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High-quality caviar has been coming primarily from Russia and Iran. However, China has begun producing the world’s most coveted caviar. The country produces about 35% of all caviar today, and its most notable brand of the luxurious superfood is called the Kaluga Queen.
Chinese caviar was neglected over the past years, but now it is considered to be on par with the world’s most renowned brands from Russia, Iran, and France. It is served in 21 out of 26 Michelin restaurants in Paris and the famous French chef Alain Ducasse’s restaurant in Monaco. It gained a reputation for being exquisite and unique, while people are raving about its briny and savory taste.
The Kaluga Queen produces its fish roe approximately 300 miles southwest of Shanghai. They raise sturgeon in a 141,000-acre Qiandao Lake (”Thousand Island”). Also, in their 300 floating steel pens, they have sturgeons that produce more than 60 tons of fish roe every year. For the purpose of obtaining this amount of fish eggs, they apply various farming practices to their Beluga, Siberian, Ossetra, and hybrid sturgeons. There are about 200,000 sturgeons at the farm and are fed vitamins, peas, and shrimp. Getting fresh fish eggs takes about seven years till the fish becomes mature enough.
The Kaluga Queen produces and sells different high-quality varieties of caviar. They are shipped all over the world and served in exquisite restaurants. Here are some of the varieties you can expect to try from the Kaluga Queen brand:
It takes about six to seven years for fish to mature and produce roe worthy of harvesting. They are first kept in the steel pens on fish farms in Quiandao Lake, fed with vitamins and shrimp as well as peas. They are constantly monitored before they reach their maturity. After it is determined that the roe should be removed from the fish, sturgeons are transported to the factory.
In the factory, workers have to stun live fish by placing them in ice water. Then, they can proceed to slice their underbellies open. The large deposits of fish roe are removed and put on steel trays. The fish can be later sold for its meat, and the fish roe has to be processed and made into high-quality caviar.
The workers have to cut, wash, sieve and drain fish roe in order to remove any fragile and broken eggs. If the water doesn’t remove any impurities and residue, workers use tweezers and paddles to manually remove any blood clots or fragile eggs. After this process, it can be weighed and seasoned with salt. Caviar is finally finished when it gets put into tins.
It was challenging at first to get Western consumers to pay for fine food produced in China since food safety in the country has been a problem for many decades, even resulting in some food scandals. But, The Kaluga Queen brand has gone the extra mile to prove that their fish roe is of the highest quality.
Today, strict controls are in place for Chinese products that need to be exported. Therefore, The Kaluga Queen workers label every fish with a unique ID number. When someone opens a tin of caviar, they will find a barcode. Barcodes can be scanned, and the consumer can find out more about the breed of the fish, where it was born and raised when it was processed, and who processed it.
Here is a useful video with more information about the process of making Chinese caviar.
The luxury superfood has to be eaten in a specific way. It is usually served individually or on blinis. The proper way of eating caviar is only to take about two spoonfuls and not more, no matter how much one might be tempted by the salty flavor. So, if you have a small bowl of fish roe in front of you, scoop just a bit.
Also, it shouldn’t be chewed but rather pressed against the roof of your mouth to gently burst the cured eggs. You will know that the caviar is of the highest quality if it pops while eating. In case it turns watery and mushy, the quality is undoubtedly poor.
Another tip is to have a glass of champagne or chilled vodka while eating caviar to cleanse your palate. A sip of champagne or vodka between tastings will elevate the roe’s flavor.
China has become the global leader in the caviar industry. Their main objective is to produce the finest fish roe as well as to make it available to ordinary people. More and more Chinese restaurants are serving caviar, and people love it. It shouldn’t be consumed only as a luxury food but also as a highly nutritious delicacy. Here is a chart of all the nutritional benefits in 100g of fish roe.
|Total Fat||18.1 g|
|Saturated Fat||4.1 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||9.3 g|
|Monounsaturated Fat||4.7 g|
|Total Sugars||0 g|
The main reason the Kaluga Queen brand succeeded in selling their caviar is by pursuing the best quality controls. Chinese are now the leaders in the industry by producing 35% of all fish roe in the world. They sell different varieties, and each tin is labeled so the consumer can gain more information on what they are eating. If you want to try new caviar that is not Russian or French, Chinese fish roe is your best choice.