Lemang is a traditional food which is cooked over a wood fire in a hollowed bamboo stick lined with banana leaf to prevent the rice from sticking to the bamboo. It is made of glutinous rice and coconut milk, with salt added for taste.
In kampung life, it was popular to prepare lemang in advance because it kept relatively well inside the bamboo stick and could be eaten over a number of days. Lemang is usually eaten with a delicious rendang style sauce with chunks of beef.
On our return from the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, and at Michael's enthusiastic suggestion (he seemed to be a big fan of lemang), we made an impromptu stop to try some at a popular roadside stall.
And I'm happy to tell you that is was simply delicious! Do try some if you ever get the opportunity to do so.
Before heading to Malaysia, I challenged my travel companions to take the durian taste test. They both agreed so on our return from the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary I asked Michael, the owner and our tour guide, if it would be possible to stop somewhere so that we could sample some fresh durian. Because it was in season, he agreed readily to oblige us.
Mr Michael Palin, of Monty Python fame, described durian as being like, “A very smelly custard…rather revolting, really.” But local connoisseurs describe it as, “Heavenly.”
I certainly agree that the smell and sight of a durian does not lend itself to an immediate attraction. It does have the sickly sweet smell of raw sewerage while the texture is comparable to a Camembert that has been stored in a warm room and has consequently liquefied in it’s centre.
One of my kids took the test and said once is enough while the other just couldn't bring herself around to trying even the smallest piece. But there is really only one way to find out... try some for yourself!