The 1,000 year old Brunei food

Do you know what this guy is doing?

He is making sago by pressing on the cut rumbia tree trunks. Ambuyat is made from sago which is in powder form. To make sago, a rumbia tree is cut down. The trunks are cut into pieces and crushed. While crushing water is added to it. The remnants of the crushings are washed and when dried, sago will be obtained.

In the old days, crushing was done manually. This is what this guy is doing - crushing. In the old days too, the water added while crushing would be from the river and not treated water. I think the ambuyat from the sago in the old days would have much better character than today's bland transparent ambuyat. So many other ingredients were added to it.

If you visit the factory in Ukong, Tutong, today's process have changed tremendously. The tree trunks now go in a machine. All the crushings and treating are done mechanically and no human hands touched the sago until it is ready to be placed in plastics ready to be sold. Much has changed.

What you didn't know is that sago as a food has been described in Brunei more than 800 years ago written in Chinese records. You can read about it in my article tomorrow in the usual Golden Legacy column in Brunei Times.


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