This is in contrast to how fish is usually served in traditional Chinese homes and "authentic" Chinese restaurants ("Chinese People Don't Order Chinese Take Out" article). Usually what you'll find is the entire fish, descaled and steamed (sometimes fried) with the head and tail fully intact. Growing up, this was the norm and I never realized that some non-Chinese have never seen the head of the fish served for dinner before. (This goes for the head of the chicken and duck that you'll sometimes find as garnish in a Chinese restaurant). Not only is it repulsive for some people, but for those who have never eaten fish with bones, it can be a very dangerous undertaking.
I have seen unsuspecting people take a bite out of what looked like a fillet of fish at a Chinese restaurant just to grimace in pain and find out the hard way that there are fishbones. Then they go into a hacking cough frenzy trying to get the bone out (which is not appetizing at all to see or hear). I guess this is to be expected if all the other foods you've ever eaten have either all been boneless (hamburgers, chicken breast, hot dogs) or had obvious bones (steak, ribs, chicken leg).
|Don't be fooled by the fillet form - There are still bones!!!|
I'll leave you with one last tip: when you get steam fish with the fish head intact, the best part of the fish's meat is actually its............*drum roll*...................cheek. Try it!