When you think sweet and sour, more often than not it's chicken or beef that springs to mind. But it turns out this unique mix of both sugary and salty flavours also works perfectly with tender fish. Places like 龍川上海料理 LongChuan Shanghainese, 上海弄堂菜肉餛飩 Shanghai Lane and Shanghai Lo上海佬 serve it up the proper way – it's tangy, filling, succulent and delicate all at once, and we doubt many dishes can claim the same level of variation.
Many people have tried the chicken and pork varieties of the sweet and sour dish, but far fewer have enjoyed it with fish. But you'd be surprised – the tart sweetness that comes from this legendary sauce work perfectly with it.
Unlike fattier meats, fish doesn't take much of the focus away from the sauce, leaving room for chefs to really go all out with the flavours. You can cook it slowly so the fish falls to delicate flakes in the sauce, or batter and deep-fry a fillet to slowly pick apart.
Two flavours collide
According to most people, the combination of sweet and sour food dates back to early Chinese civilisations. It's thought that once upon a time in the Hunan province, villagers would mix vinegar with sugar or honey to make a very basic version of the sweet and sour sauce that we know and love today. This modest version was used as a dip for meats and vegetables, a practice that largely survives in China today.
Preserved plums and hawthorn candy are added to most modern recipes to naturally achieve that signature clash of the two flavours, although vinegar is regularly added afterwards to intensify the zing. And we wouldn't have it any other way.
Taste the sea
If you've never rode the sweet and sour fish train before, we recommend you try it the traditional way – just like they do at LongChuan Shanghainese. Their version pairs the tender fish with the zesty sauce, plated up with a simple vegetable rice that lets the sauce do all the talking. At Shanghai Lane they keep things classic too, and their Sweet & Sour Fish Fillet is listed under Chef Recommendations so you know it's the real deal.
Shanghai Lo do things a little differently. Their deep-fried Mandarin Fish is served up in our legendary sweet and sour sauce, with some added pine nuts for an extra crunch. If you're really feeling this whole seafood-sweet-salty combination – and fancy pushing the boat out – opt for their Sautéed Prawns in Sweet & Sour Sauce.
Get in on this famous flavour medley. Check out your options here on Deliveroo.