If you are coming on your holidays to Malta over the next few months, the chances are you will hear the word "lampuki" bandied about. But what on earth is a Lampuk?
If you are coming on your holidays to Malta over the next few months, the chances are you will hear the word “lampuki” bandied about. But what on earth is a Lampuki, what do you do with it, and what do you need to know about it? Before you touch down on the beautiful island of Malta, make sure you get to grips with one of its finest delicacies!
What is lampuki?
Lampuki is a type of fish that is typically found in and around the waters of Malta. It goes by various other names, depending on where you are from, such as the dorado, dolphinfish or the mahi-mahi. It migrates through the Maltese waters between the end of August and the end of December and it is one of the most popular, traditional autumnal Maltese dishes. A white, meaty fish with a delicate flavour, it lends itself to a variety of sauces and accompaniments- making it one of the most versatile fish you can choose to eat.
How do they catch it?
In a technique known as kannizzati, local fishermen cut down the lower fronds from palm trees which they then weave into large, flat rafts. These rafts are then put out to sea, usually accompanied by traditional fishing boats known as 'Luzzu', or more modern fuel powered crafts. As the sun reaches the highest point in the sky, the lampuki all clamber to seek shade under the rafts, the fishermen wait for a large number of fish to gather before casting a net over them. This is a technique that has not changed since the Roman times and even when the fish is used for commercial purposes, this old method is still used.
Where can I get it from?
Well that totally depends on whether you want to try it out in a restaurant, or have a go at cooking it for yourself! Some of the best restaurants to try lampuki are situated in the south of Malta- e.g. Marsaskala, Birgu, and Marsaxlokk. Here, the fish you eat has often been caught that lunchtime and is as fresh as you can imagine. You also have the bonus of getting to enjoy your meal in a picturesque seaside village. Alternatively, you can pick some up from one of the fishmongers, or keep your ears out for the fish van that roams the streets every morning selling a range of fresh seafood- you can pick up quite a bargain here.
How should I eat it?
This is a matter of great debate- some like their lampuki in a pie, some like it with a thick, garlic infused sauce, and some prefer it grilled in tinfoil with just a smattering of seasoning to taste. Alternatively, you can try it in a delicious fish stew called alijotta, all soaked up with some delicious, fresh, Maltese bread, or “hobz” as it is known locally.