At first, fish maw may sound odd. This sea delicacy will highly likely fail to ring a bell — no matter how hard you try. But don’t be fooled by its strange name. The truth of the matter: Skipping this unique dish may be ill-advised for you. A little digging will tell you fish maw can give you tonnes of health and beauty benefits to set your new year 2022 right.
Know fish maw has been treated with high regard in Asian culture. For centuries, it represented good luck and health. Small wonder the Chinese serve this sea ingredient in their stews and soups during the most special of occasions (New Year and birthdays).
And yet, there’s more to this natural wonder than meets the palate. Recent research has shown not only can fish maw enhance one’s skin but it also is largely therapeutic allowing you to live your best life ever.
A Most Sought-after Seafood
It’s true fish maw is not listed in your fave fast food chain menu. No need to panic though. Right off the bat, realise fish maw is seafood royalty. It is considered as one of the top four most sought-after sea delicacies on the planet — a list that includes:
So what is it really? What is fish maw made of? And most importantly, what makes it so sought after?
First stop, fish maw is basically the dried swim bladders of a large fish. Usually, it is sourced from a sturgeon or a croaker. Other non-cartilaginous species of fish may also be used. Bony fishes use swim bladders to move about: maintain buoyancy at their current water depth and move up or down underwater.
Technically, the word maw is a bit of a misnomer as the word itself means stomach or gullet. But fish maw is not a part of the stomach but refers to the swim bladders, a gas-filled sac lying in the fish belly.
Take note, sharks are made primarily of cartilage rather than the usual fishbone. As such, these cartilaginous sea beasts do not have swim bladders. Instead, they rely on their liver to move about. The same holds true for chimaeras, rays and skates.
As you may guess by now, the quality of your fish maw will depend on the quality of the fish source. This is the reason why wild-caught fish maw from the deep ocean is regarded as of the best quality. Thus, they command a higher price.
Taste-wise, dried fish maw is generally tasteless. For that reason, it complements many dishes as it absorbs the flavour of the ingredients cooked with it. When cooked for a long time, it becomes soft, gelatinous and chewy.
Getting the Best Out of Fish Maw
When you do a little reading on fish maw, you’re bound to bump into the word ‘glue’. And it’s but natural. Fish maw is utilized in the food industry to create a unique water-resistant glue. And there’s more.
Fish maw is a great source of collagen. Take note collagen is the most abundant protein found in your body accounting for about one-third of all the protein composition. As such, this protein plays a huge protective role in your overall wellness. Among many other things, collagen is a major building block of your:
It’s no accident fish maw has been associated with a host of skin benefits. That translates to helping improve your skin tone and maintaining radiant skin and tissue health. So effective is fish maw that many pregnant women take it to improve the skin of their up-and-coming babies — enjoying dramatic results in the process.
But that doesn’t mean that only women have experienced dramatic results with fish maw. To date, said magical collagen effect on the skin has been felt by both sexes. So, if you want to have radiant skin all year round, taking these dried fish bladders regularly is the way to go.
Its high viscosity gel protein alongside tons of mucopolysaccharide has made fish maw a key tool in maintaining fine complexion. That is made even better by its ability to invigorate blood circulation.
To add to all that, fish maw is teeming with proteins. It harbours 84.4% protein and only 0.2% fat. Even better, it is filled with trace elements. Some of these are:
Add the sweet neutral taste of fish maw and you have seafood that’s great in nourishing the lungs, not to mention the kidneys and blood. It’s also why this sea delicacy is beneficial for post-partum women.
If you look at all the goodies fish maw brings, it’s no accident it’s been regarded as top nourishment for one’s “yin”. Thousands have sought the super seafood to aid in replenishing one’s kidney and boosting one’s stamina.
Buyers Beware: Identifying Fake from Real Fish Maw
First and foremost, buying anything without proper investigation as to who you’re buying from is a risky business. The best fish maw is not only sourced right but also is branded right. Meaning, you can trace who the seller is and from what office.
Fake fish maw abounds as the demand for the sea delicacy is strong. To make matters worse, supply is largely limited.
To fill this void, unethical businessmen use filler products to fool the market. For instance, many utilize squid or shark’s skin. Some even use the head portion of big fish fin. They soak these kinds of seafood in hydrogen peroxide mixed with sulphur. Afterwards, they heat the mixture to come up with a fake product disguised as a top-grade fish maw.
Indeed, buyer beware. These unscrupulous entrepreneurs will go through all the lengths to produce a product that at the outset looks right. Some will use broken, substandard fish maw poured into a special mould. By adding pressure in such a mould, thickness is gradually increased to imitate that of real products. Eventually, the fake products will look like the real ones.
So brazen are these unruly businessmen that some use pig’s skin or chemical plastic to imitate a real fish maw. This only tells you that knowing how to identify quality fish maw from fake ones is a useful skill. It should greatly diminish the chances of being duped.
In this regard, the following three guidelines below should help you. To this end, using your senses is key.
Colour is an important hint to tell you if you’re dealing with a fake fish maw. Being watchful right from the onset can, therefore, help save you the trouble.
Generally, genuine fish maw is coloured golden yellow. And far too often, fake ones are lighter in colour — whitish-yellow and largely unnatural.
When you look at wood, you can see the grain. And that can be a great clue. Though the grain in fish is unlike wood, grain, in general, can help you set a fake fish maw apart from a real one.
Real fish maw carries a natural grain while fake ones have a disorderly grain — if at all. Far too often, fake fish maw does not have an obvious grain pattern.
How a product smells will betray its material. In this regard, your nose can help you determine if a fish maw is genuine or not.
As a product of the sea, real fish maw will carry a light seawater smell. That’s a good clue. As fake fish maw could be chemically sourced or plastic, it may not have that sea odour.
It may seem like an uphill climb. But finding the right product is all worth it. With the New Year 2022 in the offing, taking the right steps is a must. And without a doubt, you can’t go wrong when you zero in on a true blue wild-caught fish maw.