The Chinese Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong Chan Yan-Tak served up deep-fried fish skin with salted egg yolk during a Chinese New Year event. Its crunchy texture, alongside the gooey paste of salted egg yolk, easily won over the hearts of the guests. This snack will also show up on the menu of three-Michelin-starred restaurant Lung King Heen from now on.
“We’ve had prawns, pork ribs, grouper in salted egg yolk sauce in Cantonese cuisine. The only twist this time is the use of fried fish skin,” Chan said. He chooses the fish skin from Vietnamese basa fish. The skin is found in many markets in Hong Kong. After purchased, it just needs to be stored in a dry and dark place, and is ready for cooking, no advanced preparation required. As for salted duck egg, Chan hinted that it might be in short supply at a specific time.
Chan told us he was inspired by Singapore when he created this dish.
“We have a group of customers from Singapore who come to Hong Kong for conferences several times every year. Based on the famous street food there, we would prepare some afternoon snacks for them. Last year, they wanted to have deep-fried fish skin with salted egg yolk, so we made it for them. They really satisfied with the fish skin we made, vacuum packing all the leftovers to bring back home.”
Chan doesn’t go easy on the use of egg yolk. It’s where a large part of the dish’s flavour comes from. His version is indeed eggy. The yolk appears in the form of a sandy sauce sticking to the fish skin. It tastes especially well when eaten hot, right after deep-fried.
Flavour-wise, Chan has total trust towards his colleagues.
“The first time we made the dish, we sent it to our colleagues working in the office for their opinion. They all said it tasted great. Our recipe never changed since then.”
“Sometimes we rely on our colleagues at the front of the house to remind diners to finish the dishes quickly,” he added.
Any reader who attempted dishes with a salted egg yolk sauce at home would know the most difficult part is to create a sauce strong enough to be glued on the main ingredient. According to Chan, you just have to shake off the doubt in your mind and be generous with the amount of oil.
“Butter and vegetable oil give the salted egg yolk paste a more liquid texture, so it would adhere to the ingredient. It does make the dish more oily, but there’s no other way to do it. More often than not, good food isn’t the healthiest,” Chan said.
Deep-fried Fish Skin with Salted Egg Yolk
Salted egg yolk (8)
Fried fish skin (50g)
Vegetable oil (10g)
1) Bake the egg yolks in the oven at 250°C for 10 minutes. Mash well.
2) Melt butter along with vegetable oil and sugar.
3) Combined the butter mixture with the mashed egg yolk.
4) Deep-fried the fish skin till hot. Add the salted egg yolk sauce and mix evenly.