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Kuala Selangor’s hidden pearl
IF you ever feel like escaping from the hustle and bustle of the city, then take an hour’s drive to the Pasir Penambang area in Kuala Selangor.
The Pasir Penambang sub-district, located along the Selangor River, revolves around fishing and has a population of 5,000 and 120 houses, with Hokkien as the main dialect.
“Before a bridge was built 30 years ago, the only way to come over was by ferry as there were no roads crossing the river,” said Bagan Sungai Yu village community security and development committee (JKKK) chairman Teo Kun Beng.
The village of Bagan Sungai Yu makes up the main population centre in the area.
Teo said the village was found by the Indonesian Chinese population who fled from Panipahan, Indonesia during the Japanese occupation in the 1940s, making them the first generation.
Currently residing in the village are the third and fourth generations, with their main source of income coming from the fishing industry.
“Hokkien Chinese make up 95% of the population; 80% of the villagers are fishermen, with the rest running small businesses,” Teo said.
Bagan Sungai Yu, the fishing village located along the Selangor river.
The village’s community security and development committee (JKKK) secretary Richard Bee said white pomfrets and prawns were among the main catch while cockles and oysters were also harvested.
“The best cockles in Malaysia come from right here,” he said with pride.
“Before water pollution affected the mudflats, we used to farm and harvest cockles. Mature cockles can be harvested within one year,” said Teo, who used to be in the cockle industry for 10 years.
The area’s daily catch is transported to local markets including Selayang.
During a visit to the area, the StarMetro team was given a look behind the scenes at how fishing nets are made.
Goh Hiew Tin, wife of a fisherman, explained that nylon nets with smaller gaps are used for prawns.
Having mended nets for more than 35 years, Goh said that although the nets look simple, there is actually a lot of preparation work to weave one from scratch.
“It takes at least two hours to weave one piece which will then be joined together according to the size of the fishing nets,” explained Goh, adding that the daily catch can fetch up to RM200 from local dealers.
Something not to be missed are the area’s prawn crackers, made from fresh prawns with no additives.
“The process involves shelling prawns, blending, baking, chilling, slicing, sun-drying and frying, and it can take up to five days, depending on the weather,” said the founder of Chuan Bee Enterprise who preferred to be called Madam Sim.
Each batch results in 20kg of crackers while orders can reach up to 200kg per month.
“The crackers here are tastier because of the fresh prawns supplied by the area’s fishermen. Sometimes, we don’t even have enough prawn supply during festive seasons such as Chinese New Year,” she said.
Visitors will be spoilt for choice as there are many seafood restaurants along the river to choose from, with each having its own unique dish.
Hai Ung Seafood Restaurant, which has been operating for more than 20 years, is strategically located beside the river.
Kuala Selangor's hidden pearl
Although it is slightly farther from the busier part of Pasir Penambang where visitor traffic is higher, the restaurant has its own regulars who favour its signature dishes.
The restaurant is known for its Szechuan-style shark meat cooked, besides their freshly served raw oysters, blanched sea cockles, steamed flower crabs, barbecued grilled stingray with homemade sauce, and salt and pepper mantis shrimps.
“We have customers coming from as far as the Middle East to try our dishes,” said restaurant owner Jack Teo, who took over the business from his father.
“The sight of fishing boats docking in the evening during the sunset is one of the things to experience during dinner,” he added.
In addition to the seafood, other attractions in the area include fireflies viewing as well as eagle-feeding excursions.
Those who are interested to explore the popular attractions can head to the D Tour Kuala Selangor tour agency.
“We offer a one-day tour package which includes firefly watching, eagle-feeding, monkey-watching and fresh seafood meals.
The best time to visit is between July and August during the holiday season,” said D Tour Kuala Selangor Sdn Bhd founder Johnson Chuan Sen.
Fishing in the village of Bagan Sungai Yu is no longer thriving as it once used to as the younger generation is slowly leaving the village in search of better prospects.
“There used to be a time when parents hoped for their children to take over their fishing business.
“Over the years, our generation started to prioritise education to find stable careers,” said Teo.
People in the area are diversifying into businesses like making prawn crackers, tour agencies and restaurants.
They are also looking forward to developments in the area.
Property developer Goldpage Assets Sdn Bhd has a township development planned for the area, concluded Bee.
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