Text: Ivy Chen


The island of Taiwan is surrounded by the ocean, which is abundant in wild and farmed seafood. Different varieties of seafood can be found in different parts of the island, and at different seasons. When buying seafood, tell the fishmonger how you’d like it cooked. Here are some useful Chinese phrases to use when buying seafood in a traditional market.


  1. Please remove the bones for me. (This can be used for fish, chicken or other fillets of meat.)


Qing bang wo qu gutou.  請幫我去骨頭。


  1. How do I cook this (fish), please?


Qing wen zheige (yu) zenme zhu?   請問這個(魚)怎麼煮?


  1. I want fish for soup. → Wo yao zhutang de yu. 我要煮湯的魚。


I want fish for steaming. → Wo yao zheng de yu. 我要的魚。


I want fish for pan-frying. → Wo yao jian de yu. 我要的魚。


I want fish for braising. Wo yao hong-shao de yu. 我要紅燒的魚。


I want fish for deep-frying. → Wo yao zha de yu. 我要炸的魚。





Choose a fish that has clear, bright and prominent eyes. The scales must be intact and gluey to the touch. The gills should be bright red in color, not grey-brown.



Most fishmongers at traditional markets and supermarkets will kill, scale, gut and clean fresh fish, and will fillet it upon request.



Tilefish/Horse-head fish馬頭魚 [matouyu]


Tilefish is pink and white in color. It’s found in the oceans surrounding Taiwan, and especially in the east and northeast. The main season is from spring to fall.


Tilefish can be pan-fried, steamed, braised, or grilled.


Tilefish is soft, so be very careful when turning the fish while pan-frying, or it will break.



Ruby snapper長尾鳥 [changweiniao]


Ruby snapper can be from half a kilo to six in weight, and can be found in the northeast, east and sometimes in the south of Taiwan.

The flesh is soft but firm, and can be pan-fried, deep-fried, steamed, in soup or grilled. It can also be used for sashimi



Banded drepane金龍/金鯧 [jinlong/jinchang]


Banded drepane is found on the west coast of Taiwan. The best season is summer to winter. The flesh is a little firm, and it can be steamed, fried or braised.



Monocle bream黃擬烏尾冬/包公雞 [huang ni wuweidong/baogong ji]


Monocle bream is found in the ocean all around Taiwan, but especially in the northeast, east and south. It’s in season all year round.


The flesh is firm but soft, and the skin is rich in collagen.  It’s good for steaming, frying, grilling and braising.



Yellow sea bream赤鯮 [chizong]


Yellow sea bream can be found all around Taiwan. The best season is summer to winter. The flesh is firm but delicate, and it’s best cooked by frying or grilling. It also can be braised.