SEREMBAN, June 24 —  The traditional gotong-royong effort of seeking bamboo, preparing and cooking lemang with family members in preparation for Hari Raya Aidilfitri is gradually being forgotten by today’s generation.

Many now prefer to buy lemang at stalls operating on the eve of Syawal without observing the quality and taste of the must-have Hari Raya delicacy.

The tedious process involved when preparing lemang, such as the ‘hunt’ for suitable bamboo, the use of firewood for cooking and the long cooking duration result in many opting to replace them with instant lemang.

However, for the family of Kamariah Mohamad, 66, cooking more than 100 lemang is an annual tradition, helped by a team comprising her eldest daughter and son-in-law, Siti Nasurah Osman, 44, and Mohd Isamuddin Abu Samah, 45.

Advertisement

The tedious process involved when preparing lemang often result in many people opting to replace them with instant lemang. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
The tedious process involved when preparing lemang often result in many people opting to replace them with instant lemang. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

“I have cooked lemang every year since i was small, with my parents. Now, I have also handed down the legacy to my daughter and son-in-law.

“We feel more satisfied when cooking it ourselves as it is tastier and more hygienic...the lemang is then made into a Hari Raya dish and shared with family and neighbours nearby...and at times, we even take in orders from our friends,” Kamariah told Bernama. 

Kamariah did not find the process of making lemang hard as she was used to preparing the traditional Hari Raya dish.

Advertisement

“It is not hard when you become accustomed to it. ...When you cook the lemang yourself, you gain a sense of satisfaction...although it is tiring, that is the fun in celebrating Aidilfitri,” she said.

A man pours coconut milk into bamboos filled with glutinous rice as he prepares a Malay traditional dish called ‘lemang’. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A man pours coconut milk into bamboos filled with glutinous rice as he prepares a Malay traditional dish called ‘lemang’. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

For Siti Nasurah, the legacy continued by her mother is an important effort to ensure that the traditional is not lost in time.  

“I also teach my eldest daughter to help me rinse the glutinous rice and prepare the coconut milk. Now, my children often ask when we will begin to cook lemang for Hari Raya...Let us preserve the practice of cooking the traditional dish...the process might be slightly tedious, but satisfaction is gained,” she said. — Bernama