  3. Scrape out the guts. There won't be a lot because the body cavity is very short and most guts went out with the head.
  4. Fillet. Hold down the tail, cut through the tough skin at the tail and fillet in a single stroke forward, leaving the backbone and fins. When you get near the head end move your fingers up just behind the blade to control the cut. Flip over and do the other side.
  5. Dust fillets with lightly salted rice flour. Even though you are going to deep fry you want to do this, or every time the fish hits your spatula or the pan it will stick - the skin turns to glue when heated.
  6. Heat enough high temperature oil for deep frying to around 400°F/200°C and fry stirring in small batches until lightly browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels. The fillets will curl sharply crosswise and gently lengthwise, but that isn't at all a problem here.
  7. Serve with a Southeast Asian fish sauce based dip, or with just a good Philippine vinegar with some salt.

Stock:   Not tested - don't expect good results.

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