There are cheap salted fishes and there are super expensive ones. Salted fish is fish preserved with salt and dried (usually under the sun or maybe now using modern technology). Of course, the smell is super pungent and one needs to be used to it to enjoy it.
Salted fish that are not preserved well will have little maggots crawling out of its guts and I tell you, I will not touch that even if it is the last piece of food on earth.
Nowadays, with modern preservation techniques and maybe super strong chemicals, maggots no longer can survive. Thank goodness! I don’t like to prepare salted fish that often but once in a while, I cannot resist. Normally, I will buy the most expensive one available. Over here in Penang, the better ones are the ikan kuran which is a thick slab of fish fillet.
500 grams of it costs RM38 and hence, I usually buy a small piece of 250 gms at RM19. That piece will probably last me about five meals. My kids love them fried into crispy pieces. Remember to soak it for a while before cooking.
I usually get the salted fish from the distributor itself. You can find the shops next to the Chowrasta market. Just ask for the best and they will give you the ‘mui heong’ kind.
Salted fish is best steamed with chicken, ginger and black fungus. Or minced pork and ginger. Also excellent in claypot rice.
I normally store my salted fish in the freezer. No fear of maggots crawling, eh?