Saturday, February 11, 2012

Oh...What a BIG Fish!

One of the essential dishes on our dining table is fish. When it comes to eating fish, grouper is one of the few main fishes to select from. Groupers have a stout body and a large mouth. They are not built for long-distance fast swimming. They are quite large and lengths over a meter. Some may even weights up to 100 kg. They swallow their prey rather than biting pieces off it because they do not have many teeth on the edges of their jaws...only have heavy crushing tooth plates inside the pharynx. They habitually eat fish, octopuses, and crustaceans by waiting for their prey rather than chasing in open water.

When eating grouper, it normally comes in a standard size...just the right portion of share for everyone who is at the table (at times it is not enough too). What happens if your grouper comes in the size of 165kg and 2m-long? Well you might end up with days eating that giant grouper alone without having rice and other dishes! Just early yesterday, a giant grouper was caught off Teluk Bahang coast in Penang. It was caught by fisherman Tan Kah Seng and surprisingly it was the second time in six months that a giant grouper found its way into Tan’s trawling net. 

His stall was the centre of attention as market-goers jostled for a photo with his whopping giant grouper. The fish, which took six men to hang it on display, is believed to be among the biggest caught in Malaysian waters in recent years. “Bigger giant groupers definitely taste better because the flesh is sweeter,” said Tan at the Cecil Street market yesterday. 

The fish was sold to the 40 year old Kar Be Cafe operator Chew Kean Ghee. Chew, who runs the popular eatery at Weld Quay paid RM8,500 for the giant fish. “It’s a little pricier than the giant grouper I bought from Tan last year but my customers love it,” he said. He added that the fish would be used to make more than 300 bowls of noodles.

Last August, Tan caught a similar fish weighing a whopping 168kg and in 2010, he landed a 203kg shark, believed to be a nurse shark, in the same area too. The largest catch in Malaysian waters was a 180kg fish caught in 2008 near Pulau Sembilan in the Straits of Malacca.