November 19, 2017

Sarawakian Local Delights : Kasam Tapah

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Tapah is a big fish in the Baram and Rajang rivers of Sarawak. In the past there were enormous supply of this delectable fish. Usually tapah is caught by fishing hooks as they are fairly big in size. Good size tapah weigh more than 4 kg while smaller ones can be only  1 or 2 kg. Some fishermen had in the passed caught tapah weighing more than 40 kg. In fact one local story even claims that a tapah had eaten a baby boy in the Baram.

Having said all that, the tapah is a good fish to eat. The flesh is white when cooked and it is very tasty. Tapah found in the Baram and the Rajang are darker in colour and because they swim more they are not that fat. Some fishermen also claim that their skin is thicker. Tapah is a scale-less fish.

The Foochows usually steam tapah steaks with ginger, and some Foochow red wine.

Tapah steaks can be fried and they taste good too.

In West Malaysia, the Chinese look for Wong Lim, 鲶 meaning yellow tapah which has 3 rigid white lines from body to tail. It has a yellowish and slimy body. This variety is found in muddy rivers and has more fat according to local fishermen.

The Ibans like to cook tapah in bamboo and any excess would be made into salted tapah or kasam tapah.

Salted tapah is fried with lemongrass like in the photo. It is really a nice dish and people would always ask for extra serving of rice.

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