Fascinated by Tara Duggan's piece in the San Francisco Chronicle on two invasive fish species (Asian carp and lionfish) where consumption as food would have positive effects on the environment, I started to look into where I might buy these to cook at home. Asian carp are making their way up the Mississippi River toward the Great Lakes where they could wreck havoc with that delicate ecosystem. I was also motivated to find carp because the freshwater fish is a favorite in Chinese cooking and used in Bengali cuisine as well. Occasionally I've spotted a grass carp in a Chinatown fish market of the right size for a batch of gefilte fish though I don't know the origin.
Bloomberg offers the perspective from China where pollution has nearly wiped out one of the country's favorite fish. Carp-loving Chinese consumers mouths started to salivate over our American carp crisis.
“Chinese ‘foodies’ must join battle and rescue the Americans! The Obama Administration will reimburse you for eating steamed fish head with chopped peppers.”
"We can eat your carp if you have too much: braised carp in brown sauce, roast carp with scallions … Sweet and sour carp is great and it’s a famous dish in Shandong cuisine, though I haven’t eaten sweet and sour carp in a long time."
Trying to locate an actual supplier, these two articles in USA Today on carp caught in Kentucky finding its way to American tables and the White House, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/na... and
http://www.courier-journal.com/story/... , pointed to me to Fin Gourmet.
Fin Gourmet http://fingourmetfoods.com/ is a fish processor in Kentucky specializing in American wild-caught Asian carp products. Retail customers can order directly online. Its site also listed regional distributors.
The one for California is Yummee Distribution https://yummeedistribution.wordpress.... in San Jose. I talked to Mark this morning to find out if fresh carp fillets are in retail stores. He said that his one retailer is in Southern California but he is working on a deal with a major Chinese supermarket. Most of his business is supplying restaurants, saying that carp is popular with sushi bars in Los Angeles and New York. He did offer to ship fresh carp from Los Angeles to the Bay Area on the "Viet tour bus" or by air freight to SFO where I could pick it up.
Not hip to the Viet tour bus, but figuring it was one of the ethnic market bus companies, I found this article in the LA Times about Xe Do Hoang bus line http://www.latimes.com/local/great-re... that connects Westminster in Orange County with San Jose's Little Saigon. Xe Do Hoang has a few more destination points than that and does serve San Francisco and Oakland too. Its website has info on shipping small packages. https://www.xedohoang.com/index.php?l...
I haven't ordered anything yet, as I need to come up with a plan for what to do with 5 pounds of carp fillets first, e.g., recruit a Sichuan chef to experiment with it. But I wanted to share the supply chain info uncovered so far for others who might be on the same path.