Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Things Bintulu # Fresh Fishes

Now back at Bintulu, my instincts tell me to rush for the fish market. Fresh fishes is synonymous with Bintulu among many others like natural gas, deep water port, timber country, oil palm country and hydro-power. It has a vast expanse of open sea that reaches the coasts of Cambodia and Vietnam to the north, Thailand to the west and Philippines to the east. But more importantly the local Melanaus who are natural fishermen and sailors were once known to send the last of the remaining pirates off the coast of Bintulu and never to return back. Today they go fishing farther offshore and their catches are sold at the popular fish markets in town. All sorts and sizes of deep sea fishes are obtainable at the fish market. Compare to what I get in Kuching, I'll put Bintulu fishes at the 5- star status while Kuching's on the scale of a 3 -star for freshness and varieties of fishes at the market's tables. The types of fishes easily available are pomfret, tuna, red snapper, sharks, sting rays, cuttlefish and prawns.
Fish being dried on the fish market jetty and plank walk.
Note the feather-leaved 'nipah' palms ( Nypa fruticans) that live submerged in water. The leaves are used as palm shingles ( 'atap') and sometimes as cigarette papers and fishing floats. Nypa palms also are useful plants to fight coastal erosion and tsunamis.

My favourite market is the one located at the edge of the village called Kampung Baru. The fish market is built next to the Sebiew River and close to the local fishermen houses.
The houses are very colourfully painted just like their boats due largely to the fact that in open seas, the strong colours of the boats could help indentify them from afar.
Today I decided to buy two young tuna fishes that would be smoked or grilled later at the farm.
Local fishermen's houses are exclusively of timber materials and the posts are practically of the hardest timber in Sarawak called the 'belian'. The belian wood will not rot in water and will last for a lifetime, and may be more.


Protege said...

I think I wrote before in one of my comments how much I love fish. Fish markets are also common in Denmark, but I am sure the fish that comes from the sea around here is quiet different, The ocean here is very clean, very fresh but very cold. I am sure the environment effects the way the fish tastes as well.;)
The best thing about being fish at a fish market is the guarantee of freshness.;)

Protege said...

Of course I meant "buying", not "being".;)) Hehe, what a typo.;))

Mahmud Yussop said...

I just wonder whether you have any menu where you eat fish raw at your place? Probably with dip or special sauce?

Protege said...

We do not have any sushi type fish, but we do eat salmon that has been stored in a certain way in the ground and starts to decompose, but in a controlled way. It is called "gravad salmon", where the word "gravad" refers to "digged", as it is digged into the ground. In the same way another fish is preserved in the north of Sweden. It stinks really badly and is an acquired taste for sure, but i find it very tasty.That one is served with many sauces to mask the smell.;))
And of course all over Scandinavia, we eat pickled Herring and drink beer with it.;))