Finders keepers…

With Sibu in the yellow zone now, I decided that I should go out once again to stock up on food in the house. I planned to go to the Sibu Central Market after I had dropped off my girl at school but I changed my mind and headed to the one beside the Dewan Suarah (Civic Centre) instead.

I bought two big 2-inch thick slabs of phak thik poh (tripletail fish or patipok or kuku laut in Malay, 打铁婆,松鲷 in Chinese), literally translated as the blacksmith’s wife, a very nice fish and two pretty big ikan bawal hitam (black pomfret). The total came up to RM104.00 and I asked the guy to round it up to RM100.00 but he said he could give me a discount, RM102.00 and yes, I did have RM2.00 loose change and I passed that to him with a RM100.00 note We had one piece of the phak thik poh for lunch and dinner that day – we had that at a restaurant before and we sure loved it and we had not had it since.

Having said that, I think I prefer ngor hu (threadfin/午鱼) – we still have that in the freezer. I bought one whole fish from the fruit and food shop in my neighbourhood –  they said it was small, just over RM100 only for it and they wanted to sell it at one go. I went ahead and bought it but it sure wasn’t small – we have been eating it bit by bit for quite sometime now and there are still a few slabs left, four, at least. I thought it was expensive at the time but considering that we have been able to stretch it so far for so long and enjoying it to the max, it sure is worth it!

Much to my disappointment that morning, there was not a single prawn at all the fish and seafood stalls at that market. One of them had a tray of some miserable farmed ones but no, thank you! The texture is completely out and one can easily taste the difference!

On my way home, I stopped at the aforementioned shop to see if they had any. No, the lady boss said, they did not have any then but she called somebody and she told me that they would send some 10 kg over at around 10.00 a.m. She took my handphone number from me and told me that she would call me when they arrived…which she did and I went over quickly and grabbed a little over 2 kg…

Prawns 2 kg

…of those lovely crustaceans.

The son was packing them for sale – usually, they would sell these prawns in packs of RM30-40 but he said I could just take what I wanted in a plastic bag and pay according to the weight – RM60.00 a kg. and that was what I did.

I went and picked the BIG ones…

Big as a spoon

…and the boy kept telling me not to do that – if I picked all the big ones, they would have to charge accordingly, a different price. They did not do that, of course – they’re very nice people there and all in all, I took slightly over 2 kg, a little over RM120.00. I paid the boss two RM100 notes and he gave me the change and I went home happily after that.

I counted 20 extra big ones…

XL

…22 big ones…

L

…and 18 medium-sized ones…

M

…60 altogether so that roughly worked out to RM2.00 each, so much cheaper than the RM28.00 for a plate of 4, RM7.00 each that we had here that night, so shockingly expensive!!!

Of course, as soon as I got home, I had to go through the chore of getting them done before putting them away in the freezer. I would cut away the legs…

Legs

…and those four peculiar-shaped ones…

Forelegs

…in front below the head but leaving the rest intact. Then I would cut off the tip of the head and remove the black sac…

Black sac

…inside. That is bitter so if you do not remove it and you happen to eat it in the head, it may spoil your enjoyment of the prawn.

Lastly, I would cut a slit along the back to remove the vein…

Devein

…and that was it, all done…

Done!

I put all of them in a plastic tub…

Ready to freeze

…and filled it with water before putting it in the freezer to freeze so eventually, all the prawns would all be frozen in a  block of ice.

My friend, Peter, the boss of Payung, told me once that it would be better to leave the shell intact or the prawns would shrink badly in the process of cooking so you would not have very much left to serve. I managed to put together two plastic tubs for freezing, one with the XL prawns and the other with the L ones…and I also have another tub of the L ones that I managed to buy a couple of days earlier – the last one available that day.

As for the M ones, I removed all the heads and shell and deveined them to keep in sets of 3 for use when frying vegetables. Just 3 would be enough to give your dish that special sweetness to bring it to a whole new level. Like I always say, you just can’t go wrong with prawns!!!

Now, while I was busy with the prawns, the lady boss called me again to tell me that I had dropped a RM100.00 note in their shop and asked me to go over and collect it…which I did. They found it on the floor so they checked their CCTV and saw that it was mine. It’s not so much the money but the fact that there are people who are willing to go through the trouble to find out whose money it is and go through the trouble of returning it!!! I’m sure many will not be bothered to do so and will just keep it, finders keepers, losers weepers!

SWEE HUNG (2.316161, 111.840441) is located along Jalan Ruby, in the block of shops on the right – next to a hair salon at the extreme end…and on the other end, to the left is the Kim Won Chinese Medical Store and Mini-supermarket.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

8 thoughts on “Finders keepers…”

  1. Wah, they are really nice people. You didn’t even know you drop a rm100 note and yet they call you up to give the money back to you. If the prawns are frozen in one big ice block, it means you have to use the whole block to cook, isn’t it? The prawns are pink in colour, are they slightly cooked to be in pink colour?

    Yes, they are very nice. I got down to working on the prawns the instant I got home so I did not realise that I only had some small/loose change left in my wallet – I used the RM100 notes I got from the ATM machine a while back but there should be one more left.

    Yes, have to defrost and use up one whole tub of prawns of around 20 of them at one go. Cannot defrost and freeze again. That is why the medium ones for use to fry vegetables, I packed them separately, each pack 3 only…so just defrost a pack each time.

    No, that’s the colour, a light shade of pink. The pink gets darker when you cook the prawns. There is another type of sea prawns, cheaper…hard shell – that one’s even more pink…but freshwater prawns/udang galah are in shades of green/blue/grey and turn completely red when cooked, like crabs too.

  2. I am zero at fish names. Only knew a few common fish names.Wonder how this phak thik poh looks like. Is this the Hockkien name for the fish? Maybe I have seen this fish, just that I don’t know its name. Yes, totally agree that anything cook with prawns will give that extra sweetness. I also freeze my prawns like you did as taught by the seller.

    Can keep for a long time, if frozen in ice. As fresh as new once you melt the ice away. Good for bringing somewhere too…like to Kuching or KL. By evening, still frozen in ice so garenti it will not go bad.

    I knew ngor hu from small – my mum would buy and cook but must be careful, sometimes lo ko, like rubber, cannot eat…but I guess that applies to all big fish. Once we had steamed tapah at a restaurant and it was lo ko. My friend was so angry, he would never step in that place again. It was not even cheap!!! Never heard of this phak thik poh till quite recently, nice…ALMOST like ngor hu, no fishy smell.

  3. Wah! You have prawns to enjoy! The shopkeepers are good honest people. Bless them!

    Yes, bless them indeed. Yes, I am always well-stocked with prawns but no udang galah. Have to go to the central market to get those – not that keen, too big, too busy! Fighting there yesterday, some covidiot refused to go through the SOP and beat up the security guard. They should lock up the likes of these with somebody tested positive to teach them a good lesson!

  4. Gosh, I’m unclear about the zonings over here and what the restrictions are. They seem to change day to day. I feel safer just staying at home.

    Good idea, best to stay home…and go out only when it is absolutely necessary.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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