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Banyak Islands ‘Special Food’!

These gonna be my first and last try eating it.


I’ve been hearing the story about some ‘special food’ in the Banyak Islands which I never had before and never imagine to eat one. Great cookers at islands told me that ‘special food’ only cook for special occasion and highly appreciate the person. One of those ‘special food’ is a Sea Anemone or also known as Sea Roses, specifically a home of Anemone Fish. They call it rabo-rabo.

I was never expected that I will get an offer to eat rabo-rabo since my first time heard that story 2,5 years ago.. until last week (20/04/2015).

Is it safe? Is it not ecologically destroyed? Where the fish going? How to take this? Is it common to eat? Can I eat this? My brain and heart fighting, make an assumption and consideration.

Then I remember.. Someone has told me “If you get an offer for special food, do not refuse it. It’s totally not polite and it’s not good for social. It’s a special food.” Suddenly, I… said yes, while promise to myself this is gonna be the first and last time.

anemone direbus

It takes several traditional steps to cleaning them and only few people can cook this rabo-rabo. Man from islands make sure that they only took a few of them and not using any tools – they take it by hand from the bottom.

I got offer from the greatest cooker in the islands and she cooks it in two different way – gulai (curry) and lado (spicy chilli dressing). Both of them taste differently; gulai makes rabo-rabo softer, chewy and a little bit like mushroom while lado make texture solid and unpredictable taste in every bite.

People on islands depend on the ocean for their food sources, they will find a way to eat it because there’s no other options. It’s a genuine skill, traditional way, and limited consumption. They are not taking tons of sea turtle eggs or sharks or mantas or dugongs for their own until greedy business man offer tons of cash for them to take and sell it to meet other peoples’ demands.

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