November 7, 2009

Food from the Sea and the Air

It was nice meeting up with young and enterprising salespeople especially in an expensive birds nest outlet in Miri.

What really attracted me to them was the opportunity to speak with them about the benefits of eating all those wonderful legendary food from the sea and the air!!

Our young gentleman explained to my cousin and I (we were looking for health food for her 80+ mum) the benefits of eating medication with seahorse in it!! Well one never knows.....And that's the biggest seahorse I have ever seen (dead ones of course) in Miri.


This is a kind of sea kelp (sea weed) and is also known a poor man's bird's nest. We were each offered a small container of the delicious and cooling sea weed sweetened by rock sugar. Indeed it really tasted like birds nest.


This is the dried form. Apparently the shop cannot export these outside Miri because the harvest is very limited and the sea weed farmers cannot cope with the Miri demand . So we Mirians should really try our best to enjoy this delicacy. And it is also very difficult to harvest these in the deep sea.


This is the newly cleaned blood birds nest. Apparently the swiflets vomitted blood to build their nests....How wonderful these mother swiflets are!! These are therefore very costly .

If you calculate 8 hours of travelling to interior Sarawak by 4-wheel and then 8 hours by boat to the ulu again and then another 8 hours by foot and then many hours of climbing up the cave walls to the cave roof just to collect about 100 birds nest......It is already a headache calculating the capital cost of getting the nest down from the caves....And then finally it takes many hours of backbreaking handiwork to clean the birds nest and to get rid of the baby feathers...and finally they are packed and ready for the customers....I think those who can spend a lot of money buying these birds nest are really very very lucky people!! RM700 per 375 gm.a box is not too expensive???

And don't forget many birds nest hunters had already fallen to their death in the past. Perhaps their families also never found their bodies if they did not know where they went in the first place.



This is a very nice collection of various Chinese ginseng birds nest etc....this is a fortune on a plate.


After a very educational morning with a free sea weed concoction we were happy to go away from the shop thinking how lucky we are in Sarawak which is the main producer of such delicacies....

P/s...a good birthday present for my friend whose birthday is today --- I shall be sending you e-seahorse for vitality - e-birds' nest - for longevity - e-sea kelp for good bones --- and e- mussels for good eyesight...and Shalom - Shalom for always....

16 comments:

Yan said...

Thanks, CY. I guess, those are for me! Received all in good conditions, with some tears in my eyes!

Thank you again, I am so touched!

all3cool said...

CY, we missed you very much. When can we meet you again in smallgroup? Hope we can meet before I'm off to missions and then back home.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Yan

Yes...these are all for you....

If you are next door to me...it will be breakfast in bed...chicken rice for lunch and Iban cookout in the back yard with kampong chicken followed by mee sua with two drumsticks (for november -- ll) and hard boiled eggs....

Nothing is too much to do for a good friend...Have a blessed day...

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi All3

I was busy with relatives last night and did not even have time to cook before 8.30...so missed the small group.

Must meet up with you before you go back...but you are also hard to date too...hahahaha...

wenn said...

they are indeed nutritious..my husband deals with this stuff..

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Wenn

Wonderful. These goodies have been around the lives of the Chinese for thousands of years and I am sure more will learn to benefit from them in the years to come...I really like the sea kelp....with dried longans etc...I have a sweet tooth (may all 32!!)

hehehe

thanks for dropping by.

Ah Ngao said...

omg...this combination is going to make your friend "Fast & Furious"...hehe

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ah Ngao
Do you really believe in this sea-horse thingy?
Tell us more!!
cheers...

Daniel Yiek said...

Can you imagine what would happen to a harvester of swiftlet nests who fell and no one rescued him? He would lie there in pain and the creepy crawlies would come out of the bat's guano and digest him slowly.

It's a high risk but a highly paid job for menial labour. The benefits of bird's nest are not even proven beyond its protein, I think.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes Daniel

I have heard of horrible stories involving birds nest harvesters - how they climbed high up ontheir bamboo poles like acrobats and then dropped to their death from 300 or more feet!! Today mountain climbers have all sorts of ropes to help provide safety....I think birds nest harvesters should practise safety first like Shell Co.

And on the other hand licensing the areas is also one way of controlling security...So much can be related to their dangerous lives...

Yeah...besides the legendary benefits...a friend said saliva is saliva...hahahah...and he won't eat it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarawakiana
Thanks for pointing out the dangers faced by the birds nest harvesters. Any of these brave people would face instant death if they fall down from the walls or roofs of caves in the ulu.

No one really knows how many have died. All for the sake of good money (so they say).

Justin.

Greenspot said...

Hi Sarawakiana,

I was told the red bird nest is not due to blood.

Greenspot

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Justin - thedangers and risks involved make birds nesting collecting very challenging and unique. Hence many men are attracted to this job. For some it is a good source of income.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Greenspot...then what is the cause of the redness? Most medicine shops say that it is caused by blood.

Thanks for the info.

Superman said...

So many precious herbs. The price for those are more and more pricey nowadays.
I heard my parent said that last time Abalone is so cheap but now the price of it is so expensive!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Superman
Yes abalone has become one of the world's most expensive foodstuff...because the demand is too great - it is the sheer force of Chinese population - demand is more than supply.

If you can find/discover something that the Chinese in China like - you will become an instant billionaire...

When the Chinese of China discovers cheese - the price of cheese skyrocketed...now butter has to be locked in foodsafe!!

Sarawakian Local Delights : Tapioca (Ubi Kayu)

Ubi kayu or tapioca used to be one of the cheapest snacks Sarawakians could have. Tapioca is easily grown wherever farmers grow their p...