Lampuki (Dorado fish)
The Maltese Islands’ favourite fish!
Lampuki (in the plural) or Lampuka (singular) is the Maltese name for the dorado fish. It goes by two other names as well … dolphin fish or mahi mahi fish.
The lampuka has a beautiful silver and golden colour.
This migratory fish visits the Maltese Islands' waters from the end of August till early December, therefore fishing for this type of fish takes place between August (towards the end) and November.
How do Maltese fishermen fish for lampuki?
They weave fronds from palm trees into flat rafts.
They then place the rafts on the surface of the sea. What happens is that the lampuka (dorado fish) schools under the rafts because these large rafts provide shade and shelter from the scorching sun. In Maltese, these types of “rafts” are referred to as kannizzati.
The fishermen then use nets to catch the dolphin fish.
It is believed that this type of fishing method has been in use since ancient Roman times!
The Maltese people are very fond of this type of fish and when in season, you can usually spot many lampuki vendors roaming the streets with small vans.
In some old villages you will also come across women with prams selling them! Yes prams … without the baby of course :)
What they do, is use the pram as a sort of trolley to carry the wooden fish crates on. (The type of prams that they use are usually very old, no longer in use ones). In the old days, women used to put the wooden fish crates on their heads and hit the streets to sell them.
The lampuka grows really fast but the local fishermen usually aim to catch it when it weighs from 1 to 1.5 kilos maximum - just enough to sit nicely on a plate.
This fish is a good source of vitamin B12, B6 and B3.
The lampuka is a delicious fish and there’s a huge demand for it. So much so, that local fishermen also export their catch to other countries.
How is the lampuka cooked?
This popular fish can be cooked in various ways. However in Malta, the favourite way to cook lampuki is to make a pie with it. You can also simply plain shallow fry it. Another option is to cook it with tomato sauce, capers and green peppers.
If you're visiting Malta from August till November, make sure to try this exquisite fish at least once!
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