Lemang being cooked in hollow bamboo pieces
Alternative namesLamang
TypeRice dish
Place of originIndonesia[1][2][3]
Region or stateWest Sumatra
Associated cuisineIndonesia, Singapore, Malaysia,[4][5] Brunei[6]
Main ingredientsGlutinous rice, coconut milk
Similar dishesSticky rice in bamboo, Daetong-bap

Lemang (Minangkabau: lamang) is a Minangkabau[7] traditional food made from glutinous rice, coconut milk, and salt, cooked in a hollowed bamboo tube coated with banana leaves in order to prevent the rice from sticking to the bamboo. Originating in Indonesia, it is also found in Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei, as similar dishes made from sticky rice in bamboo are common throughout Mainland Southeast Asia.

Lemang is traditionally eaten to mark the end of daily fasting during the annual Muslim holidays of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha (Lebaran).[8]


Sticky rice in bamboo is known as a ubiquitous traditional food in many traditional Southeast Asian communities. In Minangkabau culture, lemang, or lamang is a traditional food which consists of glutinous rice or tapai that is used in various traditional ceremonies, mainly in West Sumatra, Indonesia. According to Minangkabau tradition, the cooking technique of lemang was first introduced by Sheikh Burhanuddin. However, lemang are also known as traditional foods of other tribes in the Southeast Asian region, and their cooking method is still very ancient and depends on natural materials and ingredients, including bamboo tubes.[2][9]

In early Indonesian literature, lemang was mentioned in Marah Rusli's 1922 novel Siti Nurbaya, in which Nurbaya unwittingly eating a poisonous lemang due to Meringgih's evil scheme.[10]

Cooking method

Cooking the lemang bamboo tubes.

The bamboo contains glutinous rice, salt and coconut milk that is placed onto a slanted position besides a small fire with the opening facing upwards. It should be turned regularly in order to ensure the rice inside the bamboo is cooked evenly. The cooking process takes about 4–5 hours. Lemang is often served with rendang or serundeng.

Distribution and traditions

In Indonesia, lemang is associated with Minangkabau tradition of West Sumatra.[2][11] Nevertheless, rice cooking method using bamboo tubes is widespread in the region, including Brunei,[12] Minahasa, Dayak and Orang Asli tribes.[citation needed] The Minahasan version of this dish is known as Nasi Jaha, which is cooked in the same method.[13]

In Minangkabau tradition, lemang making is called Malamang. Lemang is incomplete if it is not eaten together with tapai, so they are likened to a man and a woman by Minang people. Lemang itself describes the togetherness of Minang people because its making process is always done together. There are several taboos that must be obeyed in making lemang and tapai. Lemang are also used as gifts when visiting other people’s homes, for example, when visiting in-laws or manjapuik marapulai ceremony.[2] However, there is no symbolic meaning behind the obligatory existence of lemang at traditional ceremonies. On the other hand, lemang and tapai are famous for their unique taste produced by the chemical components in their ingredients. In this article, the origin of lemang and tapai, the philosophy and presentation of lemang in the traditions of the Minangkabau people, and the flavor features of lemang and tapai from a scientific perspective are discussed.[2]

Iban people usually prepare lemang for celebrations such as the harvest festival of Hari Gawai, lemang is usually eaten with meat dishes such as chicken curry. The cooking process used in making lemang for many different meats, also known as pansoh or pansuh by indigenous Dayak communities.[14]

In Kerinci Regency, Jambi, lemang is cooked inside nepenthes and the dish is called lemang kantong semar.[15]

Similar Dishes

In the Philippines, particularly in Pangasinan, there is a similar dish called binungey. The process is similar to lemang, but the bamboo tubes are shorter, and there is no banana leaf lining.


See also


  1. ^ "Lemang", Taste Atlas
  2. ^ a b c d e Eda Erwina (2014-05-08). "Lemang, Cerita Tradisi Malamang Dari Sumatera Barat". Merdeka.com (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2020-05-21.
  3. ^ Azzahra, Dhiya Awlia (2020-05-20). "5 Fakta Unik Lemang, Makanan Khas Sumatra Saat Puasa dan Lebaran". idntimes.com (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  4. ^ Vol. 3, pt. 2 comprises a monograph entitled: British Malaya, 1864-1867, by L.A. Mills, with appendix by C. O. Blagden, 1925.
  5. ^ Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Issues 1-6, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Malaysian Branch. 1878 - History
  6. ^ Bahrum Ali; Bandar Seri Begwan (September 8, 2009), "'Lemang' stalls are found everywhere", The Brunei Times, archived from the original on December 10, 2015
  7. ^ "Lamang dan Tradisi Malamang pada Masyarakat Minangkabau". Kemdikbud.
  8. ^ Cecil Lee (September 22, 2009), "Travel Snapshot – Celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri With Lemang", Travel Feeder
  9. ^ Yovani, Tania (December 2019). "Lamang tapai: the ancient Malay food in Minangkabau tradition". Journal of Ethnic Foods. 6 (1): 22. doi:10.1186/s42779-019-0029-z. S2CID 209325826.
  10. ^ Kaya, Indonesia. "Warisan Sastra Indonesia Dalam Lantunan Lagu Dan Tarian Di Drama Musikal 'Siti Nurbaya (Kasih Tak Sampai)' | Liputan Budaya - Situs Budaya Indonesia". IndonesiaKaya (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  11. ^ "Lemang". Tribunnewswiki.com (in Indonesian). 2019-07-18. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  12. ^ Bahrum Ali; Bandar Seri Begwan (September 8, 2009), "'Lemang' stalls are found everywhere", The Brunei Times, archived from the original on December 10, 2015
  13. ^ "Jika Sumbar Punya Lamang, Minahasa Punya Nasi Jaha". Republika Online (in Indonesian). 2016-11-19. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  14. ^ "'Ayam pansuh' — A Sarawak exotic delicacy loved by many", Malay Mail Online, June 28, 2015, retrieved July 14, 2016
  15. ^ Rohman, Taufiqur (8 May 2019). "Lemang Kantong Semar, Uniknya Kelezatan Kuliner Khas Kerinci". phinemo.com (in Indonesian). Retrieved 27 May 2023.