Lemang is a popular Raya dish though not so easy to procure overseas. ― Picture by Ham Abu Bakar
Lemang is a popular Raya dish though not so easy to procure overseas. ― Picture by Ham Abu Bakar

BANGKOK, Aug 1 — Amid the Covid-19 pandemic and limited flight slots to travel home, many Malaysians overseas have no choice but to celebrate Hari Raya Aidiladha abroad.

For many, this means not only having to miss out on the festive atmosphere of Hari Raya Aidiladha, but also the two must-have Raya dishes—lemang and rendang.

Luckily for the Malaysian diaspora in Bangkok, Thailand, this wasn’t the case as those who could not return home this year still managed to enjoy the two special dishes, which were specially prepared by the Malaysian Embassy staff in Bangkok.

The special project, “Lemang4Fund”, initiated by the Entrepreneur Bureau of the Sports and Welfare Club of the Embassy of Malaysia in Bangkok, aims to raise funds for the club’s activities and provide a taste of Malaysia to Malaysians and others in Thailand.

Deputy chief of mission at the Malaysian Embassy in Bangkok, Suzilah Mohd Sidek said the embassy’s home-based staff (all the officers and spouses of those attached at the agencies under the embassy) took about 14 hours to prepare 100 sticks of lemang, 48 sets of chicken rendang as well as six banana blossom (jantung pisang) rendang, which is a vegan version of meat rendang.

“We got the orders within a week… This is the first time we’ve made lemang for sale.

“The best part of this whole exercise is that everyone took part in preparing both the lemang and rendang. It created a Raya mood and we also learned the process involved in making lemang,” she told Bernama.

Meanwhile, Counsellor Mimi Kaur Ramday said the Hari Raya Aidiladha Open House, hosted annually by the embassy in Bangkok and much anticipated by Malaysians unable to return home, had to be cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

“To continue the tradition of tasting the traditional food during festive seasons, we decided to make lemang and sell to Malaysians here.

“We hope this will give them a taste of home and ease their homesickness,” she said. — Bernama