Whenever I was back in Sarikei, I would trawl in the fascinating sights and sounds of the markets just about everyday. I found the ikan bilis (anchovy) sauce above though I have never tasted it before. How do you normally savour this sauce? For dipping or cooking?
I wondered whether the fabled kamak (small crab) sauce ever existed. You know, those small crabs that crawl along the muddy river banks and streams. What can those small crabs be used for besides catapult targets and temporary pets?
I was at the ground floor of Rejang Hawker Centre and noticed one Chinese auntie conversing with 2 Malay ladies (all are stall owners) in her broken rojak Malay. You know, "Lu sudah makan?" type of Chinese dialect accented Malay.
Holy crab! I found it. I may sound like a suaku (country pumpkin) but this is the holy grail of sauces in Sarikei! I recall reader, STLau, mentioned that at Bolen village, across Nyelong River, there was a small stream (now gone) where there was an annual mating season of thousands of kamat crabs. Villagers simply scooped them up by the buckets and made kamat sauce with them.
Garnished with ginger
Other readers commented that this sauce (pang ngi chiong in Foochow) is unlikely. They commented that it's more likely to be the common prawn sauce (hey chiong in Foochow).
The lady said she bought these kamat from the Ibans. The kamat was kept in a sack with plenty of ginger to remove the strong "crabby" smell.
Updated from Sarawakiana: The crabs would then be boiled in salt water and then strained. When that was done, the crabs would be put into an urn for fermentation. After about three or four days, the crabs would be taken out and grounded with a stone mill. The sauce which came out was reddish and salty. It was really good to go with hot rice.
After you have bought it, be prepared for a full blown assault on your culinary senses!