For An Exotic Raya Try Lemang Cooked In A Pitcher Plant
Lemang entrepreneurs Shahrinnahar Abdul Latib (left) and Noraniza Kamsani foraging for pitcher plants. (Shahrinnahar Abdul Latib pic)PETALING JAYA: Beef rendang and lemang, traditionally cooked in bamboo, are synonymous with Hari Raya. But some Malaysians with a taste for the exotic wil swear by lemang prepared in a pitcher plant.
And to meet their appetite, one couple will spend up to five hours a day foraging in insect-infected bushes off the Kuantan-Maran road for the plants.
Shahrinnahar Abdul Latib and Noraniza Kamsani have been selling pitcher plant lemang as a side business since 2018 and now receive up to 800 orders a day.
Shahrinnahar said pitcher plant lemang is tastier and its texture is also softer when compared to traditional lemang made with bamboo.
Packs of pitcher plant lemang ready to be sent to customers. (Shahrinnahar Abdul Latib pic)“Anyone who has tasted it will definitely be our regular customer because it tastes better and looks exotic,” he said.
However, Shahrinnahar said business was affected in 2019 after numerous customers started cancelling their bookings following fears about the cleanliness of the pitcher plants and their alleged impending extinction.
“Actually, these pitcher plants grow easily, and every time I come to the same place there would definitely be new plants to replace the ones that we took previously. So there is no issue of extinction.
Pitcher plants are easy to grow and they are not at threat of going extinct, says lemang entrepreneur Shahrinnahar Abdul Latib. (Shahrinnahar Abdul Latib pic)“That was only an issue in that particular year. Right now, demand is increasingly encouraging, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Shahrinnahar, 37.
He said he pays particular attention to the process of washing the pitcher to ensure cleanliness and to gain customer confidence, especially after allegations that the plant was a “toilet bowl” for mammals such as bats and squirrels.
The cleaned pitcher filled with lemang ingredients. (Shahrinnahar Abdul Latib pic)“It takes an hour to completely clean 100 pitchers. I want to convince customers that we have never seen any animal feces when searching for these plants.
“So far, I have also never received any complaints about upset stomachs from my customers.”
The couple charges RM35 for 20 pitchers of lemang and RM45 if customers want to add on chicken rendang. - FMT
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