stirring the water, making the shrimp jump out (photo©raymond franssen)
On the coast of Sarawak, close to the border with Brunei, is a town called Miri. It is where I lived for four years. We lived in a bungalow in tropical surroundings. Hornbills woke us up in the morning with their piercing cries. Bullfrogs kept us up at night croaking loudly after a rainstorm. It was 200 meters from the beach. Not your seaside-resort beach, this one was often littered with dead fish and debris from the logging industry. Call it a working beach. When the sea turned pink from the tiny shrimp feeding in the shallows, fishermen armed with nets, sticks and baskets gathered to catch them. Wading knee-deep in water, they stirred around in the shallow water with their sticks, creating a whirlpool of shrimp squirming up and under the waves. Carefully, they dragged their nets. Then they walked back to the beach, emptied their nets and went back into the water. For weeks, the shrimp dried out in the open, filling the air with their fermenting smell. Hard to imagine something so putrid can be so delicious.
|back to the beach to dry the catch (photo©raymond franssen)|
|shrimp fishing, a stone's throw from our house when we lived in Miri (photo©raymond franssen)|
|clockwise: char kueh teow, satay, nasi lemak, bee hoon goreng, and sambal belacan|