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One-of-a-kind horseshoe crab asam pedas

ASAM pedas when translated literally means sour and spicy. Synonymous to Johor and Malacca, this spicy gravy is served commonly at homes and at roadside food stalls.

Fish is the main ingredient in the dish while ikan pari (stingray), ikan cencaru (torpedo scud), ikan tenggiri (Spanish mackerel) and ikan merah (red snapper) are the popular choices.

Apart from fish, chicken and beef are used in Asam Pedas Johor. However, the chicken and beef versions are served usually at feasts.

Great taste: Mohd Sharifuddin (left) and Fazil enjoying the Asam Pedas Belangkas.

Asam pedas lovers in Johor now have another choice – Asam Pedas Belangkas or Horseshoe Crab Asam Pedas, but it is not easily found at stalls and restaurants.

“The reason why stalls don’t serve Asam Pedas Belangkas is because it is difficult to get a regular supply of horseshoe crabs,’’ said Ibrahim Baharom.

Ibrahim’s Kedai Makan Masakan Ibrahim in Simpang Teluk Sengat along Jalan Kota Tinggi-Desaru is one of two outlets in Johor that serve the specialty.

He introduced the dish three years ago besides his fish asam pedas to give his regular customers a wider choice.

Ibrahim gets a daily supply of about 40 horseshoe crabs from suppliers in Johor Lama, Tanjung Buai and Teluk Sengat in Kota Tinggi.

Sour and spicy: The Asam Pedas Belangkas available at Kedai Makan Masakan Ibrahim in Simpang Teluk Sengat, Jalan Kota Tinggi-Desaru, Kota Tinggi, Johor.

His Asam Pedas Belangkas is the most popular dish at his stall. Customers drop by for lunch as early as 11am and all his dishes are sold out by 2pm.

Ibrahim’s wife Zabedah Zawilan is the only one who cooks the horseshoe crabs with roe and prepares the asam pedas, lemak cili padi belangkas and soup.

Institut Kemahiran Mara Johor Baru lecturer Hamimi Omar from Johor Baru drives to Ibrahim’s stall to savour the dish.

“No word can describe the taste of Asam Pedas Belangkas. It’s worth travelling all the way from Johor Baru for it,’’ she said when met at the stall.

Hamimi’s son Fazil Mazlan, who studies at the Batu Pahat Mara Junior Science College, and classmate Mohd Sharifuddin Ibrahim, are also fans of the dish.

Fazil said the lemak (coconut milk) taste of the horseshoe crab’s roe was “out of the world”, adding that he would miss the dish by the time he reached his hostel.

Kedai Makan Masakan Ibrahim is at No: 1, Simpang Teluk Sengat, Jalan Kota Tinggi-Desaru, Kota Tinggi, Johor. Tel: 019-789 4404 and 017-7655 3069.