Monday, February 2, 2009

Balikpapan crocodile park: a treat for lovers of exotic fare

Residents in Balikpapan and other parts of East Kalimantan may be familiar with the Borneo Crocodile Recreational Park on Jl. Mulawarman in the city, managed by CV Surya Raya Crocodile Farm.

The place offers visitors a variety of crocodile leather products, such as briefcases, purses, wallets, belts and bags, as well as some exotic fare -- crocodile satay at Rp 3,000 (approximately 33 U.S. cents) a stick.

Crocodile meat is seen by many as nutritious and is believed to heal a number of diseases, such as asthma and allergies, as well as relieving hypertension and reducing sugar levels in diabetics.

The park is open to the public daily, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, visitors can sample crocodile satay only on Sundays and other major holidays, such as Idul Fitri, Idul Adha, Christmas and New Year's Day.

The Cafe Borneo, where crocodile satay is sold, was packed with dozens of visitors eating satay when The Jakarta Post visited.

Besides local visitors, curious diners come from as far as Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Medan, Yogyakarta and even overseas.

"This is my first time eating crocodile satay. I got the information from my friends who came here earlier. It tastes delicious, like mutton satay," said Adrianus, from Jakarta, who was on a working visit to Balikpapan.

Another visitor from Jakarta, Roni, concurred. "I am by chance hungry... so it tastes more delicious, like chicken satay," said Roni.

According to an employee at Cafe Borneo, Edi, eating crocodile satay has no side effects and is safe for both children and adults. Only younger crocodiles, ideally around three-and-a-half-years old, are slaughtered for their meet.

"We can sell 500 to 1,000 sticks of satay during Sundays, but more than 2,000 sticks during holidays such as Idul Fitri and New Year," said park employee Hamroni.

The park also sells other crocodile-based products, such as crocodile oil, which costs Rp 8,000 per bottle. It is believed to be an effective ointment to heal burns. Crocodile penises are also on sale at Rp 300,000 to Rp 500,000 a piece and are believed to boost male virility.

A 120-ml bottle containing a medicinal drink mixed with crocodile penis is sold at Rp 15,000. Those who prefer light snacks can buy crocodile crackers at Rp 2,000 per pack.

Visitors can buy unfried crocodile crackers as gifts to loved ones back home for Rp 10,000 per pack. The park also sells frozen crocodile meat, meat floss and crocodile bile, believed by many to have qualities to heal asthma, skin diseases and prevent malaria.

Its crocodile leather products are sought after by visitors from the United States, Korea and Brunei. For those who wish to make their own creation from crocodile leather can buy a whole skin at Rp 1.27 million.

"It can be turned into bags, jackets, shoes and others. One of the company's aims is to provide high quality leather products at affordable prices so people from all walks of life can afford them," said Hamroni.

The park is always packed with visitors on weekends. More than 1,000 people visited the park last Sunday, some just to relax, conduct study tours or hold class farewells, as evident from a bus-load of students from the SDN 18 state elementary school in Samarinda Seberang.

The park is home to thousands of crocodiles, from young to mature.

It is not hard to reach the park. Visitors can take the number 7 public van, with fares ranging from Rp 2,500 to Rp 5,000 depending on the distance. It takes 30 minutes from Sepinggan International Airport by car.

Nurni Sulaiman, The Jakarta Post.


Kurniadi Bulhani said...

hi yusuf nice to know you,may i know you deeper....we re coming from same location but maybe different accupations,thank you visit me..

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