LEMANG, NOT JUST ANOTHER MEAL FOR ISLAMIC CELEBRATIONS

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In Indonesia, lontong, lemang, and ketupat are typical foods that are cooked and eaten together during Islamic religious celebrations, such as Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Not only to be enjoyed with family members, the Muslims usually deliver and share these foods with their neighbors. A very beautiful culture that reflects religious tolerance in Indonesia.

Another issue where local wisdom becomes a clash of opinion when its origin is unclear and historical and cultural slices occur between several regions and even adjacent countries, is one of three mentioned above, the typical foods of North Sumatra: LEMANG.

In Medan City, when it was still dawn and most people were not ready to get out of bed, we visited a family who had been preparing to cook lemang since 3 am.

Although it has not been officially registered as a legacy of any country, which it should have been, Lemang is said to have come from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei Darussalam. In Indonesia itself, Lomang (Batak), lemang (Malay), and lamang (Minangkabau) are three names spoken to describe a method of cooking rice using a bamboo container.

 

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USED AS A COOKING METHOD IN LONG-DISTANCE TRAVELS IN THE PAST

The time needed when lemang begins to be burnt on lit firewood (first phase) until it is roasted over the coals (second phase) is quite long, this process takes about 4-5 hours and requires constant attention. Therefore, this method is not used in the normal daily rice-cooking activity. The preparation of lemang can be an event in itself, as people often take turns watching the bamboo to make sure they cook evenly and not get burnt.

This method in the past was used on long trips if rice cooking utensils were not available, hence people used bamboo that they found along the trips. Thus, this bamboo-style cooking method becomes very tactical in long-distance travel.