I can’t remember the last time we had one. Probably it was in 2017, when my brother-in-law in Bintulu came back to Sibu and he brought us one from there.

All this while, I kept asking the fish sellers at the market but no, they did not have any until one fine day when the old lady from whom I always bought the pek kay (seawater prawns) greeted me excitedly. She said she had one but when she took it out, it was HUGE!!! I did not think it would fit into my oven, much less the Tatung pot that I always use to cook this fish. In the end, I did not buy it, of course!

Needless to say, I was so thrilled to see that my current regular fish seller had some that day – she said it is in season right now so there should be some available – and I wasted no time at all in grabbing two, this size…

In the meantime, I saw a video clip that a Malaysian doctor shared on Facebook. He was talking about the dangers of the things we use to cook in the kitchen and in his list was aluminum foil. Well, I’m not surprised. Since time immemorial, I’ve heard about this – that is why I have two beautiful Thai tiffin carriers, stuffed in the storeroom, never used anymore but those pots they used in the good ol’ days, all dented, so out of shape – weren’t they all aluminum? My late grandma and aunties used to masak kuden using those and the fish tasted so so good!

Well, the doctor said that we should line the foil with baking paper should we insist on using it and that brought to mind how I would cook my fish in that thing, wrapped with daun kunyit (turmeric leaves)! I cut a few of the leaves in my garden to use…

…for wrapping the fish after rubbing it with salt before putting it in the Tatung pot to cook/bake.

We sat down to enjoy the fish for lunch and boy, it was so so so good, so fresh and so very sweet, so very lemak – we sure enjoyed it to the max! Because I did not remove the scales, the fish only had a slight hint of the fragrance of the kunyit leaves. It did not really matter though – even without that, it was good enough!

Of course when eating this fish, we must eat it slowly and enjoy every bit of it while being extra careful with the bones.

I cannot remember how much the lady was selling the fish for – I did not take note of the prices. When we can only get to enjoy it once in so many years, price is secondary and besides, these days, with the horrendous pandemic, there aren’t a lot of things we can do even if we have a lot of money!

The fish stall is located to the right of CCL FRESH MINI MARKET against the wall at the end of the block to the right of the Grand Wonderful Hotel (2.309601, 111.845163) along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai, on your left just before the Petronas petrol station a short distance from Delta Mall. You can also go in via Lorong Pipit 4, turning left into the lane at the junction where Starbucks Sibu is located and go straight ahead from there.