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The Most Expensive Fresh Water Fish in Malaysia, Empurau (Mahseer)!

Posted by Jason Wong On March - 28 - 2010 |

Previously we have posted about the infamous ‘Empurau’ fish in mandarin, but up until now I still do not have the time to compile my research on the fish that we did. So to make things easy for those who do not read mandarin you may go to this link to an article which was published by The Star; http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2010/3/28/sundaymetro/5920257&sec=SundayMetro.

FV-100202-Empurau@RM1500 per kilo_49

The ‘Empurau’ is freshwater fish which is native in Sarawak, and has its habitat in clean/clear fast moving streams. This fish has tender and rich textured flesh with special aroma which is mainly due to its special diet of ‘Buah Kabang’ or Engkabang(as in The Star). For the fish to be suitable for the table, it needs to be at least 3kg and above so that the flesh would have firm body. Anything below 3 kg would result in soft texture flesh which is due to the high fat content. The older and heavier it gets the flesh would firm up but the essential fats are still maintained.

FV-100202-Empurau@RM1500 per kilo_39

The price of this is mainly due to its availability of quality catch that mainly comes from interior areas in Sarawak. The Empurau can be found wild in Bakun and also Kapit, but the later produces the best fish amongst the two. There are also entrepreneurs that are beginning to  farm this fish on the Malaysian Peninsular in view of the price tag that it carries, but the quality of the flesh is yet to be determine. There are also cases where the so called ‘Empurau’ is being imported from our neighboring country, Indonesia.

FV-100202-Empurau@RM1500 per kilo_42

So far places that offer ‘Empurau’ in Penang that we heard of are Ocean Green, Bali Hai and Pearl Palace. Our Friend, Wong  has his home town in Sarawak, and thus have the resources to acquire wild ‘Empurau’ from the Kapit region which is said to be to have the best quality fish in Malaysia.

Interested to try out the fish? please contact




Chinese Version:

马来西亚最贵河魚 – Empurau 忘不了, 槟城有得吃!

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34 Responses to “The Most Expensive Fresh Water Fish in Malaysia, Empurau (Mahseer)!”

  1. email2me says:

    In KL, there’s a restaurant that specialist in selling empurau fish. Even the restaurant is called empurau fish. It is very near to your sister’s house. It is located next to Ajinomoto factory. You can see LIVE! empurau fish there.
    .-= email2me´s last blog ..House Of Tang Bring The Best Of Guang Zhou Dim Sum to KL =-.


    Jason Wong Reply:

    I read about it in your blog previously. Thanks for the heads up.


    Simon Kj Reply:

    Im from Penang. Don’t think Ocean Green have it. As for Bali Hai, last check out it seem like not original from Sarawak. latest news, my friend is bring in the fish from Kuching and is working on with one of the restaurant for the best recipe before serving. Will update accordingly. By the way, where is Pearl Palace ?


    Jason Wong Reply:

    Simon Kj,
    Good day! Thanks for the information, we have heard about it, but we are not sure whether they are rumors or real facts. My friend tried it at Ocean Green an vow not try it again due to the strong muddy taste! As we know there stocks from the Peninsular(farmed) and from Indonesia. And there is even a type of fish which is similar to the Empurau in terms of appearance. I guess to differentiate is by examining it before ordering.

    Any we look forward for more updates on your friends side.

    Pearl Palace is at Setia Pearl Island Country Club in Sungai Ara. I think they still have stock of the Empurau from Sarawak. I can introduce you to them if you want to. We have become friends.


  2. Criz Lai says:

    What a surprise to come here to see you write about the fish. I had just came back from a photography session on the fish. It was indeed a scary expensive RM2.2K dish. I will write about it soon after I have compiled everything properly. 🙂 Retail price at at 1 April 2010 – RM600/kg. Restaurant cooked pricing – RM880-900/kg.
    .-= Criz Lai´s last blog ..FAMILY DINNER AT STARVIEW RESTAURANT =-.


    Jason Wong Reply:

    In deed it is expensive, especially it is from Kapit. But then the Mahseer species is quite extensive with many sub-species and some look alike.


  3. extreme says:

    Whoa… I must try this.


    Jason Wong Reply:

    Not cheap and beware of not so original ones and substitutes.


  4. Steve Kang says:

    Nice blog post about Empurau!! Must try it!! hehehe


  5. Adrian Rocky says:

    Hi i am Adrian. I am working with an entrepreneur who has a farm in Selangor and we have tried cultivating this fish for many tears and have been very successfull. We only concentrate on Kelah (EMPURAU) and nothing else. Todate we have been able to cultivate more that 1000 kg of empurau and it is amazing to see all this fish have grown to sizes ranging from 1-2kg . We also keep some really big ones cultivated over the years. This fish are farmesd in a natural environment and our water supply comes from a nearby fresh water strem not to forget a constant supply of fresh water tapped form a nearby mountain.

    We would like to export these fishes to Europe where there is a great demand for ornamental fishes. Whilst the kelah is really a sought after fish i think that some of the restaurant prices quoted are relatively expensive.

    We could also boaast of being the largest rearer of empurau in Peninsula Malaysia currently.

    I am also looking for interested parties who are willing to retail the empurau or even keep it as an ornamental fish at home. ( its become a hobby now for fish lovers). The reason why i say this is because we have fish lovers coming to our farm to buy this partucular specises to rear at home.

    I am looking to supply this fish to any interested parties for a really good price fresh from the farm in limited quantaties.

    I am contactable at 012-9784379


    Jim Sia Reply:

    where is your farm. i want some fries for aquarium at home


    Jason Wong Reply:

    We do not have any farm. It is just a post to share what we know about the famous Empurau.


    joe Reply:

    in selangor where is your firm located? maybe i want to visit it.


    Jason Wong Reply:

    Thanks for visiting our site, but we are base in Penang and not in Selangor.


  6. Teh says:

    wah,nice fish must try it … hehehe
    Is this the river or culture ?
    So how is the price ?


  7. mycookinghut says:

    Wow… next in my life have I seen big fish like this!
    .-= mycookinghut´s last blog ..Tokyo, Japan: Tsukiji Fish Market, Ueno Park & Yoyogi Park =-.


  8. Miki says:

    The Infamous empurau, had my first one last night at this chinse rest at Sri Petaling (Rest. Fast Food Fish Head )and as what the chinese name for this fish ” unforgetable ” , i have a unforgetable experience as we are hav to fork up to almost twice the amount qouted coz the restaurant owner supposed to give us a emparau weighted a kilo plus instead he give us a emperau that weight 2kilo ++ .and when the bill come….. WOW !!!double what we have budgeted , i guess the rest. owner was not been honest about the weight of the fish and he just wan to make some fast money !!! So guys … if u wan to try emperau , be sure to get the right fish and right weight. A lot of un-genuine ones ….

    Price : RM 600/kg
    Taste and texture :Exellent
    Value for money : Highly OVER Price (Of the fishes i tried, Lampan ,kelah ,sultan fish & kerai taste excellent too but the price is much more cheaper …)

    After i hav tried it ,for that price , i will not order another one !!


  9. Dino says:

    hi there, i just wanna inform that we have various stock of wild mahseer (empurau) fish from 1kg up size from native indonesian river with very good price.

    we have been supplying mahseer fish fresh or live fish in various places and restaurant indonesia, also several place in malaysia.

    if you interested about this fish, please dont hesitate to contact me at indomahseer@gmail.com or simply just visit our blog at http://indomahseer.wordpress.com



  10. YC Lee says:

    Hey Jason, thank you for the wonderful photos of Empurau, which in my opinion, are the best photos of this unique fish. I have the privillege of tasting this fish, and have to confess that I hv to eat my owns words for daring to utter “what fish can be so nice to deserve such high price”. If the fish is skillfully cooked, yes, indeed “wang pu liao” (the mandarin for “can be forgotten” which is the Mandarin name of Empurau. Reading thru some of the comments listed above, I have some skeptisim of the offers. Unless the suppliers are unlucky in their wild catches or unable to breed the fish, it is highly unlikely the fish come in 1 or 2 or 5 kgs. Empurau is a BIG BIG fish ! The last one I had was 25 kilos, one mother of a big fish ! De-scalling and cleaning up the fish took some serious efforts on my maid and mother-in-law. Lucky me, I have 2 more pieces in the ice-box : 15 and 20 kilos (in my company’s ice-box as the normal fridge wouldnt hold them both)! Maybe the small Empurau offered by the other readers indicate the sad fact of depleting stock in Sarawakian rivers.


    Jason Wong Reply:

    It is best to have this information from a third party. If it was from me some may not believe that any thing below 3 kg is considered not fitting for the table, especially half-cooked food critics.


    Stan Reply:

    have tried one lately, thou its just over 1kgs, taste splendid,….scaling??no need, ..it scale can be consume…Enjoy every part of it….


  11. Orangkampung says:

    hai, jason. nice 2 meet u.
    i’m just finish read your blog about empurau,yehh very nice blog.
    some infomation about empurau.(his mouth bigger than kelah)
    but kelah(semah in sarawak)we have 4 deferance type of kelah.
    1.)golden semah(kelah)
    2.)red semah(kelah)
    3.)blue semah(kelah)
    4.)white semah(kelah)

    alls of this semah(kelah)is a deferance taste.
    empurau we have 2 type…
    1.)red empurau (300-450/kg)
    2.)white empurau(580/kg in kapit market now)

    ok thanks jason..


    Jason Wong Reply:

    Nice to meet you too. Thanks a lot for the additional information, it was quite hard to gather the details for the post. Would be glad to promote the specialties of Malaysia.


  12. deefactor says:

    where can i ensure to get genuine empurau in penang?


    Jason Wong Reply:

    Live ones are normally reared, anything below 3kg also no go. May be you can try calling Pearl Palace to esquire. Look for Mr. Wong.


  13. Simon Kj says:

    Dear Jason,

    The Chin’s Restaurant (next to QE2, same boss) is selling this fish and well prepared by their China import Chef.

    Fish original from Sarawak river.


    Simon KJ


    Jason Wong Reply:

    Thanks for sharing, Simon. Hopefully we have the opportunity to try it.


  14. […] The Most Expensive Fresh Water Fish in Malaysia, Empurau (Mahseer)! […]

  15. cam says:


    i have a customer requesting for a 3 kilo empurau on this friday Nov 19 dinner. Please call me if you have he fish for sale. I can be reach at 0124885058.

    please let me know.

    regards, cam


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  17. tahir says:


    i saw the empurau fish demand and price at your side and i am interested in supplying this fish to you from another country to you, message me if interested and i can even send some fish for free for trial..


  18. leslie lim says:

    we have invested hi load genset and cold room at the border between sarawak and indonesia to ensure wild caught empurau over 3 kg and up to 15 kg are quality guarantee as all fish are gutted life, iced chilled and frozen less than 2 hoiur fron wild caught. WE have stock of 50 to 100 kilo anytime. we give money back guarantee on quality, fob kuchibg RM 600 per kg, cnf peninsular malaysia RM 650 per kg min order 20 kg. last few order by high level ceo of hong leong group. reorder from them many times is our prove of quality.leslie lim 0128870737. you can be our distribution agent


  19. dhani says:

    I dhani from Indonesia. I sell fish empurau. Contact: +6282344528789. WeChat ID: Coral_Trout


  20. Aziman says:

    If Someone want to buy wild empurau from Borneo Island please contact me via Whatsapp +673 8766652


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