Unicorn Fish - The Weird, But Delicious Fish
Way back our Summer Vacation in Villa Balinmanok in Dasol, Pangasinan, we passed through a stall that features different sea foods, which really come cheap.
One of the weird-looking fish that I saw was the locally called as "Sinugay", and upon research, it's international name is Unicorn Fish. Because of it's weird hard head with horn, we called this "Lady Gaga Fish"
Habitat and Physical Features
Unicorn fishes are the cousins of surgeon fish. They are found in rocky, coral reefs, patches, and tropical areas of Indian and Pacific Ocean. According to an animal website, they are found abundant in Southeast Asian countries including Philippines. They are also found in waters of Hawaii, and many more. But, there are some claims that they can be found in reefs of Japan.
They feed on algae, weeds and other small plants. Larger animals serve as their predator.
The whitemargin species (featured) can grow up to 3.3 feet in length. Their horns can grow up to 13 centimeters. Their skin are hard and leathery.
Their horns, despite it's hard, relatively has no use. When they are threatened, they will use their tails and fins to attack. But, more often, they will just try to swim away.
In my post entitled "Labrador Pangasinan Seafood Stall", the price is P280.00 ($6.60 USD) a kilo, and a whole fish will cost you P450.00 ($10.68 USD). But in another place in Pangasinan, in a mini market in Bolinao, the price is P190.00 per piece, and when we asked the seller in Bolinao, she said that a unicorn fish will never cost P450.00 a piece.
Ways To Cook
According to the locals, the fish can be cooked just like any other fish. During our first encounter with this fish, we cooked it grilling the ordinary way. True enough, wounding the fish is hard, we even used ax, but still not easily.
The second time, the locals in Bolinao gave us an idea. The skin should be roasted first and it'll easily peel of where you can remove it with bare hands. Then, you can grill it in low burning charcoals.
Taste and Verdict
Surprisingly, despite it's weird appearance, it's actually delicious and soft. It'slike milk fish with stronger and tastier flesh, plus with lesser bones. It's recommended for kids.
For me, P190.00 is quite worthy, but not the P450.00 a piece.