This Indo-West Pacific fish is found from the east coast of Africa
to the Pacific islands, and from the southern tip of Japan to the
north and west coasts of Australia. A few have gotten into the eastern
Mediterranean through the Red Sea. They can grow to 13 inches but the
photo specimen was 5-1/4 inches and weighed 0.6 ounce. Both caught
wild and farmed, this is considered a good eating fish and is not
This fish has good flavor and would be an excellent eating fish if grown to an 8 to 10 inch size. In the 5-1/4 inch size I've found around here it's a bit of a problem. First of all, it needs to be scaled, a bother for so small a fish, even though the scales have almost no adhesion and are easily scraped off with a thumbnail.
Deep fried, gutted or not (there's not a lot of guts in these fish), doesn't work well. The head is long, hard, and has a strong taste, but makes a convenient handle when eating the rest of the fish. Problem is, the rest of the fish has noticeable fin spines, there's a hard bone at the back of the body cavity and the backbone is just a little too crunchy.
Having bought a bag of them, I had to develop a satisfactory way to eat them. Below what I came up with. It does take close attention so you don't want to eat these while engaged in animated conversation, but it is kind of entertaining and the flavor is good. It's also good for weight control - you'd starve to death if you tried to live on these things.