|2.5 kg. by Cikgu Linggie John, Bawang Assan|
The ikan lajong (Bintulu Ibans call it supak) is not easily caught by net or by hook these days. This fish was plentiful in the olden days at the confluence of the Rajang and Igan rivers. Apparently they swam from the upper reaches of the Rajang, from the Kanowit river too, to Sibu. The river banks around Sibu and Igan had nets which caught them as the tide went down. The Foochows used to erect fish nets at the mouth of their made made ditches. When the tides went down, children would be so happy to go and catch the trapped fish in the muddy bed of the ditches. This was how my late father and many of his friends caught Lajong and even tapah.
This is a photo from my former Methodist School, Sibu student, Linggie John, who is an avid fisherman from Bawang Assan Longhouse. He is a dedicated school teacher.
The Lajong is a member of the catfish family and is a white fleshed fish. It is also good for making of fish balls (in Thailand). But as a steamed fish, Foochow style, or boiled with assam, it is a good fish as it has no fishy smell at all. In the past this fish fetched only a few dollars but today it will cost you quite a bundle since its fine flesh is very highly valued by all races in Sarawak.
Its scientific name is Phalacronotus apogon. It can grow into a huge size of 130 m. and could weigh up to 4 or 5 kg.
It is found in the Mekong, Chao Phraya, West Malaysian rivers, Sarawak, Sumatra and Kalimantan (where it is often reared in cages and then smoked or dried and sold as Ikan Salai). Dried fish from Kalimantan is found in the tamu of Sarawak.