Scene like this is rare. Probably because this really stinks and therefore, one doesn’t get to dry belacan in the sun everywhere or the neighbour will complain. So, when I was passing by Pulau Betong in Balik Pulau, Penang and saw these rows of belacan in the sun, I must stop and take some pictures.
The belacan looks like chocolate, no?
Here’s a short description about making belacan. Belacan is made from tiny shrimps and call shrimp paste. It us one of the important ingredients in Malaysian cooking.
Fishermen catch the shrimps, drain them of water, salt them immediately, then dry them on huge metal beds placed on low stilts. The salt and decaying shrimps will eventually combine into a semi-solid tightly compacted pulp. The pulp is then pressed through a mill and passed out as thread-like paste. The process is then reversed when the paste is repacked into sacks for a second round of fermentation. The fermentation process is repeated once more before full maturity occurs.
Continue reading this interesting article from Tourism Penang.