Category Archives: seafood

…And The Poor Ate Crabs For Lunch & Dinner

You might not believe this.

Yet half a century ago, when I was living in the Bagan Ajam kampong, with the sea just 10 minutes’ walk away, this was true.

Fishermen beached early in the morning with their overnight bounties and carted them  to the wet market near my attap house. And they were cheap. Yes, crabs – and prawns and fish — were cheaper than pork or chicken.

In fact, our family often had crabs for both lunch and dinner. My late mum would deftly de-shell the cooked crustaceans, and gather their meat into delicious piles for the kids. (That is the reason why till this day, I cannot ‘handle’ crabs properly).

Lately, I checked out the prices at a nearby hawker centre. SGD60 per kilo. I was so stunned that I started walking sideways!

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She Sells Seashells From The Seashore

Looks like I have just given the old tongue twister a new twist!

In the days of my youth, some of my neighhours would go to the sea shore (only about 15 mins’ walk) early in the morning, often with their children, to dig for Siput Remis.  Back then, there was an abundance of these shelled creatures, and so an hour or two of enthusiastic excavation could yield a couple of baskets of these delicious seafood.

Now and then, the children would be sent from house to house in the village to sell the excess Siput harvests.  “Siput, Siput” was their call.  I remember a cigarette tin or a condensed milk tin full of the siput cost 5 sen.  Stir-fried with black soya sauce, ginger and some sugar, these tasted heavenly.