Monday, September 14, 2009

Round sea grapes - Caulerpa lentillifera

I know. It's been a while. But please forgive me for my long hiatus because I was stranded in the middle of the ocean and was forced to LOB (live on board) for the past few couple of months.

HAHAHA! Ok, jokes aside. It's good to be back! I have been working odd hours and it was really taxing me. Ocean = office. LOB = Camped at work so many times that I lost track of it. But all is good now because if I don't work hard, I won't be able to enjoy as much when I play harder :p

In Nov 2008, I joined a group of student researchers from SOS Malaysia to Sungai Pulai (the river that separates Malaysia and Singapore) for seahorse and pipe fish survey. During the trip, we were suppose to look out and catch seahorses/pipe fish for tagging.

I was quite disappointed because for the few hours that we were at the sand bank, not even a single seahorse was spotted. We saw a bunch of pipe fishes but they swam really fast. It was difficult to catch them using only our bare hands and a plastic bag.

However, I did come across a few other interesting creatures.

Sea cucumber, the boring one.

Sea cucumber, the interesting one!

Sea urchin.

We took the speed boat back to the SOS hut, change of clothes.. and hey.. I saw one of the researcher taking out a full bag of seaweeds. Tons of them and all different species. She slowly place them in water and took one bunch up... and started to eat them!

The seaweed that she ate resembles bunches of little grapes. Each 'grape' is a tiny spherical bead, and these are tightly packed on a vertical 'stem' to form a sausage-like shape (2-8cm long). The 'grape' has a distinct constriction where it attaches to the 'stem'. These bunches of 'grapes' emerge from a long horizontal 'stem' that creeps over the surface. It grows on coral rubble or on rocks. Colours range from bright green to bluish and olive green.
I regretted that I didn't ask for them and try.

Lucky me, I saw them again all the way in Kota Kinabalu's night market for RM1 a plate. I knew I had to try them so I bought and took it back to the lodge I was staying.

Guess what... I had no idea how to clean them! HAHAHAHA! (People who went with me to Kinabalu better not read this) I kind of just rinse them in water. Pluck the stem off. And threw away the parts which I though looked like it was rotting. But aiyorrr! I have not touch these Caulerpa lentillifera (that's the scientific name for it by the way) in my life and now I have to clean them? I just kasi hentam lah hahahaha.

I ate a bit ... and YUCK! tasted like sea water. DUH! My apologies to Lf, Andy, Sim, Darren... and I kind of forgot who else tried them.

The kind folks at Borneo backpacker lodge not only let me wash the fishy smelling seaweed in the pantry but later taught me how to eat them. I need lime and chili and a little salt. But errr.. it tasted like sea water! Do you really need salt?! I head downstairs to the local style post war coffee shop (really cool antiques there!) to ask if I could borrow some lime. The young shop owner was really kind because he asked the chef to see what I can do with the bowl of round sea grapes I had with me. I later found out that I cleaned them right but I had to rinse them more, and with warm/hot water.

I tasted them again and Yup! the sea water taste and smell was gone and it tasted really good with lime and chili padi! Crunchy and filled with water (not salty) on the inside. Too bad I couldn't buy some home.

ps, for those who missed me.. thanks dears! and *waves to J2Kfm!*

Email me at eatfirstthinklater[at]gmail[dot]com or
Drop me a message here =)

9 pieces of worms:

Precious Pea

Cool!! I saw it before in KK too and wonder how it taste like. But unlike you, i didn't dare to try back then lor.

Nigel Skelchy

woo hoo ;-) Next, Sago Worms from Sarawak ;-)


the seaweeds look interesting!
i'm sure jing will freak out if she sees these pictures >.<


You never disappoint with posts of odd food!

They look like real nice to touch. So are they?


welcome back. was about to walk over to your office to knock on the door and look for you. Hahaha..


P.Pea: I only reason i dare to try was because I saw them being eaten before.. and RM1.. cheap only.. if too gross still wont feel bad

Suetz: haha i think SJ will think that they are cute!

Nigel: Hmm i wouldnt mind ... but the little white stuff actually make the hairs on my neck stand!

Tummythoz: They felt like.. hmm.. small berries.

Unka: haha you should have.. i was almost went insane looking at machines and not humans!


Ei ei! Great to have u back aunt tech! ;-)



Trust you to be the one who would try it! hahaha...Living up to your name :p


Nat: hehe :p

wmw: i missed you!!! wb from london!

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