Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pantai Remis Selangor

Pantai Remis in Selangor, is named after the siput remis (Donax sp.). And fair enough, there was a stall selling the siput remis. The beach is full of broken cockle shells, (perhaps it should be called Pantai Kerang then, lol) has off-white to yellow sand with black specks in it, and at low tide, you will see the low-tide mark where the sand gives way to mudflats. The is a line of rocks parallel to the beach about 1.5 meter from the low tide mark, so if you attempt to go swimming at high tide, be careful of those rocks.
View of Pantai Remis - this is looking southwards. It was at low tide and you can see the sand giving way to mud plus the line of rocks about 1.5m from the sand's edge.
The beach is littered with broken cockle shells. Perhaps it should have been called Pantai Kerang.

When we were there yesterday, I noticed water running out from the sand, possibly coming from under the ground of the beach and the secondary forest/plantation behind the beach. I also notice a man who had just finished digging for blood cockles and was washing his plastic trays with the water running off the beach.
He had just finished digging for cockles in the mudflats.

Getting there
Take the road from Klang heading towards Kapar/Kuala Selangor and then Kuala Selangor (this would be Jalan Kapar/Kuala Selangor). When you see the signs for Sungai Sembilang, you are near there. Look out for the turn-off sign (to your left) for Pantai Remis as it is not a large sign. After turning left at the sign, you go down the road (watch out for vehicles crossing the cross-roads) until you hit the beach and stalls. There you can park by the restaurants or turn left and continue driving off road on the beach to access the southern parts of the beach.

If you come from Kuala Selangor (from the north), you will pass the sign for Pantai Jeram (the large, brown signboard for places of interest in Malaysia); about two kilometers down the road from the Pantai Jeram signboard you will  come across the turn off for Pantai Remis (turn to your right).

What's there at Pantai Remis
On weekends, there are stalls selling local fruits like rambutans and mangosteens, kites for those who want to fly a kite along the beach, various clothing items, and of course seafood like clams and cockles, dried salted fish and various processed seafood products like fermented shrimp paste (belacan). Also available are a few Malay seafood restaurants (appears to open only late in the afternoon/evening) where you can have grilled cockles and clams and various other local seafood dishes.
Pantai Remis - looking northwards towards the stalls. The beach becomes very narrow and rocky on the northern section.

Among the shellfishes sold there were the blood cockles, locally known as kerang (Anadara granosa and A. inaequivalvis?), various types of softshell clams (lala), large hard shell clams (lokan - Polymesoda expansa/erosa?), the famous oriental angelwings (mentarang - Pholas orientalis), obtuse hornshell (belitung/balitung - Cerithidea obtusa) and siput remis (wedge/bean clam - Donax sp.), the namesake of the beach. Some people go there to enjoy the sunset on the Straits of Malacca or to engage in some fishing.

Here are some of the fresh shellfish sold at Pantai Remis
Pholas orientalis - Mentarang
The oriental angelwing (oriental piddock) can be found in tidal mudflats. Its juicy and sweet meat is highly regarded amongst the Malay communities, and this clam fetches good price in the market.
Mentarang, the oriental piddock (Pholas orientalis).

Anadara granosa/Anadara inaequivalvis - Blood cockle/Ark clam
This is a local favourite - grilled over a fire and eaten with soy or chilli dip. They are also used in fried koay teow and in curry laksa. The 'clean' one is Anadara granosa whilst the 'hairy' ones (some have unequal shells) is most likely Anadara inaequivalvis.
One of the stall selling (from left to right): Pholas orientalis, Donax sp., Anadara granosa, possibly Anadara inaequivalvis. It took some time for the lady pointing at the clams to realise that the Donax were squirting water out of their siphons (see video below).
Hairy blood cockles. Some of the smaller ones have unequal shells (one half closes under the other) - Anadara inaequivalvis?

Polymesoda expansa/erosa - Lokan
Large hard shelled clam. Never quite liked it, for I find it less sweet than Paphia or Donax. Plus if you by them by weight, you are paying for the weight of the shells.
From left to right: Unidentified soft clams, lokan (Polymesoda expansa or P. erosa), hairy cockles (A. inaequivalvis?) and the common blood cockles (A. granosa).

Donax faba/Donax cuneatus - Siput remis
The bean clam is very sweet and can be eaten by stir-frying with a little ginger and soy sauce. They are usually found on clean sandy beaches. These clams are best depurated before eating or you might get fine sand in your food. Some people prefer the larger remis emas (possibly Donax cuneatus). Here's a good site to look at the shells of Donax.

By the way, look at the video below of clams being sold at the stall squirting away water from their siphons.