December 23, 2010

Ikan Sembilang @ Kianggeh Market in Bandar

An early morning shopping in the Kianggeh Market in Bandar provided a good shot of adrenalin!

I witnessed an adult accompanying two small boys rod fishing for ikan sembilang in the small Kianggeh River. Within minutes actually they caught three while we witnessed their excited but nevertheless expert fishing skill which included cutting off the fins which can send "electrical and paralysing tremors" up one's body if pricked. Three in a fishing team is a good system : one hooks a fish. One steps on it and one cuts the fins!! Smooth act indeed.

No lay person not well versed about ikan sembilang should try cleaning this fish when freshly caught!! Be warned. You can have three days of fever and swelling. There is still no known antidote for a sembilang sting in western medicine. You may have to suffer it out.

Their morning act just flooded me with memories of my days of growing up in the Rajang Valley. It was such a wonderful time watching my cousins fish by the river bank. Time and time again I would even have dreams of us running home to Grandma with just two small fish in our pail. Those were really happy and innocent days.
The leader steps on(he has Japanese slippers on) the fish while another clips of the lethal fins.

A strong hand catches the fish under the fins while another boy's hand holds the pliers.

Kianggeh River....

Another fish and another boy steps in to help hold the big fish down.

Same slippered guy steps on the ikan sembilang with skillful pressure.

This guy is happy with his catch and his young friends...four fish in less than half hour. He calls out to his young friend to bring the pliers.

Expert fisherboy with pliers - their bait? Small fresh and live shrimps.

Enough adrenalin for the morning!!


Ann said...

after all this work, is the fish worth it? I mean was it delicious?

Ah Ngao said...

hi Sarawakiana, ikan sembilan is tasty(without shit or mud smell) if caught at the river mouth or upper clear water.those caught near kampungs or under those jambans tasted/smell...(younno i know).last time while i did my time in Bintulu,i like fishing and i got a few ikan sembilan at upper Kemena river.the color a bit yellowish and it sure tasted nice.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann
The ikan sembilan is a very tasty fish. The local Malays love this in curried style especially. I like it in asam pedas. Many even love it cooked with tempuyak. In West Malaysia some shops are "specialist" ikan sembilang dishes.....But we have to be choosy where the fish comes from. Cheers.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ah Ngao
I agree with you totally. In olden days the Foochows would cook it Sup Terjun style....fry some onions and ginger and then pour hot water to make the soup. Once boiling...throw in the fish slices. Add pepper and wine for additional flavours. Serve. A wonderful evening meal!

Shafie Ooyub said...

in the river over here known to johorean as ikan keli. ikan semilang is the one at the sea/ brackish water. i prefer the marine one esp cooked as asam pedas.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

S.g Kianggeh in Brunei is a fresh water stream..... I understand from the head of the family (he who knows nature and natural beings) that catfish and ikan sembilang are all first cousins from the same family. And you are right the sea cousins taste better. But the wild ones with brown spots in the ulu rivers are excellent and health giving. May be the hormones are better doc?

Anonymous said...

looks like ikan baong to me

Anonymous said...

Is ikan sembilang called "Sai seng" in Hokkien? Got that impression from Ah ngao's comment.

Anonymous said...

Is it called 'tang nek' in foohow?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes it looks like ikan baong which is the upriver and cleaner version of ikan sembilang.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous2
I am not sure what the Hokkiens call it. It is apparent that Bruneians and Sarawakians also have very different names for their fish. So I am slowly compiling the terms.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous3
Yes you are right!! Ikan Sembilang is a tang nek...and bisa betul dia...

Anonymous said...

when I went to kapit, i saw a lot of big tang nek on sale in the fish market. they were much much bigger than what we fished from the ponds in sibu

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Anonymous...Kapit is famous for the wild tang nek or Ikan Keli. The farmed or domesticated ikan keli is not so delicious...a little fat and fluffy.

A long time ago in Sibu the tang nek seemed to be very tasty..but may be it is in our mind. I loved them barbequed with lots of pepper and a touch of red wine. said...

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