Fish, Fried and Fantastic: The World's Most Popular Fried Fish Dishes

Fish, Fried and Fantastic: The World's Most Popular Fried Fish Dishes

Welcoming tantalizing appetites, TasteAtlas reveals a variety of popular dishes that bring a deliciously crispy touch, especially in fish-based seafood preparations. 

It's almost impossible to resist the temptation of perfectly fried foods. While it's impossible to sample all the delights in a single article, the wide range of flavors in this Fish Fried theme is a fascinating way to explore the richness of global cuisine.

Here are the world's most popular fried fish dishes from TasteAtlas:

10. Panades (Belize)

Panades is a traditional Belizean dish consisting of deep-fried cornmeal-based crescent dough stuffed with various compositions that create a variety of appetizing flavors. Originally from Western Europe, panades can be stuffed with white fish or beans, and can even have color variations such as red or black. Delicious and crunchy, they are usually served with tantalizing salsa made from a mixture of cabbage, peppers, and onions, creating an enticing blend of flavors.

9. Tian Bu La (Taiwan)

Tian Bu La is a very popular fish batter snack in Taiwan. Tian Bu La dough is made from a thick fish batter mixture consisting of tender white fish fillets, eggs, and potato starch or tapioca. The fish batter is then fried in hot oil until crispy and golden brown.

It is often served with spicy sauce or sweet and sour sauce. Some variations of tian bu la may contain additional ingredients such as sausages, boiled eggs, or vegetables. Tian Bu La snacks are easily found at night markets, street stalls, and restaurants throughout Taiwan. 

8. Ikan Goreng (Indonesia)

Ikan Goreng (translated as "fried fish"), a classic Indonesian dish, is fish or seafood fried in hot oil after being marinated in a mixture of spices such as garlic, shallots, and herbs.

They are fried in hot coconut oil until golden and crispy, often turning even the fish bones into edible crumbs. The variety of fried fish in Indonesia is vast and includes differences in the marinade, toppings, dipping sauce, or sambal used. Some examples include ikan goreng bumbu kuning, ikan goreng rica-rica, and ikan goreng asam pedas.

7. Pecel Lele (Indonesia)

Pecel Lele is a typical Indonesian dish consisting of catfish fried until crispy and served with various vegetables and sambal (like sauce). This dish is very popular in Indonesia, especially in Java. Besides catfish and sambal, Pecel Lele is also served with fresh vegetables such as cucumber, cabbage, tomatoes, and basil leaves. The fresh vegetables give the dish a fresh taste and balance of flavors. Pecel Lele is very easy to find from afternoon to evening at tent stalls in Indonesia.

6. Buñuelos de Bacalao (Spain)

Buñuelos de bacalao is a spicy version of the popular buñuelos fritters made from dried cod in Spain. The dish is made from a mixture of dried salted cod, flour, eggs, milk, or water and butter, seasoned with fresh parsley, salt, and pepper. Other common ingredients are potatoes, baking powder, spring onions, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice, paprika, and turmeric.

Buñuelos de bacalao is usually served as an appetizer or snack in Spain. They are often served with mayonnaise or ketchup on the side. There are several different variations of buñuelos de bacalao in Spain, depending on the spices and sauces used. Some variations include buñuelos de bacalao with aioli sauce, buñuelos de bacalao with romesco sauce, or buñuelos de bacalao with tomato sauce.

5. Bolinhos de Bacalhau (Portugal)

Bolinhos de bacalhau, known as pastéis de bacalhau in parts of Portugal and Brazil, are crispy cod fritters that are one of Portugal's most popular national dishes. Made with dried salted cod, mashed potatoes, onions, parsley, eggs, and a variety of spices, the mixture is formed into ellipses or balls before being fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Bolinhos de bacalhau are usually served as an appetizer at restaurants or formal dinner parties or as a hearty main course accompanied by rice and a variety of fresh salads.

4. Croquetas de Bacalao (Spain)

Croquetas de bacalao is a classic Spanish tapas dish made with boiled and mashed cod, then mixed with a creamy bechamel sauce. This mixture is then formed into balls, coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried until crispy. The recipe is simple and uses common ingredients such as flour, milk, olive oil, eggs, breadcrumbs and vegetable oil, which can be found in any grocery store.

Croquetas de Bacalao are not only a main dish, but also an ideal complement to a variety of other dishes. As a variation of croquetas, the most common in Spain, this dish, like other types of croquetas, is one of the most popular tapas throughout the country.

3. Fried Catfish (Alabama, United States of America)

Fried catfish is one of the traditional dishes characteristic of the American South. It usually consists of catfish fillets or chunks coated in a seasoned mixture of cornmeal or wheat flour and then fried in hot oil until golden and crispy. 

Some recipes may include additional ingredients such as sour milk and hot sauce in the marinade. After marinating, the catfish is coated with a mixture of cornmeal or wheat flour and then fried in hot oil until cooked and crispy.

Fried catfish is usually served with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, or a squeeze of lemon juice for added flavor. It is usually eaten with sides such as coleslaw, hush puppies, French fries, or cornbread.

2. Pempek (Indonesia)

Pempek is an Indonesian dish based on mackerel and tapioca flour. Originally from Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia, pempek is usually served with a spicy sweet and sour sauce called kuah cuka or kuah cuko. The dish is often paired with yellow noodles and refreshing slices of fresh cucumber. 

There are many variations of pempek, with notable variations including pempek kapal selam, which has an egg inside, and pempek lenjer, which has a long cylindrical shape resembling a sausage. This dish encapsulates the rich flavors of Indonesia, making it one of the most appreciated and popular cuisines.

1. Fish Fry (Wisconsin, United States of America)

Fish fry is a popular culinary tradition in Wisconsin that takes place every Friday night. At this event, fish are seasoned or breaded before being fried in large quantities. The practice has its roots in medieval Roman Catholicism, which associated Friday with the crucifixion of Christ, so the day was considered taboo for eating meat, but fish was allowed because it was not considered to come from warm-blooded creatures. 

A typical Wisconsin fish fry includes a variety of fish such as cod, bass, bluegill, walleye, smelt, or catfish. The fish is often served with tartar sauce, French fries or hash browns, lettuce and rye bread, creating a dish that is popular with many.

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