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Le Capitaine et sa Vielle Rouge

Coming from an island, it’s a no wonder that we love eating fish in Mauritius! Do you know why the “Capitaine” and “Vielle Rouge” are two prized fishes for seafood lovers? Let’s find out!

Mauritius is a small island of 2040 square kilometres. Yet, our exclusive economic zones covers 2.3 million square kilometres (United Nations). What does this mean to us Mauritian people? Well, this allows our country to explore and use an abundant amount of marine resources. In these tropical waters reside two premium fishes – the Spangled Emperor (Capitaine) and the Red Snapper (Vielle rouge).

Here are 3 interesting facts about the Capitaine:

AKA as the Spangled or yellow emperor, the Capitaine is a member of the emperor and sea bream family. They are golden bronze in colour with distinct blue lines shining from the eyes over the cheek, with pastel blue spots on the scales. Larger blue spots appear ‘spangled’ over the upper body. Hence, the name Spangled Emperor. The top of the tail fins are blue, with the caudal fin forked and the dorsal fin continuous.

The Capitaine, mostly seen solitary or in small groups of four to five fishes, is a reef dweller which inhabits inshore shallow reef systems all the way out to continental shelf waters up to 200 metres deep. It prefers deep isolated reef and coral structures and adjacent sandy areas. It is a prized fish, since it is known to be a real fighter and challenging opponent, especially off in shallow coral lagoons found in Mauritius. Our local fishermen speak of endless stories about the Capitaine and its first famous run when hooked.

When cooked, the flesh turns evenly white. It is moist, with a delicious sweet to mild flavour. It can be baked whole or filleted, grilled, fried, steamed, poached, barbecued and even smoked.

Here are 3 interesting facts about the Vielle Rouge:

Snappers have enlarged canine teeth, which is why they are called “snappers.” (Fisheries). There any many varieties of snapper, all found in warm waters, but there is only one true red snapper. They have a long triangular face with the upper part sloping more strongly than the lower. The red snapper in deeper waters tend to be redder than those caught in shallower waters. In Mauritius, snappers are caught mostly in deep waters, making them a respected catch.

Vielle Rouge is an exotic fish with a sweet, firm, white, textured flesh. It is full of good nutrients, with a low-calorie, lean source of protein that is rich in Selenium, Vitamin A, Potassium and Omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, it contains all the nine essential amino acids, which your body can’t make and can be obtained only through diets (Healthline). Remember this article “Why Fish is good for you?

While the fish can be pan-fried, roasted, barbecued or grilled, the red snapper is particularly excellent to grill, either whole or in fillets. Did you know that most top seafood chefs grill the red snapper fillets with the skin on? The skin acts to hold the fish together and protect the meat from the flame. More importantly, the exquisite flavour of the fish is retained. The fish is known to stand up to lots of flavours, including accompaniments such as lemon and fresh herbs. For those seafood lovers who are seeking a kick, consider adding some hot chilli peppers to your vielle rouge dish.

Let's have a look at the beautiful fishes our sea provides!

Our sea is full of good things. While it will take time and energy to fully capitalize on what our sea can provide to us as resources, we, as proud Mauritians, can continue to enjoy those exotic fishes with our lovely ones. Both the Capitaine and Vielle rouge are prized fishes, since they are not easily caught, they are tough fighters and above all, they really taste good. As a seafood restaurant, we serve other fishes such as Sacréchien, Dorade, Salmon, Pink Snapper, among others, in a variety of yummy dishes #The Fisherman Lounge. For the Capitaine and Vielle Rouge, at the Fisherman Lounge, we love to cook them whole or filleted. When grilled whole, the flesh lifts easily from the bones. Above all, it tastes just wow when freshly grilled! We serve them fresh, whether it’s for a couple, family or the seafood adventurer! Come and taste the finest fishes in our sea!!!

Acknowledgment: The Fisherman Lounge would like to thank Arshad Soobraty for generously providing a compilation of the beautiful fishes of our paradise island. You would surely recognize the Capitaine and Vielle Rouge. You can view more of his exciting videos on Fishing Mystic.

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