In search of bamboo for lemang

Nazir Sufari

LEMANG is a traditional Malay food that is loved by all communities.

The bamboo is used to cook lemang.

For Arman Bakhtiar, 49, and two of his friends in Hulu Langat, Selangor, Ramadan is the time to head into the forest on the motorcycles in search of bamboo.

Armed with machetes, saws and mosquito repellent, they scour the forest to find bamboo ordered by lemang makers.

“We gets orders for 3,000 to 4,000 bamboo culms a week. But as we get closer to Hari Raya, we must move further into the forest where it becomes more difficult to find bamboo,” said Arman.

Arman said a person must know which plants are suited to make lemang.

“I have 20 years of experience looking for lemang bamboo so just by looking at it, I know whether it is mature enough for the job and should be cut down. Otherwise we give the bamboo a chance to grow,” he said.

Harvesting bamboo for lemang earns the farmers a decent income. Their main concern is that the price of a bamboo culm hasn’t changed over the last 20 years. At its lowest, a culm fetches RM1 and reaches RM1.20 at its peak. – April 29, 2022.

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