Although it is not commonly eaten, some Malaysians do eat Horseshoe Crabs and consider it a delicacy. The Horseshoe Crab known as Belangkas in Malay or colloquially called "King Crab" in Malaysia because of its blue blood. Its blood, know to have clinical value, cost RM17,500 (USD5,000) a liter in the US. 1 liter of its blue blood is contained in approximately 115 Horseshoe Crabs.
This exotic dish, usually cooked asam pedas or sambal tumis style, is only available in selective Malay restaurants especially in Johor. The best part is its eggs.
One restaurant that specialises in cooking the belangkas is Belankas Mahkota in Kota Tinggi, Johor. The NST reports this:
|Horseshoe crab cooked in curry at the Belangkas Mahkota in Kota Tinggi.|| |
|Abdul Hamid Musa with the live horseshoe crabs.|
|People come from far and wide to enjoy the rare horseshoe crab delicacy in Kota Tinggi. — Pictures by Zain Ahmed.|
Hamid of Tanjung Buai, a fishing village in the Sungai Johor estuary, says his customers include locals as well as folk from Kuala Lumpur and Perak.
"The Tunku Mahkota of Johor gave the restaurant its name after eating here in 2005," he said proudly.
Hamid used to serve the dish to his guests at home. And they enjoyed it so much that they told him he should sell the belangkas
So he set up a stall in Jalan Tun Sri Lanang in 2001. From that, it grew into a full-scale restaurant that seats 100. It is open from 10.30am to 2.30pm on weekdays. On weekends, it is closed for Hamid and his family to cater the food for weddings or other events.
Hamid buys his crabs at RM5 each from a local supplier who also exports to Thailand. The supplier gets his stock from the fishermen who catch them off the coast.
"Because I have known the supplier for many years, I always get stock. But still I limit the servings to 25 a day to make sure I have enough for the next day.
"We also serve mussel, clam, snail, fish and chicken dishes, but my customers are not happy if I have to tell them we have run out of belangkas," he says.
A dish of crabs costs around RM10, depending on its size.
The crab must be prepared carefully. If it is not properly cleaned, especially of the faeces, it can cause dizziness when eaten.
Customer Mohd Salleh Abdul Rahman said he likes the dish because he has read that the horseshoe crab has curative properties.
"It's not only delicious, but good for the health, " says Salleh.
Sab ariah Salim, of Kampung Sungai Melayu, Johor Baru, said: "A delicious belangkas meal is rare nowadays. That's why I often come here for lunch with my colleagues. I also like the kampung chicken curry," she said.
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