Two other fishes have slipped off my menu for nearly half-a-century — the Catfish and, the Snakehead. In my native Penang Hokkien, we called them “Thor Sat” and “Lay Hu” respectively.
I remember the Thor Sat had some venomous spikes in the fins, and so fishmongers used a pair of Pincer Cutter to clip the fins off for safety. The Thor Sat was best cooked in a curry.
The Lay Hu were usually sold by individuals who carried them about — flipping and alive — in wooden boxes filled with water. But they could live for quite a long while out of water; so the first thing before cutting them up was to grab them by their tails and smash their heads onto a hard floor, thereby sending them into concussion.
The Lay Hu was best savoured in a simple light soup.
Haha, my version of the classic childhood song. Either crispy deep-fried in oil or cooked in simple soup with pieces of ginger, this smallish (about 3 inches x 3 inches) plain-looking fish was a delight, guaranteed to make one polish off an extra plate of rice.
As kids we “fought” over the ultimate prizes — the roe that came in little balls about 1 cm in diameter, slightly flattened. The poor man’s caviar !
Haiz, I have not seen nor tasted this ikan kekek for at least 3 decades now. Am not sure if it is just not available in Singapore or that it has been hunted to extinction. Maybe I have not searched hard enough. What to do ? As consolation, I just go to YouTube and fish out the familiar music – tak dapat makan dengar pun jadi !
Really pathetic lah, I.