Because some conversations were meant to be transcribed…


Basa in a bucket. Click to see the website (which has much basa-related info) from where I nicked this image.

A: “This fish, this basa, it’s quite popular here in Bombay, isn’t it?”
B: “I suppose so.”
C: “In Kolkata, people will only eat bekti. No one will eat basa.”
B: “They’re very different kinds of fish. I’m not sure one can equate the two, if you know what I mean.”
A: “I’ve see a basa. It looks like tilapia.”
C: “Swordfish have pointy snouts. Like this.” (B makes a steeple of fingers and thrusts said steeple heavenwards.)
B: “Umm…”
A: “Basa looks black-ish. It’s like tilapia. I’ve seen it.”
B: “I thought it was white-ish. But I’m not sure.”
C: “There’s also magur, rui, aar, topshe, mackerel.”
A: “No, it’s black. I’ve seen it. It belongs to the catfish family. It’s a farmed fish.”
C: “You can make bharta with tilapia. It tastes very good.”
B: “Ummm…”
A: “Asia also has that other fish. What’s it called again? You know, that small one.” (looks at C) “What was it? Remember, we had it in that place.”
C: “Rawas is the same as rui. But with surmai you can make steak, fish steak of course.”
A: “That’s it. Garoupa. Excellent fish. Smally and very tasty.”
C: “Of course, there’s the tilapia jhol, the simplest preparation. It’s watery but a classic. Lake Market has excellent quality of fish.”
A: “Indonesians love garoupa.”
C: “The fish in Tel Aviv should be good.”
A: “In America, tilapia has become very popular. You get tilapia steak.”
C: “Aar is also a lovely fish. Lake Market had some excellent quality aar the other day. We don’t get sardines though, not the real sardines. B, I’ll give you the recipe. Don’t worry.”
B: “Sorry, what recipe?”
C: “The tilapia bharta, of course.”
A: “Chidambaram says he wants to reduce EMIs, did you read?”

Magurruiaartopshe and surmai are all varieties of fish.
Lake Market is a wet market in Kolkata.
Bharta is a style of cooking that involves smoking and roasting. I think.)

One thought on “A Fish By Any Other Name

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