Tag Archives: Fish

Grilled Whole Fish

Grilled Whole Fish

Being Cantonese, you would think I’d have a post about steamed whole fish already! We practically eat steamed fish at every Chinese dinner. But alas, I have a grilled fish post first because it’s barbecue season! I absolutely love grilled fish. I love the smell of the charred fins and smoky taste of the fish when you grill it.

This Memorable Dish was inspired by the sea bream I saw at our local Chinese supermarket. The sign says, “Sea Bream, European”. I don’t usually see sea bream on sale so I snatched one up right away. The sea bream brought back memories of visiting Greece on my honeymoon. Being a seafood lover, Greece was a fresh seafood paradise. Every restaurant I went to, I ordered grilled whole fish. Every time I asked what type of fish it was the waiter would say, “It’s sea bream.” Before visiting Greece, I’d never heard of sea bream before. But apparently it’s a very popular fish to eat in Europe. So when I saw it at the supermarket in Canada, I was super ecstatic and bought it to grill. I wanted to test grill it first before my post because I didn’t want to screw it up 😀 .

The sea bream I grilled turned out great so I proceeded to grill a whole tilapia for this post. If your fish is a bit thicker in certain parts, cut some slits so it’ll cook more evenly. I also had some fresh garlic stalks from my in-laws’ garden that I stuffed the fish with. When I brought the cooked fish into the house, the kids all cheered. (Maybe they were happy that I didn’t burn down the house when they saw smoke coming out of the barbeque 😛 .) Fish is always a favourite in our household. I think the kids enjoy the grilled fish as much as I do since it’s a nice change from our usual steamed fish.Grilled Whole Fish

Grilled Whole Fish

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 Whole Fish (Sea Bream or Tilapia approximately 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 6 Lemon slices
  • 1-2 stalks of fresh Garlic, cut the thick parts to thinner pieces
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil


  1. Preheat grill on high.
  2. Cut the thick parts of the fish with 2-3 diagonal slits.
  3. Coat the fish on both sides with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper.
  5. Stuff the cavity with fresh garlic stalks and put some into the slitted parts of the fish.
  6. Place 3 lemon slices on the large fish grilling basket. Then place the fish on top. Then place the other 3 slices on top. Close the grilling basket.
  7. Grill fish on high heat until the fins are a bit charred (approximately 5-10 minutes).
  8. Then flip and grill for another 5-10 minutes.


Note #1: If you don’t have fresh garlic stalks, you could use chives or any other aromatics that you like.

Note #2: The amount of time to cook the fish depends on how big or thick your fish is and also your barbecue. Please check the thickest part of the fish for doneness. Also, the fish will continue to cook once you take it off the grill. So take it off as soon as it’s done and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.


Hawaiian Food Trip: Oahu: Part 2

Chicken Katsu Curry Saimin

Here we continue our Hawaiian food journey in Oahu from my previous post—Hawaiian Food Trip: Oahu: Part 1 (Pearl Harbor). The major plan for this day was to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center. However it didn’t open until 12:00 pm. So we decided to check out the Dole Plantation which was on our way to the Polynesian Center.

Dole Plantation

The grounds of the Dole plantation is free to visit but if you want to do different activities, you have to pay extra. When entering the premises you pretty much have to go through their giant store (Very sneaky to get you to buy stuff! I fell for it and bought some souvenirs and a lei apron 🙂 . Even if you don’t end up paying for the extra activities, the grounds are very nice for kids to run around in. We took a ride on the Pineapple Express train (Nothing to do with the movie—this is a family place after all!) and went through the World’s Largest Maze. From an aerial view, the middle of the maze is the shape of a pineapple—which I thought was pretty cool. They make the maze fun by having secret stations for people to hunt for. One thing to note is that the maze isn’t stroller friendly because it’s narrow and paved with gravel. After the maze, we rewarded ourselves to some Dole Whip (pineapple soft serve). They’re famous for this refreshing treat so it’s a must-try.

Dole Whip, Dole Whip Sundae, Dole Plantation Grounds

Dole Whip, Dole Whip Sundae, Dole Plantation Grounds


Almost lunch time! I pre-found a restaurant that was a short drive from the Dole Plantation and also didn’t stray too far from our way to the Polynesian Cultural Center. When we got there, the place was permanently closed! Yikes! I saw some restaurant nearby that looked interesting so we walked there instead. However, there were no bathrooms that we were allowed to use and no high chairs. I’m usually OK with no high chairs because we make do when travelling but I really needed to use the washroom! So I did a quick Yelp check and yippee, we found Zippy’s! Of course, we’d never heard of this chain restaurant before because it’s only found in Hawaii. I wanted to order everything on the menu because I’ve never seen anything like it. You could order a beef stroganoff and a Korean chicken all at the same place! It’s like an American-Asian diner!

Zippy's Menu

Zippy’s Menu

Chicken Katsu Curry Saimin – I’ve never heard of saimin before and I believe it’s a Hawaiian term. Tastes good and I wish they put the katsu on the side so it wouldn’t get soggy. The broth has a hint of curry taste but not very strong. Soup noodles are always very satisfying!

Chicken Katsu Curry Saimin

Chicken Katsu Curry Saimin

Minced Pork and Tofu Rice – Almost like Mapo Tofu but the sauce is not as spicy and almost has a chili-like consistency. (It’s like the chili you get when you order chili dogs.) The kids ate it all up because I’m sure it reminded them of the foods I made at home.

Minced Pork and Tofu Rice

Minced Pork and Tofu Rice

Loco Moco – Of course we had to try this famous Hawaiian dish! It’s rice topped with beef hamburger and fried egg with gravy on top.

Loco Moco

Loco Moco

Fried Wuntun (We usually spell it like “Wonton”.) – It came with a dish of hot mustard and my husband just dipped it and complained that it was too spicy. The waiter told us to add soy sauce and mix it. I guess he couldn’t tell we weren’t locals 😛 .

Fried Wuntun

Fried Wuntun

Polynesian Cultural Center

After lunch, we continued our journey and finally arrived at the Polynesian Cultural Center. We got there later than expected and by the time we parked and got to the ticket booth, it was around 3:00 pm. The village grounds were open from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm. If you end up staying for the luau and evening show, that part of the center stays open until the show ends.

If you’re short on time, go to the information booth and ask them to highlight all the village shows and places to check out. We were lucky we were talking to a couple who was also short on time. The information booth staff wrote all the times and shows for them to check out the different villages. So we followed their itinerary and checked out a few shows from their list. Otherwise, we would’ve missed the shows and wandered around aimlessly not knowing where to go.

Polynesian Cultural Center Map

Polynesian Cultural Center Map

The kids, my husband and I really enjoyed the live shows and exploring different areas of the villages. The boys even got inspired by their environment and started to pretend they were villagers roaming around the land. Since we got there late, by the time we were done watching the different shows, everyone was gone. No one came to kick us out—I wonder if we could’ve roamed around the village area a little longer? But we decided to head back to the front gate before the actors/villagers came rounding us up. We ended our visit with a short film called “Hawaiian Journey” at their theatre. This is something you could do last if you end up coming late because I believe the last show starts at 6:00 or 6:30 pm. You could explore the rest of the village first before catching the film.

Tita’s Grill

Tita's Grill Sign

Tita’s Grill Sign

By the time the movie ended, the kids were starving. We didn’t book the luau and evening show because we already pre-booked a luau in Maui. The reviews of the restaurant on the premise looked promising so we were planning to check it out. But instead we got sidetracked when we saw a couple of food trucks near the front entrance. I beelined to the Tita’s Grill food truck after seeing the yummy foods people were eating at the nearby tables. I believe they have another more permanent location north-west of the Polynesian Cultural Center (about a 10 minute drive away). I ordered the garlic shrimp and kalbi (Korean beef ribs) plate for myself. My husband ordered the Tita’s burger. I ordered the fish burger for my toddler girl and the boys had the regular hamburgers and fries (the boys ate their burgers before I had a chance to take photos.)

Garlic Shrimp and Kalbi Plate – The most delicious garlic shrimp ever! I like that the shrimp comes in the shell because I find it more flavourful. The kalbi was tender and delicious. It also comes with rice and macaroni salad (standard Hawaiian plate). I’m usually not too crazy about macaroni salad but it’s super tasty and I couldn’t stop eating it.

Garlic Shrimp and Kalbi Plate

Garlic Shrimp and Kalbi Plate

Tita’s Burger – It’s essentially a banquet burger. By the look on my husband’s face and the speed he was eating it, I assumed it was mighty tasty.

Tita's Burger

Tita’s Burger

Fish Burger – This was shared amongst us because, of course, my toddler girl couldn’t finish the whole thing. I found the toasted buttered bread too oily. However, I really liked the fish. It was lightly breaded so you get a good chunk of fish. My girl loved it and asked for more. I limited the amount of buttered bread I gave her afraid that she might get a tummy ache.

Fish Burger

Fish Burger

I hope I whet your appetite with all these delicious Memorable Dishes from Hawaii so far! Stay tuned for Hawaiian Food Trip: Oahu: Part 3 where we continue our culinary journey on our last day in Oahu.

Fish Sticks and Cream of Chicken Soup

Fish Sticks & Cream of Chicken Soup

You would think fish sticks and cream of chicken soup were my childhood staples since I created a blog entry about them. On the contrary, these Memorable Dishes were special treats from my mom when she didn’t have time to make the multiple dishes that comprise every Chinese meal.

In Hong Kong, my mom worked full time and took care of my older brother and me at the time. Most people in Hong Kong do not own a car because it’s fairly expensive to maintain. Plus, the public transit system is amazing. Having said that, my mother still had to travel from one end of of the city to get to work and home by public transit. Everyday she would finish work, go to the market and buy fresh ingredients to cook us dinner. She did that EVERY evening. I don’t know how she did it because I can’t imagine anyone going to the market everyday on top of going to work full time. Not only did she cook us fresh meals every day, she cooked us several dishes including a soup. We always had fish, a meat dish, a vegetable dish, and steamed rice of course.

So every now and then when she was crunched for time, she would take shortcuts like every mom who tries to keep her sanity. When she didn’t have time to get fresh fish, she would bake us frozen fish sticks. I got super excited every time we got to eat this. I know it’s fried and frozen and not particularly healthy. But as a kid, we didn’t know that and it was such a special treat just to have fish sticks!

When she didn’t have enough time to make a soup, she would make a can of cream of chicken soup for us. Cream of mushroom soup either wasn’t available or not as popular as cream of chicken soup in Hong Kong at the time. Of course, I was also super excited about the cream of chicken soup too. My mom didn’t really whisk the soup until it was all smooth and creamy. So the soup would have pockets of creamy chunks which I liked drinking and smashing in my mouth.

This is to all moms out there – give yourself some slack! Don’t stress if you must make your kids frozen and processed foods from time to time. Even my full-time working mom who made dishes from scratch every evening took short cuts when she needed to 🙂Fish Sticks & Cream of Chicken Soup

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