Tales Of Catching & The Eating Of Crabs

My fascination with crabs began as a young boy. My elders like my grandfather for instance used to tell me, “if a crab should bite you with its pincer, it will not let go unless and until a thunder strikes”.

Crabs are available all over the world. In my earlier article on “About My Younger Days Catching Fish And Crabs”, I promised to tell you more stories about this exciting crustacean with 8 legs.

The Chinese community in Malaysia fancy the eating of this crustacean. So much so that crabs have resulted in becoming a rare and expensive commodity. A kilo of crab today fetches around RM30 – RM35 in the market.

Although the Chinese and Indians consume a large amount of crabs, the Malays however seem to regard crabs differently. Some consider it makroh. While others say it is halal.

My attempt to gather more information into this subject has unfortunately resulted in me becoming more confused. Whether halal or makroh, the Malays prefer one type of crabs – Ketam nipah or mangrove crabs.

Besides this, Malays also fancy ketam bunga or ketam pasir. This thin and long legged variety incidentally is much cheaper.

The above crab is known as the “flower crab”. It is said to be a saltwater crustacean.

As I said earlier in my blog elsewhere, my encounter with crabs began as a coincidence. But coincidence or otherwise, it was to stretch on for as an exciting hobby for more than 10 years. Until I landed as a driving school instructor.

The lack of time and busy schedule finally forced me to give up this hobby eventually. But until today, my love for this subject, “crab catching” and “crab eating” still remains on this very day.

My crab catching kaki or enthusiast, my good friend Mr. Ah Poon, unfortunately has since passed away some two years ago. However, I understood that his wife, Mrs. Poon, although more than 70 years today is still hale and hearty.

Whenever we chanced to meet, stories of our crab catching days and episodes is sure to arise.

The variety of crabs we buy in the market which is so much liked by the Chinese today is known as cancer pagurus. Believe it or not, there are male and female crabs.

Female crabs, I think if not mistaken, are smaller in size. How does one go along distinguishing between female and male crabs?

It is said female crabs have abdomen which are wider. Whereas, male crabs have abdomen which are narrower. If you should be shelling crabs one of these days for the dinner table, I suggest you observe their stomachs. I’m sure you will surely see the differences.

My encounter with the crab catching began in the 1970s. If you should live in Klang area, you will surely be surrounded by mangrove swamps and nipah palms stretching from the busy Shapadu Highway frequented by lorries and trailers on their way to Port Klang. And stretching from Batu 4 Jalan Kapar until Kg. Rantau Panjang.

These are your crab-catching sanctuaries, so to say. These areas stretches from here until the present Taman Perdana housing estate to Kg Perepat in Sementa at the 8th mile of Jalan Kapar.

Having told you the places where you can catch crabs, allow me now to tell you how you can go about catching them. Basically, there are 2 methods you can adopt. The native method requires a round contraption made of wire mesh to scoop up the crabs. You also need chunks of dried shark meat.

Some length of gunny strings are also required. Get some pieces of twigs or branches. All you then have to do is to tie up the small chunks of shark meat to the gunny strings and twigs. Place them into the water. The rotting smell of the shark meat will then attract the crabs.

My years of crab catching have resulted in my becoming quite an authority on how to consume crabs. Try fried rice with crab meat. It’s delicious!

Frying crab meat with eggs and shark fins is another. The best manner to eat crabs would be curried crabs with cili padi and eggs. Eating it with white bread is beyond description of words.

In Pasir Penambang, Kuala Selangor, restaurants there serve a popular and well known dish called “broth with crabs”. Why not try it if you should be heading for Kuala Selangor.

The Japan Restaurant is nearby Berkeley housing estate is famous for its mee hoon fried with crabs. It comes at a whopping price of RM60 – RM70 for 2 to 3 people.

Talking about eating crabs, Restaurant Fatty Crab is Petaling Jaya should not be forgotten mentioned earlier.

Another well known restaurant which draws quite a large group of crab connoisseurs is undoubtly the Steamboat Restaurant Pulau Ketam in Bukit Tinggi housing estate, Klang. Fancy going there?

But the most popular and well known place, if you wish to eat crabs must definitely be none other than Pulau Ketam itself.

According to one travel brochure I happened to come across recently, Pulau Ketam is very popular among the locals for a number of seafood restaurants. A great place to savior a variety of seafood specialties. A very popular dish, it went on to say is the curry crab.

To end this interesting article on crab catching and numerous ways of eating this crustacean, permit me to relate to you readers regarding a unique species of blue coloured crabs, which I happened to catch one twilight evening at approximately 7 o’clock as the sun was setting into the horizon.

There I was, standing alone on a river bank. After waiting patiently for a long time, I pulled up a completely blue coloured crab. In my years of catching crabs, I have never encountered a situation such as this.

An eerie sensation run across my whole body. In fact, fear overwhelmed me! Was it a mysterious crab, I had never laid eyes on before? Or something bizarre and extra ordinary? Out of this world perhaps!

Feeling scared, I threw the blue coloured crab back into the river. The research on crabs I made on this subject prior to my writing this article tells me that the blue crab I encountered that evening many years ago was actually callinectus sapidus or “the beautiful”.

If only I knew what I know today, I would definitely not have thrown it back into the river!

Today, I have only divulged to you one method of catching crabs, the native method. Maybe, in my next episode, I might decide to tell you about the trap or net method of crab catching.

In the meanwhile, continue to enjoy your eating of crabs! And if you still possess anything you may wish to know about crabs, please do drop me a line. Thank you and take care.

By | 2010-10-21T22:53:55+08:00 March 31st, 2010|My Memories|0 Comments

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