October 1, 2017

Sarawakian Local Delights : Nipah Salt made in Sarawak

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Nipah salt or garam apong has a special significance for people who lived  through the Japanese Occupation in Sarawak. The Chinese also call it Attap Salt. Nipah leaves are called attap leaves and are used to build roofs in Sarawak.

When the Japanese took over most of South East Asia, trade routes were cut off and important supply lines were stopped. Salt, sugar and rice in particular became extremely difficult to get.

The Chinese especially suffered a great deal because they were not only economically but politically suppressed by the Japanese in China and South East Asia.

So when the Chinese were able to obtain some nipah salt, they were very grateful.

My mother, in her late teens then, remembers how precious the nipah salt was. The community had to secretly cut down nipah leaves to make nipah salt according to her. Most of the Foochows who lived in the Rajang Basin were fairly far away from the sea. Sibu was 70 over miles from the sea coast.

Due to malnutrition many Foochows also suffered from beri beri and other diseases.

Today nipah salt is getting rather rare and some research has found that the salts may have many health benefits.

We have a merciful God who has created wondrous things for us for our every day needs.

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