SIBU: Sibu is the largest port and commercial centre in the Rajang Basin and the gateway to central Sarawak.
There are many unique places and local delicacies one can find in Sibu town.
One of the delicacies is kompia or Chinese bagel. Kompia is one of Sibu’s most famous, and favourite, buns. It is an iconic pastry that has been a part of the Foochow community for centuries.
Nowadays, it is one of Sibu’s signature food items, a must try when in Sibu, especially fresh from the coal oven.
Every morning, there are people waiting at one of the kompia shops here.
The bakery, owned by a husband and wife team, still makes kompia the old school way – slapped around a brick oven.
It’s cooked by the ambient heat from the brick/stone oven while a lot of places have turned to the modern oven. The taste is totally different.
According to traditional kompia maker Ling who runs the bakery in one of the back lanes in the heart of Sibu, kompia is a delicacy of the Foochow community.
“It is a local delicacy one must try while in Sibu. It is not only famous among the Chinese community, but also a big favourite among the Bumiputera and tourists,” she told New Sarawak Tribune.
Ling added that kompia was prepared by flattening the dough with a rolling pin, then spraying it with a little water just before sesame seeds are sprinkled on top of each dough.
The bakery use almost 100kg of flour for making kompia daily.
The dough takes two hours to rise before being baked in the charcoal-heated oven for 20 minutes. The bakery bakes up to 200 kompia at any one time.
Although most of their customers are locals, they do receive orders and walk-in customers from other towns.
There are two flavours – salty and sweet. A salty kompia is sprinkled with sesame seeds while the sweet one is just plain. These days, there is also the cheese-flavoured version. They are sold at RM1 for three.
Kompia is available daily from 6.30am until they are sold out, usually before noon, at many shops in town.