Youths in Dong inherit “Buah Kabung” business

RAUB, March 29: While most young people would resort to various online platforms to carry out business, a group of young people in Kampung Bukit Pampong, Dong here preferred to carry out business the conventional way selling “buah kabong”, also known as “buah kanto”.

The fruit of a nipah palm, the “buah kabung” or attap chee, is a common ingredient in local desserts.

Although the process of getting the fruit, which is also known as ‘buah nau” among the community in the northern parts of the peninsula, is complicated and requires a lot of patience, Muhammad Harith Aiman ​​Ismail, 24, along with his friends do not mind the arduous task because of the lucrative income it provides.

Muhammad Harith Aiman regards it as his responsibility to sell the “buah kabung” so that foreigners will not take up the business.

“If I and the young people here do not want to sell the kabung fruit, I am afraid that over time, this business will be monopolised by foreigners because of the lucrative income one can get,” he told Bernama while processing the fruit at a workshop in Kampung Bukit Pampong in here.

Muhammad Harith Aiman ​​said he learned about processing the fruit when he was in school by helping his father, Ismail Ramli, 49, who has been in the “buah kabung” business for decades.

“I left the village four years ago and worked as a security guard in the federal capital for some time, but returned home after finding the job not commensurate with the income. So, I came back to do business with my father,” he said.

 Muhammad Harith Aiman, the eldest of four siblings, ​​said he is also assisted by four friends, Muhammad Denial Hakim Rasul, 21, Mohamad Aqif Syahir Zamri, 19, and Lailatul Syafiqul Hakimi Sabaruddin, 22.

”During Ramadan, we will start processing the fruit as early as 7 am,” he said, adding that they processed between  30 and 40 kilogrammes of the fruit, which they then sell for RM6 to RM7 per packet at a roadside stall.

He said they were able to sell about RM1,000 worth of the kabung seeds a week.

 “Eating the kabung seeds is like eating nata de coco. They have a similar taste and some people also buy the kabung seeds to make porridge, or to eat it with cendol or air batu campur (ABC),” he said.

According to Muhammad Harith Aiman, from Raub,  the most difficult task in the buah kabung business is picking the fruit.

“The itchy reaction when climbing the nipah palm can make you feel uncomfortable, but it can be reduced by applying oil to the body before climbing the palm,” he said.

He said that after picking the fruit, it has to be boiled to soften the skin to remove the seeds which are then soaked overnight before they are ready to be sold as “buah kabung”.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Harith Aiman’s father,  Ismail, also known as ‘mail kabung’, said the fruit is easily available in the village and able to provide a good income.

“I learned how to process this kabung fruit from the elders in the village a long time ago. The fruit is in demand and few know the way to process it for consumption,” he said.