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The Delightful Cincalok


Cincalok dish in Sarawak is the most delightful, most mouth-watering dish that comes from the sea and the source for such delicacy is the bubuk, or small shrimp.

The bubuk season usually starts from Sabah then the exodus will come downwards to Miri, Bintulu, Sibu then Kuching. When the bubuk starts in Sabah it is usually much redder and by the time it reaches Kuching, the bubuk will be very pale in colour. February is when bubuk will start appearing in the waters near the shoreline of Miri – a time much anticipated by both fishermen and bubuk lovers alike. As the season draws near, they will set out with their nets in keen eagerness of a plentiful harvest.
After several weeks of waiting, the bubuk season is upon Miri and the catchers are kept busy scouring the waters for the smallish shellfish.
As usual, during this time of the year, the seashores of Miri are sprinkled with shrimp-catchers who wade into the water with their nets and containers, looking for the shellfishs no bigger than a grain of rice. According to experienced shrimp-catchers, it’s very hard to estimate where and when the bubuk will appear. One hour, they may be at a certain area but the next hour, they can be somewhere else.
The catchers will always have to check the water at random before plunging in for the catch. Many claim the further out to the sea, the thicker the volume of shrimps.
This is what prompts some catchers to use boats but some don't as they supposed it might scare away the shrimps or deter them from moving inshore, hence depriving others of their share of the harvest. Sometimes this sort of situation will often lead to some argument between the boat-users and the ‘waders’.
It is said that the best catching times are from 8am to 11am and 4pm to 7pm and generally, during the peak season, a shrimp-catcher can harvest more than 12kgs in a few hours but the fortunate ones can net as much as 30kgs within an hour.
There are two types of shrimps – red and white – and they can fetch a good price in the market. When still fresh, the red type sells for RM4 or RM10 for three kgs while the white type, RM10 for four kgs. Miri seashores at Mile 1 and Sri Bima along Lutong-Kuala Baram Road are the ‘hotspots’ for shrimp-catchers and other locations are the Esplanade, Bakam and Kuala Baram.
For shrimp-cathcer they are able to earn about RM3,000 from bubuk sales and is said that their daily profit is between RM400 and RM450, depending on the catch. The buyers are mostly locals with a few from Brunei. The end of the bubuk season was unpredictable but the month of March is the peak season.
Tags: Cincalok | Bubuk | Shrimp | Sarawak |


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