July 2, 2011

Lokam (Fresh Sarawak River Clams)


Lokam or lukan (Iban term) is fairly easily availalbe in the wet markets in Sarawak. They are found in the muddy banks of the mangrove lined rivers and if you are very careful eaters you will probably only eat the lokam from the rivers of your choice or source your own. Several quarters may denounce the polluted rivers and cause you to think twice about buying lokam. But generally they are very fresh and clean especially if you soak them for one or two nights (which is what we usually do) in a covered pail.....

This is the wet market lady selling lokam in Limbang town and the market is next to the river. Each of these baskets of clams cost 2 ringgit. 20 years ago they were l ringgit...so the price has not actually escalated like rice or sugar. It is most probably cheaper in the Rajang nowadays.

The lokam is usually cooked after we take the shells off. (You can also buy a plastic bag of the flesh only at 10 ringgit per bag). The flesh is usually curried with lots of lemon grass or cooked in ginger as a soup. Because it can be considered a specialty food we often add to other vegetables or season it will lots of pepper and salt and deep fry as a tempura.Your imagination as a chef can reward you richly.
Lokams can be found on the beaches of Miri and Bintulu too.
These lokams are essentially exotic food for the table.


10 comments:

Ann said...

I like the LO, the river snail. My not Sarawak daughter's fondest memory was visiting an aunty, they kept the LO in a buckle but forgot to cover it. When we woke up the next morning, the LOs had crawled all over the house.

Daniel Yiek said...

More lokam at :)

http://sarikei-time-capsule.blogspot.com/2007/06/food-sarikei-shellfish.html

Anonymous said...

hi Sarawakiana,you mentioned about careful eating,is it some source are polluted or poison ? it's very meaty and not like lalak . it's still cheap at rm2 per basket.can you recomend how you cook them ?

Ah Ngao

sintaicharles said...

They make soup very sweet. Heavenly!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann...my first meal of lukan was in Bako where we as Sixth formers dug for our own and had a soup...We were hungry but the ginger and chillies in the soup with the lukan (all the shells removed) we just so marvellous and for a short moment I was in love with the cook. He never knew it and the love faded as the lukan got digested. That fast...but good memories. I still see the "cook" in my dreams once in a while!! hahahahaha. Is there such as thing as " you can love with your stomach"?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

thanks Daniel...I linked your article...
Nowadays there are a lot of controversial articles about this bi-valvia..or two shell shell fish...I found another species in Bekenu and will write about it..soon. They move in the water in upright position like the seahorse.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ah Ngao...methods of cooking a) Soup with all the shells taken out b) stir fry the flesh in kicap with sugar and lots of lemon grass c) Curry d) sambal with dried chillies...e) tempura style.

You have to pick your own in a clean place on the beach or mud banks...not those around the sewer....All the best.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Charles...yes they make a good soup with lots of lemon grass and pepper and chillies...but you do have to "filter" them for one or two nights in a closed bucket...

cheers

Ann said...

Is this the same as HUM they have in Singapore? There they ask people not to eat semi cooked HAM, for fear of hepatitis. The "boss" is my house isn't adventurous in food and is rather quite scary cat, so I don't eat a lot of shell food..

As for the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I didn't know it applies to a woman;s LOl, BTW, you are easy to woo, just go to the beach and dig a few cockles and you leave your heart behind. LOL

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yeah...there has been a lot of fear regarding shell fish...cockles have a bad name but sea ham kueh tiaw is still a hot dish for many...especially the Penang style ones....

Yeah...I was very impressed by him..I think when we were just 17....our eyes were not so sharp....LOL!!! Look at the way we lost our hearts to any one with long hair and a guitar in hand!! That's another laugh...in the end many of my friends would fall hopelessly in love with some one no one would call a hero ..

Also have you heard of the maxim..."No doctor no sale"? That's another story of my time. I did not buy that.