Tebaloi production, a boost to Sarawak’s cottage industry
Posted on August 20, 2012, Monday
MUKAH: Savoured as a traditional Sarawak snack, demand for the ‘tebaloi mukah’ is at its highest for the local cottage industry here, especially during the annual Melanau cultural festival of Pesta Kaul.
Also popularly known as sago biscuits, due to its main ingredients of sago flour mixed with grated coconut, sugar and eggs, the product from the Kampung Tutus Hilir tebaloi processing centre here is distributed by the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (Fama) Sarawak to major hotels in Kuching and the Kuching International airport.
Apart from being marketed through wholesalers, Area Farmers’ Organisation (AFO) and local consumers throughout the state, orders for the tebaloi are also received from as far as Brunei.
“Our tebaloi, which are either baked the traditional way by open fire or by gas oven, are in three flavours of original, chocolate and pandan but the original one, based from a recipe that is passed down from generations, is the most saleable,” factory supervisor Salpiah Sepawi told participants of the 1Malaysia 2012 Media Tour to the Mukah division recently.
Salpiah, 40, who has been working at the centre since it was set up in 1998, with a RM138,185-allocation from the Sarawak Agriculture Department, said she and her five co-workers produced an average of 900 packets of 130gm and 100gm daily, generating about RM40,000 in sales per month.
For tourists exploring this coastal town and intending to buy tebaloi as souvenirs, she said, the centre’s opening hours are between 7.30am and 5.30pm daily, with the exception of public holidays, but it would be extended until 7pm if there were many orders or business was brisk.
Since 2000, the centre’s management was taken over by the Mukah AFO with an initial investment of RM15,000, while a grant totalling RM123,400 channelled by the department, so far, included the purchase of two units of fully automatic digital electric oven, as part of its upgrading plan.
Currently, authentic telaboi are mainly produced in the Mukah and Dalat districts along the coastal region of Mukah division, which have large tracts of sago palm plantations that thrive well in the abundant peat soil.
Besides tebaloi, other traditional sago-based Melanau delicacies, including linut (sago starch), ulat mulong (sago worms) and sago pearls that are normally served with umai, the Melanau version of raw fish salad, have also made inroads into the national cuisine, besides boosting the local cottage industry in Sarawak. -Bernama