An encounter with ‘Kuih Kelupis’


LAWAS: Sarawak is a vast state and we may often think that we are not much different from other ethnic groups in terms of their culture and traditions.

We are often too complacent and assume what we think and what we see are the same.

However, when The Borneo Post Adventure Team (BAT) were in Sundar Lawas, they noticed obvious differences especially in what the various communities have for snacks during the day or at the breakfast table.

The Borneo Post Adventure Team (BAT) was walking about in Sundar town and mingling with the crowd when they saw a few schoolboys eating something out of a leafy wrapper and drinking canned drinks.

The friendly schoolboys told BAT they are eating a very popular ‘kuih’ of glutinous rice with dried prawn filling called ‘Kuih Kelupis’.

“This is what we have for snacks around this time of the day,” said one of the schoolboys who shied away when their picture were taken by BAT.

They told BAT that they bought the kuih from the vendor nearby, pointing in the direction of a stall  where a lady was busy selling local cakes, puddings and delicacies.

Traditional kuih seller Dayang Rafini told BAT that the locals, especially the younger villagers in Sundar village, referred to any glutinous rice wrapped in a leaf as ‘Kuih Kelupis’.

“Actually it is the same as Pulut Panggang. The difference is that in Lawas or northen region of Sarawak the locals  prefer to wrap their glutinous rice filled with fried and  pounded dried prawns in ‘nyirik’ leaves instead of banana leaves,” she said smilingly.

According to Dayang, they preferred to used the nyirik leaf which is in the shape of the turmeric leaf as the nyirik leaf is stronger than a banana leaf.

“The leaves are plentiful here and the aroma of roasted glutinous rice in nyirik leaf is quite similar to those wrapped in banana leaves but the locals preferred the former,” she said.

Dayang, who got her supply from fellow villagers, price her kuih at three parcels for RM1 at the stall provided by the Sundar District Council where she had to pay RM84 annually.

Like fellow vendors, she usually opens   her stall selling all types of traditional kuih only during the weekends and especially on Fridays and Saturdays when there are more people in town.

Roasted glutinous rice in nyirik leaves is very popular among the Kedayan people of Limbang and Lawas.