Antara ‘Buah’ dan ‘Sangkar’

We were in Pahang yesterday to attend to the wedding of Dr Bubbles, an old friend of both of us. He is a clown doctor. You can read about him here. Both myself and the husband got to know him exactly 10 years ago. He was then clowning in Laos.

So we made our way to Dr Bubble’s hometown of Jerantut in Pahang. It was a 3 hour drive from Damansara to Jerantut. The long drive in the intense heat was all worth it when we were greeted by his signature grin and we knew he really appreciated the fact that we drove all the way to Jerantut to attend his walimah.

Anyway, what I really wanted to write about was what I learnt on the way home. Pahang is always synonymous–gastronomically at least, with Ikan Patin. That’s like their national dish. Lomak Tempoyak Ikan Patin. I grew to love this dish when I first tried it somewhere in KL. I then learnt how to cook it through the cookbook written by the Sultanah of Pahang, which I borrowed from the library. Then Sambal Hijau sells it and I have been a regular there since 3 years ago.

However, going to Pahang without trying the real thing, is like going to Penang and not having any Nasi Kandar. So on the way back from the wedding, we stopped to eat. At the stall, I saw signs saying ‘Patin Sangkar’ – Rm 7 and ‘Patin Buah’ – Rm 12. Per piece of fish, mind you. And by per piece I mean a slice of the fish from its whole body. Sekeping. It was then I learnt that Patin Sangkar is the ikan patin yang dibiak in kolams or their penternakan ikan areas. Patin Buah is the ikan patin yang liar. Macam the ayam kampung of the Patin world gitu lah. Oooh. Baru saya tau.

I ate Patin Sangkar by the way. I couldn’t bring myself to pay Rm 12 for a piece of river fish, no matter how milky or more delicious it would be. It was daylight robbery. So in the end, I paid Rm 9.90 total for a plate of rice, a bowl of Lomak Tempoyak Ikan Patin (which comes with a slice of Patin Sangkar), some tempeh sambal and a small container of sambal tempoyak.

On the way back to Petaling Jaya, I knew that my Pahang trip was complete, because I had an ikan patin meal.


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