LONG LAMA: The Chinese steamed buns or ‘bak pau’ filled with minced meat, egg slices and fine slices of ‘jicama’ (local turnips) at the Aik Thai shop here are favourite hearty snacks for mid-morning coffee breaks among the locals.
The shopowner, who wants to be identified only as Mr Lee, boasts that his Chinese steamed buns are the best in town, popular among the locals and a must-try for visitors.
His claim is backed by nearby shopkeepers, who disclose that the recipe is handed down by Lee’s grandmother, who was well known for making the buns.
“These days, my aunt makes the buns for me to sell at my shop as her side income. We do not really sell a lot, maybe around 50 buns in the morning,” he told the Borneo Post Adventure Team (BAT) 7 yesterday.
“The bun is the same everywhere but this local version, I can assure you, is slightly different from those in other towns,” he added.
Lee revealed that only his aunt inherited his grandmother’s skills in making the buns and he hoped to keep the tradition going as his cousin (his aunt’s child) had more interest in making the buns than his paternal side of the family. He sells each bun for RM2 and said that by midday, they are usually sold out.
“Usually on the weekends, my aunt supplies me with 10 or 20 more buns’ otherwise, it is of the same quantity,” he said.
Lee also recommended the local Long Lama ‘bak chang’ – the glutinous rice dumplings.
He said that these dumplings, which he sells, are stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves. Moreover, they are made by his relatives.
BAT7 bought from Lee two pieces, at RM2.50 each, to taste the popular local version of ‘bak chang’.
For vegetarians or those who do not like meaty snacks, they can always try the jicama fritters at the Tek Huat shop in town.
“It goes really well with a locally-made sweet chilli sauce – chilli blended with garlic, onion, vinegar and a sweet sauce,” said a local shop assistant, who recommended to BAT7 the snack.
“We get the fritters from a local supplier daily and if you never tried it, you might mistake it for deep-fried yam cake. It has a succulent texture that just melts in your mouth,” she added.
She said the fritter sells for RM1 apiece and is very popular among school-children on weekends when they come to town.
BAT7 also met 17-year-old Veronica Mujan Peterus and her brother 15-year-old Raphael Tabong Petrus of Long Miring, who are students of SMK Long Lama. At the time, they were waiting for their favourite food to arrive at the eating section of the Long Lama wet market.
Veronica, who aspires to be a teacher, and her brother, who wants to be a veterinarian, said they both loved the local snacks in town – particularly the stir-fried noodles that is served soaked in gravy.
“It is recommended, very tasty and can last longer in our stomachs,” quipped Veronica, who was more extroverted than Raphael.
“We do not know much about food, but we recommend all the good snacks and dishes in town to the visitors,” she said, laughing away as their noodle orders arrived. Each plate of the stir-fried noodles with gravy costs RM3.50.