Open fire…

Everytime I mentioned pulut panggang

…in my blogpost, somebody would say that he or she had not eaten that for a long time and that he or she missed it a lot. When I probed a little bit further, it would always turn out without fail that what they had was the one with sambal filling…

I’ve had that before and I can recall that one time when I bought some from a bakery in Bintulu…

…for RM3.00 each and yes, it was nice! However, eating pulut panggang with sambal filling is like eating nasi lemak that is not lemak but with the sambal that is very nice plus some curry or rendang or whatever, all those things will bring the taste of the nasi lemak to a whole new level, never mind that the rice in itself is nothing to shout about.

Well, I have often heard it said that the pulut panggang in Sibu is the best but on the other hand, some may think that pulut panggang is pulut panggang, all the same and they wonder why people say so.

Pulut is glutinous rice and wrapped in banana leaf with santan (coconut milk) and other ingredients added, it is panggang-ed or cooked over an open fire of hot, burning charcoal…

The quality of the pulut panggang will depend on how well it has been panggang-ed. Usually, on the outside, the banana leaf that is very well-panggang-ed would have turned black…

At times, it is so badly charred that it is very black and brittle and comes apart easily when one opens it to eat (and more often than not, making a mess on the table top).

I just bought one from a shop in my neighbourhood that day – it looked so green that I suspected they cooked it in an oven or something. These days, people use the air fryer for everything, not over a charcoal fire and of course, it was the pits, not nice at all!

When you open the pulut panggang, it should be a bit golden/brown…

…an indication that it has been panggang-ed well. The rice would be cooked to perfection…

…and it would have that wonderful barbecue fragrance. It must not be overdone though – that will look VERY golden/brown but the outer layer would be hard and crusty, not that palatable anymore.

I used to buy the ones made by an old man, Haji Luguk…

…and his would be kind of oily on the outside as well as inside and at times, one might be able to spot traces of the santan in the pulut panggang

That, of course, was the thing that separates the men from the boys, so to speak. His pulut panggang was a bit more expensive than all the rest but it was worth forking out that little bit extra because it was so good.

Unfortunately, he had retired and his descendants who took over lacked the enthusiasm and dedication. The pulut panggang did not have any quality control and it kept shrinking while the price kept going up. In the end, I just gave up looking for Haji Luguk’s panggang and would just buy any that I can find around here…and hope for the best.

I did buy some of the ones I bought at Laudato ‘Si again the other day and they were quite good, well-panggang-ed but not that lemak. I remember the ones that I bought here were nicer but I have not been there for sometime. There is a stall at Kpg Hilir where I used to go and buy some pretty good ones as well but I have not been there for so long, probably since the outbreak of the pandemic. I must make it a point to drop by there one of these days.

Author: suituapui

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

6 thoughts on “Open fire…”

  1. I am not really into pulut panggang but will buy if there is any good one. Pulut Panggang without sambal is like the smaller version of lemang to me… ☺️☺️. I like lemang to go with curry.

    I prefer pulut panggang to lemang; my girl likes both. I cannot eat too much these days though – glutinous rice, hidden sugar overload…and worse still, I enjoy eating it with lots and lots of very lemak kaya!

  2. I like with sambal filling but hard to find now. Mostly just plain pulut.

    Hubby likes the plain one, and he likes dipping with Kaya if there is any.

    1. Your hubby is just like me. Usually the sambal filling is not nice, dunno what sambal that is. Instead of that, I’d rather have very lemak pulut wrapped with banana leaf with a lot of nice sambal on top. No need to waste my calories on those disappointing panggang.

  3. I used to love pulut panggang. In Terengganu we call it pulut lipe/lepa. When I was a child my grandmother used to buy it quite frequently. It was so good but the ones I had later on was nowhere near as good. The good recipes tend to die off when the old folks retire as the younger generation are not interested to carry on with the business or take short cuts which result in poor quality. It is such a pity.

    That is so sad, isn’t it? Same thing here! All those things that were so very nice in my growing up years, extinct now…or if there are any still available, they suck big time. Not nice anymore. So frustrating!

  4. I like pulut panggang with sambal filling. Usually the sambal filling consists of dried prawns and coconut grating. These days I think they take short cut and no long panggang over charcoal fire. I think the pulut is pre-cooked and after adding the filling, they are tossed in a pan with a bit of oil which makes the banana wrapping oily. I can’t eat much these days because it gives me indigestion.

    That is the problem these days, all the shortcuts. Even if they are still available, dunno if there is something wrong with the taste buds of the present generation or what when they say this is nice, that is nice and more often than not, they are not nice at all! Yes, some old people cannot eat pulut and also some other things like our buah dabai – will cause indigestion. They cannot eat tang hoon (glass noodles) too!

  5. Glutinous rice and coconut – such an addictive combo.

    Yes. Too bad I am not eating glutinous rice now, all the hidden sugars. Just once in a long while is probably ok.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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