A lone hut with ‘Ikan Hidup’ signboard sits quietly by the roadside near Kampung Sinar Baru, Kimanis, piquing curiosity among road users as they pass through the Kimanis-Bongawan road.
At times, the small hut will be covered in black canvas exuding a sense of mystery for those who come across it for the first time.
A peak inside the canvas and one will discover aquariums of various sizes. As the name implies, each aquarium is filled with live fish species.
A visit to Ikan Hidup hut recently saw the black canvas opened but not one was manning the stall. It was after a few minutes later, a young woman came to greet visitors. She had come from a nearby house, located about 100 meters away from the hut.
“These are all freshwater fish species. We catch them from nearby mangrove, and some we rear and bought elsewhere. These fish are for sale,” said 27-year-old Norlaila Jamil.
She then smiled when being told the hut was very mysterious as it was often covered with black canvas.
“When the hut is covered, that means the shop is closed. However, we do see people stopping by and taking a peek because they were curious.
“My family operates the stall for three years now, to offer and sell live freshwater fish species to anyone passing through. We have haruan, karuk siam, catfish, long tail, halfmoon, and even eels,” added Norlaila.
Coming from a fishing family, she said the Ikan Hidup hut is a family business to earn additional income, adding they will also sell live fish at Putatan tamu in Kota Kinabalu and Dongongan tamu in Penampang district.
Norlaila said their daily sales at the small hut varies and very much depends on passing vehicles to make a stop, noting at times they do not make any sale.
“We do have buyers from all over the state and even from Lawas, Sarawak as well as Brunei. Most of the times, road users will just stop to check the hut out.
“They take pictures and go. Nonetheless, it’s good that Ikan Hidup has piqued their interest and curiosity,” she said.
So, the next time you pass by the Kimanis-Bongawan stretch, keep an open eye for the Ikan Hidup signage. It is on the right side when heading towards Bongawan.
It is also on Google Map!