Kampung Baru Bubur Lambuk
The preparation of savoury rice porridge by the villagers of Kampung Baru has evolved into a famous tradition during Ramadan.
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The adage of too many cooks spoiling the broth certainly does not apply to the cooks of Kampung Baru's famous Bubur Lambuk. On the contrary, it seems that the more cooks join in the process of making this savoury rice porridge, the better it tastes. Presently, a team of about 20 cooks and assorted helpers convene at Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru daily to prepare this Ramadan specialty that is distributed for free to everyone after the afternoon Asar prayers.
A typical day for the cooks and helpers begins early in the morning with preparation of the ingredients used to make this savoury rice porridge. A few kitchen helpers are assigned to cut the ingredients which will later be mixed into the rice porridge when it is cooked, whereas some others are tasked with preparation of the meat. The cooking session starts at 8am and it is all done by 12pm. Despite the heat from the huge boiling rice porridge pots, the air is cheery as the men exchange jokes and converse amongst themselves. Many media outlets usually cover this tradition and everyone not only enjoys the attention given but also tries to make it an enjoyable event. It is truly a labor of love and care, and those involved are filled with a sense of duty that motivates them to do this every day during the Ramadan month for so many years.
The smell of the savoury rice porridge grows stronger as one approaches the kitchen area. There are around 18 different ingredients including spices that go into the making of this dish, and either chicken or beef can be added. One pot of rice porridge will yield approximately 400 to 450 packets of rice porridge. The amazing thing is that though the packet is securely tied from morning to evening when it is time for distribution, the rice porridge packet stays warm right until then and does not turn rancid.
The Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru has created such a reputation that it has attracted many offers of sponsorship from interested parties. Most of these parties offer to sponsor any of the ingredients used whereas others give monetary assistance. In fact, the demand for the bubur lambuk made by Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru is so good that the mosque makes special arrangements for government agencies that donate to pick up the rice porridge at 2pm so that the staff get to partake in this delicacy. The general distribution made to the public is done at 5pm after the Asar prayers. In addition to Malays, Chinese and Indian folks also join the crowd at 5pm to take the food. Perhaps what makes this particular bubur lambuk so special, other than the fact that it is delicious, is also the camaraderie and joy shared by the cooks, the sincere heartfelt sense of charity that supports this simple yet endearing effort to give something back to the community at large.