Yin Yang fish 陰陽魚 (also called dead-and-alive fish) in Taiwanese cuisine is a dish which consists of a deep-fried whole fish (usually carp) that remains alive after cooking. The fish's body is cooked while its head is wrapped in a wet cloth to keep it breathing. The fish is then covered in sauce and served live on a plate.
This practice has received condemnation and much criticism for cruelty inflicted on the fish. It remains somewhat popular in China, although it originated in Taiwan. Some chefs claim they cook the dish in this manner so as to prove the freshness of the fish to the customer. Preparation of this dish is now prohibited in Taiwan, and illegal in Australia and Germany.
This practice has been criticised due to its excessive cruelty. On 8 July, 2008 Taipei animal rights activists criticised a Taiwanese chef for serving a dish that included a deep fried fish with its head still twitching. The chef served the carp with its body deep-fried and covered with sweet and sour sauce. The diners jabbed at the fish's eyes and mouth with their chopsticks to prompt the fish to move; the mouth and gills opened and it was seen trying to breathe.