Another day, another head… or two

I’m still working through getting pictures and stories up from Selam and Jehiah’s visit with us last week. But I thought I would take a break and do an “everyday life” post.

When our vistors arrived, they came bearing many gifts. The gifts were objects we had ordered or had family find/purchase for us that are hard (or impossible) to get here in Singapore. One of the treasures we had our family bring us from the States was Ranch Seasoning. I know… weird. But hey, it’s the little things in life 🙂

Anyways, one of the plans for the seasoning was to make our favorite Tilapia dish. We had scouted the grocery store in advance to make sure that they had tilapia. Today came and I decided it was a good day to make the meal for dinner.

I go to the grocery store.

Then I walk to the seafood counter.

I ask the fish-lady (I’m sure there is a much more proper term than fish lady) for 1.5 kg of Tilapia.

She says a few phrases which I do not understand. Then says, “you want fish?”


“How many?” she then asked. To which I shrugged, “Two?”

“Small or Large.”

By now I’m thinking I had no idea I would have to answer so many questions, and I certainly wasn’t prepared. I shrug and respond, “Small.”

This response surprised her, for she repeated, “Small???” In a voice that said, are you sure you know what you’re asking for.

She came around to the front of the counter and picked two fish out and asked me if they were small enough. I didn’t care (nor did I know), so I confirmed that they were.

The two small fish were then taken back to the counter where she weighed them out and asked me if it was enough. Of course they were enough… ?

She brought them to her special work counter/sink and cut the fins/tail off, gutted it, and descaled the cold creatures. After this was done, the remaining fish were put into a bag and handed to me. I politely thanked her as I though, what have I gotten myself into?

Now I should back up a moment. Growing up we rarely ate fish. Fish was in the form of “fish sticks.” I don’t think I remember my mom even cooking fish till my teens. And even then it was a rare occasion. I would eat fish at my sister’s house or at restaurants, but it was never something that I grew up eating and watching it be prepared. No one really fished in my family, so we never had the opportunity to watch fish be prepared from scratch. The fish I knew was already cooked by someone else. As I passed into adult-hood my enjoyment of fish grew, and I would buy fish to try my hand at cooking. The fish I bought at Giant or Safeway was already set to go.

Now that you have an understanding of my background, you will greater appreciate this picture.


Now it isn’t so much that I was grossed out. In fact after dealing with a few chickens’ heads… well, these really didn’t seem that gross. And hey, at least these didn’t have feet or fins I had to cut off … and no gizzards to pull out 😉

No – it wasn’t gross. It was new territory – that’s what it was.

I had no idea what to do.

Cue Youtube.

Nothing like a good how-to video to boost my confidence.

Tilapia "Fillets"

If it’s not obvious, the top two were my first attempts. But practice makes perfect… or at least better, if not perfect. My bottom two turned out much better. I was on a roll! Too bad I only got 2 fish.

Oh well.

Andrew arrived home from work. I proudly showed him the fruits of my labor. We made dinner together.

MMMM! Slightly oily – but that gives us an excuse to make it again and improve upon the recipe.

Tilapia - the finished product

Two more heads that I’ve chopped off, and another dish that wasn’t what I expected for prep-work. Another day, and another adventure that turned out well here in Singapore.


One response to “Another day, another head… or two

  1. Thank you for the wonderful meal Age. I look forward to making it with you again sometime.

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