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Friday, 9-Dec-2005 00:00 Email | Share | Bookmark

ikan tahai
Ikan tahai yang dibungkus

Malay Word: tahai
Dialect: Melayu Brunei
Malay Meaning: ikan atau udang yg dikeringkan
English Translation: dried fish

LIMBANG has shed its old quiet, little town image and emerged as one of Sarawak's busier centres. The division, which comprises the districts of Limbang and Lawas, and measuring 7,800 sq km in size, is easily accessible either by air or land.

The new airport opened earlier this month can accommodate planes such as the Fokker 50 and the 19-seater Twin Otter. Those coming by land could drive from Miri town in 2½ hours.

Taxi driver Hamid Draman, 62, said Limbang has become more modern and dynamic. The town now enjoys more and better infrastructures, comparable to other major towns in Sarawak.

He said the town was once rather quiet and visited mainly by Bruneians. Currently, it has many visitors from other divisions in the state who go there not only to witness the celebrations but also for a change of scene.

The town has turned into a destination for people from northern Sarawak and surrounding areas including Brunei, Labuan and southern Sabah who visit it “for a little entertainment” and to shop, especially for the popular Bario rice, seafood and household needs. Situated next to Brunei, Limbang enjoys a steady stream of visitors from the oil-rich country, especially on Thursday and Friday, which are public holidays in Brunei.

On these days, Limbang town turns busier than ever, especially at the Pasar Tamu where the visitors can buy an assortment of marine products, rice and agricultural produce. The visitors from Brunei, many of them traders and contractors, bring with them not only foreign exchange but also business to the locals.

Yusuf and his wife Manah Berahim, 54, who sell Bario rice and other foodstuff, also offer unique products such as the popular ikan tamban salai or ikan tahai. Lovers of Bario rice, grown on hillsides, can buy it in white or reddish colour. It is sold for between RM12 and RM16 a gantang (1 gantang = 2.4kg).

Also available in the market are various types of glutinous rice including the Pulut Jawa which is used in the making of wajik, a sweet sticky rice cake popular in many parts of the country.

Those visiting the tamu for the first time should not be shocked if they are told by ikan tahai sellers that the food is good for masak dadah. Ikan tahai masak dadah is actually the Limbang version of the masakan cili api which is popular in Negri Sembilan. An ikan tahai seller in the Pasar Tamu, Azizah Mohamad, 43, said ikan tahai is actually small ikan tamban which have been smoked.-BERNAMA-

Picture taken: Pasar Tamu Limbang, Sarawak

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