Tuesday, 16 January 2007

One Big Fish

I hate it when my throat is sore, because it deprives me of a host of delights and sensations. Like the "new" KFC Alaska Fish Burger, the centrepiece of which is claimed to have thirty-percent more content than McD's Filet-o-Fish patty. Against conventional wisdom, I paid the nearest KFC outlet a visit to have a go at this new offering (before the doctor's visit yesterday, and the ensuing days of pseudo-sadhu hell I'll be going through). I had no high hopes.

Yes, it only looks big on paper.

There was a bit of information on the fish I was eating on the tray liner. No exaggerated comparisons to shark and whale size (like that other KFC fish burger), or testimonials made by fake Mexicans. They actually researched the Latin name for the Alaskan pollack, and provided a list of seafood along with their Omega-3 content, which combined, effectively spelled, "Alaskan pollack from the Bering Sea, the same place where suicidal fishermen hunt crab, is rich in essential oils that are good for you. Healthy munchies for the discerning diner!"

Only sounds good on paper? Bingo.

Pollack (or pollock) is a widely-caught fish, along with the half-dozen kinds of fish listed (including cod, salmon, sea bass and Alaskan king crab), making it vulnerable to over-fishing. Everybody likes it, and is the choice fish of every fast food joint. Now you know there's nothing distinctive about that "100% Alaskan pollock" shtick.

What made the pollock stick in my memory was a snippet that I read (but forgot exactly where) that mentioned a "war" between Canadian fishermen and seals over fish - a great source of motivation during the annual Canadian seal cull.

It's not a bad idea for businesses like KFC to branch out, but if the pollock is going the way of the cod (European authorities have recently raised alarms about rapidly-declining stocks), we won't be seeing any Alaskan fish burgers by 2020.

But by golly, I hope they don't go extinct before my throat heals.


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