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A Mouthwatering Guide to Next-Level Asian Seafood

Do you crave adventure in your culinary escapades? Are you tired of the same old seafood dishes? Ready to embark on a culinary experience that will take your taste buds beyond the usual lobster and mussels? Join us on a voyage to explore rare and exotic saltwater delicacies that will leave you wanting more. From killer crustaceans to mollusks, get ready to step out of your comfort zone and into the frying pan on an exciting expedition to Asian seafood markets.

A True-Blue Asian Seafood Experience

I’ve traveled to roughly 50 countries in the past 26 years and have developed a taste for saltwater delicacies not commonly found in the United States. I specifically refer to East and Southeast Asia, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines. These countries have a deep connection with the sea and rely heavily on the many bounties it provides.

raw seafood

Seafood lovers will find there’s a wider variety of seafood available in these countries than what is typically found in American supermarkets or on restaurant menus. While Asian grocery stores can be found in most major cities, they are not easily accessible. Moreover, there are few places where one can quickly and affordably grab healthy seafood meals on the go, as is possible in authentic Southeast Asian night markets.

Hit The Night Markets

To get a feel for the people and their culture abroad, go to an outdoor market. Use local currency and attempt to learn a few helpful phrases like “Please,” “Thank you,” and, “Can I have more, please?” Night markets are an integral part of Asian culture, and food plays a significant role in these markets. These markets are bustling with vendors selling various food items, from savory snacks to sweet treats and everything in between. 

asian night markets
Keelung, Taiwan – August 05, 2018: Keelung Night Market in Taiwan. Keelung is one of the major Night Markets in Taiwan.

The food sold in these markets is essential to Asian cuisine, representing the region’s rich and diverse culinary heritage. The food is delicious and affordable, making it accessible to people from all walks of life. Night markets are where you can experience the vibrant and lively atmosphere of Asian culture while indulging in some of the most delicious and exotic food.

For Good Health, Try Seafood

Seafood is an excellent source of lean protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids with several health benefits. It helps reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, improves brain development during pregnancy, and prevents depression and anxiety. 

Seafood is rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, B12, and zinc, all essential for overall health. Shellfish like oysters and clams are high in iron, making them a solid choice for preventing anemia. Some seafood may contain high levels of mercury, so limit intake of certain types and consume a variety.

Squid, Mud Crabs & More

Indulging in seafood is a delightful experience, especially when traveling and exploring new cultures. Whether you’re strolling through the bustling night markets of Hong Kong for squid on a stick or wandering through Japan’s vibrant food scene in search of bacon-wrapped scallops, there’s no denying the mouth-watering aroma of perfectly cooked seafood. The market vendors take pride in serving exquisite, exotic seafood dishes cooked to perfection. Unlike some restaurants that struggle to get the timing right, these vendors masterfully prepare seafood that is neither over- nor undercooked and infused with unique and tantalizing flavors that will leave your taste buds dancing.

In Taiwan, the night markets are a hub of gastronomical delights, where foodies flock to indulge in various mouth-watering street foods. Among these delicacies, mud crabs are a popular choice, especially for those who crave crispy and juicy seafood. These small crabs are deep-fried to golden perfection and served with a zesty combination of salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Some vendors also offer spicy or garlic-flavored versions, catering to diverse tastes. The mud crabs are usually served whole, with their shells intact. They provide a delightful mix of crunchiness on the outside and sweetness on the inside that evokes the salty sea breeze. 

asian seafood market

Another crowd favorite is grilled squid—a dish tantalizing the senses with its smoky aroma and crispy texture. The vendors use large skewers to grill whole squids over charcoal, imparting a distinct smokiness to the dish. Once cooked, the squids are chopped into bite-sized pieces and tossed in a savory soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and chili sauce, creating a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. The dish is then topped with chopped onions and garlic, adding freshness and depth of flavor. To savor the dish at its finest it is best enjoyed hot and fresh, with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and a cold brew to wash it down.

If this “Good Grub” department doesn’t get your mouth watering for exotic dishes abroad, we’re not sure if you can be helped. C’mon and book a trip to take a culinary journey and treat yourself to the next level of seafood—you’re worth it! 

Make Your Own Grilled Stuffed Cheesy Clams

Servings: 4-6

Grilled stuffed cheesy clam shells are a popular Asian seafood dish in night markets across Taiwan and Korea. Fresh clams are stuffed with a medley of seafood and cheese, then grilled until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the clams are cooked to perfection. This mouth-watering dish is a favorite among seafood lovers.

cheesy stuffed clams

These grilled cheesy shells are a delicious and unique seafood dish with a flavorful twist on traditional clam dishes. They are a must-try for anyone looking to expand their culinary horizons and experience the vibrant and diverse cuisine in Asian night markets!

Method:

If you want to make a delicious Taiwanese Baked Seafood Cheese, here’s a simple recipe. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and scrub and rinse the clams thoroughly. Combine the chopped shrimp, crab meat, mayonnaise, green onions, garlic, salt, and black pepper in a mixing bowl. Mix everything well. Place the clams on a baking sheet and top each clam with the seafood mixture. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese topping is melted and lightly browned. Once done, remove from the oven, let cool a bit, and serve hot. Or get your BBQ grill hot and place on the grill until the cheese is crusty and brown. 

cheesy stuffed clams

Enjoy your homemade Taiwanese baked or grilled seafood cheese, and remember to let us know how it turns out!

Ingredients:

• 10 fresh clams

• 4-6 large shells

• ½ cup cooked shrimp, chopped

• ½ cup cooked crab meat or bay scallops chopped

• ¼ cup mayonnaise

• ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

• ¼ cup chopped green onions

• 2 tablespoons corn kernels

• 2 cloves garlic (or more), minced

• Salt and black pepper to taste

Conservation: How Toadfish Is Replenishing Oyster Habitat 

toadfish

Oysters are not only delicious but also vital for the health of our oceans. They filter out toxins, provide habitat for marine life, and improve water quality. However, oyster reefs have been severely depleted by overharvesting, pollution, and climate change. That’s why Toadfish, a company that sells coastal-inspired products, is committed to restoring oyster beds through its Conservation Coalition. Toadfish plants 10 square feet of oyster habitat for every product sold in partnership with local non-profits. By joining the Put ’Em Back movement, customers can help Toadfish fight for ocean conservation one oyster bed at a time. For more information, visit toadfish.com.

toadfish oyster conservation

A Guide to Pairing Seafood & Beer
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