The New International Encyclopædia/Trepang

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TREPANG (from Malay trīpang) , or Bêche de Mer. The dried body of a holothurian (q.v.), regarded as a delicate article of food by the Chinese. Several species are utilized, especially Holothuria edulis, which abounds along the coasts of Eastern Asia and all the islands to the Philippines and Eastern Australia. These animals are usually about eight or nine inches long, but some are two feet in length. They are often found nearly buried in the coral sand, their tentacles only appearing above it. The larger ones are sometimes speared in shallow water; but most of them are taken by divers. They are split down one side, boiled, pressed flat with stones, dried in the sun, and afterwards in smoke, and packed in bags. Macassar is the centre of the trade, whence several hundred tons are annually sent to China. Trepang is also gathered and prepared to some extent in California. It is highly gelatinous and nutritious, though almost tasteless. It is utilized as an ingredient in soups.