Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Cockles Haven

It was an unexpected bounty for the villagers at Telok Sepat in Sura, near here, when millions of blanched cockles were washed ashore on Christmas Day.
Thousands of people – many from nearby areas and outstation – rushed to the beach with buckets and scoops after word spread of the abundant kerang covering the beach like a carpet over two kilometres of the South China Sea shoreline.

There was an estimated 4,000 people, from little children to senior citizens, racing to gather this hard-shell marine species, which is boiled or grilled and eaten with chilly or tomato sauce or made into spicy sambal.
There was excitement in the air and the beach looked like a spot for a festive event, with many pitching tents to spend overnight at the beach.

"It’s not always that we can get this lucky and to get a free and fresh supply of kerang from the sea at this enormous scale,” said 46-year-old technician Salleh Jamalludin from Kuantan.
“At least I can do a bit of saving on my weekly grocery bill. The whole family loves a kerang meal,” he said, adding that his family gathered 10 buckets of cockles.
“Everyone were feverishly collecting the cockles and I was satisfied with what we harvested in just 60 minutes,” he said.
Siti Fauziah Ahmad Syaid and her family had come to escape the flood madness in her hometown in Segamat and was pleasantly surprised that this other “madness” had occurred while she was taking a holiday here.
She managed to fill four sacks within 30 minutes.
“I will return to Johor and cook cockle dishes for my neighbours who are still at the flood relief centres,” she said.
A check by The Star showed that the cockles were still being washed ashore in abundance yesterday morning. People were still coming in droves, although it was 2am.

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