Tuesday, July 23

Bakun Lake wharf doubles up as trading post


Luk and Lim outside their restaurant.

BAKUN: Twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Bakun Lake wharf – a landing point at the Bakun Hydroelectric Dam – will transform into a busy trading post.

It is here that locals will buy and sell freshwater fish, meat, jungle produce, plants and traditional crafts from the upper Bakun Dam and its surroundings.

“On average these local traders sell their meat and fish caught in the area at RM15 to RM20 per kg,” said Terry Thomas from Bintulu who frequents the wharf weekly.

Terry said as far as he knows, the buyers are mostly from Bintulu, Miri, Mukah, Sibu and Kuching who will resell the items to restaurants and the public.

“They come very early or they’ve already reserved their orders with these traders a week earlier.

“The most expensive freshwater fish is the Empurau – those that are big in size and about two to three feet in length can fetch RM380 per kg. Those that are small, about a foot long and weigh just below 1kg or slightly more sell at RM90 per kg,” he said.

Proud buyers show their Empurau costing RM5,000.

Terry added that Semah and Tengadak also fetch good prices.

“Semah can fetch up to RM80 per kg and above while Tengadak from RM18 and above,” he said, adding Ikan Baung or cat fish sells for RM18 to RM20 per kg.

The Bakun Lake wharf opened for trading in 2016.

Day trippers to the wharf and hydroelectric dam can have a meal at Bakun Restaurant which has been certified halal.

It has since four years ago been owned by Carol Luk from Miri and managed by her son Ivan Lim.

Salted Veggie Soup with Ikan Baung.

“The business is a bit slow due the current economic climate but we still get our customers and regulars from Bintulu and Miri,” said Lim.

He suggested the best way to boost business would be to hold water sports and other events to bring more people to the area.

Luk said the restaurant will cook fresh food brought in by customers which they charge by weight.

“But being a halal restaurant, we only cook halal meat like chicken, beef and mutton and any type of fish and veggie,” she said.

“For fish, the recommendation would be steamed or we can cook the way our customer wants.”

Other specialities at the restaurant are Salted Vegetable Soup with Fish Meat and Curry Fish Head.