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Shrimp paste making in Hong Kong

December 14, 2010
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(photo from Wikipedia)

Shrimp paste is made from different kinds of fermented small shrimp with salt, and then pulverized into a viscous paste. It is commonly used in Southern Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine. In Hong Kong, shrimp paste is one of the specialties in Tai O and Lamma Island. We can often see the villager making the paste and it also attract many visitors since it is well known for producing highest quality shrimp paste.

There are two types of shrimp paste, one is liquid sauce, and another one is in solid block form. The sauce one is in pale pink colour while the block one is in brown colour, the sauce one’s taste lighter than the block one. Furthermore, there is no standard in making shrimp paste, it may varies between different Asian cultures and can be different in smell, texture and saltiness.

To make shrimp paste, the first thing to do is to rinse and drain the small shrimps, mixed with salt, then do the drying process. Put the shrimp-salt mixture in the container under the sun and wait for several days. After that, the mixture will turn into dark colour and fermented, cannot recognize the shrimp anymore. The mixture need to be stir everyday to make sure the ingredients are well mixed until the paste is fully matures. Finally, the paste is made.

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