Gong Gong, Tung Fung Lo, Conch, Laevistrombus Canarium or whatever name you have for it, it’s absolutely delish!

Written by @joehairie
(Photos by curiostraveller.com)

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Thought of the day-“I am on a seafood diet. I see food and I eat it.”

Introducing the Asian version of French’s Escargot. This is Gong Gong, some named it as Tung Fung Lo. The scientific name is Laevistrombus Canarium and the western named it as Conch or rather Dog Conch. The difference between Escargot and Gong Gong? The latter comes from sea. Generally it’s a type of seafood, not something that you pick-up from your own garden. The shell is yellowish-brown in color, with quite thick outer lip. For its ornamental value, people do use the shells as decorations or sort of.  It’s absolutely delish or delicious if you prefer and Sabahans are blessed as the supply of Conch, unlimited.

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The best cooking technique is to boil it. What you do after boiling is up to you. Some people will get the cooked flesh and stir fry it with ginger, well anything goes in cooking. We named that as creativity. Most will simply eat that flesh, one by one, dipping it into the sauce of their choice. Boiling process will surely cook that raw flesh inside and it’s safe to eat it right away. Conch has oceanic taste, that being said even after the boiling process, you still get the salty taste, well a little. That sauce of your choice will do the trick in getting rid of whatever you don’t want to taste.

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It’s a bit of hard work consuming this type of seafood actually. Not that heavy duty task but a little as you need to cleverly get that flesh out from the shell. Boiling process made things easier as the spiky tip (as if the tail of a prawn) will come out due to the heat. At times, it’s easy to pull out the tip using 2 fingers but sometimes one will need to use toothpick (yes, use clean toothpicks of course). Puncture the flesh nearest to the tip and pull out the entire flesh.

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For the newbies, not only that you will have to deal with the process of pulling out the ‘stubborn’ flesh, upon exit you get to see slimy, brownish, yellowish and wet flesh. Not the prettiest of course. A friend dubbed it as alien thingy. Well, he’s not Asian so his view is acceptable. I asked him if he ever consume Escargot. he said yes. There you go. Escargot are presented nicely on plate but have people ever wonder what it looks like before the cooking and decoration process?

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When you have successfully pulled out that flesh, hold the tip using your fingers, push down the entire flesh into the preferred sauce of yours. Yes, for the westerners you may use your Tabasco. I tried too and it was sensational. Specifically for this entry, the sauce was made of Garlic, Bird Eye Chilies (the spicier the better), some light soy sauce and lime juice. Mix em’ all up and the taste, amazingly delicious.

Well, if you do not prefer to see that slimy texture while consuming, alternatively, get all that flesh out soon after boiling, cut the spiky tip and cut the flesh to your desired size(s). Cook it again and I recommend stir frying with:

onion
dry chilies
garlic
ginger
thick soy sauce
ketchup sauce
sesame oil (2-3 little drops)
sugar and salt for taste.

That will give you ‘Kung Pao Gong Gong’. The quantity of your ingredients depends on the quantity of your Conch! Alternatively, stir fry with ginger with some seasoning and you get Gong Gong Ginger! How easy that is and delicious too. There are just many ways to cook this Conch or Gong-Gong or Tung Fung Lo. It’s all up to your creativity.

Benefits of Conch

According to hhtip.com

Conch meat per 100 g of water containing 68.8 g, protein 20.2 g, fat 0.9 g, ash 2.6 g, carbohydrate 7.6 g, vitamin A 50 micrograms, riboflavin O.46 mg, 17.9 mg of potassium, sodium 219.6 mg, 539 mg of calcium, magnesium 19l mg, 5.3 mg of iron, manganese O.34 mg, 3.34 mg of zinc, copper O. 05 mg, phosphorus 152 mg, 74.78 micrograms of selenium, niacin O.2 mg.

Conch is rich in vitamin A, protein, iron and calcium nutrition. Of red eyes, jaundice, beriberi, hemorrhoids and other diseases have therapeutic effects. Conch for headache, red eyes, blurred vision and other have treatments effect, on constipation also have some effect. Conch meat contains rich calcium, magnesium, selenium-composition, of atherosclerosis, for cardiovascular disease, has a preventive effect. Children, the elderly eat it has some supplement role of calcium deficiency in vivo. There is more protein and amino acids, carbohydrates, can enhance the body’s immune function.

The conch shell is used in Chinese herbalism to treat menopause, and conch shell ash is common in Ayurvedic Medicine. The calcinated conch shell of Turbinella pyrum consists of calcium, iron, and magnesium. It is well known in Ayurvedic medicine for its antacid and digestive properties (Dr.Mao Shing Ni Bio)

According to www.mynaturalbeautybook.com:

Conch has great importance in ayurveda. It is popular for its medicinal benefits in india. Scientific Name : Turbinella pyrum Common Name : Conch, Shankh in Hindi, Sangu in Tamil, Shankha in Sanskrit, Sankham in Telugu.I have used conch for curing eye boil, it healed my bumped eye in india we use it for eye treatments and also for various skin related problems . It has soothening and healing values.

There are many types of conches in india . “Shankha Bhasma ” is an Ayurvedic medicine prepared from Conch shell and is used in treatment of gastritis, abdominal pain, malabsorption syndrome etc. It is a coolant and improves skin color and complexion.Conch shell is used in preparing ayurvedic face packs as well as various medicines. 

Conch shell powder or paste is very effective in curing acne and acne scar marks quickly it is natural pimple curing remedy. Take a clean conch shell. Rub it on a clean grinding-stone adding drops of water while rubbing. You will get a smooth paste. Alternately, buy some conch-shell powder.  Then take a tablespoon of this powder. Use rosewater to make it into a smooth paste.

Apply the paste over the acne. within a week you will start seeing the difference,also for acne scars use this powder/paste it will wipe blemishness and black dots away. Conch water for skin and hair store some water in a conch overnight and next morning massage your skin with this water. This cures many skin diseases, rashes, allergies etc. It also cures ‘white spots‘ on skin if process repeated for a month.You can use it as natural toner.Store water  overnight in conch as, in morning, add ‘rose water‘ to it. Wash your hair with this mixture. It restores natural colour of the hair.

You can wash eyebrows, moustache and beard too.You can use this water to make homemade hair packs . Take equal amount of  overnight conch stored water add same amount of plain water. Mix them and wash your eyes to increase eye sight. Take this water in your palm and dip your open eye into it. Move  the eyeball from left to right rapidly for few seconds and remove it. This will cure dry  eyes, pus in eyes and many eye related problems.  

*Please refer to the reference(s)/reading list should you need to read more about benefits of conch

Where we had this Conch?

If you come to Sabah, Malaysia, it’s not that difficult to find this Conch. You may find it at the Market or simply head to any Seafood Restaurant. For this particular Conch, we went to Gayang Seafood Restaurant which is located not that far from Nexus  Resort & Spa Karambunai. We will not be reviewing the restaurant in particular as there are already tonnes of review in Google. There’s no harm in sharing some of the pics we’d taken, so here are the images.

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The big signboard at the entrance of the restaurant
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This is the menu, choose your desired items from the display or simply head to the many tanks and choose your favorite
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The tanks with freshest choices of seafood! Pick and tell your ‘purser’ your cooking preference
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After the pick and tell process, go to your preferred seating area/table. It’s free seating here..

Our Choice

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Crab cooked in Kam Heong style
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Crab cooked with Salted Duck Egg
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1 KG of Prawns with dipping sauces!
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..last but not least, the Conch or Tung Fung Lo or Gong Gong (whatever the name is)

Thinking of having the same treat? If you are in Kota Kinabalu, head to:

Gayang Seafood Restaurant
Jalan Sulaman, 89200
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Malaysia
Phone: + 60 16 810 5385
Operation Hours: 11 AM – 10 PM
To read some reviews in TripAdvisor about this restaurant, click HERE

Reference(s)/Reading List

Amini, S dan Pralampita, W.A. (1987). Pendugaan pertumbuhan beberapa parameter biologi gonggong (Strombus turturella) di perairan pantai Pulau Bintan-Riau. J. Pen. Perikanan Laut No. 41 : 29-35

Dr.Mao Shing Ni Bio (Date of Publish: Unknown). Conch Shell. Ask Dr Mao: The Natural Health Science Engine. Retrieved from www.askdrmao.com on April 4, 2017.

HHTip-Health Tip (Date of Publish: Unknown). The nutritional value and efficacy of conch. Retrieved hhtip.com on April 3, 2017.

Little, Colin (1965). Notes on the Anatomy of The Queen Conch Strombus gigas, Bulletin of Marine Science. 15(2):338-358

My Natural Beauty Book (December 18, 2015). Conch Sea Shell For Beauty & Health. Retrieved from www.mynaturalbeautybook.com on April 4, 2017.

Purchon, R.D. dan Purchon D.E.A. (1981). The marine shelled Mollusca of West Malaysia and Singapore. Part I. General introduction and account of the collecting stations. J. Mollusc. Stud., 47: 290-312.

Riche, M., and T. N. Williams (2009). Digestible protein, energy, and apparent amino acid availability of three plant-based proteins in Florida pompano Trachinotus carolinus in seawater and low-salinity water. Aquaculture Nutrition 16:223–230

Shellfish Association of Great Britain (Date of Publish: Unknown ). The Nutritional and healthy facts about shellfish. Retrieved from www.shellfish.org.uk on April 4, 2017.

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