Sunday, September 25, 2022

Growing demand for ‘terubuk masin’

Secara Rawak

KUCHING: Demand for one of Sarawak’s favourite food, “terubuk masin” (salted terubuk) is still growing in demand.

The salted “terubuk” or toli shad or Chinese herring (scientific name: tenualosa toli) has been attracting a good number of customers over the years and has brought about newcomers into the business which leads to wider source of supply and demand.

It does not matter if the supply is from locals or abroad, the high demand for fresh terubuk does not affect the prices in the market.

A “terubuk masin” seller at Kubah Ria Market, Yusuf Morni, reassured customers that they have no need to worry about sellers taking extra money from their pockets.

If there is an increase in price imposed by a supplier, the sellers would cancel out that supplier which would lead to a decrease in price in order to win the wholesalers.

Yusuf sells his remaining ‘terubuk masin’ for the day.

Yusuf said that 90 per cent of the customers are tourists including those from Malaya and foreign countries.

“I get supplies directly from fishermen but I also buy imported terubuk from the factories in order to provide a variety of terubuk masin,” he said.

“In the coming March and April, I will focus on getting more fresh terubuk from local fishermen at Kampung Gobel, Kampung Bako, Kampung Asajaya and Kampung Pendam.

“It is important to me that I inform my customers about the varieties of my fish because the imported ones are cheaper compared to the local ones. This is why more imported terubuk are sold, but everyone acknowledges that the more expensive local terubuk have an exquisite taste.”

Yusuf said the preparation of terubuk masin may seem easy but it also requires special techniques to be perfect.

“That is why Sarawak is famous for terubuk masin which also attract people from other states because even if you know the process, it does not ensure that you will succeed in perfecting the taste because even cutting the fish requires a proper technique.”

He also added that he practises business feedback by giving out flyers which contain his contact details to encourage customers to provide him room for improvement.

“Whenever we thought about buying terubuk masin, Kubah Ria Market and Kampung Gersik always come to mind because the sellers also provide packaging services to customers,” he said.

“This is a very important value in attracting our customers because tourists need to have the products sealed in airtight packages if they are travelling by air.”

Yusuf Morni has been working for 20 years in terubuk masin business which has been passed to him by his father in the 1990s.

He acknowledges that terubuk masin is a good business which can return up to 50 per cent of his investments and he welcomes any future collaboration to widen his business.

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