PEOPLE from the Guangdong county of Shunde are not big-headed about their cooking. But it's a different matter when it comes to one of their dishes, the big-headed fish - it gets rave reviews. The heung tsuen (village) type stir-fried dish is cooked with less oil than dishes prepared Cantonese-style. Their portions are smaller than Chinese banquet standards. But Shunde cuisine is not just about fish - it's big on vegetables, too. ''Shunde cooking is very light because there is very little meat used,'' said Lian Geng Ming, a chef from the county who is presiding over the month-long promotion at Hongkong's Metropole Hotel. Although the hotel's Cantonese restaurant already includes a few Shunde dishes on its menu, the promotion brings a few new tastes to the table. Highly recommended is the cold fish skin which tastes like sea blubber, but has a grey instead of golden-brown colour and a distinctive crunchy texture. Mr Lian explained that the fish skin was first scraped from the Canton carp - cautiously removing any meat on it. It's then laboriously soaked, rinsed and drained in order to achieve its crunch. Ginger and shreds of chilli are tossed with the strips which are drizzled with sesame oil and served with sesame seeds. Don't pass on the celebrated big-headed fish. The taste of the steamed fish is brilliant. It has a natural sweetness and the meat is soft but not mushy. The chef also recommended Buddha Jumped Over The Wall - Shunde style. His version of the famous tonic soup is slightly different from the usual broth; this one was prepared with sauteed sea snake pieces. Shunde cooking also boasts the lovely name of fung sing siu chao, meaning phoenix town's little [fried] dishes. The delightful siu chao, a braised vegetable with fish dumplings is not to be missed; the small pieces of tofu-like fish meat, have a flavour similar to fresh scallops. Another non-greasy but natural tasting offering is sauteed fish rolls with vegetables. The skin of the fish rolls is made of mashed meat from the Canton carp. They are prepared in very much the same way as a Swiss roll, but instead of jam, pieces of celery and Chinese sausage are added for a dash of saltiness. They are served with broccoli, stir-fried separately. Mr Lian said Shunde dishes involved a fair amount of the local [Shunde] ingredients such as gau choi (Chinese chives) and saang choi (leaf lettuce). ''Garlic and onions are also extensively added into the hot oil in the wok to pau wok [make the oil fragrant] before the vegetables are thrown into the wok to be fried. ''And this - the wok hay is crucial to Shunde cooking,'' he said. ''Wok hay determines the quality of the finished dish.'' Other promotional dishes include bitter squash in a clay pot and fresh chicken in Chinese wine and soy sauce - Shunde style. A 12-course meal for 12 starts at $2,380. An a la carte menu is also available. The promotion runs through April at the Metropole's House of Tang restaurant. For reservations call 761-1711 ext 519.