NIBONG TEBAL: Watch out for giant mantis shrimps coming to your local restaurants.
Once meant only for export, sellers now send this jumbo-sized delicacies to local establishments at reduced prices because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Farmer Datuk Tan Kian Poh, who rears thousands of giant mantis shrimps at his farm in Bukit Tambun, said its export to Hong Kong dropped by almost 70% after many restaurants there closed down.
“Each shrimp weighs over 200g and is about 30cm long.
“I used to export the A-size shrimps for over RM250 per kilo, individually packed in transparent containers and sent by air.
“Local restaurants could not afford the shrimps at that price.
“Now that demand from overseas has dropped, local restaurants can get the shrimps for RM130 per kilo, ” he said yesterday.Tan said the drop in overseas orders had taken a toll on his income and that of the fishermen who catch the shrimps for him to grow, but they were able to subsist with local demand.
“I used to deliver 200kg to 300kg of shrimps daily before the lockdowns and restrictions in Hong Kong. After that, delivery rates dropped to thrice weekly with only half the amount per shipment, ” he said.
The shrimps are caught at sea by fishermen and delivered to Tan’s farm, where workers sort them by size.
The medium shrimps, which round up to around 125g each, cost RM75 per kilo, while small shrimps are sold for RM5 each.
“I buy from the fishermen and the shrimps only stay alive for up to three days after that. They lose their value once they’re dead, ” added Tan, who has been in the business for about 30 years.
Mantis shrimps are touted by gastronomic enthusiasts as among the “most delicious shrimps in the world”.A fierce predator, it mainly eats other shrimps but will also eat fish. It stuns and even kills its prey with powerful claws that strike at less than eight milliseconds per centimetre, 50 times faster than the human eye can blink.
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