Monday, November 15, 2010

Green "Bungkus"

Found! Hawker stalls that are still practicing the old fashioned way of "tapau"-ing or "bungkus" (take away) the food.

We were taken by Yvoone, another raptor counter, to the old hawker food center next to the taxi stand or the morning market area in Taiping town, Perak. It was  tough for me to decide what to eat and which stall to choose from. Upon seeing this "uncle" (stall owner) scooping the fried noodles into a green leaf with newspaper to wrap the whole thing, I was excited.

And so I ordered his fried kuey teow (flat noodles).

I must admit that I was hungry as well and so I didn't manage to take any pictures of the fried noodles. Sorry.

So, what was so special about the old-fashioned "bungkus"?

From the picture above, there are only 2 pieces of items: one is the green leaf inside and the outside is the newspaper. The green leaf is not banana leaf as most of us perceived. Banana leaves are commonly used to wrap food especially our nasi lemak. For this case, this leaf is from Simpoh Air tree (Dillenia suffruticosa). Please see the bottom of this post for the tree information.

As the tradition method of takeaways is slowly losing out due to the convenient of polystyrene boxes and plastic bags, I was glad to see that these stalls are still around.

With a filled and happy tummy, I was up and about taking these pictures and the local grannys were curious if I was a Myanmar because I didn't speak Mandarin nor Hokkien. I told them that I am a Japanese and they laughed.

After taking the picture of this "uncle" (below picture), I realised that not only his stall is practicing this method. Most stalls in this center was doing the same (only for fried or dried stuffs). Finally, it was good to eat from these stalls that serve you food with real plates, bowls and cutleries. Thanks, Yvoone for taking us there. We will be back there!



  1. Surely a great way to save spending on lavish paper wraps or unhealthy, unfriendly polystyrene packages! Now, the only thing is to spread the practice across the country...

  2. ya i dislike plastic plates.. i like glass plates or the real plates but i cant stand plates that are chipped!!! arrgh... btw,i never seen anyone using these leaves for tapau one... not during childhood either... difficult to get these leaves ke?..wat if everyone start using it, can it be grown quickly?

  3. To Connie: These leaves are rather common actually. The trees can be found on roadsides across the country. But there are many other plants whose leaves are also used conveniently as food containers ie: lotus leaves, bamboo leaves etc.

  4. Polystyrene packaging is the IN thing. How sad! Nice to tuck away from a banana leaf.

  5. Hi JK;
    These practices had been done everywhere decades ago, during my Grandma's time. Now it is the question of how to revert to these practices. People these days are just thinking of convenient... sigh...

    Hi Connie,
    You have to go out more often to the outdoors ba.. Let me take you out-lah.

    Hi Keats The Sunshine Girl,
    Some stalls do use banana leaves but on polystyrene. I don't see the point... sigh...

  6. Dun wan.. u always dont wait for me and u know i cant catch up one.. wah now u have the sabahan slang d.. ba..

  7. Hi Connie;
    Ala... I am older now, fatter and slower as compared than those days. You can catch up ba...
    Sabahan slang? Too much of their "lada" ba..

  8. Excellent...I swear you are always getting a good story!

  9. Thanks, jungle girl :) need more readers like you.


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