Mudskippers for food
In Thailand live a variety of mudskipper species, notably Giant mudskippers (Periophthalmodon schlosseri), Blue-spotted mudskippers (Boleophthalmus boddarti), and others. All of them are amphibious fish, which live on muddy estuary- and tidal brackish river zones all around Asia-Pacific. They live in about 40 cm deep holes in the mud and emerge preferably on sunny days at low tide. All of them are able to breath in and out of the water.
How to catch mudskippers
Mudskippers can be best caught either by cast nets, hand nets or caught by hand. Catching by cast- or hand nets is self-explanatory, and hand catching should be further described. First, at low tide, a prospective area has to be sought out, where there is a variety of mudskipper holes. These mudskipper holes are considerably larger than crab holes, as can be seen from attached photos.
Next, it is necessary to either strip down and protect the body against the sun with a mud layer or wear old clothing – as these clothing will get very muddy. Only necessary implement is a bucket to collect the skippers. By sticking the hand deep into the holes, mudskippers can be caught easily and just put into the bucket. When catching, their head should be gripped in front of the pelvic fins/legs.
And, if a crab is biting a finger?
In case of misfortune – meaning, a crab hides in a mudskipper hole – despite the pain, the crab should not be ripped off the finger as a whole, but the pinching claw should be broken off the crab. And only thereafter the claw should be pried open by a buddy or yourself. Otherwise, nasty cuts could develop, whereas by breaking off the claw separately only pinched holes remain.
Mudskippers on the table
Before cooking the fish, they are being put into a closed pot with lots of salt (and sometimes ice), which will kill them. Thereafter gutting, washing, and spicing. Usually, mudskippers are grilled on a skewer of coconut frond-midrib until black at the outside. They got white meat with excellent taste and texture.
Lessons learned about mudskippers for food
- Catching mudskippers with nets is relatively easy.
- Hand catching is good for an emergency situation, but – at least the author – doesn’t like to get pinched by crabs.
- In some cultures, it is still common practice to stick live mudskippers on skewers and grill them.
- In case mudskippers were killed in a humanly way and the googly eyes are gone, they taste grilled and well-seasoned tremendously well.