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 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.
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.
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.
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. 2012
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.
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