A quest for udang galah ends in a satisfying meal


In search of freshwater prawns at Sungai Selangor.

THE tai thou har/udang galah (giant river prawn or genus Macrobrachium Rosenbergii) is a freshwater crustacean that is very high in demand, especially during the Chinese New Year.

These prawns are either harvested from the wild (found throughout most of the major river systems in Peninsular and East Malaysia) or farmed.

And there’s never enough supply to meet the demand with prices soaring to RM40 per kg from the source.

My quest for this tasty shellfish began some 18 years ago when I followed my mentor, Pak Ali Keok, on a prawning trip to Kg Kedaik in Rompin, Pahang.

We shared many good times on a car-topper fibreglass boat, reeling in giant prawns from the depths of the Rompin river.

Udang Goreng Kunyit, another dish recommended by the warung.

Those were the good old days of my bachelorhood and since then, due to work commitment, I haven’t been prawning.

Recently, I reconnected with this hobby when I engaged the services of a boatman at an udang galah spot in Kuala Selangor.

The contact was introduced to me by a tackle shop owner in SS2, Petaling Jaya and we made arrangements to give this place a try.

This was also my first trip in 15 years with my angling buddy, Eddie “Reel Tales” Chua, and my squid-jigging kaki Ryota Hazishume, a Japanese expatriate who has been residing in Malaysia for more than 20 years.

We made our way from Subang Jaya to Kuala Selangor via LATAR Highway (connecting the Klang Valley with Lumut via the West Coast Highway) and met up with our boatman at a jetty in Kampung Baru Pasir Penambang.

After spending half a day in the river, we landed back at the jetty.

Bang, air kotor la, kalau nak puas hati, kena pancing masa musim hujan,” (The water conditions are turbid, it’s best that you fish during the wet season) said Yuan, our boatman.

I guess the most frustrated person was Ryota as he only managed to get a few nibbles and bites throughout the day.

In search of freshwater prawns at Sungai Selangor.

To sum it up, our combined catch was below expectation, and being a good host, our boatman offered his prawns for us to to savour at a warung near the landing area.

This place is called Warung Kampung Baru and it specialises in dishes such as Mee Goreng Udang Galah, Nasi Goreng Udang Galah, Udang Masak Merah, Udang Goreng Kunyit and a few other freshwater prawn-related dishes.

The owner of the warung recommended Udang Masak Merah and Goreng Kunyit.

We added that our meagre catch to what we paid for at the eatery to get a total of one kg in prawns.

They charged us RM60 for labour and our bill for the day came up to RM78, inclusive of rice, an omelette and drinks.

For the total value, I would rate this makan place a 5.5 out of 10 on the Samo-scale.

Why? Because the act to beat when it comes to udang galah is Restoran D’Tepian in Teluk Intan, Perak.

Warung Kampung Baru (N 03 21.086, E 101 15.344) opens daily for breakfast, lunch and tea and is located off Route 5 on the Klang - Teluk Intan Federal Road.

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