Indigenous Sarawak River Fish: Tengadak @ New Capital Restaurant, Sibu, Malaysia

M.I.A?  ME??  NOooo…!!

I had my knickers in knots trying to self-host my blog.  I got sold on the idea that one shouldn’t live in a rental when one can afford to move out to one’s own house, but the ‘deal’ went pear-shaped ‘cos I’m not the most literate when it comes to computer. Sure, I can pay USD100 for the ‘happiness engineer’ to spare me the misery, but surely that defeats the purpose of having a paideutics hobby, right?  Me, being a practical miser that I am, thought that I can somehow be my own happiness engineer with the assistance of  the free youtubes and literatures abound on the web! How wrong I was – it was an exercise in futility and so I cancelled my BlueHost and ditched the idea of redesigning my webpage.  Lesson learnt:  Computer stuffs should be best left to professionals.

The past couple of weeks  have been excruciatingly hot – so hot that my tummy bloats up  to the size of  a water-melon and have me belching!  I’m guessing the heat and too much natural fermentation in my tummy from my daily diet of cabbages and brocollis is making me Miss Farty-pants, so I went in search for a simple home-styled lunch.

New Capital Restaurant is my go-to restaurant in SiBoo Town for yummy-licious Cantonese-Sarawakian cuisine.  There are only 2 restaurants worth going to in Boo Town and I am so surprised -shocked – that they are not even listed on TripAdvisor!  (The other restaurant is here)

So when the proprietress recommended tengadak – a fresh river fish, I was thrilled.  Fresh river fishes are notable produces from Sarawak.  Unfortunately, over-fishing and pollution means tengaraks are fast becoming scarce.  Furthermore, with the development of the highly controversial Bakun Hydroelectric Dam – the second tallest concrete-faced rockfill dam in the world for a population of 2.4M people in Sarawak – their natural habitat in the rapids and rocky areas are also under threat.

Here is a quick snap of my tengadak fish.  It has been steamed first then ladled over with sizzling hot oil and light soy sauce to enrich its delicate flavour.


Steamed Tengadak in light soy sauce

Tengadaks are bony fish due to its small size but very delicious – just be mindful of the tiny ‘Y-shaped’ bones.  Their flesh are naturally sweet and flaky as they feed on natural organic staples such as insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, flowers and fruits that are caught in the turbulent water.

Tengadaks are indigenous fish to Sarawak.   They are a slow-growing species that take at least 5 years to mature up to 800g in weight. The biggest tengadak caught was only around 2kg.  Most line-caught ones from the river are around 300-500g.  Attempts have been made to farm the tengadaks, but farmed fishes taste ‘muddy’, and do not even come close to those living in the wild.


Who hit the jack-pot?!
Source: Reflections from Sarawak’s Rivers – coffee table book but forgot to take the name of the author.. 😦

Let’s cut to the chase – care to take a guess at how much my  little 400g fish costs?

Well, the fish did pushed the envelope of my lunch budget at RM400.  Still, when compared to the ‘King’ of fresh river fish in Sarawak – Empurau – aka the most expensive fish in Malaysia – tengadak is ‘cheap’.   The nickname for empurau is ‘unforgetable’ and at RM6,000 for a fish, this nickname  is very appropriate!  Check out the article here


RM6,000 for an empurau fresh river fish (wholesale price)
Source: Borneo Post

‘Side-kicks’ to my lunch were:


Native Sarawakian fern: Stir-fried ‘Midin’




All-time favourite: Deep-fried sweet and sour pork


Double-boiled Chicken soup with Chinese water-cress

Do check out New Capital Restaurant for authentic Cantonese-Sarawakian dishes, if you are lucky, they may have exotic games on their menu!


Address on pink paper serviette