Being Kampung People in Sabak Bernam

Explore Sabak Bernam, a village in Selangor heavily influenced by Javanese customs since many who live descended from this ethnic group.

Sabak Bernam.

Explore Sabak Bernam, a village in Selangor heavily influenced by Javanese customs since many who live descended from this ethnic group.

Following the inaugural #KitaKeKampung familiarisation trip that brought the members of the media, bloggers and influencers to Sepang, the Selangor State Cultural Council (MKNS) and Selangor State Economic Planning Unit (UPEN), together with Gaya Travel Magazine, collaborated again to stage the second #KitaKeKampung trip.

To recap, #KitaKeKampung programme is an initiative developed by MKNS and UPEN to showcase the merits of the traditional villages in Selangor and make the general public realise the significant role these villages and their respective communities play in this day and age.

What is traditional village?


For the second #KitaKeKampung familiarisation trip, 30 local and international journalists, bloggers and social media influencers were brought to Kampung Parit 2, Kampung Parit 3, and Kampung Pasir Panjang, all located in the district of Sabak Bernam, Selangor. Majority of the residents living in these villages identify themselves as Javanese, while the rest comprises those who are of Minangkabau, Malay, Banjar, Kampar, and Bugis descent.

In a span of four days and three nights, the participants of the second #KitaKeKampung familiarisation trip were given the opportunity to experience living like locals by participating in various kampung (village) activities.

The following are what went down during the trip…

Traditional food demonstration

When the participants were introduced to Kampung Parit 2, they realised that this village is heavily influenced by Javanese customs since many who live descended from this ethnic group. Hence, the participants not only tasted, but also learned some of the time-honoured recipes such as sambal taun, ubi ketiwol, sambal hijau ikan bilis, ubi getok, and roti canai. Surprisingly, some of these delicacies are so rare that the younger generation might have heard of their names in passing but never tasted them before.

Sambal taun is a type of traditional paste that can expire in over a year! Its ingredients include galangal, coconut milk, sugar, salt, dry shrimps, garcinia atroviridis, and chilies, which is the most important ingredient since it functions as preservative. The sambal can be cooked with chicken, meat, or cow’s organs like the skin, stomach and intestines.


We also learned how to make a traditional snack called ubi ketiwol, made from coconut, brown sugar and cassava. Firstly, the cassava needs to be dried for three days before being crushed into flour. It will then be steamed until its colour turns soft yellow, then mixed with grated steamed coconut and brown sugar.

‘Baling Kelapa’ game

Playing ‘baling kelapa‘ is not easy as it may seem.

Similar to bowling, ‘baling kelapa’ is a simple kampung game that is played using plastic bottles that are filled with water and coconut. The plastic bottles become the pins while the coconut is treated as the ball. Whoever knocks over the most bottles wins; though it does sound simple in theory, it is quite hard because the coconut is not perfectly round in shape and can easily veer off course!

Making trumpet using coconut leaf

Trumpet made of coconut leaves.

Some traditional games can be as basic as involving only a piece of coconut leaf. Do you know that you can from convert a coconut leaf into a trumpet with praiseworthy results? Imagine when the participants of the#KitaKeKampung trip blew their own trumpets made from coconut leaves together – the whole affair turns hearteningly celebratory!

Making a scarecrow

Scarecrow is a type of mannequin that resembles a human figure largely used to repel the birds from coming over and eating the crops. Since Sabak Bernam has vast paddy fields, scarecrows are common in these villages. We experienced making scarecrows using wood sticks for the body, old coconut for the head and unused old clothes to don the figure. The scarecrow needs to appear scary or furious to chase birds away.

Enjoying kuda kepang

Kuda kepang performance at Kampung Parit 2.

Kuda kepang (flat horse) is a prominent cultural dance originated from Java. It is performed by all-male dancers with specific roles accompanied by an ensemble of traditional musical instruments, mostly percussion. The dance is often associated with spirits whereby at one point, the dancers will go into trance and become possessed by animal spirits, leading them to do unusual things like ripping off coconut husks using teeth, eating flowers, and walking on burning coal.

Catching catfish

Catfish is one of the common fishes that can be found in paddy fields. Though it stings, this no-scale fish is actually delicious and popular to be turned into traditional dishes like pecal lele. The participants experienced catching catfish in the middle of paddy field using their bare hands. Though it initially looked scary and muddy, this activity made everyone excited after their first catch, prodding them to catch even more!

Visiting a corn farm

In a nearby village, Kampung Pasir Panjang, there is approximately 100 acres of land, so vast that it is said that every family owns a corn farm. The type of corn planted here is sweet corn, whereby the seeds are imported from Taiwan, China, Thailand, and parts of Malaysia. As the name suggests, this type of corn is literally sweet and can be eaten raw! Most of the harvested corns are sold to nearby villages, including other areas in Klang Valley. Besides being eaten raw, the corn can also be converted into lepat jagung (sticky rice dumpling with corn wrapped in corn leaves), corn juice, cucur jagung (corn fritters) and more. The corn leaves can even be turned into handicraft products!

Laman Tebu Aidil Orked

Belonged to Aidil Mohamad, this place in Kampung Parit 3 is actually a unique restaurant occupying both sides of a long trench near the owner’s house amidst a sugarcane plantation. The place is best visited in the afternoon when it serves simple but exquisite dishes like kepak madu (honey grilled chicken wings), tongkeng madu (honey grilled pope’s nose / pygostyle), nasi lemak with fried egg and laksa (spicy noodle soup). It tastes even better when consumed with sugarcane, watermelon, or pineapple juice, which are all available here.

Wak Lee, King of Bonsai

Some of Wak Lee’s self-crafted bonsais.

Ramlee Ishak, 56, who is better known as Wak Lee has been planting bonsai since 26 years ago. After learning from few Bonsai Masters in Kelantan, he puts his skill and passion into practice at his house in Sabak Bernam until now. In September 2020, UPEN Selangor recognized him as ‘Raja Bonsai’ (King of Bonsai), an award to acknowledge his expertise in bonsai cultivation and demonstration skill. According to Wak Lee, the value of bonsai tree is depending on its maturity – the older it gets, the more expensive it will be. But generally, a bonsai tree can be bought from as low as MYR30 to as expensive as MYR40 thousands! Those who are interested to buy his bonsais can contact Wak Lee at +6013 266 3994.

Travellers who would like to experience some of the activities in Sabak Bernam can contact Homestay Sungai Haji Dorani at +6 013 607 7025 (Abd Rahman Daud).

This article is featured in Gaya Travel Magazine Issue 15.2. Read other contents HERE.

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