Friday, April 10, 2009

Scenes - Sarikei, 6th Division - Jakar town

Jakar article featured in Borneo Post
13 April 2009

Jakar 1994
Note the unpaved road at the shops

Jakar is like a frontier town of Sarikei because when you pass by this transit town, you sort of sense that you are leaving Sarikei town. It like when you pass the gigantic tree of Serian, your mental compass tells you that you are leaving Kuching.

Jakar 2009
View from Repok Road towards Sarikei

Jakar is 7 miles along Repok Road from downtown Sarikei. With the good road condition nowadays, people drive up here for makan angin (relaxation) and a snack.

Jakar River 2009
Left view - driving towards Sarikei

The landmark of Jakar is the Jakar River bridge which has been around since the 1960s or earlier (does anyone know?). I recall adults telling me that there were crocodiles in this river. Crossing this bridge in the 1960s-1970s had been scary to me as a kid as I peeped out of the car window above me while the car's mini fan swivelled noisily.

Jakar pepper mascot (former). Year?
Source: Tuan Lokong

Why was the pepper mascot not considered by many as the landmark of Jakar? I guess it was because the mascot was not done properly for both the former version (the big berries looked like some fruits) and the current version. The current skinny pepper vine version looks more like a truncated cucumber and does not do justice to such an important chapter in Sarikei's and Jakar's history.

Jakar pepper mascot (current). Year?
Source: Tuan Lokong

Why was pepper an appropriate town symbol? In 1883 (Source 1), Cantonese pioneer in Sare, Yu Bao (Yu Poh) 余保, was exporting a batch of red wood 红木 to Indonesia and saw the pepper cultivation there and struck an eureka moment. He brought back 10 pepper plants but only 3 survived the long journey back. From there, pepper planting boomed in hilly Sare (Source: 2) and to nearby Jakar and other parts of Sarikei via other Cantonese. Sarikei used to produce 80% of Sarawak's pepper and was the #1 pepper producer in the world.

Jakar Peking coffeeshop. 2008
Source: Sixth Seal

Jakar Peking coffeeshop. 2012
Source: Sarikeians

Jakar Big Prawn Noodle, 2008
Peking Restaurant
Source: Rudy Paradise

Bloggers have been raving about the big prawn noodles at Peking coffee shop (next to the pepper mascot). At MYR$15 per serving, it's reputed to be worth it. Please wear dark clothes when savouring this because you have to tackle the big prawn to get to the flesh.

Jakar stir fried wild boar, 2009
Source: Chen SL

If you have a more adventurous palate, Jakar has always been known for their wild game servings. Take a walk on the wild side!

1) Sibu Chinese History Collection 詩巫華族史科集, 1992
2) Sarikei Cantonese Association, 122th Anniversary issue, Dec 2007


Nelson said...

Don't forget Jakar has shop houses on both sides of the river. sometimes i use the jakar-murutu road to sarikei.

Daniel Yiek said...

Borneo Post just emailed that they would like to publish this post in their Community page. I said sure. More people will stop by for the food soon!

Tuan Lokong,
Pls note that they will use your pepper mascot picture (the current mascot).

I didn't venture to that side of the Jakar-Merudu road. Will try it once day.

Anonymous said...

spent quite a few of my childhood days at Jakar, visiting my grandmum and uncles, who resided near to the bridge. Heard abt the crocodile stuff too.

Jakar did not change much over the years. The road linking Merudu and Jakar has many big and nice houses though.

Nelson said...

there are new shop houses in jakar now. along the road to merudu and nearby St. Martin's school.

justin said...

I have a good memory of Jakar where I ate a good meal once. The meal was good because we were very hungry driving for the first time from Miri and the road was pretty bad. We did not want to turn in to Sarikei as the gravel seemed to get bigger and bigger. It took as another three hours to reach our friend's long house. Thanks to the towkay who cooked the last order for us before he closed shop!! those were the days. I never drove again to second Division again as my friend moved away for good. But we will remember Jakar.

sarawakiana said...

My family and I often passed Jakar and stop by for a meal. One Chinese New Year even though we were rushing we had to stop because a passenger needed to eat. So we had a sort of quick lunch and the Chinese towkay was actually preparing so many dishes for Chinese New Year Takeaway!! This was before the Cling Wrap days and we saw lots of flies. ThePork legs were all dressed in red and the large prawns looked good. But we were too worried about the flies to buy any dish!! Sorry about this comment.
I still remember the noisy bridge.

Tuan Lokong said...

Friends that is my favorite Restaurant. The "Mee Sop Udang" Uuuu fantastic(Provided it is cooked by the Towkay). I used to asked him.

Daniel, I feel honored that the pictures was well received, guess if we take it using latest HD version camera would be even better.

Those days are gone...The coffee shop & Restaurant at the left other end had been divided used to be one big kopitiam.

We still go all the way from Sarikei town to Jakar just for any eating moments. Parking space is easy, unlike in Sarikei especially in the morning periods.

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