“So expensive, eat already confirm cannot forget” — Singaporean TikToker tries RM3K empurau in Sibu

Screenshots taken from Lee's viral TikTok video.

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Feb 26: One bite of the empurau fish, a prized delicacy notorious for emptying wallets, will leave diners with a meal they will never forget.

The Mandarin name for the empurau, ‘wang bu liao’, literally translates to English as ‘unforgettable’, which is fitting given the exquisite flavour and high price of this freshwater fish.

A video uploaded by a woman went viral last week after she shared about eating an empurau dish that cost more than SGD1,000 (RM3,285.31) at a restaurant in Sibu, Sarawak.


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♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 山口夕依

“The most expensive fish ever in my life” read the video caption by Singaporean content creator and TikToker Kerryn Lee, who filmed herself and her dining companions eating a steamed empurau.

“So expensive, eat already confirm cannot forget,” Lee quipped in the clip. According to her, empurau costs around “RM800-RM1,300 per kg in Malaysia” and “in Singapore confirm more expensive”.

She added that the fish is expensive due to its scarcity, stating that it is caught “upstream of the Rajang River in Sibu”.

According to multiple online sources as well as Lee, the empurau gets its distinct flavour from a diet of specific local fruits that fall from trees into rivers.

The taste of empurau is often described as creamy, savoury, and slightly sweet, with hints of wild fruit.

Meanwhile, Lee describes the taste of the empurau she ate as “really tender, melts inside your mouth, and very juicy,” adding that no sauce is required to enjoy it.

Due to the empurau’s hefty price, no portion of it is wasted. Typically, its scales are deep-fried to a crisp and incorporated into a separate, delectable dish.

The question which begs to be asked is, of course, whether or not that price tag is justified. Lee even wisecracked: “So expensive, the camera must eat first,” as she turned the camera on her dining companions taking photographs of the empurau before it is served to everyone.

“Do you think this SGD1,000 fish is worth trying?” Lee then asked her viewers. Despite the adage that ‘taste is subjective’, many netizens commenting on her video were put off by the empurau’s price. However, some said she was lucky to have had the opportunity to try it given how expensive it is.

“Not worth it. Fish is fish,” wrote one netizen in the comments section.

“Better I eat cod fish,” wrote another.

“With SGD1,000, I better buy king crab,” said another netizen.

Another responded: “Excuse me? I’d rather stay at MBS (Marina Bay Sands) for a night with that money. Still have enough to order room service or have some champagne at the rooftop bar.”

However, a number of other commenters who have tried the empurau fish in the past stated that it is indeed worth the cost.

“It’s worth it! Not even Sarawakians themselves get the opportunity to try this empurau fish. You are very lucky,” shared one user.

Other TikTok users chimed in with jokes such as: “At least you’re helping the restaurant pay their shop rent”, and “I had it once, really wang-bu-liao because after that I immediately have food poisoning”.

Consider this: would you spend more than RM3,000 on a fish dish? Let us know. — DayakDaily