Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Scenes - Sarikei Seafood Market

Sarikei Seafood Market 2007
Vegetables market at the left
Corner hawker section at the right
Find the bus terminal (extreme right)


T
he Sarikei seafood market at Bank Road faces the Rejang River. It is situated between the vegetable/preserved goods market and a small corner section of 8 hawker stalls serving mainly breakfast/tea. Next to the 8 hawker stalls is the bus terminal. The seafood market has been around since the 1950's. In the 70s, as you entered the market from the front, on the right was a section for halal meat like beef. In the 90s, itwas renovated with a new roof.


Sarikei Seafood Market 2007
Identify this big fish.

The early marketing director of each home will catch the freshest seafood every morning. By late afternoon, the market will be less busy. In the tropical climate of ours, crushed ice has to be sprinkled on the seafood every now and then to keep them fresh. You can see housewives opening the gills of the fishes to check the reddish pink colour for freshness.

Sarikei Seafood Market 2007
Identify the 2 long species.
Find the man doing fish cleaning service

Where do all these fishes come from? Sarikei is only 1 hour+ from the South China Sea as you go down the Rejang River. Sometimes we take things for granted. We don't realise how bountiful Sarikei seafood market is compared to many markets and supermarkets in cities around the world. And ours are fresh from the sea into the wok.


Sarikei Seafood Market 2007

Quiz time. What are the name of these seafood and fishes? Find the local brown prawns at the top. They may be small but are delicious when steamed or stir fried with ginger. Next to the prawns are the white promfret (bek chio in Hokkien), arguably the #1 favourite fish in Sarikei. In the top left red corner, we have Mr. Squid. Clockwise from the squid in the red section are the fishes that were BBQ'ed in the other post. Name? Next are another unknown. Then come the black promfret and the fresh water carp (reared in farms). Black promfret is cheaper than white promfret because of its stronger fishy taste.




Sarikei Seafood Market 2007


The fishes (name?) in the foreground of this picture are awesome when deep fried. You can eat it whole with the bones. Find the tiger prawns in the background. They are reared in commercial farms because they command a high price. Does anyone remember the fish that is used to make tantalising fishballs? You slice the fish into half along the bone stucture and scrap the meat off to mix with flour to make fishballs. Any lady that can make that dish will easily find a husband.


Sarikei Seafood Market 2007


The RM$320M Tanjung Manis Integrated Fishing Port was launched in Jan 2007. The 35-hectare site is the biggest and most modern in S.E. Asia. It's a collection centre for aquaculture entrepreneurs to process their products before reaching the local and foreign markets. The facilities include 8 shops, a 7020 sq m cold room, 10,800 sq m of processing areas/auction hall, an ice plant that produces 150 metric tons of ice an hour, cranes for loading and unloading cargo, 420-metre long wharf and offices of the Immigration and Royal Customs and Excise Departments. It has a depot to sell subsidised diesel to motivate fishing vessels to stop there.




Sarikei Seafood Market 2007


You should really visit this market next time because it's not really that wet compared to the days of yore. What did the fishmongers think of a blogger fishing out his camera from his pocket instead of fishing out cold hard cash to buy fish? Frankly, fishy.

14 comments:

Daniel Yiek said...

Originally I was planning a simple post on the fish market and its fishes. Then I recall the news on the Tanjung Manis integrated fishing port, one of the highlights of 2007. Technically, Tj Manis belongs to a different Sarawak division now but well, it's only 1 hr away so it's physically as good as ours. Hmm, a long post that took 2 hrs to compose. Enjoy the fishing trip.

Anonymous said...

Daniel,
We ate frozen seafood typically imported from Vietnam, India, China and Taiwan. Even that we still got ripped off by middleman prices. Sarawakians sure are lucky people. Everything on the market is fresh. Even your most expensive quality fish per kilo like $15.00 by far still represents the cheapest we can ever get. Very few professional full-time fishermen here because of high wage high tax and restricted fishing licence due to world's toughest environmental conservation policies in place. Shoppers and consumers in Sarawak sure are Kings!They got all the real choice and the best of both worlds. Your blog is worth all the reading.
Cheers!
Dom.

Anonymous said...

Daniel,
City people here are brought up not to see the whole fish just like kids here never see a live whole chicken unless they live miles away from the city on their own acreage. All we get is clinically cut seafood fillets and tidbits carefully laid in carton boxes fetched out from cold storage before being thawed and displayed in the refrigerated delicatessen display counters for a sale. We get a whole box when we buy wholesale. A notable seafood market is in big city like Sydney, but other cities are poorly served.
Cheers again,
Dom.

Ikan Sembilang said...

Apart from pineapples and pepper, Sarikei is equally renown for its seafood. Because of its proximity to traditional fishing kampungs like Belawai, Rejang and Jelijeh, Sarikei is one of the few towns in Sarawak, where you can always enjoy eating fresh and cheap seafood. The old market still offers a wide variety of fish and shellfish, but I don’t seem to see my favourite fish ‘ikan sembilang’ in the pictures. Are they not selling me nowadays in the market?!

nelson said...

there is a lot of tiger prawn and fish farms in gerigat that maybe interesting to visit for some like me. =) make sure u visit the gerigat restaurant and have a meal there and if you are lucky, you ll meet the just-arrived-fishermen selling super fresh seafoods

dont forget to visit Kabong too! and i hope the government will improve it further like adding kayaking activities (and gerigat too - got no 'pondoks')

p/s: road to kabong is fully tarred now.

nelson said...

the fish that u said can be deep fried and the bone can be eaten together is 'lomek'- can be cooked as soup also by adding some 'tang chai' and 'tang hun'. its bones are soft.

to make fishballs, i think they use 'saito' and tenggiri

Lidasar said...

The locals are missing a lot as compare to the old days. In the beginning everything was available in abundance. The early Cantonese restaurant even digs out lobster meat and fried with bitter gourd and sale them as economic rice. 50 cents will probably buy you 10 Kati of this top quality fish “Sai-Tou” for making fish ball. You could buy the best quality “Ma-Yiow” that is as long as arm length, the same price would fetch you a Kati of Ikan Kunning at most this days. My last visit to the market was disappointing, some thing called globalization has moved in and understand the fishermen could immediately unload their best catch such as “Ma-Yiow” at sea to middleman who then sold to the international market such as Singapore. The locals could simply not afford the price that the international market fetch. What you see in the picture is a far cry from what I witness in the early days.

Daniel Yiek said...

Globalisation has its pros and cons. What Lidasar pointed out is true. The best catch goes to the world's richer market....it's inevitable and it brings money & jobs back to our econonmy, though not necessarily everyone gets a share.

Nelson,
Great to know that the road to Kabong Beach from Roban entry is now completely tarred. Have not been to Kabong for 5 years. Gerigat sounds like a good day trip too.

Daniel Yiek said...

Nelson,
How do you go to Gerigat? I dont think the readers are familiar with that place.

Nelson said...

you can go to kabong and gerigat trough roban and selalang roads

via roban: to go to gerigat, you just have to use the same kabong road. you will come across a junction(forgot whether is T or cross junction) and there is a signboard that leads to Gerigat. if not ask the local there as there are ppl staying around the junction.

via selalang: you will reach gerigat first

Nelson said...

the last time i went there was 26th of december 2004, the day tsunami hit aceh! =) thank god i'm alive!

Kong said...

There is an easier way to check the freshness of particular fish. Instead of having to physically lifting the gills and get you hand all dirty, just have a look at the fish's eye. If it's not dry (or depressed inward) and is crystal clear instead of cloudy, then it's fresh. If "the eye is the window of the soul", then "the fish eye is the window of it's freshness".

Kong said...

It would be good to do a write up on Sarikei's mud crab or mangrove crab that's deep green in color. I reckon these crabs from this region is probably one of the best in East Malaysia. I have tasted similar crabs in Sabah but somehow, they aren't as sweet. Is it just me or am I being prejudice?

Anonymous said...

The old buses of the 50s impressed me. I remember as a kid, i used to travel in one of those buses from skei town to my grandma's house 3.5 km away.

Normally my dad will put me on board one of those bus and pass some words to the bus driver.

Just imagine, how Bus Borneo has established till today.

Today they has air cond buses plying from miri to Kuching.

There is an hour interval bus roue from Sarikei to Sibu and vice versa
MK

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