“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.” Luckily, sharks are not friends. How delicious it is to be on the top of the food chain, most of the times. And how even more exceptional a feared man-eating creature can taste when it’s sauteed in an exotica of spices. Shark Attack!
Southern Spice in Flushing, Queens for Southern Indian food and shark meat
We recently had an outer borough experience at Southern Spice in Flushing, Queens. What caught my eye about Southern Spice was that it was not only a restaurant dedicated to the sometimes forgotten Southern Indian cuisines, but it also had a shark meat dish on its menu.
Sharks are terribly misunderstood creatures. They do not find their way on menus but are eaten and enjoyed by a variety of cultures across the world. Unfortunately, I am no shark connoisseur but I’d fancy that different sharks have different tastes. Yet, to generalize, shark meat is similar to crab meat and swordfish. The flesh is white and flaky in addition to being quite firm. Unlike swordfish, and hence more like crab, the meat has subtle hints of sweetness. However, to properly put it all out there, make no mistake, a shark tastes like a shark. Behind the familiarity of textures and consistencies, there is an undeniable alien fishy gaminess to it. The gaminess to me was similar to that of slightly poignant vinegar/pickling smell & taste. Off-putting? Not the very least. Enjoyable? To a certain degree, yes.
Minced shark meat sauteed with curry leaves, onion, ginger, and cilantro
Unlike other times I’ve eaten shark, which were normally shark’s fin soups, the shark meat was full of flavor. Southern Spice minced its shark meat and sauteed it with curry leaves, onion, ginger and cilantro. It is almost impossible to prepare anything with these spices/aromas and not taste good. The minced shark meat just melted in one’s mouth, similar to how a bonito flake just wilts away when it feels heat. In between gristle of shark bones and spines, the spices nicely complimented the fishy taste of the shark. Unique? You bet your dolphin butt. For me, the shark meat was particularly enjoyable when eaten with garlic naan.
We are still unsure of what type of shark meat we had. We hope it was Great White! Mako shark is said to be considered the best tasting of sharks. In regards to the other dishes, Southern Spice was excellent, home-style Southern Indian fare. On the menu are littered some more familiar and Northern dishes. The decor is sparse, but the food comforting. There will be a more formal write-up on the restaurant soon.
Other shark meat dining options in NYC
There are not too many non-Chinese restaurants that serve shark fins and/or meat. Here is a list of restaurants in the NYC area that have shark of some type on its menu: shark week is every week
Shark meat recipes suggestions. Give me some fin!
Like fish, shark is a versatile creature that can be prepared and cooked in a host of manners. Freshness is always key when it comes to seafood and apparently shark fishing is a good time – I cannot wait to suggest our next boys outing. “Then we need to find a fish that can read this. Hey, look! Sharks!”
Here are some other shark cooking ideas and recipes:
- Shark steaks grilled with lemon, garlic and olive oil
- Shark steaks fried in a skillet and served with lemon
- Shark Marseillaise
- Shark enchiladas
- Broiled shark with Pesto Trapanese
- Teriyaki shark skewers
- Spicy shark meat roll
- Shark au Poivre
- Rotten Icelandic shark
Appendix: North versus South, Indian cuisines
I am a terribly huge lover of Indian cuisine, it is so different, exotic and full of flavor (…not much unlike myself). Most of the Indian food we consume here in the US is Northern Indian cuisine. Dishes studded with ghee (the unbelievable clarified butter in which every ingredient swims in), lathered with cream/diary, loaded with powerful spices like gram masala, and these bubbling concoctions of flavorful goodness served with breads/rotis/naans of all diversity. I love it, but where there’s a north, there’s a south.
The cuisine of Kerala has a very special place in my heart and in my book, it totally rocks. Kerala is one of the Southern Indian types of cuisine. Southern Indian food is very different from its northern brethren. Coconut makes a pronounced introduction in Southern Indian fare. Coconut milk/cream and oils make their ways onto plates in high frequency. More tropical flavors like curry leaves, ginger, cardamom, and tamarind are found in these dishes. Seafood is also more prevalent and plays wonderfully with the spices and aromas of Southern Indian cuisine. And not to be forgotten, there less breads/naans in the South and much more rice. As an half Asian, I cannot say no to more rice.