It’s Friday…

Ever since I bought the beautiful ikan terubok (chee khak/toli shad) that day, I had been looking forward to Friday, our no-meat day when we would cook that to enjoy.

It looked so fresh and fleshy too and I was quite sure it was going to be good but the boy told me there was no roe (egg) in it. It did not matter though as we are not really into those but somehow, I have the feeling that if there are eggs in the fish, it is more lemak (fat/rich).

My missus trimmed the tail and the fins…

…to get it ready to be panggang-ed (grilled/baked) in our Tatung pot. We decided not to line the foil with daun kunyit (turmeric leaves) this time around so we just rubbed it with a bit of salt and wrapped it up before putting it in the pot.

A Kelabit teacher-friend of mine saw my photograph on Facebook and commented that he never gutted the fish that he would cook over an open fire to eat. Yes, that is one thing my late mum taught us – to never clean the fish as it would not be so sweet and nice if we did that. She loved to eat the black stuff inside, something a bit bitter but I think that is an acquired taste. I tried it before and no, I did not think I would want to eat it again so everytime we cooked the fish, we would just throw it away.

It sure looked so good when it was done…

Just look at all the juices that had seeped out of the fish, an indication as to how lemak (fat/rich) it was. I love drowning my rice with the juices and eating them together! Omega 3 plus plus!!! Absolutely yummy!!!

To eat the fish, the scales had to be painstakingly removed…

…completely so we would not have deal with them all over the fish, here there and everywhere as that chore might affect our enjoyment to some extent.

A lot of people commented that they would not buy the fish because there are a lot of bones. Bones? What bones?

Of course, there are some BIG ones that are easily removed, not as many and not so hard to spot and get rid of as in the upriver empurau (wang poo liao) and its “cousins”. Those fish may be very sweet, so very smooth, so very fine…but the task of picking out the bones and getting rid of them is so time-consuming and it takes away much of the enjoyment of eating those super expensive fish! Another thing is if the fish have been caught and kept frozen for a long time, they will sell them to you at those ridiculous prices but sadly, they are no longer as sweet, not really nice anymore.

Anyway, back to the ikan terubok, I don’t know if those were from a different source – some say there are those from Bangladesh (cheap and used mainly to make those salted ikan terubok) but there used to be another variety where the top half of the fish was full of tiny bones like those in the ikan lumek. We would eat and leave that top part behind. Much to my delight, those that we get these days do not have those tiny bones so we can enjoy it from one end to the other.

Of course, at RM60.00 a kilo, RM48.00 for the one that I bought that day, I would not be buying it all that often. Once in a while will be fine especially with the rising prices of everything these days – one would need to be a bit prudent in one’s spending now, don’t you think?

That day, we had these long beans fried with sambal hay bee (dried prawns)…

…for our vegetable dish and this Chinese-style (oyster) mushroom and egg drop soup…

– my girl loved it! She said it was like sharks’ fins soup.

Author: suituapui

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

7 thoughts on “It’s Friday…”

  1. No matter how sweet and nice this chee khak is, I will never buy and cook it as no one in the family love this fish.. 😊😊. Having said that, I love the roe of the chee khak though. There is another type of fish with lots of tiny bones too, “lek hu” as it is called. Do you know this fish? This two types of fishes are out of my list.

    Unfortunately, there are not many like you. If so many people do not want to eat it, it would be so cheap when nobody wants to buy it.
    If I am not wrong, it is not popular among the Chinese but very popular at the Malay restaurants – I know two here where it will be on the menu of their Chinese-style 10-course dinner, ikan terubok, deep fried. I am not a fan of it deep fried, panggang like how we do it is a lot nicer.

    I don’t know lek hu…but I’ve heard of “lay hu”, very much revered by the Foochows, good for people after surgery e.g. after a Ceasarian. They say the wound will heal faster if you eat this fish – there is even the bottled fish essence, like chicken essence. I did try before – bland, smooth flesh but not much taste – the kind of fish that would force me to eat with kicap…not like the terubok – the taste, the fragrance, the sweetness…all in a class of its own! Plus it’s so easy to cook!!!

  2. Our family does not eat this fish, don’t know why.
    We love ma yau fish (threadfin) a lot.
    Usually have siakap, grouper, snapper, parrot fish.
    I love ikan tenggiri too.

    Never heard of lay hu either.
    The fish we have after surgery so the would heal faster is usually ikan haruan (snakehead).

    1. Ikan haruan is the Malay name for “lay hu”.
      I do eat all the fish you mentioned – I like threadfin, we call it ngor hu or senangin in Malay
      …and siakap/barramundi.

  3. The more bones they have, the more lemak the fish is, that’s usually the case isn’t it?

    It depends on the variety. Sea fish have fewer bones that those river ones. The wang poo liao, for instance, is a killer – so many small bones, forked ones some more and people pay through their noses to get the chance to eat it! No, thank you!

  4. Oh ya, I hate eating fish with those tiny tiny bones. So tedious, I would rather not eat. LOL!

    Not the ones with the tiny bones like ikan lumek – they kept telling me I could just eat and swallow the bones but somehow I just couldn’t get myself to do that!
    I do not mind those with bigger bones like the ikan sultan, for instance (I can’t afford the wang poo liao and the rest -those are worse when it comes to bones) but I would have to eat slowly and remove the bones carefully. The ikan terubok is a bit better as the bones are very big!

  5. Not to mention eating fish with eggs cannot possibly be sustainable. If we want to continue to have fish to eat, I’d think we’d better let the babies grow rather than eating them before birth.

    Indeed! But I don’t think the fishermen will want to throw the ones with eggs back into the sea. Some are way too small and still, they would not throw them back. I always feel it would be better to let them grow a bit bigger first.

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

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