An Oily Fake – Granada, Spain Trip #14

March 5, 2013 at 11:00 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Tisu Boy has been forbidding me from writing about this cos he was terribly embarrassed about what happened. But a clip on the local news channel made him change his mind as he thinks he finally understood what happened….

Itchyfingers were in Granada, looking for food after a day’s visit at Alhambra. Not too sure what drew us to this place but we were getting tired from all the walking and food searching. There was only one table with customers as Spanish normally have their dinner late, but a couple of customers were at the bar counter. We went in, chose a table and sat down.

restaurant
It was only then we realised the restaurant cum bar belonged to a hotel as
we could see the hotel lobby from the connecting door…The guy here was 
the chef, and he was the one attending and serving us as well…I bet he was
the bartender too…hahah…Talk about multi-tasking…

appetitizer
Our drinks and appetizer came pretty fast…The bread was fine but I hate
eating olives…too sour…

Another table full of people came shortly. We had to wait a bit before our food was served…

salmon
I had some pan-fried salmon with potatoes…

fake
While Tisu Boy ordered some swordfish…We were surprised and impressed
with the generous serving even though the price of the dish was not very
cheap. Can’t remember how much but it was a little above our average
spending on food…

The food was not so bad though the swordfish was slightly oily. The staff, or rather the chef-cum-waiter-cum-cashier was quite friendly, and the place not too crowded and noisy. We paid and left feeling happy.

The next morning when we left our hotel and were about to continue our visit around, I suddenly spotted some stain on Tisu Boy’s pants…It was located strategically at the “butt crack”. It was then that Tisu Boy admitted that his tummy felt funny and he had let off some gas earlier…Oh my goodness…Could he have soiled his pants? He was so embarrassed and worried that people would see it so we had to turn back quickly to the hotel to change. Strangely the stain didn’t look anything like it was from loose watery stool but rather kinda oily and it was difficult to wash off with the soap from the hotel. He had a bit of stomach upset and also noticed some oily stuff in the toilet bowl, which totally grossed and freaked him out. Luckily it didn’t persist and everything went back to normal the next day. But he was obviously so embarrassed and traumatised that he swears never to touch swordfish again…And I was warned not to mention this to anyone unless I wanna be silenced….Hahah…just a bit of exaggeration… 😀

This episode would never have seen the daylight if he didn’t catch the Channel 8 chinese news the other night, and I would have continued teasing him about his oily fart…hahah…It was just a short report on how some restaurants in New York had been substituting a certain fish 玉梭鱼 for swordfish. Apparently this fish is much cheaper and looks similar to swordfish, so unscrupulous fishermen or restaurants owners used it in return for higher profits. It also mentioned that this fish will cause some food poisoning in some people, resulting in yellowish-orange drops of oil to be expelled. This really struck Tisu Boy as the symptoms were so similar to his…So could it be that the restaurant that we ate ripped us off and gave us this other cheaper fish?

A search on the internet on this 玉梭鱼 confirmed Tisu Boy’s suspicion. Called the EscolarLepidocybium flavobrunneum, it is a deep water fish found in the tropical and temperate waters around the world. Escolar is a species of fish in the family Gempylidae. It is also known as snake mackerel, and is sometimes fraudulently marketed as “butterfish” or “white tuna”. Escolar has firm, white flesh that is incredibly rich in flavour, often described as ‘succulent’, or a fattier version of swordfish. The reason for the rich flavor? It turns out that Escolar’s diet contains food high in wax esters, which are really difficult for Escolar to digest. As a result, these esters build up in the fish. When consumed, these wax esters cause gastrointestinal symptoms, often leading to explosive, oily, orange diarrhea! The term for this is keriorrhea. People have reported that the discharges are often difficult to control and accidents can happen while passing gas. Oh my goodness! The symptoms are totally spot on as in Tisu Boy’s case!!! So finally the mystery of his oily fart is solved! And the culprit was not swordfish but the fake Escolar fish!!!! No wonder we were served such a big portion of the more expensive “swordfish”! Consumed in a small amount should be okay, cos I think I did sample a little bit of the white fish, but he was served such a big portion and in order not to waste food, almost everything was cleared on the plate! 

It can be tricky cos Escolar is often sold under other names or mislabeled as other fish; and it can be found in sushi bar. So the next time you order “white tuna”, “super white tuna” or swordfish, make sure you are in a reputable restaurant! And if you happened to be in Granada, Spain, avoid this place, or if you have to, avoid ordering the swordfish dish!

hotel
An enlargement of the place mat on the earlier photo of the fake swordfish
dish…

aljaraz bar
Good thing we took pictures, otherwise we would have nothing to warn 
people of Tisu Boy’s ordeal!

More information of the oily faker Escolar can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escolar
http://blog.medellitin.com/2008/12/escolar-world-most-dangerous-fish.html?m=1
http://www.thekitchn.com/use-caution-when-eating-escola-66602

Also see related posts:
>Fantasy Park – Barcelona, Spain Trip #13
Moorish Love – Granada, Spain Trip #12
My Heart Will Go On – Figueres, Barcelona, Spain Trip #11
A Peek into the Surrealistic World of Dali – Figueres, Barcelona, Spain Trip #10
Chasing Art – Spain, Trip #9
Old City of Steel – Toledo, Madrid, Spain Trip #8
Aeroplane Building – Bilbao, Spain Trip #7
House of Bones – Barcelona, Spain Trip #6
The Quarry – Barcelona, Spain Trip #5
A Visit to the Market – Barcelona, Spain Trip #4
A Bird’s Eye View – Barcelona, Spain Trip #3 
Inside the Construction Site – Barcelona, Spain Trip #2 
The World’s Most Beautiful Construction Site – Barcelona, Spain Trip #1 

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