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Asian Carp: This Week the Fishes Get Their Wishes

By JoshMogerman in Food on Aug 14, 2010 7:00PM

Is that a loud gurgle of relief bubbling up from the Chicago River? Sadly for us humans, it has been a good week for Asian carp as they seem to have eliminated their most prominent foodie nemesis, are proving difficult to sell in China, and made a bunch of guys trying to fish for them downstate look downright silly (well, OK, the costumed fishermen did that to themselves).

The allegedly tasty invasive fish’s most avid opponent (and public proponent of consumer carp consumption), Chef Phillip Foss, is apparently looking for somewhere new to cook. Foss announced via Twitter that he had been fired by the Lockwood Restaurant where he made national news giving out delectable Asian carp dishes for free to highlight both the carp threat and the high quality of its meat in the hopes of creating an unstoppable carp eating gourmet gang in Chicago. Foss has been busy of late, embodying Chicago’s food catch phrases as he shifts from carp to food wagons to pop up restaurants.

Over at ChicagoNow, WGN reporter Nancy Loo is blogging from China where she is on the lookout for Asian carp in restaurants and on dinner plates, since we keep hearing it’s a delicacy in Asia and all. Apparently folks are literally laughing at her when she asks if they would eat carp fished out of Illinois rivers… The Chinese like their fish fresh and cheap. Frozen imports are likely to be neither. Oops. The new commercial fishing effort backed by the State has not started shipping carp out yet, so perhaps things will change. But maybe we should be thinking about somewhere else to spend that $2 million?

Time Magazine covered the Redneck Fishing Tournament downstate where it seems like participants might offer the most entertaining, if not effective, defense against Kentucky tuna we have left. Think costumed dudes with boats and nets yanking fish out of the air and you get the picture, though the magazine’s online photo gallery of the event is certainly worth your time… We would like to stop focusing on the carp, but how can you avoid a story that features a boat full of “Vikings” with nets?