Cincalok is the most delicious, most mouth-watering dish that comes from the sea – beside umai (raw fish with lime juice).
From bubuk caught from the sea (don’t wash the bubuk) sort out what is not bubuk (small fishes, etc) then preserve it with coarse salt for at least a week before it is ready to be eaten.
This is what it looks like after one week…
Add in chilli, young ginger, shallots and squeeze of lime juice.
Wahlah! Cincalok!!!! mmmmm… I can just eat it with plain rice!
Now some of you may wonder why the cincalok is very pale while others in the market are pinkish or reddish or purplish. Well, it depends on where the bubuk comes from.
The bubuk season usually starts from Sabah then the migration will come downwards to Miri, Bintulu, Sibu then Kuching. When the bubuk starts in Sabah it is usually much redder and by the time it reaches Kuching, the bubuk will be very pale/white in fact. So vendors in Bintulu and Kuching would mixed in ang kek bee (monascus purpureus – for making red wine). However, some Malay fishing villages may take it as non-halal to use ang kek bee, so they would use edible colouring – I personally saw this process somewhere in Kuching.