Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans


Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans (called Dau Si Laing Yiu in Chinese)

Those of you who grew up in a Chinese household or who have friends that are Chinese, likely remember eating Fried Dace, or remember parents or grandparents eating it. If so, you’ll quickly recognize the distinctive oval-shaped tin its packed in, with the red and yellow label, including a picture of the Dace on it.  Classic!

While my family isn’t Chinese, I remember my grandmother and mother eating Fried Dace on occasion when I was growing up. They of course learned about it from their Chinese friends back in Kohala where they grew up.

Like most kids, back then at a young age I was put off by the pungent smell and appearance of this preserved fish and wouldn’t go near it.

Yet now well into my adulthood, I really enjoy delicacies like this. Being a preserved fish in a can with black beans and oil, it has an intense, penetrating smell and flavor profile that, obviously just by the sound of it, you know Fried Dace is going to be an acquired taste. If you’re not convinced about that yet, just wait until you see how it looks.

Come to find out Diner AC, who is part Chinese, grew up eating Fried Dace, which I found out recently when we were talking about “hana-baddah dayz” (childhood) grindz. That conversation must have kindled enough interest for her to go on a Chinatown “quest” recently to look for Fried Dace, to which she found some from a store she didn’t get the name of  (you know how those hole-in-wall shops in Chinatown often don’t have names on them!).

Which led me on my own Chinatown “quest” to find some too. And I did! But let me tell you, it was far and few between.  In fact only one little hole-in-the-wall Chinese grocery shop had it out of more shops than I can remember counting where I browsed through intently looking for it. Whew, at least I found some.

Come to find out, as Diner AC brought to my attention after scouring the net for information on it, back in 2005, the Chinese press created a mass scare over Fried Dace when they revealed that the Chinese Mud Carp (Dace) were treated with Malachite Green – an industrial dye used to prevent the fish from parasites – which was said to cause cancer in humans if enough of it is ingested.

The brands accused of containing traces of Malachite Green were Pearl River Bridge, Yu Pin Mei Cai and Gulong, which the Chinese government apparently stepped in and asked retailers to remove those brands from the shelf back at the time of the hysteria.

What the Chinese press failed to include in their report is that according to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, a person must ingest more than 290kg of fish with Malachite Green in it EACH DAY in order for any adverse health effects to take place. That calculates to 1,576 cans of fried dace a day. I highly doubt I can eat more than 1,576 cans of Fried Dace in an entire life time, let alone in one day! Just from the amount of SALT in it, you’d probably suffer cardiac arrest due to extremely high blood pressure before you get cancer if you ate THAT MUCH Fried Dace.

Perhaps the Malachite Green issue falls right along with the Mercury scare in Tuna.

I’m not sure what the status is today (2009) on any given brand of Fried Dace in China, but apparently it’s still affecting distribution of Fried Dace right here in Hawaii, as even in Chinatown it’s presently very hard to come by. Before, you could get Fried Dace at just about every supermarket on the island in the Asian section. It was also very cheap “back then”, but now the price is considerably higher. I paid $3.99 each for the cans shown above. When I told my mother that, she was sticker-shocked.

Now let’s take a closer look at the can of Fried Dace we have here. Thankfully it’s written on one side in English…

Notice this one is FRIED DACE with SALTED BLACK BEANS. Very, very important you get the one with BLACK BEANS, called ‘Dau Si’  in Chinese. That’s the tastiest and most popular version. Other flavors of Fried Dace include plain, chili, curry, tofu and Chinese Olives.

and on the other side in Chinese…

On the bottom left of this side of the label it states the ingredients (at least I THINK that’s what it is!): SAUCE, PLANT OIL, REFINED CANE SUGAR, SAUCE, TABLE SALT, EDIBILITY SPICES. Ha! You just gotta’ love them Chinese-translated labels.  Good gosh, I sure HOPE the spices in here are EDIBLE! “Edibility Spices”. lol! Apparently they forgot to list the most important ingredient of all, the DACE. Perhaps they figure you can figure that part out by the picture on the label.

‘Dace’ is  a trade name given to this fish from Hong Kong. It’s also known scientifically as Cirrhinus Chinensis, or in lay terms, Chinese Mud Carp. They’re fresh water fish that inhabit rivers, feeding on worms, shrimp and detritus.

As long as it’s not from a canal, I think I’m OK with it. lol

Well waddaya’ know, I got the same brand that was removed from store shelves in Hong Kong back in 2005…

PRB BRAND, a.k.a. PEARL RIVER BRIDGE BRAND. This brand is supposedly the original and best Fried Dace, while there are many knock-off brands out there now; some with very similar looking label designs and oval-shaped can. Malachite Green be damned, I’m glad I got the original.

Oh, in case you’re wondering whether a ‘Pearl River Bridge’ actually exists, it does! Click here for more information about the Humen Pearl River Bridge.

Here’s the importing company…

I’m not sure whether or not these nutritional facts are based on US FDA standards, but hey, FWIW, at least it’s there…

Finally we have the top of the can, which as you see they provide a handy-dandy pull-tab…

You can also see the manufacturing date stamped on: MFD: 2008.12.28; EXP: 2011.12.28. It also states on the side of the can that the shelf life is three years. Three year old edible fish kept shelf-stable at room temp’? You KNOW that’s gotta’ be packin’ a PUNCH! lol

Talking with my mother about Fried Dace, she said it’s known in China as “Hokka”. That spelling is probably incorrect, but “Hokka” is known there as “Peasants Food” or “Poor Man’s Food”. I suppose in the US you can call that “College Grub”. Fried Dace is to Chinese what Luncheon Meat, Vienna Sausage, Pork ‘n Beans and Corned Beef are to Americans. Basically very tasty (salty) meat (fish) in a can (lasts a long time) on a budget. Just add starch and you’re set.

In the case of starch to accompany Fried Dace, that would be none other than a steaming hot bowl of rice, or for many Chinese, they put the Fried Dace in or on their Congee, a.k.a. Jook, a.k.a. Rice Porridge.

My mother heats up her Fried Dace by opening the lid of the can and placing the can DIRECTLY on the stove burner. No pans and no pots to mess with; the can is the “pan”. She heats it up until the oil the Dace is packed in is hot enough to literally deep-fry it right in the can. Once the Dace is sizzlin’ and a little crispy, she turns off the heat, let’s it cool down a bit, then digs right in. Put some FRIED Fried Dace on the hot rice and enjoy. If she has it, she also likes to add Duck Egg and Lup Cheong with the Fried Dace which gives the palate a powerhouse of flavor combinations in one bowl.  Some Coleman’s Mustard and Shoyu Dipping sauce on the side and it’s a done deal.

So with all the aformentioned hype, am I scared now to eat Fried Dace? Absolutely NOT! Let’s open a can and have some!…

Ha. I kinda’ figured that handy-dandy pull-tab wasn’t going to work, which it didn’t, so I ended up using a can opener.

I suppose now that I look it, you could think of Fried Dace as the Chinese equivalent of Sardines, albeit much saltier thanks to the black beans.

Here’s the entire contents of that can transferred into a bowl…

That may look pretty gross, but believe me, it TASTES really, really GOOD!

So in this can (we’re taking inventory here) there’s 2 full Dace, sans the head and fins, and 1 half piece, plus a generous serving of salted black beans and enough vegetable oil to fill the can about 1/3 full.

Here’s one of the Dace split in half where you can see, just like canned sardines, the spine and rib bones are semi-soft and entirely edible…

Like mom does it, I put the dace in the can directly on the cooktop…

In just a short time the oil was boiling and the fish began to sizzle in the can. The aroma wafting out as it heats up is captivating. Believe it or not, it smells so good!

Once it’s a little crispy and sizzlin’ hot, simply serve over a bowl of rice and enjoy!….


Fried Dace and Salted Black Beans served over white rice with green onion garnish

Oh yeah. Sooooooooooo goooooooood. Solid 5 SPAM Musubi rating for Fried Dace with Black Beans over white rice. The salted black beans are what really make this work. It gives the fish this robust, meaty flavor that would be amiss without it. The dace is hardly  “fishy” at all, and the flesh of it is completely soaked through with the flavors of the black beans and various Chinese spices. It’s very flaky, while also being a little tough at the same time, in a good way. Good, good stuff!

Now let’s try it with Jook….


Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans with chicken stock Jook, green onion and sliced cabbage garnish

Not bad. I like how the black beans sort of melt their flavor into the jook. I give it 3 SPAM Musubi with Jook.

Fried Dace with white rice is still the best. Broke da’ mout’!

Well there you have it. Another trip down memory lane, this time in honor of Fried Dace!

What? Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans
Who makes it? PRB Brand (China)
Where did you buy it and how much did it cost? A small shop in Honolulu Chinatown, $3.99 each
Big Shaka to: Very, very, very delicious. Everything in the can is edible. Easy-to-heat, ready-to-serve meal, just add rice. Brings back childhood memories.
No shaka to: Pull-tab didn’t work. Limited availability, even in Chinatown. Considerable price increase. Malachite Green issues unclear (although this website says this fish is safe).
SPAM Musubi rating: 5

P.S. While I walked around Honolulu Chinatown looking for Fried Dace this past week, I snapped a few photos to share with you. Here they are….

It always amazes me at how many little Chinese things these shop keepers pack into these stores. Things I wouldn’t have a CLUE as to what it’s used for, either in cooking or overall domestically…

Hum Nyee – in those green and red labeled bags; another type of preserved, salted Chinese fish that’s very good with Pork Hash

Woot-woot! There it is!….

Fruits and vegetables GALORE in Chinatown at incredibly CHEAP prices (way below supermarket)…

Only in Chinatown would you find Durian (stinky fruit)…

There’s more types and sheer VOLUME of Chinese Cabbage (Pak Choy, Bok Choy, Choy Sum, etc.) here than I’ve seen ANYWHERE, again, at ROCK-BOTTOM PRICES….

Those oh-so-distinctive Golden Dragon red pillars…

A delivery truck bringing in a fresh catch of Ahi and Mahimahi….

Ulua…

Kumu…

Ooh, Menpachi, one of my favorite pan-fried fish!….

Singing the song “Taking Care of Business… Every Day”…

The friendly neighborhood Chinese butcher choppin’ up some of that good ‘ole “Shee-Shau-Poh” (sweet sour pork) lol…

If you’re a photographer either by hobby or profession, you MUST make it to the nearest Chinatown. It’s a shutterbug’s paradise. Oh, and a foodie’s paradise as well.


Comments

Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans — 70 Comments

  1. Thanks for taking us on a trip back to the past! I also grew up eating dace. It was so ono with rice; a little goes a long way!

    A good way to support our local industry is to shop in Chinatown. Your pictures are a testimonial to all the fresh fish and produce that you can get there. And it’s so CHEAP! The trick is to leave a cooler in your car, shop, load up, shop some more and load up again before you go home. My parents shop twice a week in Chinatown. You can get seasonal produce at a dirt cheap price! And don’t forget to buy char siu, roast pork, and look fun rolls to take home.

  2. This is a great post! If I ever hit up Chinatown I’ll be looking for preserved salty fish cans! Thank you so much!

    Where do you park in Chinatown anyway? That’s one of the big reasons I rarely go!

  3. I didn’t grow up eating fried dace, but you really can’t go wrong with something salty and fishy! That picture with the steamed rice looks very good …

    One of these trips, I’m going to have to devote an afternoon to just walking around Chinatown. I have enjoyed the few times I’ve been through there, but it’s pretty much been in and out. Earlier this month I was there to check out Otto Cakes, but it was late Saturday afternoon, so it was kind of dead. Maybe a weekday would be good.

  4. Hey Pomai – my cousins’ shop! That’s where I get my hum nyee from. And most of my Chinese ingredients. Wonder if they’ve settled the fight over ownership.

    I usually park in the municipal lot under the apartment building at the corner of Nimitz Hwy. and River St.

  5. Pomai, I will tell you a dark secret of old Chinatown. Sun Choong Grocery still belong to my family not to my cousins. Since 1953 my now late father Hung Chong Lum owned Sun Choong. My uncle just work there now my cousins told all it was my uncle not my father. There it will be settle soon.
    My husband and I will shut down grocery store and open in Chinatown Sun Choong Supermarket with cooked food takeout and other things from Asia. As fried dace you ever try the cooked green with it in the can it also very tasty. With jook in morning is popular Chinese breakfast.

    • Eh, Pomai. I checked out your blog because my mom is having fried dace tonight. I love this stuff, but not with black beans — just plain — with some lup cheong on the side. Recently I read an article about how 1/10 of the cooking oil used in China is recycled oil, called “drainage oil”. So the drainage oil and malachite green must make the fried dace taste extra good. BTW, I’ve always known this stuff as “laang nyee” (phonetic spelling). What kind of camera do you use? Fantastic photos.

      • Dennis, oh that’s just lovely to know. So the preserved fish in cans from China are soaking in “drainage oil” eh? I think that will be my last can of Fried Dace. lol

        As for the Black Beans, I like the extra savoriness and depth it adds to the flavor of the dace, especially when it’s mixed into the rice. Typically we’d eat Fried Dace with Lup Cheong and/or a salted duck egg over a bed of hot steamed rice. So ono! I’ll just pretend I don’t know it’s drainage oil from now on, thank you very much, DENNIS! lol

        Fellow blogger Nate likes Pork Hash with Hum Nyee on it.
        http://hwnpakeokinawa.blogspot.com/2007/03/steamed-pork-hash-w-salted-fish.html

        The photos for this Fried Dace post were taken with a Sony H5 Cybershot camera. I’m now using a Canon S95 Powershot. A photography POWERHOUSE in the ultimate compact form. It’s a food blogger’s perfect tool. I just need to work on the manual settings.

  6. I would actually probably dig that. Looks good to me. Pomai, I like the idea your Mom’s spin, with the duck egg and the Lup Cheong.

    Nice Chinatown pics! I miss strolling around there…. I used to walk around there a lot when I was in the band on the old SS Constitution. Long time ago!

  7. marcus, you should see how many different brands of Lup Cheong they have in Chinatown. Amazing. Ironically, many of them are made in the U.S.. The most expensive one is that one from California. It’s the same Lup Cheong I seen for sale in the 808 Store in Vegas. About $8 a package. Buggahz look good though.

    Betty, are you talking about the same Sun Chong store Nate says are owned by his cousins? Or is Sun Choong (two Os) a different shop? You know Chinatown and signs. Sometimes hard fo’ undahstand! Many times, no mo’ even one sign! lol

    Okihwn, when I seen the Hum Nyee in the packages, I immediately wondered if this was your cousins’ shop. After all, it was the only shop that carried carried Hum Nyee in the packages like that. At least as far as I could see. Maybe I wasn’t looking good enough. It was so funny, the ladies working there in Sun Chong were questioning why I was taking photos (they question you if you’re not a tourist). They kept teasing me that it would cost $100 per photo (very nicely though). It was so “Pake” to here they ladies in heavy Chinese accent telling me, “We like hundred dollah each peechah”. lol! They were cool though.

    Debbie-chan, as you know, Chinatown has many businesses competing to sell the SAME products. Especially produce. Some of which don’t have any prices on them, so you have to play the “Price is Right” game there and know what the going rate is for any give item, then put on your bargaining hat. They’ll sell just about anything right down to the dime if it comes to it. The last time I was there, I was looking for pig’s fat to render lard (see post on that). One butcher wanted to sell it to me for $2 per pound, while another one was selling it for $1.50. I told the $2 guy I wanted it for $1.50 and I got at that price. Shucks, I should have told him 75 cents/lb.. I probably would have got it at THAT price!

    Aline, Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the post. I think most folks park where Nate said: in the municipal lot in the apartment building on the corner of River street and Nimitz Hwy. (the parking lot entrance is on River Street; turn right on River street right after you get over the bridge on King street heading Diamond Head bound). For me, it’s near where I work so I just walk there during lunch hour. :-)

    Deanna, I forgot to say that. Indeed, a little goes a long way with Fried Dace. Let that saltiness from the black beans and oil coat each rice granule, along with just a few flakes of Dace and, man…so ono!

    Keeping a cooler with ice in the car is a must if you’re on a “major” Chinatown shopping mission. A BIG cooler at that! To put some prices into perspective, I bought fresh ginger in a Chinatown shop, which was just $1.29 per pound. Compared to Don Quijote which sells it for, if IIRC, $2.99 per pound. I also bought Goya (India bitter melon; the small dark green ones) in CT also for just $1.29 per pound. Compared to Don Quijote where it’s $3.89 per pound!

    Speaking of bringing back goodies, I was gonna’ get some Pepeiao and Ma Tai Soo from Char Hung Sut but ran out of time. Next time (next week maybe!).

  8. Pomai – Same ladies, Ann and Shirley (you should have told them you knew me – they would have given you a discount on what you bought instead – LOL) embroiled in the family fight. Funny it seems that these ladies have kept this place going for years, but “Betty” now wants it back because it has been so successful. Typical Chinese way – $$$$$$. I should go there with you.

    Betty – “Ann & Shirley Tong Yun Store”!

  9. Wow, my mom used to eat this all the time with white rice. I didn’t care much for the smell or the saltiness when I was a kid but as I got older, I grew fonder of it. I’ll have to look for it here in SD. :)

  10. Pomai, regarding Sun Chong Grocery it known by many Lums in Hawaii that the late Hung Choong Lum did indeed owned it and his brothers stole the business away from him and his family. I sure Betty will shut it down for it her business. Not to make trouble to cousins but to open a better Sun Chong Supermarket which I heard in coming soon with building plan in the work. That Sun Chong is the same owner family Lum. Dark secrets of Chinatown and mystery. Like Tin Ying Chop Suey.

    Back to food Fried Dace is good with many other side dishes which I like with hot chili pepper one they carry too. Have you try the fried eel? It awesome too.

  11. Amy, I love Unagi, although never tried the Chinese version, which is shown next to the box of Fried Dace in the photo above.

    As for the drama about Sun Chong store, hopefully you, Betty and Nate can come to an agreement over what’s going on. I’ll just be happy shopping there to help keep it successful.

    CAB, if you find canned Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans in San Diego, let us know which brand it is. There’s many knock-offs, yet I hear they’re all comparatively good.

  12. Pomai, I had it when I was a child now got some for jook. Mom is pake so I learn a lot of Chinese food from her. She is also a Lum small island Oahu. Almost all the Lums are relative to each other. She knew Hung Choong Lum who did own store. Kevin, Ann, Shirley took store illegaly from Hung Choong Lum. Chinese people in Chinatown got a lot of things going on.

    Any way I got to help mom make mooncakes for Moon Festival.
    Aloha!

  13. Hey Pomai, I like this drama thing very much and readed about it in Star Bulletin back then. You open up a can of fried dace and a can or worms too. Heh Heh. That way it goes in Chinatown. Good reporting still. As for Tin Ying I missed it too for it great dim sums there.

  14. Michael said: “You open up a can of fried dace and a can or worms too.” >>>

    Ha-ha!!! I now have the urge to go back to Sun Chong store just to see what’s goin’ on.

    Where is/was Tin Ying?

    Kelike, you have Lum roots too? Ho’ brah, talk about one small island!

    Speaking of successful Chinese in Hawaii, check out the latest blog about food and culture in our islands over at Goo Grindz…

    http://googrindz.blogspot.com/

  15. Pomai,

    I have been reading your posts religiously from the UK and having read your Dace report I felt compelled to post a comment.

    What a blast from the past! My mother used to cook this for me when I was growing up and it bought back such good memories.

    It was great with boiled rice.

    I had to show this to her and we both had a good giggle about it.

    Keep up the good work.

    Kind regards,

    Sean

  16. I think it Ting Yin at 125 N King St. And newspaper said Lum brothers name Hung Choong , Hung Chin, Hung Bun. Their neices and nephew change their last name to Lam but still same. This story dated back to the 1950 when Hung Choong opened it and brother Hung Chin just worked in it. He stole money and stuffed in cigar box for his wife and sister inlaw to take home. Told Hung Choong slow day no sale. That some drama which Kevin and Ann and Shirley will not admit to truth which Star Bulletin reporter was upset they lied to her.

    There is lot of Lums on Oahu know more to this story and Hung Choong family is planing to have a supermarket using Sun Choong so no need to have grocery store around I know someone at Star Bulletin so of told me.

  17. Doesn’t matter what the name is. Kevin, Ann and Shirley are the life of the store. Hard to duplicate the ambiance or personalities of people. They could easilly move on, open a new store and people will flock to them, as I would. I think you know that Ann and Shirley sent to me whatever I needed in Okinawa. Can you see Betty behind the cash register handling the customers? I don’t.

  18. Grew up in Sun Chong Store and watch my father now late father ran it . He owned it before I was even born. Uncle lie to all he owned . He lost his job at Pearl Habor as a carpenter so father gave a job in store. He had 5 children to suport and a wife and sister inlaw. Father had also 4 children too. I seen so much dishonest things happen when I was there.

    Cousins cover up for years about it ended up owning properties, being own boss ect. While late father children never got business back and Uncle lie to Kevin , Ann Shirley and told them and their father to keep quite no matter what. Father even sent money to China to support them before they came to Hawaii. That why cousins must know what the right thing to do. Ungratefulness and remorse. Greed cause it

  19. I’m sorry to hear about the Sun Chong situation. As a first generation Chinese, it’s always sad to hear family discord that breaks families apart and continue to reach future generations.

    But this is not the right forum to air out family situations. I think we owe it to Pomai to discontinue this type of discussion. We want to discuss and share food and culture in a positive light. That’s why I so enjoy Pomai’s blog.

  20. My mom is sad so many customers are misinformed of what happened. She knew Hung Choong Lum and family well. Use to visit them and he told her how he helped many people and they turn around hurt him and family.

    Mom told me of Hung Choong family planned to have Kevin and sisters to worked in supermarket together. Since customers need to know what dishonest done is to be resolved by joining together. The $$$ was late uncle and his wife and sister inlaw who broke family up. This drama is really awesome. Goes to show Chinese have many secrets and mystery.

    I think Betty’s husband who is film producer and director will make a film on her family in Taiwan pretty interesting I do say so .

  21. I see your entry drew a lot of hits. Hey this is the best ever some drama added to entry make it the best ever to read. I know that store since my mom shop in Chinatown but I more a supermarket person. Fried dace is ok but when little almost choke on bones in it. You know a little drama sure make me want to read more of all entries you write in future.

    Keep it up. There no bad news but Big News. Enjoy your blog.

  22. Aloha Sean, I’m curious what the chances are you’ll find a can of Chinese Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans in a store in the U.K.?

    Sometimes we take those unique ethnic comfort foods like Chinese Fried Dace with rice for granted. That’s what compelled me to write this review.

    Glad to hear your mom got a kick out of reading about it. My mom did too when I brought it up upon doing some research in writing this entry. It was obviously something that brought back memories about her mother (my grandma). :-)

  23. Deanna, mahalo for the support.

    I’m actually a bit intrigued about the story unfolding regarding this Chinatown shop. I thought all I was doing was opening an innocent can of Fried Dace, but it turned out becoming a really big can of worms! lol

    So far it seems like a well-mannered discussion/debate in the comments. As long as it doesn’t turn into a personal flame war, I’m O.K. with it.

    Indeed though, let’s keep it positive. Good call!

    :-)

  24. Hello people – and thank you for an interesting and entertaining window into your world.

    I am very tempted by the fried dace and black beans but writing to you from a small town in land-locked Austria where I am pretty sure I would not be able to find myself a can of fried dace however hard I tried! Maybe next time I am in London’s Chinatown . . .

    I have bookmarked your site so will be coming back to continue my education.

    best wishes, j

  25. Pomai Dude Man, I just surfing your blog and wow now I really enjoyed it more with this awesome drama. I know that store well my parents shop there and my father knew Hung Choong Lum. He was indeed the founder of the business and Kevin and sisters never contacted him whole time they came to Oahu my dad told me.

    Kevin and sisters never even attended Hung Choong wife and his funerals care to make that buck in store. Hung Choong Lum have deed to business not them or late uncle. You see small island everybody know everybody. This Lum family is most well known since it so big of a family. Kevin and sisters father was the half brother of Lums since in China two wifes is OK.

    Everybody is now talking of this case more now and love how this blogger brought it out. You made blogging more interesting and I will log on more to Tasty Island. I try fried dace with other flavors with greens, hot chili, ect. It all time best for fast side dish.

  26. Pomai, been reading your blog for some time and this first for me to comment in it.. Just want to say it ROCK! This is your best ever entry with a hot story in it. Is there more? Better than newspaper. By now whole island is talking about this store very much. People love to talk. Almost the whole island is Lums. Kelvin and sibblings must admit that if it were not Hung Choong and wife now late, and Hung Bun they would not be in states.

    Some people see one side of story while other see both. I knew family since went to school with some of them. Parents knew them well too. I too heard they want to get together to form new business not be like their late father and other uncle that cause this dishonest problem to all.

    Love your blog more now for it so different style of reporting and writing.

  27. Hello Pomai,
    I been following your blog for sometime now. I also the cousin of Betty. I at LA. Your blog is so much more than just food which I love it so. Great photos also. My father late sister was Betty mom. Auntie wanted for long time for all family back together again due to Kelvin and sibbling late father and uncle separated all for money and the store.

    I know Betty is trying now to get all back together to form a new corporation and see it soon. I will see Hawaii soon also for to try all the places you blog about . Never had a island style macaroni salad not sure which place make the best. Keep it up in food with some story in it for more interesting reading. Love it so.

  28. Pomai, words are getting around about your blog. I had to check it out and really like it contents. It got people buzzing about it. Not boring at all. Hope you have more about this story. Would like to see a happy ending like they get back together instead of fighting. Everybody would like to see that for sure. Ths fried dace made me head out for some along with other things I readed. Fried eels sounded so good got that too.. I do like other flavors of daces with it. No I did’nt shop at Sun Chong for it too hot a story going now. Maybe when it Sun Chong Supermarket.

  29. Pomai, I heard you got something good going on sure enough this entry is the BIG ONE. I like everyone else like to see this family get back together again after so many years apart from late father and uncle and his wife and sister inlaw tore them apart. I lost all mine so it important they all do so for life is short . I am a foodie person and like mystery stories also. This have both I like very much.

    What about Ting Yin? Not sure what really to that business but when in Chinatown never know what goes in it. I am for what you have in your blog. I will keep on reading on it.

  30. It a whole generation new to make a fresh start again . Now all the first generation are gone so second generation will see it good . Betty never want familly torn apart it was late uncle and his wife and sister inlaw . Kelvin father got taken by the money in business went along sadly. I am friend of family for years .

    Betty and family want all members get back together again to form new and bigger corparation not to fight. There was misunderstanding in it. They got builders with floor plans ready soon. With ownership of building no landlord or rent ever again.

  31. Hi Pomai. Thanks for the tip on Goo Grindz blog. I never heard about it before. It’s funny and very dramatic. The drama on the Chinatown store is awesome, interesting and funny! Maybe the family can use your blog as a family forum and settle the feud online for all of us to see as it unfolds. Kinda like an online reality show local Chinatown style.

  32. I came back to see that it been settle so it did ended happy after all. I glad for as I read it started with first generation with greed , selfishness and ungratefulness which now gone in next generation. Everyone want to see a happy ending and I very glad.

  33. Wow, I just wanted to comment about the fried dace and the photos of Chinatown that took me back to when I was still in Hawaii, where Chinatown was my second home almost. Never knew such a post could dredge up such drama!

    Anyway, getting back to the dace…I remember my friend Sam always used to eat dace for lunch, only he didn’t eat it with rice. He ate it with poi!

    Something to try out.

  34. Been reading blog and very interesting regarding first generation of Lum and second generation. I see some of younger generations seem misguided of secret of first generation. Pomai, I love it since better than just food but a story along with it. . This family was torn apart due lies and cover up. People who lived in Honolulu long time know Lums very well and it all Lums. Kevin and family have only known just that uncle never met with Hung Choong family .

    My family know it good for all to see and know truth since late uncle and wife and sister inlaw started lies is reason why his own children never care for the business since it was not their to begin with. I am not Lum but Lum family goes way to 1900. How much does the younger generations know of the history of Sun Chong? The main purpose is to see all family back together broken up by late uncle and his wife and sister inlaw so far just one person see it unclear still.

  35. Dude, I wonder if you like happy ending? Bitterness is in you not knowing what went on. I am sorry you only see half of it. But would you like all family back together again ? My mom sure would and been sad for many years because what happen for the mighty dollar. Resolve matter by tlhinking not anger. As my dad would say Nothing Personal just Business.

    Mom know family and Betty well and saving family tree is what it all about. I never the first generation just heard about them how many have you met? Have you met Hung Choong and Hung Bun the older brothers ? I have not too.

  36. Hello, It seem you are bitter if family do get back together or you like it still separated? I am a Chow but my late father knew this family so well both side. He knew when it got started also in a small hole in the wall place in old part of Chinatown. You see Pomai was wise to see this best way to let all know what really happen not to hide dark secret any longer. Yes it now the hottest blog ever. My friends in New York is reading it now too.

    They said WOW SUPER Stuff! I am now in Disneyland and heading to Vegas. Okihwn please take care do not get angry I am a bystander who like this oldest family in Honolulu join back together again. Pomai, Thanks for great entry!

  37. My grandfather was born in the rice fields of Kahaluu back in the 1880s. I suppose I could claim to be part of the Hawaii Kingdom of which he was.

    But me nowadays I just settle for canned sardines over rice with shoyu and onions.

  38. Fried dace is one of my mothers favorite! She is 94 yrs old. Her family and my dad’s was from Kohala way back in the day. Wouldn’t it be something if your grandmother learned to eat fried dace from my mother’s family?
    Penelope

  39. Penelope, indeed that would be something if my kupuna knew yours back in the day in Kohala. If you can give your grandparents’ names (by email perhaps), I could ask my mother if she remembers them. She’s very good about remembering people.

    Okihwn, canned sardines with shoyu and onion is exactly how my mother eats that too! You still haven’t mentioned whether you like Fried Dace, though.

    Which Kahalu’u is that your grandfather was born at: the one on the Big Island or the Kahalu’u on Oahu’s windward side? Just curious which one had rice fields. I’m guessing the one in Kona is too dry for rice fields.

    Nate, Fried Dace is EXCELLENT with Poi. Anything very salty is good with Poi.

  40. I use to eat that a lot back then.
    Now a days I rarely eat them.
    I do notice the price per can went up.
    I even forgot how it taste like now.

  41. This past Friday evening upon closing, I returned to a shop next door to Sun Chong (I think it was Wing Cheong), asking if they sold Fried Dace, and the lady told me “NO, no have Fye Day’. Espensive now. Foah dollah can. Too much. Bee foh nine-nine cents.” LOL!!! But seriously, that’s what she told me. So Pake. lol!!!!!!!!

  42. Pomai, sure that Pake lady trying to say for a dollar instead? That the way my mom would speak in her Pake style English. Many other place sell for a dollar a can. Taiwan have also in many flavors which I go for must be from Taiwan first.

  43. Aaron, no, she meant FOUR DOLLARS, because she held her hand up with 4 fingers as a gesture when saying that.

    I’m pretty good about understanding folks speaking English with heavy Chinese, Japanese and Filipino accents. I grew up with those folks all around me.

  44. Hey buddy, great post, I love fried dace in salted black bean. I just want to point out that in that picture with the can from “Pearl River” it says PRB Brand at the bottom, but unfortunately you got a rip off. The chinese says “Po River” and not “Pearl River.” Just thought I’d let you know. I also agree with you on Pearl River Brand being the best. Cheers.

  45. bought 24 cans fried dace(plain one)in a chinese supermarket UK.I had to ask over the counter because it was not on the shelves.Manufacturing date is 2010 ,expires 2013.Are theses still banned in the UK?

  46. Canned Dace was my father’s favorite along with a little hum yee steamed with his rice. He was Hakka.
    Your story answers why I can not find it in Chinatown.What is the address and name of the store where it can be bought in Honolulu or Chinatown. Very important as I am starving for it.

  47. greetings to all. I developed a serious jones for fried dace recently at Wok&Roll restaurant. Friday night my wife told me, go and get the takeout I ordered 1hr.ago. I was reading the sign which said “Fried Fish,” memory came back, and I asked the owner does he have any. He says no,but will get me some next trip to Mott st.[NYC] Ok, so he gets me some about a month later,I had to bust his chops several times to get his @#%S moving. But finally, back for more takout[Friday evening treat] he laid it on me,one can of Fried Dace w/salted Black Beans. Eagle Coin…?? Pearl River??? I’m ripped. I am sad.This is not PRB! He charged me $2.00. I have not eaten this yet, and 4 months have passed. I also suffer from Gout, and this tempting fish is on my mind, and I’m not supposed to eat it ,but I could’nt resist looking in here for a side dish to go with it . I read the comments,which are more enjoyable than a good book. Allow me to go back in time. 1979. My buddy was back from Alaska for a vist and brought some cans back with him. It has been that long since I had some. I just never could get that delicious flavor out of my mind. Sooooo, sone I will open that can, eat it with some steam rice and vegetable. thanks , may your house be safe from Tigers. tom.

  48. I appreciate your appreciation for this unappreciated food. Fried Dace is my absolute favorite canned fish!

    Can’t believe no one has commented on this.

  49. I guess I was wrong, you do have a lot of comments. May I use your pictures for my Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans Facebook Fan page?

  50. Live in Florida and cannot find any…do you hace a link where I can order fried dace with black bean sauce…love it with steamed dried bean curd.

  51. Barbara, sorry to say, no I don’t, nor do I see Fried Dace back on the shelves at Honolulu grocery retailers, as it was so prevalent in the past.

  52. Hi! I am not chinese nor have chinese relations but I am an asian living in California. I was scouring our neighborhood asian grocery and found boxes of this Whole Fried Dace in Black Beans on sale. I’m very adventurous when it comes to food and since I love Chinese food that have black beans, I decided to try it. I searched the internet and thank goodness I found your site. At least now I know I just have to heat it up. What I have is the Eagle Coin brand so I’m hoping this isn’t one of those that was banned by China. Thanks for the post!

  53. Aloha Ella, Eagle Coin wasn’t included in that article I read, and since you found it on the store shelf out there on the mainland, we should be confident it’s passed USDA regulations and considered “safe” for consumption.

    As for heating the Fried Dace up, go “rustic” and simply remove the lid and put the can right on your stove burner, turn it to medium-high and heat it up unitl the oil sort of boils. Then simply serve over hot steamed rice, pouring some of the oil over the rice. Absolutely delicious! The black beans are really what makes it taste great.

  54. I am a Filipino-American and the first time I tried Fried Dace was with my Thai co-worker in L.A. and I love it and hooked with it. Whenever I go to Chinatown (in NY or DC) or a Chinese grocery store, first thing I look at the store is Fried Dace. I always eat it with rice. I have 5 cans in my cupboard. For me it’s like a comfort food.

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  57. All kinds of Chinese goods & foodstuffs poured into the US after Nixon and Kissenger went to China.The first time I heard about canned fried dace was back in 1977. I bought some on the advice of my Chinese American co-workers at Raytheon in Mountain View, California. The price was only 69 cents! You could buy all you wanted for 69 cents. The can contents was a full 8 ounces too-more fish. Not the 6 ounces or less you get now? Hihi.

  58. This is awesome! My mom just served me a large dish of fried Mee Poh with a slab of Dace steaming atop it, and I decided for the first time after years of eating it to figure out just what it was.

    It was a nostalgic read, and your pictures and comments are all fantastic. Thanks!

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  60. I love Dace with black beans and I am having it tonight with boiled rice but little scared now after knowing that it is tainted with industrial dye.

  61. Hi,

    Wow! What an interesting story about this Dace Fish in Black Beans. Now I have learned about it. Recently I had bought a can, cut some bird’s eye chilli, added garlic and stir fry them and ate it with plain porridge.

    It’s really delicious. I’ve got the inspiration to eat this when I was in Corus Hotel, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and ate it during breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Its so delicious! .So when I was back in Singapore, I searched it at my nearest supermarket. I found it! :):)

    Thank you very much for this valuable information.

    Regards,

    Jeffery
    (Singapore)

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