Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Raw Fish Menu

Our destination today is Buntal, a fishing village some 3o minutes drive from Kuching city. It's becoming popular as an escapade for fresh fishes especially among the Kuching folks who seldom have the opportunity to buy fishes directly out of the fishermen boats. Well, we were able to buy fishes at source today. No middlemen. On the tables were huge live river crabs neatly tied to keep them in check. Big and small fishes were sold by the village ladies ( while husbands do the fishing) and the prices were much cheaper compared to what you can buy in Kuching city.
A plate of 'Umai' displayed in our garden before the disappearing act.
Well, back from Buntal we were all excited to have the simplest dish of fresh fishes for lunch called 'Umai '. It's a Bintulu Melanau word for raw fish menu , really no cooking needed. I would assume it to be something quite similar to the Japanese 'sushi'. The menu is as follows: Slice fresh fishes into small pieces, mix them with a condiment of chillies, ginger, lime, large onions, salted vegetables and salt and serve it after 30 minutes. From my experience I find that chilling it for about half and hour would be wonderful to the taste buds. Serve raw.

On the way out of the village one could see many makeshift road side stalls selling smoked fishes. I dropped by one to sample a few on the hot barbecue stove. The smoked fishes are mainly small fishes that fit neatly into the organic wrapper made of our local mangrove palm leaves called the 'nipah' ( nypa fruticans).
On the stove too were smoked fish liver and smoked fish roe all sold at RM1 per packet. For my 'ikan pais' -the term the villagers here call smoked fishes I paid RM1 and was glad to savour two small fishes in it on the spot. It tasted good.

1 comment:

Protege said...

Ah, this looks so good! I love fish and I am sure that in your culture it is prepared in a very healthy way. Unfortunately, here in Scandinavia, the cuisine is at times way too fatty.;)