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!!!!

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

18 thoughts on “So long ago…”

  1. linut is nice.. had that with sambal belacan and blanched bandong leaves… see this for papua’s version of linut http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papeda_(food) .
    Hey, u forgot to mention about tebaloi…I would want to try to dip tat tupek into some curry or dhal… Makes me wanna go to Sarawak and try those again…. might be starting a project soon in Bintulu…

    Many things not mentioned – sago has many uses. I bought tebaloi for you all before, right? That time we first met at Muar Restaurant. You all didn’t say anything so I just assumed nobody liked it, not nice. 😦 Oh? Bintulu to Sibu very near, 2 hours only…longer by bus…around 3, as there is a long stop at Selangau for a pee and tea break. Come, come…

  2. i have not try the tumpik…
    the taste should be very nice… coz i like to eat sago..
    well i believe everything is getting expensive ..
    that day when i pass by a stall selling organic sweet potatoes and my mum stop by to buy some…
    it cost about RM6 .. i told her that you can eat a chicken rice with that..
    and last time it is those poor man meals…. sigh now is totally change ..
    poor man eat chicken and rich man eat sweet potato .. kakakakaka

    And in the end, the poor will get the rich men’s health problems…and rich people will be safe from hypertension, gout and what not. They always call these the rich man’s sicknesses. LOL!!! 😀 You like sago? Have you tried the worms? Come, come…come to Sibu and try. Very nice! LOL!!! 😀

  3. these are something new to me, tumpik lemantak looks like something i wanna try but definitely not those silk worms!! haha~~

    Hahahaha!!! Not a potential candidate for Amazing Race lah you…and can’t be the host for Bizarre Foods. LOL!!! 😀

  4. i have tried that wriggly worms! not alive too! they tasted like fried prawns after frying haha

    You have? Eyewwww!!!! I tried once – not bad but I get that kind of funny “geli” feeling eating them. Wouldn’t want to eat them again. 😦

  5. When my son grows up, I want him to be just like you.. so sweet and thoughtful to his mom.Hopefully, my prayers will be answered:)
    I would love to try that tumpik and I think if celup sambal tumis pun sedap jugak.The only weird thing which isn’t weird at all while I was in Sibu is the fermented dabai.The small biji-bijis thingy that you let me try was tebaloi, right? I like that… no taste but very fragrant.

    No, those were sagu’ (saguk) – toasted sago pellets – a favourite among many but I’m not a fan. Terbaloi is flat sago-coconut crackers, also very fragrant and nice.

    Ya, no worries. You’ve a sweet boy there – he’ll grow up to be a fine young man, I’m sure.

  6. Yes, I have eaten tumpik lemantak when I went to Mukah last time. Not a fan cos I find it too dry. Wow, RM3.00 per piece, so expensive and like what your mum say it is only make of sago flour and grated coconut. Lastly, wishing all mums and mums-to-be a very Happy Mother’s Day.

    The same to you. Never mind, just bought it so my mum could eat it again. Don’t think I’ll be going back there to buy it again…unless there are visitors coming to Sibu who would like to give it a try.

  7. It’s been 4 years & I’ve yet to try the sago worm.
    I keep talking about it but never actually got around to doing it. When I wanted to, they never seem to have any in stock at the market.
    Good luck? Bad luck? One day it’ll run out… then… hahaha~~

    That day when I went to the market with my West Malaysian friend, there wasn’t a single one to be seen. Someone told me that it is seasonal – plentiful during the sweet season. Let’s see if there are any when the days aren’t so hot and dry… 😦

  8. Now looking back at these sago worms, I asked myself.. “did I actually eat that??” I dont think I will ever again…lol,…

    It must have been the tuak!!! LOL!!! 😀

  9. I need to muster more guts to try the sago worms…

    No worries. I can give you some of the tuak, the local Dayak traditional rice wine. After a sip, you will be game to try anything… Muahahahaha!!!! 😀

  10. I’m not sure if I can eat that! hehe! happy mother’s day to your wife!

    Thanks, Anney. I tried, but I don;t think I would want to eat it again…and I would not want to try balut either. Eyewwww!!!! LOL!!! 😀

  11. OMG, worms !!!! and oh, i’ve never heard of nor i’ve seen of that tupek thing o.0

    Come on over… Many things here that you haven’t seen or heard of.

  12. No way I am going to eat the worms. Kill me better. LOL!

    No worries, I wouldn;t eat those myself…so I wouldn’t force anyone either. We can just go and see… LOL!!! 😀

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