In rural Port Dickson, the hermits are urbanised and they easily disappear in the crowds, at Lukut or Port Dickson’s wet market always packed with fresh seafood imported from as far as the Philippines, Korea and Brazil. One sometimes wonder whether these sea treasures are ever sold to the locals.
Having met a fish monger who happens to be a single parent, with three kids — apparently her husband went offshore for work and no money were sent nor letters. That was, according to Amy some twenty years ago, or so. Her first two are with her parents-in-law, and the third being taken care by she.
“If you want to buy really fresh ones, come around seven in the mornings” she said, smiling with a glint of hope in her eyes.
“What time do you normally open?” I asked.
“Six. I give you my number … you want good horse mackerels, shellfish, oysters or scallops, you call me. I can also supply fresh tuna, real tuna not ikan tongkol. I get from Malacca, or Johor … whatever you want you just call me, I can get for you” Amy scribbled her two mobile numbers on a piece of paper telling me the best time to call would be in the afternoons. That’s when she’s done with the market, and back at home preparing rice porridge for her youngest.
I nodded. I was surprised that she would easily give me her number. I don’t look like a chef, nor a restaurant owner or do I?
“All the quality sea products are for the restaurants, in Malacca, Seremban or Bangi — they book in advance. I supply also to some smaller restaurants here in PD. You call, I give you cost price” she added pointing to a ten cubic storage tank filled with shellfish from the Philippines, and oysters from Australia, all packed in cartons of 5kg each.
There are times when I wish I had the funds to setup a niche seaside bistrot, like Fisherman’s Wharf. My parents talked so much of it that it’d be cool to visit and taste the food there if not to get some inspiration — that would be so nice to create jobs for at least a dozen or two in this economic downturn. A good setup will not even cost half a mil, so long as you find the correct location, and when you have reliable help, and supplier, you’ll do fine. Marketing and advertising through social & traditional media would easily spread, like wild fire.
I asked if she could supply mussels … ooh I love these. I could eat those like forever after, and they’re often hyper sweet and fresh from this region … PD doesn’t have these, so the ones that are being sold are from Johor Bharu. Amy was concerned why I arrived rather late just now, since I usually frequent the wet market in the late mornings.
“Haiya, I just woke up” I said. Amy laughed, pointing at my barely opened eyes. “You ate already?” she asked. I smiled. I said I was going to taste some seafood at Kim’s, with mum, and Farmer.
“Okay, okay … ” and then she said something in Chinese, to the tunes of Bon Appétit.
Kim’s will be another review, soonest.
“Crab Season” Featured image courtesy, and copyright Huuthanh Nguyen