Lemang still a favourite!

When Hari Raya is here, one would notice many roadside stalls sprouting up like mushrooms after a rain, roasting sticks of bamboo, filled with a mixture of glutinous rice and coconut milk, ‘lemang’ as the locals call it.

Although ‘lemang’ can be prepared using modern tools but the traditionally made ‘lemang’ is still a local preference during the Aidifitri Celebrations.

Siti Fatimah Mohamad, 66, from Kampung Pokok Sena has been traditionally making ‘lemang’ for many years now after she took over the ‘lemang business from her parents, who started the business in 1962.

Fondly called ‘Mak Su’, she sells at least 200 sticks of Lemang a day, which she says does not include the ones ordered separately for private functions during the festive season.

She said that the modern way of making lemang is a lot easier and less time consuming but the taste is never the same.  To make lemang traditionally is a lot of work because it is not just the ingredients but the bamboo sticks and fire wood needed to cook that needs preparing.

‘Lemang’ is a traditional food made of glutinous rice and coconut milk.  It is cooked in a hollowed bamboo stick lined with banana leaves in order to prevent the rice from sticking to the bamboo.

It takes skill to ensure that just the right amount of rice is placed inside bamboo without it spilling over as it cooks and expands.  , and to roast it over the fire for hours, to ensure that it cooks evenly or at all!

Lemang is ubiquitous among Malay communities and commonly eaten during the festive season of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.