From Luxurious Display to a Dinner Plate
Well it's not a kind of meat Andrew Zimmern would have sought after because of its extremity, though it's not something usually eaten either -- at least not in modern societies; as city dwellers are more inclined to display it (the living one surely) swimming around gracefully inside their precious aquarium than having them on a plate.
So, yes it's a fish, and yes it's a fish meant for display than for consumption; it has also become a rarity due to its high price on the market. It originated in Asia, and Indonesia has several species not found anywhere else in Asia. It's slender, long, and has either green, gold, or red color. Have found your answer yet?
Well, Wikipedia calls it "Asian Arowana", or locals simply calls it "Arwana". Asian culture (especially Chinese), considers this fish to be a lucky charm hence after years and years of harvesting, this fish has mostly disappear from the wild and its continuity lies on the hand of few commercial breeders.
So how can we get a hand at this rare to eat fish?
Well it was due because one of my friend's at the office; her fish one day had just turned out dead and so to honour the memory of it she decided to make a meal out of it, hence the rare occasion happen and I can stroke out Arwana from the list of meals I haven't tried yet.
To the curious mind; Arwana meat texture is similar with Gourami, which is also a fresh water fish from Asia; its meat is firm, and breaks into a finer texture than Gourami. Taste wise it also has no strong aroma and only mild umami character. Meat is quite thick, but that depend on the fish size anyway; no small minute bones either to break your meal once in a while, which makes the overall eating easy and pleasant.
Judging from the characted and taste, I think it would taste good in curry, pesmol, or cobek, due to the contrast in taste, and comparing how good gourami can be upon cooked in those ways. However, I can't foresee me having other opportunities at encountering this rare meat again sometimes in the future, either in curry, or simply fried like those on the photos. (byms)
About author: Bayu Amus
Bayu Amus is a gastronomic storyteller and Food Experience designer. He pens food articles for travel magazines, speaks on food events, and was part of the team who compiled Makansutra Indonesia 2013, the pocket book which showcases Bali’s best street food. Contact him through firstname.lastname@example.org