Alaska 101: Aidilfitri Celebration in Alaska 2015 with King Crab
FOR MALAY VERSION, CLICK HERE
Raya is almost gone. Finally I manage to sit down and came up with my Raya post. My Raya celebration isn’t that grand as the Malaysians always do. And my Raya is no different than my previous Raya anyway. But still, I wanted to tell you about my Raya experience in Alaska.
But, I never knew that my Raya in Alaska is worse than my normal mundane Raya that I always had. No Takbir Raya. No smell of Rendang and such. I got up in the morning just as usual and made my self a cup of coffee and ate anything that available in the kitchen. No kissy, draggy apology drama with tears with Mike and he went out to work as early as 5 am. But I am very sure that Mike always forgive me, everyday. Not just on Raya morning. I am confident that Mike always forgive all my wrong doings towards him because I can feel that my life here is full with his blessings. It is very hard for me to explain how, but, when I was single, I almost had it all. I mean, my career and lifestyle. I spent on anything that I want and brag whenever I want. After all freedoms and terms that I created for my beloved self, I unable feel happy and complete. I always searching for something that I, myself don’t know what am I searching for. Until I met Mike and married to him, followed by my decision to end my career and live under Mike’s care – I got nothing to complain about in this life except on current economic and politic turmoil in Malaysia.
One thing for sure, I didn’t cry (about my Raya situation in Alaska). I logged on to Facebook like usual and my wall feeds filled with colorful Raya post update. Everyone posted a group, family pictures with a theme color. I swear that my facebook wall feed gave me life that day. One of my friend did asked me abou my Raya theme this year. “Denim on the loose” – that was what I told him. I didn’t bring baju kurung to Alaska. Well, let me tell you the truth, it is normal for me NOT getting new clothes and shoes for Raya celebration. I just don’t since I buy new clothes on weekly basis and new shoes every month. If I do spent on Baju kurung, it was for engagement, wedding invitation and formal functions. Does it made me a poor, bad Muslim for not putting on new outfit on 1 Syawal? Well, say whatever you wanted to say about me. I couldn’t care less.
As per my previous post, Mike promised me a King Crab for 1 Syawal. Mike get off work pretty early that day and reserved a dinner table for four of us. (Mike’s sister and her husband came along too)
Before I proceed with King Crab story, I wanted to make it clear that, this is not a brag post just because I had King Crab on Raya Morning. I just wanted to share about the story behind a King Crab, behind the taste and its price. To me, those who bragged about expensive food they had actually is the type of people that has nothing to be proud about. Zero achievement. Expensive food isn’t a benchmark of life achievement and happiness.
Everybody knows about how pricey King Crab is. It is still pricey here although it is caught and produced in Alaska’s Sea and nearby Aleutian Islands. What makes it is pricey isn’t because of its size and abundance meat. What makes it expensive is, it costs many lives just to get them up to the land.
King Crab fishing is among the most dangerous job in America. More dangerous than a pilot. According to statistic, 300 fatality recorded in every 100,000 workers involved in King Crab fishing. 80% of it due to drowning and hypothermia. King Crab fisherman had to face the possibility becoming cripple due to heavy machinery handling on the fishing boat. The fishing work took about 3-4 weeks in the open sea.
King resides where all the Kings are. The deepest and wildest ocean. Remember the viral video during MH370 missing? The boat in the rough ocean and people claim that is what the search team had to face in searching MH370? That’s actually Bering Sea, in Alaska ocean. That’s what King Crab fisherman land on for King Crab fishing. King Crab can be found in between 600 to 2,400 feet down onto ocean floor, depends of King Crab types. There are 3 types of King Crab – Red King Crab, Blue King Crab ad Golden King Crab.
To catch King Crab is by using steel cage (they called it metal pot) weigh 270 – 360 kilograms each. Usually they carry 150 to 300 metal pot on their vessel/ Boat for 3-4 weeks catch. So you can imagine the size of vessel these fisherman use to fish the King Crab. The bait for King Crab isn’t cheap either. They use herring and cod fish. Once they bring up the metal pot filled with King Crab into the boat, they had to sort and check the crab one by one. Those crab that didn’t fit the size and health guidelines, are thrown back to the sea, alive. The crab must be adult crab with specific size. Too small or crippled one, must return back to the ocean. The crab must be kept alive until it is time to tear their legs apart from its body. Dead/ frozen King Crab will burst out. Each King Crab must be stored alone or else, it will attack and kill the other crab. The dead King Crab will release a toxin out from its body and can kill the whole crab in other compartment. They also must ensure that the King Crab storage is shake resistance.
Income per boat is around $800,000 – 900,000 (USD). I am not sure how much each worker get paid, but Mike friend of a friend work as a King Crab fisherman. He will come up to Alaska during summer from Texas for 2 months just to work as King Crab fisherman. He never failed to bring back $50,000 and do nothing for the next 10 months.
King Crab is after for its legs. Their big body contains little meat and processed as fertilizers. It has 4 sets of legs and usually we ordered 1 set per meal. The front set of legs are known as the best and has the most meat. 1 pair of leg contain about half kilogram of crab meat. I unable to finish up the whole leg and packed it home. The way to cook King Crab leg is simple. Just boil it. Once it’s cooked, squeeze some lemon juice and dip it into melted butter. The taste is out of this world.
The price around Anchorage depending on the type of restaurant and area. The one that I had is $39 per 1 pound. The Restaurant called Suite 100. A fine dining restaurant but location is out of downtown. If the restaurant is at touristy area, you might pay the same price for HALF pound. You can get the uncooked small legs at supermarket priced at $14 to $17 per pound.
If other people feel awesome and great for eating the King Crab, but I feel humble and appreciate it more what’s on my plate after I knew the whole story. Actually, you should come to Alaska. Alaska will humble you in many ways. This majestic land, the people and the food from its sea, will find its way to humble you.
Another menu that we had on 1 Syawal is Portobello mushroom. Before this I only saw and plucked it in Farmville on Facebook. (Oh! How I miss to play Farmville again!!!!). Once I saw portobello mushroom on the menu, I asked Mike to get it for me. Wow, the size of the mushroom is very big. One mushroom can be cut into 5 to 6 slices. The one that I had is deep fried, covered with parmesan cheese and special mayonnaise. It taste like fried fish!! I ate 1 and half slices and I already full. I must say that Portobello mushroom is my new favorite things in life. I can eat it everyday.
Well, that’s all my Raya celebration’s story in Alaska. Right after that, I continue my life just as usual, went hiking, finding Glaciers and into the woods.