MUKAH: Siet sisam (chopped sago worms or ulat mulong), a traditional Melanau dish that was very famous in the past, is rarely found today.
Usually, it is now only produced if there is a need.
Recalling his memories, Kampung Tellian Daya resident Selahat Sera said the process to prepare siet sisam is actually very simple and easy.
“The palms of mature sago trees that have been cut down will be left for 40 days before being split open to find ulat mulong.
“The crownshaft (flared leaf base) should not be thrown away because we need to clean it to be used as a base to chop the worms together with roasted sago and a little salt,” he explained, adding that siet sisam is very good to enjoy with daun paus, a type of traditional vegetable (ulam) that is only found in the forest.
Further elaborating, the 82-year-old said the traditional dish, which has a fairly creamy taste, requires about one to two kilogrammes of ulat mulong for adequate serving to one big family.
“In the past, every time I entered the forest, my late wife and I would definitely make this dish to be enjoyed together with fresh water from the river, usually after looking for forest products.
“Back then, water from the river was very clean and could be consumed directly but not anymore as it is now polluted. So, siet sisam now is more suitable to be enjoyed with hot tea,” Selahat said.
Members of the public who want to try this unique Melanau traditional food should visit Mukah.
And as it cannot be found anymore in the market, you should politely ask the locals so that they can help prepare this siet sisam for you.