There is no hidden agenda* behind this story – just an honest recount of my childhood encounter with some dead crustaceans preserved in a bottle.
One day a relative gave us a bottle of Cincalok : upon opening, out came a smell that was awful, somewhat pungent. My late mum put several scoops of the stuff into a dish of meat (with onions, garlic and red chilli) and steamed the mixture in a wok.
When cooked, the smell was a lot better, but somehow, apart from my mum, no one else in the family took any liking to it. Perhaps she was the only one with some authentic Peranakan DNA in her.
That was probably the last time ever that we ate Cincalok.
We might be the exception, because I know many other folks salivate over this heritage-class appetite-whetter.
*note : pun, alluding to the Malay proverb, “Ada Udang Di Sebalik Batu”