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Lelamas Worms: The Exotic Food Of The Melanau People Of Sarawak

Picture: Kamek Miak Sarawak & Jess Ica

A few days ago, the road of Dalat-Sungai Kut in Sarawak has been a stopping place for people to find worms. You might be wondering, “Why are they going through such hurdles to find worms?” Well, it is not just any worms. They are Ulat Lelamas or Lelamaih!

Ulat Lelamas is one of the exotic food of the Malanau people in Sarawak. You would not believe the value of these worms. They are said to be the ‘rich people’s food’ because of their expensive price!

What is meant by expensive is not RM50 per kilogram. Lelamas are RM300 and can go higher to RM600 per kilogram! They are definitely for the rich! That is why people are so excited about them that they want to catch the worms themselves!

It is not easy to catch Lelamas. These animals only appear during a certain season, which also becomes the reason why they are so expensive. These worms can be found on ‘kayu nyatah’ trees.


Picture: Jess Ica

When hunting for Lelamas to eat, we need to wait until they are mature. If not, they will taste bitter. Thus, to know if a Lelamas worm is mature to be eaten, we will see it wrapped in leaves with their silk. If we are lucky, we will find two of them, wrapped together in one leaf.

Lelamas can be eaten raw. Nevertheless, Melanau people also boil them and use their creativity to make a perfect dish from the worms. Lelamas are described as delicious!

Have you eaten this exotic food before? What do you think?

Source: J.A17 (YouTube), Jess Ica (Facebook)

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