Yamu peninsular is a pretty piece of Phuket shared by fishermen and wealthy villa owners. The fishermen have more fun. This weekend is their night fishing competition, with cash prizes and a party to follow. Oh and not to mention these terribly cheesy trophies with the little fish on them!
I'm here to bid on the fish. The catch is auctioned off and the proceeds go to Yamu town. I want to get the largest fish for a barbecue, so I can say I went to the competition, bought, cooked and ate the competition winning fish.
Well that's my plan. As ever things don't go to plan and, as ever, it was because I was late.
Most of the boats had already offloaded when I arrived, but two boats were late, the engines had failed, and they needed repairs. Terrific! Not for the fishermen perhaps, but for me! This means I can still bid on some of the catch and still have fish today!
While I wait, I go take a look at Alanna Yamu, and see how the rich people live. It's a group of duplex condominiums, each with a pool and sea view. I don't even ask the price, it'll be some random number with lots of zeros and lots of commas. Meanwhile the fishermen live closer to the sea in fishing huts costing a few hundred dollars.
My stray boat arrives, and I bid on the biggest fish they have... and lose the bid. I bid the highest price but not loud enough to be noticed! The next batch of fish comes up, and I hear the magic words: "mai gang", no bones! He says they're perfect of 'Haw Mook', the fish parcels wrapped in banana leaves that's a Thai classic way of using up leftover fish meat. Nobody wants to bid more than 100 baht for them, so I bid 150 ($5). RESULT!
On my food blog I've made Haw Mook, Phuket style from them. In the north we add a layer of coconut to the fish, but down here in Phuket, they cook and steam them once wrapped inside in an edible leaf that happens to grow as a weed in my garden. The fish made perfect Haw Mook, solid, smooth, even, parcels of fish meat curry. I managed to use the edible leaves and banana leaves from my garden, and even tied them the traditional way. I am lucky, the fishermen, well they all got back, eventually, and 50000 baht profit was made for Yamu to get a shade cover for its pier.