The Terengganu International Squid Jigging Festival is about experiencing various aspects of the local way of life! Not only did we get to catch squid out at sea, but also collect clams from a river. From the Mangkuk village jetty in the district of Setiu, we boarded motorized fishing boats down Sungai Setiu (Setiu River) to a wide and open estuary at Muara Kuala Baru for clam digging or clam picking, locally known as mengutip kepah in Bahasa Malaysia. The speedboats zoomed along nipa and coconut groves that lined the river, providing relaxing views for us to behold.
We were expecting an unappealing dark and mucky mangrove area, but when we arrived at the mouth of the river, we were surprised by the inviting shallow waters. The afternoon was very hot and humid, making the waters even more tempting to take a dip in. The edible shellfish we collected were Asiatic hard clams (Scientific name: Meretrix meretrix) or kepah in the local tongue. In knee to waist-deep waters, we combed the riverbed with our hands and feet, feeling the flat, sandy bottom for edible bivalves. It was a relaxing rural experience, wading in the brackish waters as the golden sun retreated to the horizon.
Our enthusiastic Filipino-Bruneian team dug up more than two kilograms of clams. All the shellfish that the groups collected were brought to our dinner night at Primula Beach Hotel and grilled over a flaming-hot barbecue for everyone to enjoy. Our late afternoon of hard work finally paid off!
This blog post was made possible through the Terengganu International Squid Jigging Festival 2015, a media trip held last June 2 to 7, 2015 in Terengganu, Malaysia. The event was organized by Tourism Terengganu and media coordinator, Gaya Travel Magazine.