My cousin’s hubby was posted to work in Sibu for a number of years before he eventually got his transfer back to Kuching. It was not very long after that when he started missing the pulut panggang in Sibu. According to him, the ones here are the best, second to none.

Well, in our family, our favourite is what we call Kate panggang but the people at my regular kueh stall at Bandong call it Haji Luguk’s panggang. That is why everytime I fly over to Kuching, I will buy a lot to distribute to family members for them to enjoy.

I may have to buy them earlier and keep in the fridge and they may have to do the same as they can’t possibly eat them all at one go. The question arises as to how they will usually heat up the panggang before eating. I was aghast when I saw some of them steaming it – I am quite sure the fragrance and taste would be affected, perhaps even lost. Putting them in the oven may not be a good idea either as if you keep them in the heat for too long, you will end up with a hard outer layer that is not at all palatable.

I would use a non-stick pan to heat them up and I absolutely love those pans with grill lines…

Hj Luguk's aka Kate panggang

Incidentally, I also love toasting bread with this – you will end up with lovely pieces of toast with nice brown parallel lines and if you position the bread in the other direction in the process, you will end up with squares. Just as in the case of the toast, the panggang will not have complete contact with the surface of the pan so that would reduce the possibility of over-heating and ending up with a hard crust.

You can see in the above photograph that the banana leaf is quite burnt in parts and that is what draws the line between the men and the boys. That gives the panggang the special fragrance and taste that is so very nice that you can eat it on its own- my missus does that but she hates it when I buy panggang and I would pick it up and smell first. If you can’t detect the fragrance, just put it back! There’s no point buying that as it will not be nice.

Of course, you will need to be vigilant at all times – stand by the side turning the panggang round and round with a pair of tongs. Initially, it will be hard when taken out of the fridge. Perhaps the santan (coconut milk) and oil have hardened in the cold so once you feel it has gone soft – press gently with the tongs to check – it is done.

You can see that there is a light tint of brown…

Nicely heated up

…so it is not overdone and will not be hard. It will also be oily with traces of the santan so it will not be dry.

We can get pulut panggang very easily here in Sibu, RM1.00 each usually while these Haji Luguk ones are more expensive by 10 sen, RM1.10 but it is definitely worth it. Some of the RM1.00 ones are quite all right – just do not eat them together and you may not be able to tell the difference but some are really not worth the calories. I guess, like everything else, you need to know where to go.

HAJI LUGUK’S PULUT PANGGANG is available at what used to be known as Mak Met’s Breakfast Station, right beside KOPI KOPI Café & Kitchen which is located at the blocks of shops, at the back facing Bandong Walk (2.313869, 111.825808) and the main road.