Sat, 01 May 2021 - 03:55 GMT
Traditional Fesikh plate - File photo
CAIRO – 1 May 2021: Fesikh or fermented fish has been a Sham El-Nessim tradition for many decades, not only in Egypt, but in other countries too.
Sham El-Nessim is an old spring festival celebrated by Egyptians since 2,700 BC (the third dynasty of the Old Kingdom).
Every year, doctors and nutritionists plead with the public not to eat fiseekh (salted fish)—but to no avail.
In Egypt, Nabaruh city in Dakahlia governorate is famous as the “Capital of Fesikh,” where the quality of the favored fermented fish is high that it exports it to different countries.
In Sham el-Nessim, citizens head to buy Fesikh from famous fish shops in Nabaruh.
Sherif el-Yamani, owner of Fesikh shop, said that Nabaruk is famous for making Fesikh, because they maintained its high quality over the past years, which made it “the capital of Fesikh.”
He added that a kilo of Fesikh does not exceed L.E. 100, and some owners get L.E. 5 to L.E. 10 per kilo, in order to be able to sell more, especially during such seasons.
He also said that popular figures and celebrities buy Fesikh from his shop.
The demand on purchasing Fesikh increases during Sham el-Nessim feast, Eid el-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
The process of making Fesikh takes up to 15 to 20 days. It is served with garlic and herbs, baladi bread, spring onions and lemon wedges.
On the other side, the Health Ministry has repeatedly advised citizens to avoid eating these salted fish, including what have been prepared at home, because there is no way to ensure these fish are safe and free from obligate anaerobic bacteria.
“This is because its preparation method mainly depends on providing an anaerobic environment in order for fish to be fermented and become ‘fesikh,’ which is a suitable environment for the formation of this bacteria,” the ministry said, noting that this kind of bacteria produces poisons that can cause botulism.
As part of Sham el-Nessim traditions, Egyptians head out to parks, gardens and zoos with their families to enjoy their traditional meals of salted fish, onions and eggs. They also enjoy celebrating Easter and Sham El- Nessim in different places in Cairo and other places all over Egypt.