April 3, 2013

Nang Chong Stories : Baong Fish Soup in the Middle of the Night

The Baong is a river fish which used to be plentiful in the Rajang River in the early days (aka the 50's and 60's).

My uncle Lau Pang Sing loved to fish. He and his sons would happily go to the jetty or Doh Tao to fish after dinner when the tide was high.

The children loved playing with their torch lights. I remember having a torch light then was like have a mobile phone today. Batteries were luxury goods and we often tried to be very frugal in our usage of our torch lights.

Grandmother's torch light was light and it was made in China, with a body of silver, with two batteries. Uncle's torch light was bigger , with four batteries. We were all very careful with the bulbs too and we would not at any time, dismantle the torch. We carried the torch light every where at night, and kept it under our pillow when we went to sleep. Once the kerosene lamp or pressure lamp was dimmed, it was complete darkness except for starlight and moonlight. And our aunties or grandma would tell us not to play with the torchlight, and not waste the batteries. We all tried our very best not to ask for new batteries. We really valued our "properties".

Old fashion flashlights from China. It has a nice Chinese term - "hand electricity" - Chiu dien

Now whenever the boys went out fishing with uncle, they would take turn to shine their torch light on the water. It was fun seeing the brilliant eyes of the prawns and the fish.

I wondered in those days whether a better torchlight would bring in bigger fish. Or whether fish got caught because it was night time and they were attracted to bright lights like men who got caught by the neon lights of the night clubs!!

But one night at about 10, my uncle caught one huge baong. The whole household got excited because we would have double supper that night. The hot fresh from kuali bao which we had already eaten. And now the almost midnight feast of Baong soup and Hoong Ngan.

What a  free gift from God!! And my uncle actually caught good fish and prawns fairly frequently.

No wonder all the children put on weight during the holidays.


LifeRamblings said...

what a wonderful catch and the baong fish soup sounds divine.

Anonymous said...

This kind of fish looks like a mixture of tanek (front part) with another kind of fish for the tail.

Stenographer said...

Dear LifeRamblings, yes the Baong is very fresh and the flesh is exquisitely sweet and tender. Not easy to find now. My school teacher friends in Bawang Assan and other parts of Sarawak where the lower reaches of big rivers are found near their school provide this wonderful fish...free of charge if they go and hook them at night or in the early morning...when the tide is high.

Stenographer said...

It is a cousin of the Ikan Sembilan.

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