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Foodstuff: Chili Salangids

Chili Salangids 1

I accidentally came across this product while reaching for a jar of XO Sauce whilst shopping down south a while ago. The jar was on the shelf alongside several varieties of XO Sauce and it wasn’t until I picked it up and looked more closely that I saw I had chosen something rather different.

Salangids are, in the strictest use of the term, small fish belonging to the family Salangidae (sometimes called the ‘noodle-fish’ due to their shape and translucency) but I rather suspect that the term is used a bit like ‘anchovy’ and often applied to many sorts of similar fish. Suffice it to say though, the fish in his product, are very tiny, immature fish rather like the ‘Silverfish’ I highlighted in my post on ‘Silverfish Peanuts’. Anyway, biological quibbles aside, I was interested to see what this condiment might be like… 

Chili Salangids 2

Here you can see the tiny fish in close-up view. From the exterior of the box, I was rather expecting a much ‘saucier’ sort of product but it consist chiefly of the fish themselves with just a little sauce coating them. There is a definite aroma once you open the jar but it is not easy to describe. The best I can say is that it reminds me of the aroma of the oil from peanut butter with a vaguely marine quality lurking in the background.

The jar lists the ingredients as being ‘Small fish, Sesame, Salt, Sugar, Soy Sauce, Vegetable Oil, Chili Pepper and Spices’. The flavor is quite pleasant, and rather like XO Sauce in some ways as there is a shellfish, rather than a fish taste, and a definite sweetness. I can’t begin to guess what spices there might be other than chili as there really isn’t a ‘spicy’ taste as such. The chili is almost completely unnoticeable at first but after a few seconds it develops quite quickly and is moderately strong.

There are no serving suggestions on the packaging but I can see this being eaten as a ‘side-dish’ condiment rather as one might pickles or nuts, etc. The fish have a bit of a leathery quality, but other than this the texture and taste makes it quite suitable as a standalone snack. Beyond that, the possibilities are probably a bit limited. It might be incorporated into a few cold preparations, perhaps mixed with jellyfish, or cucumber shreds as a ‘salad’, but hot preparations would probably be a waste as the taste is a bit too delicate to survive cooking, or to compete with any but the mildest of ingredients. All in all, I like this product but the flavor might not be to everyone’s taste…


3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Interesting, I’d be curious to find how this is eaten. I had a few friends from Taiwan and China who’d eat lots of dried squid, dried shredded pork (looks like lint) and dried shrimp straight out of the bag like snacks. By the way John -did you do a blog post on XO sauce? I bought a jar and can’t remember why. I’d been looking for it so long LOL.

    February 17, 2015
    • I’ve been planning a post on XO sauce but I have never seen it available locally. I’m going to have to wait until my next trip South… I also want to try making my own 🙂

      February 17, 2015
      • Ah, great, I look forward to it. I got mine on Amazon and I’m sure I spent way too much but it also looks like it won’t be going bad anytime soon.

        February 17, 2015

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