'Tat bengkulu', the traditional delicacy of the Bengkulu Malays

Last update: 28/12/2019

GEMAS, Dec 28 -- To many, ‘tat bengkulu’ may sound alien but the delicacy is no stranger to the Malay community of Bengkulu descent, and has long been a must-have especially during the festive season.

Creamy and sweet, and resembling a curry puff with a unique pattern on its surface, this pastry is traditionally produced by the local Bengkulu community in Kampung Bangkahulu, Gemas.

Meet one of its exponents from Kampung Bangkahulu, Enson Abas, 70, who has been in the tat bengkulu-making business since 1970, using a family recipe she inherited.

“Those days, the pastry used to be bigger. Now it is made to fit the coconut-based filling and is usually served during the festive season. I don't make this cake just for Hari Raya, as I want it to be enjoyed often.

"I also receive orders for wedding and engagement ceremonies," she told Bernama recently.

“I receive more than 2,000 orders in one month and during the holiday season, it can reach up to 6,000,” said Enson, whose orders come from residents in her village and outside customers.

The mother of three who can make about 300 pieces of 'tat bengkulu' per day, said she charges 50 sen for each piece.

“To make the pastry, I use flour, sugar, eggs and coconut milk and I make two types of filling, coconut and pineapple.”

Enson said strawberry, chocolate and other types of filling are also possible, but she prefers coconut which is the original filling for the delicacy.

“My hope is that the younger generation of the Bengkulu community knows and learns to make this delicacy. Do not let it disappear into oblivion because it is our pride and heritage", she said, adding that she has passed on the recipe to her daughter.