Off the coast of Port Klang lies Pulau Ketam (Crab Island), a fisherman’s village on stilts populated by Teochew and Hokkien clans of Malaysia. What else is there to share about Pulau Ketam that is not already available online? Every article and website about the island revolves around the following points –
- An island accessible via speedboat (15 minutes) or ferry (30 minutes) from the Port Klang Jetty
- Cost of Ferry: RM7 / Cost of Speedboat: RM10
- A popular Selangor tourist attraction for its endless array of seafood.
- There are no cars on the island, you can rent one of the bicycles available once getting off at Pulau Ketam jetty.
- Bicycle rental is RM5
So how is this article any different? Well, it is the perspective of an angler from Singapore, now living in Malaysia, embarking on her maiden trip to the talked about Pulau Ketam.
Yep, that’s me. Otherwise, all else is pretty much the same.
After the accomplishment of landing Giant Groupers that morning with our friends Deniece and Sen, my husband Naweshad came up with a brilliant idea of having lunch in Pulau Ketam. Though we had already parted ways, the idea had us regrouping at Port Klang jetty, welcomed by a humongous gold coloured crab statue and an army of tourists from China that came prepared with extendable selfie sticks. They clicked away, spinning around, smiling with no care in the world, narrowly missing our heads. The tourists boarded the Ferry and we opted for the speedboat as we were hungry and it would get us to the island faster. Fine, we were also avoiding the
Ferry departure required less waiting time. The speedboat needed to overflow from its maximum capacity, ideally, before making the trip. Since most of the tourists left on the earlier ferry, our captain had to settle for one short from maximum capacity. With the aroma of diesel filling the air, we sped off, Tokyo Drift style, to Pulau Ketam.
Passing a healthy mangrove eco system and floating fish farms sparked ideas of wild acrobatic Barramundi lurking beneath, hardly the case in reality as waters surrounding Klang fell victim to pandemic overfishing as well. There is hope for the hopeful anglers though, Pulau Ketam has tours to a nearby Kelong, a Malay word describing an offshore platform built predominantly with wood by fishermen, for fishing purposes (wiki).
The journey was itself a distraction from stressful city thoughts; houses, homestay, hotels and fish markets on stilts lined the waterway towards the jetty. An indication that despite Pulau Ketam’s identity as a fisherman’s village that supplies most seafood to supermarkets in the city (usually labelled “from Port Klang”), its preservation relies more on tourism. We arrived just in time with the tourist ferry which left prior (yay). We now realise that the ferry carried with it goods for the island too, mostly stock for the restaurants like eggs, chillies and even a flat screen T.V!
At the Pulau Ketam jetty, you may feel overwhelmed to rent one of the million bicycles available but if like us, all you wanted was seafood and OUT, then it is not a necessity. Less than a minute, you will arrive at the very first seafood restaurant, one of endless that line the wooden pathway, easily mistaken as a bustling street on land until you look down from the sides to realise you’re hovering over mud – conquered by the community of mud crab on crab island. There was a strong sense of excitement and adventure taking over, why did it take us so long to finally visit Pulau Ketam? It should be made compulsory for everyone living in K.L City. The small, close knitted village of fishermen was our insight to a world, time and community spirit otherwise forgotten.
The community of Pulau Ketam wasted no time to highlight what they are really good at. Seafood. Lots of it. The smell of garlic, sambal (local chilli paste), oysters and fried fish wafting through the air made the stretch of restaurants unbearable to discover on an empty stomach. We decided to settle for the one we could not forget called “Remember Me Seafood Restaurant”. Hunger and inspiration from the maximum capacity concept of their speedboats made us order more than we could handle.
- Oysters with eggs
- Buttered prawns
- Kam Heong Clams (clams fried in chillies, curry leaves, dried shrimp, curry powder and soy bean paste – a mix of cultures in one dish!)
- Deep fried Barramundi with spicy soy sauce
- Stir fried Vegetables
As the dishes arrived one after the other, our tastebuds were sent on a euphoric ride. Who else would know better to prepare than the fishermen’s family themselves! Bringing out the best flavours in each dish generously, we reached our maximum capacity before we know it. As our voices crawled out to ask for the bill, the final tally almost had us choking on Chinese tea. Four fishing fanatics having fresh seafood, enough to feed an entire family, for just…. brace yourselves, RM150! That’s less than RM40 per person for quality seafood. I’m moving to Pulau Ketam.
Remember Me Seafood Restaurant, we will not forget you.
Back at the Jetty, a speedboat bursting with people approached. There were no more seats left and we had to settle for the front of the boat, risking our bottoms from the occasional bumpy waves. This time, the ride back was delightful. High from seafood and awakening the Jack Sparrow in us.
If you have yet to make plans for the weekend, gather your family and head down to Pulau Ketam. Indulge in traditional village vibes, with amazing people, endless bicycles, seafood and mud crabs. The next time we go back, we shall get on a bike and explore more of the island. With the amazing adventure in Pulau Ketam, great friends and great seafood, the Chinese tourists armed with selfie sticks were forgotten.