Jakarta Street Food: Kerang Rebus (Boiled Mussels)

This one is for the brave or foolish.  You are taking on two risks here.

The first is obviously the chances of food poisoning.  As you’ve seen from the earlier Jakarta Street Foods, some of the vendors have a very low turnover.  Maybe they’ve had a slow day or maybe they consider vending to be a part time occupation, but if this vendor has been hawking mussels all day, there’s a good chance they’re tainted.  It’s ok for the shells to be open when the mussel is cooked, but even the ones that aren’t in the pot are open, which I think is a bad sign.  Anyhow, seafood poisoning can kill you, so be sure to only buy from busy or well known sellers.  Even then, restaurants are a better choice as they have more to lose than a street vendor who doesn’t even have a location.

The second risk is that we don’t know where the shellfish come from.  In the clip, you hear Amri say ‘kerang dari mana, pak?’ (where are the shellfish from, sir?) and the vendor replies ‘kurang tahu’ (I don’t know).  So they could be from anywhere and been exposed to any environment that may be polluted with heavy metals.  Certainly that can happen with any food, but shellfish are more likely to absorb it as they eat by filtering mud and silt from the sea bed. 

Sure, mussels are delicious, but think about the consquences when you’re eating in a foreign country.  You can go too far in trying the local cuisine.


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