June 10, 2010

Seria Brunei - Tamu Day

Seria is world famous as an oil town with lots of expatriate communities and well organised ungated residences. The town itself is made up of four or five blocks of two or three storeyed shop houses. It is not at all busy and fast moving. People still stop and have a short conversation with friends while others are very helpful to strangers who ask for directions.

While many of the shops are run by the Chinese many are run by Indians. Most are sundry goods shops while a few are the typical shops of a developing town : watch shops - electrical and CD shops - barber shops to name a few.

But on a Friday a very delightful little pocket of mobile hawkers gather together near a padang to market their jungle and vegetable products for the discerning customers who hanker for fresh and traditional food from the home garden or the jungle. A colourful group of shoppers would come around to a just as colourful group of vendors to exchange pleasantries and to talk about old days and traditional food.

Some would come for grandmother's antidote for headache and others would come for some wild red spotted ikan keli which are not pond reared and a delicacy for the old timers.

This kind of market or tamu has old charms and a very relaxing atmosphere. What is very nice is the mix of languages and dialects which are very pleasant to the ear. And one can often go away from this scene with a handful of interesting purchases and a few good memories to last another week!


Colourful scene.


Going away from the tamu with  plastic bag full of goodies and a lightened heart.

Flowers as vegetables too.


Jungle edible rattan. (selaris)

Heart of palms which are good as cures for headaches and high blood pressure.

A man preparing the jungle rattan for the customers. All customers get freshly peeled hearts of rattans on the spot.


Some of the husband and wife teams of hawkers are so pleasant to the customers that they would come back again and again.

As for me visiting a tamu is often a very pleasant weekly event for me to relive a pleasant and relaxing evening with good  and helpful people. At times it is even de-stressing . Sometimes I come home with some traditional  native vegetables which help me to de-tox when I chance to see them.

10 comments:

The Observer said...

true true, destressing... a place i'd like to go to and look around. Ignorant city people won't be able to appreciate this.

sunflower said...

Oh my goodness! You made me so home sick. I haven't been home for quite a few years. Is Seria tamu still at the padang next to the Malay school? Is the tamu day on Saturday or it is Friday Evening to Saturday Morning.

Love Tamu, I am KB girl so always go on Sunday to the one in KB and sometime in Seria.

Tamu in Miri is very good too.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Observer
I believe some city folks also drive all the way to a certain part to meet up with tamu hawkers and buy stuff they cannot get in supermarket....

If you do have the time...it is indeed a de=stressing activity to just saunter through the tamu....

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Sunflower...

Tamu in Seria is on Friday evening...I am not sure about Saturday (as I would be in Bandar)..and it is still next to the school...Hope you can come back for a tour...Brunei and Miri have changed quite a bit!!

Ann said...

How does the rattan taste like?

Next time I visit Sarawak, I would like a trip to all the local food.

Ah Ngao said...

i think the rattan taste something like bamboo shoot also - never try before.healthy fibrous vege i think

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann
When you come to Sarawak...there will be plenty of local food waiting for you...

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ah Ngao

When eating rattan shoots one has to be careful...always cook it fresh and for the afternoon meal..it does taste like bamboo shoot but some good ones are very sweet.

Trust is important...some rattans are poisonous so be very careful.

Ann said...

In Mulu jungle, the rattan have a lot of prickles. If I have to process this, I would refuse to eat it. KUNG FU more than rice. Too much work.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hahaha Ann

to eat the heart of the rattan one has to work very hard...and then one must know one's rattan's very well too...only one is poisonous so far...I forgot the name...and the rule is always "find" the rattan before mid day.

Nang Chong Stories: My Ngie Goong Donated a Piece of Land

The Lau Clan of Sibu. Headed by Lau Kah Tii (Headman). 1933. Photo most probably taken by Rev. Hoover who was a good friend of the family....