Sunday, January 2, 2011

Getting Into The Sea

Three main varieties of ikang aye live in Dungun's sea; the aye selasih, aye itang, and aye kughik. A part of tuna race, aye selasih is easily identifiable for its garish shade against the second variety, like a Chinese to a Botswanan lad. Among these two, aye selasih is preferred by the locals. Aye itang's meat has chocolate bars which is not friendly to their taste buds. Its detractors say, the blood-rich parts taste so 'hanyir', which is the taste of fish.

These two varieties however share a common soft and delicate meat, and so, they are the popular choices among ikang aye's enthusiasts to be cooked as rice side-dish; fried and later dipped into a dollop of spicy sambal belacan, eaten together with cashew shoots in the windy afternoon of Kampung Sura Tengah while gossiping about other people's domestic problem.

The third variety, a mysterious aye kughik, is always ignored. Aye kughik, being accused of having hard meat, which is true, is actually a good choice for nasi dagang's chefs of some respectable restaurants in Terengganu. They are less expensive compared to the first two varieties. The real experts of nasi dagang know how to soften the aye kughik's meat while making the meat tastes as delicious as the first two superior varieties mentioned above.

But how are we going to identity aye kughik?

"Ask the fishmongers," Mother said. "If your Father still around, he knows every single ikang at this pasor (wet market)."

"Hurm, okay," I said. "So what's the difference between ikang kembong and ikang selor? I see no difference."

"Ikang kembong looks like this," Mother fished the tail of ikang kembong out of the heap of its dead friends and flipped it to see the other side of it, which looked no different than its other side I saw just now. She then pressed the fish's body, and flipped the gills open.

"Look here, Along." Mother said. "Still red. That means it's still fresh. If it's dark, that means not fresh. Then look at the eyes, if the eyes are red, don't buy it. It's ikang air batu." Fish frozen in ice for a quite some time, she meant.

"How much for this kembong?" Mother later asked the fishmonger.

"Hurm, okay," said I, bewildered. "So what's the difference between ikang kembong and ikang selor, anyway? How about selayang?"


  1. I like ikang aye so much, I didn't bother to differentiate the ikangs before. Now that you mentioned it, I think ikang aye itang is my favorite for its chocolate bar, a real delicacy. However, ikang aye always make my skin itchy. garu sane garu sining...

  2. ouh god. i so need to take a class on this before i become someone's wife. asyik tau makan je... haha.

  3. dok penoh tau ikang aye ade 3 jenis. hahaha


  4. Man, I totally fail at this.
    The only ikang I know & can point out with 100% confidence is ikan patin.
    The rest? I only tahu makan.

  5. oh, ikan aye best masak singgang/singge kan, n nasik dagang. hoho, suddenly drooling for nasi dage. yum yum!

  6. Sorry, me no know much about ikang coz me no like eating ikang unless it is fish and chips.

  7. I studied this in my undergraduate years and now teaching students about this whole fish species and all.And normally the girls will be like, ew...ew..ew..because of the smell..

    in my heart i will silently said, hampeh betul!lol

  8. DrSam,
    My Mother can't take ikang selayang. She will sneeze achieng! achieng! achieng!

  9. Lisa Farhana,
    Yeah, another one. Only eat you girls know.

  10. munirah roslan,
    In my blog, it is 'sigganG' that is correct. Singge... errr... I have no idea what that is.

    Pronoung is correctly! SINGGANG!

  11. Andrea Wh@tever,
    LOL You remind me of The Beavers (they're beavers) in Chronicles of Narnia. In their house, they treat their human guests with 'fish and chips', which are really fish and CHIPS. Raw fish and kayu and kulit kayu and stuffs like that.

  12. D.R,

    Above is my email. You can email me the list of names of your female students who acted like that so that I can avoid marrying to anyone (or any FOUR) of them in the future.

  13. aiseh, forgot that u r the trangganu man. as for singge that is how kelantanese uttered laa. im 110% sure about it.

  14. munirah ruslan,
    Yeah I know about that, miss. In my blog, it is Terengganuspeak that's always correct. keh3x.