About lemang (a type of bamboo rice)
Lemang is one of the heritage foods in Malaysia that is popular not only among the locals but also among foreigners and all races across Malaysia. The delicious lemang is made of glutinous rice that is cooked with coconut milk in hollowed bamboos. The rice is wrapped with banana leaves to prevent it from sticking to the bamboos.
Origin of lemang
The method of cooking lemang is actually originated from the Iban people, one of the indigenous people of Borneo Island. Lemang has been the official food identity of the state of Sarawak.
This traditional food is a favorite during festivities like Hari Raya and Hari Gawai. Some lemang recipes add corn and some use a mix of white and black glutinous rice. Lemang is usually eaten with chicken curry or beef rendang and sometimes with grilled fish, durian or tapai.
Ingredients of lemang
This dish of glutinous rice is cooked with coconut milk in hollowed bamboos lined with banana leaves – a method used by the indigenous people of Malaysia. The pandan leaves are usually added into the bamboo along with the banana leaves to add fragrance to the rice.
A favorite during festivities like Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Gawai, lemang is eaten with chicken curry or beef rending, and sometimes with grilled fish, durian or tapai.
Where you can find lemang
Lemang can be found throughout Malaysia especially during the popular Muslim festival of Hari Raya Adilfitri which usually falls on early or end of the year. You can easily notice stalls along the road that cook and sell the lemang. It’s particularly popular in the Malay village where the lemang is available throughout the year.
Lemang can also be found in restaurants and hotels. Some hotels do serve lemang and it’s normally available in buffer meal. Lemang is cheap and cost no more than a few ringgit for a few pieces. It’s filling since it’s made of glutinous rice and it’s high in fiber. It’s best eaten for breakfast and lunch.
In conclusion, lemang is a must-try heritage food for tourists especially expats. If you come across the stalls at the road side, do take a look at how this special traditional food is made and cooked.
Other heritage food in Malaysia that you might be interested
- Rendang – Rendang is a popular dish not only among the Malays but also among all races in Malaysia. This delicious delicacy is made by stewing beef in coconut milk and mixed with spices like ginger, galangal, turmeric leaf, lemon grass and chili.
- Nasi Kerabu – The nasi kerabu is a dish of Kelantanese origin. Its rice is uniquely blue in color, which comes from having been soaked and cooked with the extract of the purplish blue bunga telang or butterfly pea.
- Ketupat – Ketupat is usually wrapped in a triangular shape using the leaves of the fan palm (Licuala). This sort of dumpling is usually eaten with rendang which is a type of dry beef curry.
- Nasi Kunyit – Nasi kunyit or turmeric rice, after translated to English, is glutinous rice cooked with turmeric coloring and is usually served with coconut milk chicken curry or beef curry.
- Nasi Tumpang – Nasi Tumpang is one of several food items identified by the Malaysian National Heritage Department as being truly Malaysian. Regarded as a traditional Malay delicacy, Nasi Tumpang is highly popular in the east coast especially in Kelantan from where it originated.