WHAT IS IT? This little fishy snack goes by a number of names depending on location. Ikan bilis in Indonesia, myulchi bokkeum in Korea, and something else that we can't locate the name of in Japan, possibly tazukuri. They are always very savoury, can be spicy or even with added sesame. The little blighters are either crunched down with a beer or sprinkled on top of another dish for extra crunch.
WHY IS IT QUESTIONABLE? You can see the little fishes. Unlike whitebait, their little eyes and little swimmy tail are not masked by the fig leaf of batter. And you pop the whole thing - or even a whole shoal - into your mouth at once. And they do taste VERY fishy.
SAUNDERS SAYS: "
These smell awful; festival toilet awful. As you can imagine, they taste pretty funky too. It's not that I don’t like them, it's just I wouldn’t jump at buying them. I first experienced them in a Malaysian sambal esk curry. I had the same opinion of them then."
SYMONDS SAYS: "The retort "you smell like you've been eating cat food" wasn't enough to put me off. I can't get enough of these. Perfect salty umami beer food with a definite crunch. I will be eating more... and then whispering sweet nothings about them into the ears of the cynics!"
THE VERDICT? The team are divided. Maybe just buy a small bag and make sure to brush your teeth thoroughly afterwards.