Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Asian Eyes' USA - Chillies fish

I went to school in USA back in the early nineties. By September, my relationship with Zak and Sam were getting better. Zak continued to send me repeat orders, and I even had other customers from Kentucky and Arkansas too, courtesy of words of mouth from Zak. I also had customers from the international community and scores of American in my neighbourhood. The international community take in almost anything on offer for the day, but Aunt May and her friends, occasionally bought only flounders and shrimps. Their orders were far and between. Maybe the whites did not like a pair of eyes peering back at them. They did mentioned that sheepshead was never in their menu which I did know what that meant. Zak still ordered the most, now nearly touched fifteen hundred bucks a month. I asked and he confirmed that somehow he had become my ‘fish distributor’ in his town. He ordered mostly stingrays, trouts, flounder and shrimps. The orders to other states were mostly for shrimp, which I did not make much, but I still shipped them.
Hardtail a.k.a. Torpedo 
Scad a.k.a "chillies 
Sam has been a good supplier. He fished almost daily, and with a couple of his friends, they were my main source of fish supplies. We dealt in cash and he was happy to get $30-$50 on a good day. Sam always kept his premium fishes for me. At times we chatted when no fish was biting. Initially I had had trouble understanding his Southern black drawl, which sounded a little odd to me. At one time I asked about a fish, and he uttered “oorrd’tail”.  I could not grasped what he try to say, and I get my closer to him with my hand cup to my ear. He repeated and repeated, yet I still cannot make the sense out of it. When I tried to seek clarification, the funny thing was this time it was Sam's turn to cup his ear to me, trying to grasp what I just said. Ha Ha Ha! I guessed he also had trouble to understand my English that was infused by Asian intonation. Finally one of Sam’s friend blurted “Hard tail” to me in plain English. Ah ha! the fish with stuffed chilies paste. Sam did not eat hardtail at all, he used it to catch larger predator fish like Baracuda and Giant Trevally.
Jobe with a Giant Trevally - Bandit 
of the sea
However not all things were plain sailing. I once send a Giant Trevally (a.k.a. GT) to Zak and as it was too big for the box, I cut it up. Bad mistake. Zak compliant that it smelled. When I cooked GT at home it tasted fine, so I do not know if the fish really smelled, or Zak did not like the smell or the dry ice cannot protects it. Anyway I ceased sending cut fish out anymore. The other one that bombed were squids that I got from the shrimper boat. The first consignment to Zak was so bad that he had to throw away the whole box of squids plus the fishes that went together. I had to make up to him in another consignment, minus the squids, of course. Due to this trial and error I learnt what can and what cannot be shipped. At times what appeared to be a sure winner, like the squids, it stunk. Stingray, which was thrash fish, was a gem. 
Thinking back I cannot imagine how the UPS delivery guy reacted when he smelled something 'fishy' in the box he carried - rotten fish! The memory of the salted fish incident at my apartment makes me laugh!

Location: Dauphin Island Public Fishing Pier, 109 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, Alabama 36528, USA.
Tel: +1-251-861-3607

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