Ask the seasoned anglers about Ikan Tapah and their eyes will sparkle. It is a dream to reel this river fish in. The bonus is the delicious meal that will follow. The price of having one for a meal in a restaurant is about RM100 per kg in KL. No wonder Myfoodtrips commented that was it a bit expensive (RM60) while having it in Restoran 166 at Gua Musang in December 2007.
Ikan Tapah or ‘Helicopter Catfish’ in the western world, is commonly known by its genus name ‘wallago attu’. I saw one in Aquaria, KLCC about 2 years ago when I took my son there for a visit. It weighed 35kg and according to the story it was rescued from the dinner table in a nick of time after being caught in a river in Pahang. Though injured it was nursed back to health.
This prticular fish is available in local restaurants like Fatty Tiger in Cheras, Fook Seng in Slim River and the fish head is available in Tuck Kee, Taman Bukit Maluri, Kepong. Call ahead to check on availability. For direction to Fook Seng check at Knit and Nibbles.I once have it in a riverside village about 100km from Jambi, Sumatera, Indonesia. It was caught in a fish trap and the live fishes (each about 1 1/2 kg) was sold to us at RM4.00 per kg. Then they were prepared spicy, with sauce, sweet and sour and fried. The meat was firm and tasty and unlike those in aquaculture cages. It felt good to the tongue and smelt good to the nose as all wild river fishes should.
I hope to make it to Slim River soon to get myself acquainted with this fish again. Yummy!