Sunday May 14, 2017
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The hawkers open stall at this stretch of road at the back of Seri Kembangan’s commercial area. — Pictures by Choo Choy MayThe hawkers open stall at this stretch of road at the back of Seri Kembangan’s commercial area. — Pictures by Choo Choy MayKUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — Broaden your horizons by visiting the Pasar Borneo held every Saturday at Seri Kembangan. At this community market that has around 20-25 stalls, you have a chance to sample a slice of the Borneo culture without hopping onto an aeroplane.

Started in April last year, the idea was mooted by local Iban community leader Duwen Babat to Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming as a way to help the Borneo folks do business here.

These stalls are run by Borneo folks who have relocated to the Klang Valley. Most of them are doing this business on a part-time basis.

If you are clueless about what the items are, just ask around and they will be happy to educate you. Customers come from as far as Melaka, Penang and Klang to buy their Borneo products.

The market is also a treasure trove for fresh produce. Foreign to us locals, these are ingredients that most Sabahans and Sarawakians love and grew up with.

Terung Iban that is also known as Terung Dayak is a local aubergine that has a distinct sourish taste.Terung Iban that is also known as Terung Dayak is a local aubergine that has a distinct sourish taste.For instance, Midin or the fresh fern tops unique to Sarawak, hence the ones sold here are brought over. Similarly, the Terung Iban, Daun Sabong and the list goes on.

If you have a green thumb, there is one stall selling the seeds for these vegetables and chillies. Try growing these indigenous vegetables on your own, just like how Ling Sanggau has done.

In the Gallery


  • Preserved fish with Kepayang leaves and rice is a popular item at the market. — Pictures by Choo Choy May

  • You can get Pansuh Ayam or Pansuh Perut Ayam cooked in bamboo tubes.

  • Pickled jellyfish or Obor-Obor is sold by the packet.

  • Pickled Tuhau can be purchased by the packets.

  • Sago flour can be used for baking or even mixed with water to create a thick paste that is eaten.

  • Tuhau is a popular ingredient here and you can find it fresh, pickled or in this case, made into Serunding Tuhau.

  • Two types of Ensabi Dayak vegetables are available here: fresh Ensabi and this pickled version known as Kasai Ensabi.

  • Ling Sanggau is one of the enterprising traders who sells locally planted fresh Ensabi Dayak vegetables at the market.

  • Condiments such as soy sauce made in Borneo with their unique taste are sought after to recreate dishes.

  • These leafy vegetables can be stir fried.

  • The Salai Ikan is smoked for many hours to preserve it.

  • Salai Ayam or smoked chicken can be shredded and added to soup to give it a strong flavour.

  • This stall sells a variety of preserved items from Pekasam to Salai Ikan and Salai Ayam.

  • Preserved fish like this Pekasam with rice is a popular method to give extra flavour to their food.

  • Kepayang seeds have to go through a long cleaning process to ensure they are not poisonous.

  • The midin is picked from the wilds of Borneo.

  • Packets of unpolished Borneo black rice can be bought.

  • Belacan from Bintulu is highly sought after as it is believed to be incredibly fragrant.

  • You can find unique canned foods directly imported from China to Borneo like this canned Peking duck with preserved vegetables.

  • Various handicrafts from Borneo is also available here.

  • Masnah Umbat models the traditional Kelabit headgear made with beads and the Iban selendang.

  • Colourful beads or manik used to create various items.

  • An iconic childhood treat are the King Kong biscuits.

  • This pork free version of kolo mee is from Mee Kolok Aroma.

  • If you are hungry, order kolo mee topped with chicken coloured to resemble char siew slices.

  • Look for Raul Fareira's stall, Mee Kolok Aroma that serves freshly cooked kolo mee.

  • Terung Iban that is also known as Terung Dayak is a local aubergine that has a distinct sourish taste.

  • Upa Lalis that is recommended for those suffering from high blood pressure can be boiled, grilled, pickled and cooked with ikan bilis or coconut milk.

  • Most of the stall owners are doing this business on a part-time basis.

  • Almost every stall has this delicious Kuih Penyaram that is made from gula apong.

  • The Borneo Market's committee's deputy manager Nilisip Juin with his mother-in-law, Inek Aloumis who runs a stall here.

  • Pouring the batter for Kuih Penampang to be fried.

  • These Cili Putih that are originally from Sarawak is sought after they are not too spicy.

  • Shop for bottles of Sarawak black peppercorns and the unusual peppercorns that smell like mint.

  • Nasi Kuning, the Borneo version of nasi lemak is sold here.

  • Look for this Hinava prawns and Kerabu Rumpai Laut that is made using a traditional recipe.

  • Adventurous gardeners can try to plant the Borneo vegetables here using these seeds sold at the market.

  • Daun Sabong is from the melinjao tree can be just simply stir fried or eaten in a soup.

  • Wood ear fungus is plucked from the Borneo jungle.

  • As fresh Dabai or olive is hard to get, the market sells salted Dabai skin in packets.

  • Kacangma herbs ready to be cooked into a popular Borneo confinement dish.

  • Lumut Cheese, a type of Sarawak layer cake with a cream cheese layer.

  • Luscious Butter Cakes’ Cindy Wilfred is a self-taught baker.

  • Colourful Sarawak layer cakes that are steamed or baked by Masnah Umbat.

  • You can cut up the Rebung Sawit and cook it with coconut milk.

  • These dried yellow noodles have a slight prawn taste.

  • The hawkers open stall at this stretch of road at the back of Seri Kembangan’s commercial area.

The lady peddles Ensabi Dayak which can be sold out within one hour of opening her stall. She gets a farmer in Puchong to plant the leafy vegetable that has a similar taste to mustard greens.

There is also the pickled version that has a slightly bitter taste. She also has Cili Putih that is planted locally which is sought after by many Borneo folks for its not too spicy taste.

Another popular ingredient is Tuhau, a type of wild ginger. In the market, it is sold in various forms: fresh, pickled with chilli sauce or even serunding style where it is mixed with coconut milk.

You will notice that almost every stall has their own version of preserved food. Since modern facilities like refrigerators were not easily available in Borneo, food preservation is a big thing.

The preservation also enhances the flavours of the items so people have gotten used to that strong taste. One popular item is Pekasam where fish is preserved with rice. The Sabahans will add Kepayang leaves to the mixture while in Sarawak, they preserve using the Kepayang leaf or seeds that resemble our local Jering.

Kepayang seeds have to go through a long cleaning process to ensure they are not poisonous.Kepayang seeds have to go through a long cleaning process to ensure they are not poisonous.When eaten raw, the seeds are poisonous. It needs to go through repeated boiling and cleaning to make these crunchy seeds edible.

At the market, you can also find just the Kepayang seeds for sale. Usually it is eaten plain or stir fried with greens. Another method of preservation is salai or smoking.

Usually the fish and chicken is slowly cooked over a slow fire for a few hours. The smoked fish or chicken will usually be cut and used to flavour soup or cooked together with vegetables.

If you are feeling peckish, nibble on a freshly fried kuih penyaram that is sold at almost every stall at the market. This popular snack among the Borneo folks is made from gula apong or the sweetish brown coloured substance processed from the sap extracted from the nipah palm.

You may have spotted a similar kuih here in the Klang Valley but that version usually uses gula Melaka. Wash it down with a bottle of chilled Tenom coffee. The brewed drink is made from Robusta coffee beans from Tenom, Sabah.

If you are hungry, order kolo mee topped with chicken coloured to resemble char siew slices (left). Look for Raul Fareira's stall, Mee Kolok Aroma that serves freshly cooked kolo mee (right).If you are hungry, order kolo mee topped with chicken coloured to resemble char siew slices (left). Look for Raul Fareira's stall, Mee Kolok Aroma that serves freshly cooked kolo mee (right).There is also kolo mee served from Mee Kolok Aroma (https://www.facebook.com/meekolokaromadepenyangkai/), a stall operated by Raul Fareira. This pork-free version is topped with chicken slices coloured to resemble char siew and fried shallots.

The two-year old stall uses freshly-made kolo mee sourced from a Puchong factory run by a Sarawakian. Raul who used to work in the F&B industry set up his stall at Seri Kembangan’s Restaurant The One. It is just located a few doors away from the Pasar Borneo.

If you are a fan of Sarawak layer cakes, you will be spoiled for choice here. For a more traditional taste, there is Masnah Umbat’s colourful creations. Most of them are steamed varieties while just a few are baked.

She sells around 12 flavours; most popular are the Masam Manis and Chocolate Cheese. You even have one called Selipar Jepun that takes its name from those colourful Japanese slippers, and another called Harimau Malaya as it is similar to the coat of a tiger.

Then there is Luscious Butter Cakes (https://www.facebook.com/lusciousbutterbakes/) run by Cindy Wilfred. She is completely self-taught and started the business eight years ago.

When she was staying in Perlis, she learned how to bake the complicated layer cakes. After many wasted eggs (apparently one cake can use up to 25 eggs!) and discarded uneven layers, she managed to perfect her technique.

Her cakes use a non-traditional method as they are made with less sugar and colouring. She also prefers to bake with butter instead of margarine. Popular orders from her online business include the unusual Kek Belacan, named as such since its shape is compact and dense, just like a block of fermented shrimp paste!

Lumut Cheese, a type of Sarawak layer cake with a cream cheese layer.Lumut Cheese, a type of Sarawak layer cake with a cream cheese layer.Essentially it is a chocolate cake made with a special brown sugar sourced from Borneo. Other items like her Lumut Cheese and Red Velvet Cheese are also highly sought after.

For those seeking to recreate the taste of the Borneo dishes here, it is important that the right condiments are used. Hence some stalls sell an array of soy sauce and thick soy sauce from trusted brands they grew up with.

Another crowd favourite is Mi Udang, a prawn flavoured dried noodles. Even the chilli sauce is different, as sworn by their locals. Other goodies include a childhood favourite, King Kong biscuits where two types of biscuits — one milky and another coconut based — is packed in a King Kong emblazoned packet.

Kacangma herbs ready to be cooked into a popular Borneo confinement dish.Kacangma herbs ready to be cooked into a popular Borneo confinement dish.You can also buy packets of kacangma or motherwort that is ready to cook. This herb is often cooked with chicken as a confinement dish. There is also belacan from Bintulu, a place that is reputed to have the best fermented shrimp paste.

One of our most unusual finds was the pepper mint. Said to be plucked from a plant growing in the jungle, these blackish peppercorns have a strong smell of mint!

Aside from food, there are cultural items sold here. You get to see the intricate art of weaving manik that is done by Ellecia Entia who hails from Simunjan in Sarawak. She picked up the skill by watching videos and also by communicating through a WhatsApp group for fellow weavers from Miri, Bintulu and Sibu.

The talented woman also makes the items upon request. If you are looking for traditional clothes, Masnah who makes the Sarawak layer cakes also has a small selection of Kelabit headgear and Iban selendang.

Pasar Borneo
Jalan Jinma 7
Seri Kembangan
Selangor
Every Saturday from 7am to 11am
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pasarborneoSK/

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