Fishy 'junk snacks' seem to be unique to Asia: various types are eaten in Japan, Singapore, Korea, Indonesia, China and Malaysia. But if you searched in the west, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything like ikan bilis (anchovies fried with peanuts) or zha yu pei (fried fish skin). Friends and colleagues have recoiled when I've offered them fried fish skin, not per-suaded by my argument that there wasn't much difference between this snack and the fried pork 'crackling' they eat with such enthusiasm. Perhaps it's the fishiness, imagined or real. Some of the snacks definitely smell fishy. Ikan bilis falls into this category but it's absolutely delicious, either munched on its own, used to top rempeyek (a Malay fried cracker) or served with nasi lemak (coconut rice). The best ikan bilis I've tasted come from a temperamental vendor in Singapore; he only opens his 'shop' when he feels like it but takes great pride in frying the fish and peanuts to order. It can be made at home with tiny dried anchovies: rinse them and pull off the heads (or leave them on) then air-dry them so they don't splutter in the hot oil. Fry the fish in a hot skillet with peanuts that are still in their skins, stirring constantly. Dry them on paper towels and store in an air-tight container. Zha yu pei has a more subtle fishiness. It can be purchased in bags from many shops selling soup noodles. It makes a good crunchy snack (you can pretend it's healthy, since oily fish skins usually have high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids). Zha yu pei is delicious with soup noodles and hot pots.