The Melanau make up around 5.8% of Sarawak’s population. They mainly live along the coast between the Rejang and Baram Rivers. Some Melanau are pagans, some are Muslims and the rest Christians. Because they live near the sea, the Melanau build tall longhouses as a precaution against pirate attacks.
Unlike most of other Borneo people, the Melanau preferred daily food is sago, rather than rice. During my visit to the Melanau tall house, I also went to see sago processing.
The sago palm can usually be found growing in the coastal swamps.
To process sago, the palm is cut down at the right stage of maturity. The trunks are then stripped and split. The sago pith is rasped into a coarse, wet mash. Next the sago mash is piled on strong mats over shallow troughs. The starch is left to settle in the bottom. When the starch has completely settles out of water, it will be collected for further draining, kneading and drying to get sago flour.
The sago flour can be further refined to produce foodstuffs such as biscuits, breads and cakes and pearl sago.
To end this entry, I bring you a video clip showing the Menyak Dance, a traditional Melanau dance portraying the process of sago making.
The Sarawak Cultural Village – Melanau Tall House by Life Is Like That, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Malaysia License.