It is folk knowledge that in Sarawak, the wild bamboo shoot season is from July to August, and sometimes even September.
Once the season arrives farmers and their families would be foraging for wild bamboo shoots and also digging for them in their own farms. There are many varieties of edible wild bamboos in Sarawak and in Borneo in general.
Some bamboo shoots are bitter, while some like Betong variety, is so sweet and tender that it is almost like meat.
During the season in the middle of the year, bamboo shoots would be readily available in the market, natives’ market or tamu and even in the supermarkets. They will be packed in plastic, or sold in little baskets while some are already boiled. Sometimes one can find the hawkers peeling the bamboo shoots for their customers to indicate how fresh they are.
In the Ulu or kampong,proud mothers would ferment and salt (kasam) the freshly harvested bamboo shoots. Once ready for cooking, usually after three days, the sourish bamboo shoots would taste fantastic when boiled for a long time with wild boar bones.
This is an excellent and memorable dish to serve guests and VIPS who come to the longhouse.
Today as more and more indigenous food stalls start to operate in the cities, this kampong dish is also served to very happy customers. The fermented bamboo shoot is sourish and it makes the soup very appetizing for both young and old.
Fermented bamboo shoots can be kept in clean jars for months at home. It is such a popular delicacy in Sarawak.
Changyi, Grace Methodist Church, Miri