Travel agents, whenever your clients plan a trip to Hawaii, don’t forget to tell them to try this most tasty fish, called the moi. The moi, or Pacific threadfin, has been called the fish of kings because the ancient Hawaiian prized them so much for its succulent, tasty and flaky white meat that it was reserved as a dish for Hawaiian royalty. It was so desired that the ancient Hawaiians made sure they had a good supply of moi stocked in the fishponds that they created throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Moi was so valued by the Hawaiian ali’i (royalty) that commoners were not permitted to catch or eat moi and doing so was a crime punishable by death. Fortunately, everyone today can eat moi and it is served as a specialty dish in many of Hawaii’s finer restaurants.
Moi are relative of mullets and are silver in color with black horizontal stripes, bulbous nose and whiskers under the mouth. Moi typically thrive in bubbly, churning waters off rocky shorelines with sandy bottoms. They can be caught with a fishing pole using bait such as shrimp or what are locally known as sand turtles (i.e., sand fleas). As moi is a schooling fish, they can also be caught using throw nets. Many of today’s mois served at local restaurants in Hawaii are farm raised.
A popular way to enjoy moi is to have it cooked Chinese style by steaming it with black bean sauce, garnishing it with onions and ginger and then finishing it with sizzling peanut oil. But you can have moi fried or baked too and it most assuredly will taste good too.