When Hari Raya comes around, you may notice many roadside stalls sprouting up like mushrooms after a rain, roasting sticks of bamboo. If you aren’t familiar with this scene, you may be wondering just what they are up to. These sellers are in fact roasting “Lemang” – a traditional Malay Rice cooked in bamboo.
Lemang is a traditional Malayfood made of glutinous rice and coconut milk and cooked in a hollowed bamboostick lined with banana leaves in order to prevent the rice from sticking to the bamboo.The cooking method using bamboo container is popular in Iban Dayak tribe of Borneo. Usually prepared for celebrations such as the Iban harvest festival of Hari Gawai, lemang is usually eaten with meat dishes such as chicken curry. In fact, the cooking process used in making lemang, also known as "pansoh/pansuh", is adapted by Dayak communities for a wide variety of meats.
Lemang is popular in Malaysia, Minangkabau people and Iban communities of Borneo, Manado usually prepared by using thetapaimethod. Lemang can now be found throughout Indonesia due to the spread of Minangkabau people throughout the country.
Lemang is ubiquitous amongst Malay communities and commonly eaten to mark the end of daily fasting during the annualMuslim Malaysian holidays of Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Haji. The aboriginal communities of West Malaysia (Orang Asli) also practice cooking rice in bamboo.
When cooked, the bamboo is split open and the cooked Lemang is taken out to cool. Once cooled, they are sliced up into slices about 2cm thick and eaten with curries, rendang or popularly with serunding (spicy dried meat floss).
The taste is rich with coconut milk and a subtle flavour of bamboo.