I’m back in Malaysia just in time for the ending of Ramadan. A family friend in Kuala Lumpur asked if we could get them some fresh large prawns for Hari Raya because KL prawns are really expensive and often not very fresh. We were driving up to KL in a few days time so Papa Salvatore said no problem.
20 to 25 kg? That’s like a large suitcase full of prawns! The Mumakil (mum) was anxious on how in the world we going to buy that much and have it transported to KL from our hometown, Kota Bharu.
By the way, why is it that The Star Newspaper in Malaysia always can not get the spelling of our hometown right? It is fricking Kota Bharu! Not Kota Baru, not Kota Baharu either!
Anyway, off I went with The Mumakil to Gok Kapor, a fish market near Kampung Cina in Kota Bharu. This place is probably the freshest fish to be bought in town.
The entrance to the fish market
Gok Kapor means “Chalk Shed” literally. This place used to be where chalk for sirih consumption was being produced. I’m not sure how it then became a fish market.
Just after the entrance, you will find lots of stalls selling fruits and cooked snacks such as kuihs.
Inside the market, lots of fishes were on display. Only The Mumakil would dare wear white trousers in a wet market like this one.
The fishes are so fresh, the horse mackerels looked like they were still alive.
Here’s mum selecting some ‘white prawns’ from the prawn monger. There were no tiger prawns on the first day we were there due to the festive season. So mum told the lady to ‘book’ some large tiger prawns tomorrow.
And that’s how we got giant tiger prawns fresh from the sea. The prawn lady had the tiger prawns stashed at the back of her stall. She was actually glad that we wanted the big ones, because restaurants that buys from her didn’t want such big ones. it’s about 3 prawns per kilo!
So we bought a total of 14.5 kilos of prawns. The prawn lady gave us some free white prawns because we made her a small fortune that day. Another prawn lady was curious as to why we bought so many.
“Mek, mek buak gapo nok banyok ude nih? Mek rayo jugok ko?” She said (translation: Madam, why do you need so many prawns? Are you celebrating [Eid] too?) .
Mum just said “Buak barbeque.” Um yeah, we so barbequed our way thru’ 14 kilos of prawn. Not us la!
Here’s The Mumakil holding up the largest prawn we bought that day. Talk about monster prawns! We couldn’t resist but to cook a few of these big ones!
Surf and turf dinner! Grilled prawn and steak (rare) on a bed of mashed potatoes and salad with balsamic vinegar dressing. yums!
After halving the prawns, Papa Salvatore seasoned it with some salt, pepper and chopped coriander, then popped them in the mini-oven to grill. Cooked a piece of steak on a grill pan to make a surf and turf combination. Delicious! To top it off, Papa Salvatore’s wine selection of Chateau De La Tour’s Clos Vougeot 2004 Grand Cru. Excellent.
Wait, we were still short of prawns. The request was 20 to 25 kilos of prawns and already we kind of bought all the large prawns in Gok Kapor. So Papa Salvatore called some Siamese connection and tadah a delivery of 10 kgs of prawn came that night. The prawns were not as monstrously big, but larger than what you normally find in KL still.
Oh and the fun we had (not) to pack 24 kilos of prawns into 3 styrofoam boxes with ice. Then put them all in the car boot and drove to KL for 7 hours for delivery.
And what I understood is, the family friend did barbequed their way thru’ 24 kilos of prawns on Hari Raya.
UPDATE: Gah! I can’t believe I forgot to mention… If you walk all the way to the end of the market, you will find behind it lies the river (Sungai Kelantan) and a little landing. It’s a beautiful view!