Thursday, February 9, 2012

How to hunt for mussels

My previous post was about planting roses, now about hunting for mussels. Despite being brought up in the city, I love to be closely in touch with the nature. When my dad was posted to Sabah, I was introduced to this ugly looking but delicious tasting mussels. This is one of the famous food in Sabah, and it has become my all time favourite ever since. I learned how to catch them from the stalls by the road side selling Lokan. However, I've never tried those methods which I was taught. By the way, there're many names for these mussels. Some people call it Kepah, but most local call it Lokan. 

Lokan are best served baked. In Sabah, they put it on a sheet metal and start baking with high flame until the shells open. Normally locals blend garlic, red chilli, onion and lime to make the sauce, then pour the sauce on the flesh. If u want it to be a little saltier, u can add soya sauce. I have yet to try the secret recipe taught by Michael when i was in Penang, the next time I cook mussels I'll add some plum sauce like what Michael did. =)

Now, how to hunt for mussels? The one I just caught is the freshwater type. The Sabahan taught me the poking method. Walk slowly in the water and observe bubbles, normally when these bubbles are air released when the mussels open up. then use a parang to poke into the lake bed and u will hear "tuk tuk" sound. It sounds like poking a coconut. But in muddy area, u observe bubbles, then put yr hands deep into the mud and start catching mussels. they normally live in a group, so u might be able to catch many at one spot.

I'm gonna share with u my way. Firstly, my movement will be against the current so that when I dig out the mussels, the current will wash the mud away and I can always have a clear view of my prey =p When u see shells opened up, that means the mussels are dead and a handful of mud will be trapped in between. Mussels normally bury themselves vertically. so u can see lips like opening from the water surface, as i mentioned before, at one spot u can catch many. If the mud blur yr vision, use yr hands to feel. The water level was  knee deep only. I dare not go any deeper due to the dark history of our UPNM lake. By the way, I jumped into the lake right after I finished my 20km ride, and I was wearing a trisuit =p So i went back wet =p
This is so simple. My catch today worth RM30, need no tools, just use yr brain. 
The mussels will be served later at 2130H, and I taught the cook how to cook it my way=p Oh gosh, they've never tried this amazing food before! Probably because it isn't that popular in Penisular malaysia.
To hunt for survival food is something that a boy should know. Don't wait until u need this survival knowledge then only u learn. I've been brought up in the city since little, and since then I've been hearing people saying city boys are flimsy and will die of hunger when come desperate situation. I'm a city boy and I can hunt for my survival food =) So, be a good survivor. U might need this valuable skills one day.

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