Even kids know the value of Ikan Semah in Long Luping

Children at Long Luping watching visitors asking about Ikan Semah.

By Nancy Nais

LONG LUPING, March 25: Something smells fishy!

As the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) entourage arrived in Long Luping for a community programme recently, playful cheers and screams could be heard from the back of the open community hall in this village.

While waiting for the event to start, DayakDaily journalist smelled something fishy and decided to walk to the back of the hall to “investigate”. What do you know, some villagers were selling Semah fish.

Several curious children gathered at the wooden table, giggling away as firefighters asked the fishmonger questions about the fish.


The kids even proudly said, “Ini ikan mahal, uncle. Tapi sedap” (this is an expensive fish, but delicious to eat).

The fish sold at the event was priced at RM40 per kg. This is considered cheap and affordable as it was caught by the locals at the nearby river and directly brought to the event for sale.

Firefighters (in uniform, from left) Mohd Faizal Zainul Halim, Maizan Abdul Majid, Fabian Justin Ahan and Muhd Mirza Dzalmira Miraj inquiring about the Ikan Semah for sale.

Ikan Semah, from the Tor Labeobarbus species, is indigenous to the higher reaches of freshwater rivers in Borneo. It cannot be found outside this range.

Due to the exclusivity and different texture between Ikan Semah caught in the wild and cultured ones, the fish are sold according to grade. Those weighing 1kg and above are priced more dearly than those weighing between 600 and 800 grams per tail at RM60 per kg.

This exotic fish is fancied by many, including visitors from outside Sarawak.

It is usually steamed or cooked in traditional ‘pansuh’ (cooked in bamboo). — DayakDaily