So long ago…

It’s the 2nd Sunday in the month of May and that makes it Mother’s Day today…so, here’s wishing all mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day. As they say in Malay, “Syurga terletak di bawah telapak kaki ibu.” (Translation: Heaven lies beneath the soles of a mother’s feet.)

And talking about mothers, I bought a piece of this for mine sometime ago. I can’t even remember when I last saw this, much less the last time I ate it…

Tumpik lemantak 1

This is called tumpik lemantak which, I believe, is in Sarawak Malay. In my family, we called it tupek but it seems that it is called differently among the Melanaus in the lower reaches of the Rejang River…and lemantak is actually what we call sago flour. The language varies from town to town and the version we speak in the kampung (village) here in Sibu is actually closer to the local Malay dialect.

I do remember, however, that I did not like it at all but when I heard that they were selling this at one stall here, I made a beeline to the place to buy a piece for my mum…

Tumpik lemantak 2

…as she had not eaten it for an equally long time and would probably appreciate the opportunity to eat it again. I tried a bit and thought it was not too bad – not as bad as I remembered it to be. It was very fragrant with the toasted coconut and tasted pretty good when dipped in the gula apong, our local version of the gula melaka.

Selling at RM3.00 a piece, however, my mum said that it was very expensive as it was nothing more than sago flour with grated coconut and added that in the past, the people in the kampung (village) who were too poor and could not afford to buy rice would eat that instead. Good grief! How things have changed! Today, just a piece of that costs more than a plate of rice.

Now, if you are interested, you can drop by this site to see the photographs of a man at a stall in Bintangor making it. The sago flour gives it the gooey, sticky texture, something like mochi or one of those sticky cakes, that holds the coconut together.

Tumpik lemantak 3

For the uninitiated, sago flour is made from the trunk of the sago or rhumbia palm which grows in abundance in the areas around the Rejang River delta. If you are interested, you can read this very informative article on it in a local newspaper. As you can see, other than being used to produce sago flour, it has many other uses as well and the trunks are where one would be able to find those wriggly sago worms…

Sago worms
*reanaclaire‘s photo*

…that dwell in them in large congregations. You may recall that when my West Malaysian blogger friends were here in Sibu in March, they all tried eating them. Nope, they did not eat them alive – none of them dared to do that but they were sporting enough to taste the worms after they had been fried. They liked them deep-fried…

Deep fried sago worms
*recycled pic – smallkucing’s photo from Facebook*

Unfortunately, they did not get to try the tumpik lemantak when they were in town nor did they get to eat the linut. Well, if they’re keen, they will just have to come to Sibu again. Hehehehehehe!!!!