You know.... we often hear comments that our children do not know where drumsticks, steaks, fillets etc come from. Actually, I don't know and am curious to find out where cockles come from as I love lots of blood cockles in my char kway teow, curry laksa, and curry mee. Recently, when there was a shortage of cockle supply, I was actually anxious that we might soon be unable to enjoy the taste of see hum (as we call it in Hokkien).
Thanks to Tourism Selangor's "Discover Selangor, Heart of Malaysia" campaign, I finally saw where some blood cockles come from - but, it wasn't what I expected.
I was lucky to have a chance to see how blood cockles are harvested thanks to a trip organised by Tourism Selangor together with Firefly airlines. As we rode a motorboat out to sea, Md Saad Mahsah Saad, Tourism Selangor's Product Business Development Manager regaled us with fisherman tales about "the small one that got away" 😃
I was surprised that cockles are harvested in the sea, in this case, not far from the mouth of Sungai Buloh in Selangor, Malaysia. I had always thought that blood cockles are dug up from slimy muddy banks 😛
The cockle men go out to sea in small one-man motor boats and scoop up wild cockles that live on the shallow sea bed using a wire mesh cage on a long wooden pole.
The wire mesh scoops up wild cockles and whatever is on the seabed such as prawns, clams, horseshoe crabs, twigs and bottom debris.
The catch of the day is brought back to the jetty once the little boat is fully loaded.
Barrels of blood cockles are hauled up the jetty.
The live blood cockles are in a heap with twigs and other debris.
The barrels of cockles are then tipped into a large "washing machine".
The cockles and everything in the barrel are tumbled and flushed with powerful jets of water.
The washed cockles flushed clean, tumble onto a chute, and ready for hand sorting.
The cockles are sorted according to size.
Over 90% are just thumb size.
Finally, when I enjoy my blood cockles, I have a good idea where it really comes from and appreciate the people who worked so hard, so that we can enjoy this irreplaceable favourite of Malaysians, Thais and Singaporeans. (There is no substitute for see hum for it's unique briny blood taste 😂 How do I know what blood tastes like? When we skinned our knees, palms or elbows when were boys, we licked our wounds 😂 )
Cockle harvesting is just one of the many enriching experiences with Tourism Selangor's Discover Selangor, Heart of Malaysia campaign.
One of the top options to come to Selangor is by Firefly airline with a hard-to-beat balance of convenience, service, comfort and value (ticket includes 20kg complimentary check in luggage).
Date: 20 Jan 2017
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