Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Food - Sarikei Kamat (Crab) Sauce - In Search of

Sarikei Anchovy Sauce 2007

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?

Sarikei kamat crab sauce preparation 2007

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.

Sarikei kamat crab sauce preparation 2007

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.

Sarikei kamat crab sauce preparation 2007
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.

Sarikei kamat crab sauce preparation 2007

Then her expert hands de-shelled the kamat and discarded the shells into a bucket. None of the orange roe was kept.

Sarikei kamat crab sauce preparation 2007

The main body without the shell was stored in another bucket to be brought home for making the kamat sauce. It will take 3 days to prepare and ferment. Each bottle is sold for around MYR$30 depending on size. I popped by her stall (No.4 stall in the ground floor of Rejang Hawker Center) just before I left Sarikei. She said it's not ready yet so I don't have a picture.

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!


sarawakiana said...

If I am not mistaken, what you are blogging about is the delectable Pan Ngi Chiong!! I have written about it but have no pictures.

The Foochows love it. It is useful as an antidote for boils medicinally. Ask the elders.

And if you steam your belly pork with a spoon of this pang ngi chiong on top, it is fantastically delicious.

Pang Ngi Chiong is also a very important dipping sauce of steamed or boiled pork...oooooooo

I understand that a small bottle of home made guarranteed hygienic pang ngi chiong is about 20 ringgit in Sibu. In Miri, the sauce is treasured like gold!!!

Hope I am not wrong about the kramat

Tuan Lokong said...

In Sare' when the king tide is coming. These crabs used to climbed trees (Makou-Cha)in order to escape from "Ikan Sembilang" Ooops sorry.

Easy to catch use hand glove and just catch it at night. Later fried it and just eat like that with sauce, fuyooo. Used to collect tins of them.

Kanga said...

Pang ngi chiong/kamat sauce was the king of sauce to me. I ate this sauce a few times when I was a young boy in Sarikei(was expensive then!)I hope not many outsiders discover this product otherwise the price will go through the roof!

lidasar said...

Dear Sarawakian,

I know you must have the recipe for making Foochow's Red Wine (Aung Jue). If you have blogged about it please direct me to it. I am keen to start my Ang Chiew factory at home for my cooking of Chicken Mee Sua.

Daniel Yiek said...

Thanks for the correction. Yes, in Foochow it's called Pan Ngi Chiong, not kamat chiong. Let me edit the text and then head to your blog to read about it. ;-)

Tuan Lokong,
Nice story on Sare kamat!

In my post on red wine lees, I have put this link which has a recipe (one of the very few URLs avai on this topic).


Daniel Yiek said...

Bintangor in Sarikei gets to be part of the new rice growing initiative. FYI below



Land Of The Hornbills' To Be A Rice Bowl State

By Amrizan Madian

MUKAH, May 8 (Bernama) -- Sarawak, with its land size of 12.3 million hectares, is ready to be transformed into the nation's next rice bowl state.

Out of its 2.2 million hectares of land which is suitable for agriculture, Sarawak has identified some 58,000 hectares of area in Samarahan, Sri Aman, Sarikei and Mukah for the commercial planting of paddy.

"For more than 20 years, I notice that there is no significant change in Sarawak's paddy planting sector, that is why we have to switch from the traditional style of planting to a more modern method like the estate-style planting of paddy", Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said in his speech when closing the Bicara Tani programme, here, recently.

So far Sarawak had developed some 1.0 million hectares of its land with estate-style cultivation of oil palm trees and this had been fruitful for the land owners and estate operators.

He said the success of this estate-style method for the palm oil industry should be emulated by the future commercial planting of paddy in the state.


Abdul Taib said the agriculture sector contributes 11.7 per cent of Sarawak's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said Sarawak has a dynamic labour force of 2.3 million, including 70 per cent or 1.4 million who are aged below 40 years.

According to Abdul Taib, close to 40 per cent of this work force who are aged between 15 and 64 years old, are in the agriculture sector, including forestry.

"We wish to attract more of the younger generation to be involved in the agriculture sector, that is why we have to switch the planting method by bringing in more expertise in estate management for our youngsters in this sector", he said.

The chief minister said paddy planting in Sarawak can be via mini estates utilizing modern agriculture methods.


Abdul Taib also said Sarawak welcomes the federal governments initiative to turn the state into the nations major rice producer.

He said the federal government had started this effort by allocating RM50 million for rice production in Tulai, Bintangor in Sarikei.

Tulai is among the major rice-production areas in central Sarawak, apart from areas in Sri Aman division and Paloh in Mukah.

Meanwhile, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said the issue where Peninsular Malaysia is running out of land for paddy planting should be immediately dealt with, to prevent the nation from being dependent on rice imports.

He said Sarawak is among the states that have the potential to be the nations rice bowl state in the future.


Mustapa said the creation of new paddy-planting zones, apart from retaining such existing areas are among the ministry's measures to boost the nations paddy production.

"After making visits to several paddy-panting areas in Sarawak, I am confident that Sarawak has many advantages, including the vast land size available, in the paddy-production sector", he said.

He said the governments focus on food production is timely as the world now is facing the food supply crisis.

Mustapa said agriculture is expected to be among Malaysia's economic contributor ,apart from the services, industrial, manufacturing and tourism sectors.

He said under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, the government had set aside RM7.12 billion for the ministry for agriculture and agro-based industries development, and this includes that in Sarawak.


Mustapa said the ministry has set aside RM823 million for development of 274 agriculture projects in Sarawak. The projects are that for drainage and irrigation as well as for those in the planting of paddy, sago, coconuts, chili, and aquaculture ventures.

Currently, Malaysia is only able to produce about 73 per cent of its rices consumption and it is hoped that the paddy-planting programmes in Sarawak are able to reduce the country's dependency on imported rice.

The nation is expected to produce 1.6 million tones of paddy this year, while paddy imports is expected to be between 650,000 and 800,000 tonnes this year.


stlau said...

Good to know that Pang Ngi Chiong is still available. That picture of 2 bottles of Anchiovy sauce is not Pang Ngi Chiong though. It is red in color and goes well with boiled pork. Or just hot steamed rice.

长竹 said...

We foochow always like to eat Pang Ngi Chiong with fried peanuts and 3-layer pork,not cooking together but just have the taste with the souce.

Anonymous said...

We in Miri would like to buy many bottles of pang ngi chiong.

Pray, tell us where to buy.

thank you.

Tuan Lokong said...

Apart from the two bottles at the top picture. That locally called "Rusit" wheees best with new harvested Iban rice. The best place to eat them is at the farm...slurrp makes me wet.

Another one is "Budu Aur" a wet salted fish made by our friends the Melanaus if you go to Sarikei Rejang Hawker Centre at the front there are sold there. Just say Budu Aur they will show you...try it...you will level it almost as phang ngi... :)

lidasar said...

I would reluctant to eat this Kamat Sauce (Pang Ngi Chiong). You won't know the level of environmental contamination form toxic chemical and I doubt the processed from raw to finish is safe and clean. The environment is not the same as before, is been abused over the years.

sarawakiana said...

follow the links of Daniel on Red Wine. I do not have a good recipe although I help a cousin to make.

I can only give a good tip - cleanliness. And have everything sun dried.

thanks for the timely tip of pollution and kamat of these days. But only the sauce from a person you know.

Foochow style of eating the crab sauce is one chopstick dip at a time. Just a dash so to speak. Not a dollop like an icecream. You may smile at this description.

sarawakiana said...

oops...BUY only the sauce from a person you know.

Gaharuman said...


How do you put the stat counter on your blog. I have tried and I was ask to copy some code and then paste to the blog. Where to paste on the blog? Can give me some instructionS? Thanks.

Daniel Yiek said...


Wow, I did this 2-3 years ago when the classic template of Blogspot was so much difficult to understand. In the current new template, try this:

1. Click Layout tab
2. Click Page Element
3. Click Add Page Element
4. Choose HTML/Java Script
Click Add to Blog
5. Title: Optional but you can type in "Counter"
6. Click Edit HTML Tab
7. Paste your code given by Stat Counter
8. Save
9. Preview
10. Save (if your Preview is what you like to see)

Greenspot said...

Thanks, Daniel. Manage to do as instructed but I still have problem. visit my blog on www.blueandgreenspots.blogspot.com

Please advise where necessary!

Daniel Yiek said...

I went to your blog and saw that you seem to missing the link below your counter (see my counter at my sidebar).

I suspect
a) you didnt enter your blog address correctly at StatCounter OR

b) you didnt copy all the html code over.

Sorry, I dont know how to help you further because what I showed above was what I did. You can try


and some IT expert may be able to help.

Gaharuman said...

Thanks Daniel! I have got it done correctly already. I didnt follow the instruction correctly. Now it is ok.

Thanks once again. You are very helpful!

Free Bird said...

I am impressed that this sauce is so much liked by the older generation. I'm very curious on how it tastes. I might have eaten it when I was a small child. I must try this the next time i come home.

In west Malaysia, its mostly budu, cencaluk, and thats pretty much what I can find here.

Not even in Terengganu I can find such things.

BurungHelang said...

Get your rice bowls from your own kampung. Keep your hands off Sarikei.

Tuan Lokong said...

Though it was long time since we have read this Article but it is good to recap what happened today. All those planning had been seen for now I wonder. What about a Rice Bowl? rather it had gone to a Rice Bowl haha. I still love planting padi though I must admit two things I hate to do. One is replanting the nursery and harvesting. The rest is ok by me. Now that the machine is available Harvesting is no longer a problem. I am still planting padi though. Usually all my children do not buy rice just to make them remember Village home.

James Wong said...

I just had some of this pang yi sauce with boiled 3- layer pork tonight. Delicious!

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