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Pantainorasingh Pickled Mud Fish 

Jay International Foods
3172 South Grand Boulevard

I should've known. The mudfish is one of a handful of prehistoric aquatic monsters that can survive without water for months on end. This it accomplishes by burrowing into a muddy little hole. Pantainorasingh Pickled Mud Fish is buried the way it lived: amid a substance that resembles the output of a diarrheal infant (with a stink to match), only now contained in a vacuum-sealed sixteen-ounce jar proclaiming that Pantainorasingh Pickled Mud Fish won Thailand's 1998 "Prime Minister's Export Award."

Who cares? This is the sort of pickle that makes one hesitate to bring children into this world.

Let's start with the presentation. Pantainorasingh mudfish has been hacked — as in: skin, bones and all — into chunks. Though I've never seen a live mudfish, this dead one has a skin so tough it could defang a pit bull. But if a strong chomp won't break the mud fish's skin, it does permit one's teeth to crush the bones.

Which are many, and small.

Having failed with the direct-from-the-jar gambit, I plate my mudfish and attack with knife and fork. Sawing too proves futile. I resort to butterflying a chunk and scraping its pink flesh away from the skin.

I now know why the mudfish's skin is so tough: to protect people who insist upon consuming it. This must be what the bottom of the Dead Sea tastes like, except with more salt, and feces. Pantainorasingh's Pickled Mud Fish contains 4,680 milligrams of sodium per serving — nearly twice the U.S. recommended daily allowance. It will strip the enamel clean off your teeth. This fish is so salty, you can actually feel the moisture being sucked out of your mouth as you try (albeit briefly) to choke it down.

Seconds, anyone?

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