Balitong ie. Escargot
One seafood delicasy I always miss is the humble Balitong. I had some for dinner just now at the roadside ikan panggang store along Ayer itam road just behind my apartment.
Now balitong are conical snails that live in the mud flats and can be found along mangrove swamps. They have to be cleaned throughly to get rid of the mud. Preferably soaked overnight in clean salty water then the conical tips clipped off. I only eat fresh ones and they should still be alive when they are prepared.
Fresh Balitong shells stir fried in garlic, shallots, dried prawn(hebi) and a bit of curry powder.
First you pop the whole shell in your mouth and suck off the yummy sauce. Then you take a deep breath and give a couple of fast strong sucks at the base of the shell. Shupp shupp shupp! Mmm the snail should pop out with a burst of flavour.
It may look a bit gross but the flavour is something I have not encountered elsewhere. I guess it does taste like escargot in a french restaurant, but only much yummier and cheaper! A plate costs about rm8.
Now remember to peel off the round bit of shell that the snail uses to cover the entrance. You should be left with a pile of empty shells and these round bits and the end of the tasty meal.