>> Oct 18, 2010
King of the Rajan River, the Malaysian Mahseer (Tor tambroides), better known as the Empurau by locals is a highly priced fish by diners. A direct translation 忘不了 (its Mandarin name) can be summed up by one word - Unforgettable. Whether or the fish got its name from its taste or its price tag, still remains a mystery among many diners.
This fish has actually been successfully cultivated throughout Malaysia. Breeding this fish is extremely difficult as it requires a rocky bottom and a very large pump to simulate the running river in the wild. Water pH level as well as a cool temperature is require to get the fish in the 'mood' for mating. This fish can grow up to 30kilos. However, their growth rate is extremely slow, which is quite similar to their distant cousin, the Red Mahseer (Kelah Merah).
The wild Empurau, thrive on 'Buah Kepayang', a type of fruit found by the river bank. This is probably the reason the fish has a very unique and special taste compared to other fish. Some diners claim the Empurau taste different depending on the location the fish was caught at. The Empurau should only be consumed once it grows above 3kg, or its meat would not have firmed up, leaving it mushy to the taste.
It is extremely challenging even for professional anglers to catch the Empurau by hook and line as they have a tendency to throw off hooks. To make matters worst, the quantity of this fish in the wild has been depleting in the recent years due to its high demands from diners.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to taste this rare fish at River Fish Restaurant ( 九和鱼餐馆).