Tenualosa Toil fish or Ikan Terubuk
Tenualosa Toli fish, or more commonly known as Ikan Terubuk, is the most famous fish and synonymous with Sarawak especially Kuching. It is almost the Kuching must-buy item at Satok Market especially for those from west Malaysia.
Tenualosa Toli fish is a delicious oily fish but has lots of little bones. It's a popular fish with firm tender texture and a rich sweet flavor. Being either freshwater or seawater fish, imported or local, but the local freshwater fish is more tasty and fetch higher price. Due to highly local and postal demand, a large amount of the fish is imported from India, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Locally known as the “River Terubok”, Cinese Herring or Toli Shad is classified as premium fish; the fishing season is from early February till December. The male fish is as high as RM35 per kilo but the female is around RM16 per kilo.
Used to be easily available but now only found in the river estuaries and adjacent coastal area such as Sebayau, Batang Lassa, Batang Lupar, Batang Sadong.
The best well-known quality Tenualosa Toli fish is from the rivers of Sebuyau. Interestingly, the fish has two genders, male and female. It’s male during its first year, but transformed into female and lay eggs thereafter the second year.
Being the best species from Sarawak Rivers, the characteristics are its mouth is longer but the head is smaller, the body is wider but short and the scales are silvery bluish in color.
In Sabayau village, a population over 10,000 but two-third is fisherman living beside river, from June to October, they move further up the Sebayau River to catch “Ikan Terubuk Hulu” which fetches higher price and higher demand.
The popular Salted Terubuk sold at the Satok Market, is mostly made from the Tenualosa Toli fish from the sea, considered as the lower grade species.
Travelers carry Tenualosa Toli fish packed in cardboard boxes with raffia handles is a common scene at Kucing airport.
Tenualosa Toli fish eggs