The care and cleaning of tiny dried fish

In my first years of going to Australia as a university student, my mum always packed a large supply of these dried fish for my kitchen cupboard. It was the early 1980s, and Asian cooking ingredients were hard to find outside of large cities, which at that stage did not include Canberra.  “Chinese” or (even worse) generic “Asian” food came from typical Aussie-Chinese restaurants serving unrecognisably syrupy lemon chicken and sweet and sour pork.

I never had any trouble getting these through customs inspection, along with my year’s supply of curry powder.

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