In this 2-part series, Urban Knife Guy explores different types of modern Malaysian parangs as well as Malaysian parang makers.
Parang is Malay for a large broad knife, similar to what is known as a Machete in the west. The parang originates from the Malay archipelago with versions from Borneo, which is east Malaysia today, West Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines.
The Malay archipelago is the region that makes up most of what is known as Southeast Asia today.
History of the Malaysian Parang
The exact origins of the parang are unknown but it is clear that different regions in Southeast Asia had different designs and purposes for the parang. These different designs continue to this day. Most cultures used a parang purely for agricultural and farming purposes. But some used it as a weapon.
In modern times, the name Parang is used mainly in Malaysia as well as some parts of Indonesia such as Java.
Other parts of Indonesia like Kalimantan call it a golok.
In the Philippines, it is called bolo, itak or gulok.
Each of these different types of knives has distinct design characteristics such as the blade shape and handle.
Today, there is much cross-influence for the design of parangs. Think of it like food. Many cultures or region may have their own version of the same dish. They may be called different names and are slightly different from each other, but it is still recognisable as the same dish.
This series specifically focuses on the modern Malaysian Parang.
Malaysian Parang Makers
There is quite a wide variety of Parang makers in Malaysia.
For the mass market, Sam Lee is an established brand that makes hardware and gardening tools. These parangs are inexpensive and come with plastic handles as well as plastic or PU sheath. There are also a plethora of small unknown traditional parang makers across the country.
For the more upmarket production parang makers, currently, the most well-known brands would be MyParang made in Bidor, Perak. A good product and marketing have made this brand well known around the world through international distributors.
Parang Tantari from Johor is a newer brand but makes good parangs and shows they do think about improvements based on user feedback.
Parang Lipis from Pahang is also one of the more prominent brands with distribution across the country.
Then there are about 20 artisan makers and up-and-coming manufacturers like FF Blades, Fursan Blades, HD Ironworks, Hot Rat Blades and EZ Blades, to name a few.
Below is a list of parang makers, brands and manufacturers in Malaysia. If you are a parang maker and would like to be added to the list, please send an email to urbanknifeguy(a)gmail.com.
Kwong Yuan Loong, Bidor, Perak
Parang Tantari, Kahang, Johor
Parang Lipis Cap Dal, Kuala Lipis, Pahang
FF Blades, Ipoh, Perak
Fursan Blades, Shah Alam, Selangor
Pembuat Parang Kota Belud, Kota Belud, Sabah
EZ Blades, Klang, Selangor
Parang Mentaus, Simpang Durian, Negeri Sembilan
Hot Rat Blades (OMG Distribution), Puchong, Selangor
ILI Golok, Taiping, Perak
Legacy Blade, Bemban, Melaka
Duan Tzr Tikey Blade, Batu Kikir, Negeri Sembilan
AZ Custom Knives, Kuala Selangor, Selangor
NI Blades, Changkat Ibol, Perak
Pak Ali Parang, Tmn Melawati, KL
Tukang Besi Adik-Beradik Lai, Kampung Langkap
Pawel Family’s Parang Making, Kota Belud, Sabah
RDM Blades, Temerloh, Pahang
SevenBlades, Shah Alam, Selangor
Ranger Blades, Keningau, Sabah
Izal Knife Maker, Shah Alam, Selangor
Bengkel Parang Tradisi Kota Belud Sabah, Kota Belud, Sabah
Asmadey Pembuat Parang, Kota Belud, Sabah
Sam Lee, Rawang, Selangor