Sri Aman in Sarawak is famous not only for its annual Pesta Benak but its culinary treasures as well. Here are some of the district’s famous dishes you ought to give a try, and one that is worth stopping by for on the way to Sri Aman.
Sungai Tenggang’s Famous Pak Lo Duck
Mui Fah is home to one of the best Pak Lo ducks in these parts. Located at a row of shophouses less than an hour before you reach Lachau, the coffee shop attracts visitors from faraway places, hungry for their decades-long family culinary legacy.
Mr Then started his Pak Lo duck business 32 years ago, following advice from his mother. The recipe is closely guarded, and the end result is a Pak Lo duck that is surprisingly succulent and tender. The skin is springy and pleasantly rich without being overwhelmingly fatty, and the whole dish is just bursting with flavour. The two-hour cooking time also results in an intensely meaty sauce that is not overly sweet, and whose smell is simply enticing.
Sri Aman’s ‘Char Kueh Goreng’
Sri Aman’s famous ‘Char Kueh Goreng’ or fried rice cake can be found at a stall in a coffee shop with yellow walls and blue awning near the famous Sri Aman market. The stall faces the road and has a red sign with white wordings that read ‘Char Kueh Goreng’.
Stall owner Poh Choo Ngang has been selling his char kueh for 28 years now, although his mother started the business 45 years ago near the Sri Aman Waterfront. Poh’s char kueh has been made traditionally since the 70s. Choose from salty or sweet char kueh. The former is fried with soy sauce, egg and some diced turnip. The sweet variety contains palm sugar or ‘gula apong’ and has the perfect balance of sweet and savoury. Simple yet flavourful, Poh’s fried char kueh is worth the long trip. “A lot of the customers like to ‘tapau’ (take away) instead of enjoying the char kueh here. Tourists even bring them overseas,” he said.
Poh sells his fried char kueh starting 6.30pm daily except Sundays, and closes when there are no more customers.
Fah Lok Cafe’s Satay Mee
Every place has its own signature dish. Sri Aman has its Satay Mee (Satay Noodles). And Mr Chung, whose parents’ satay business back in those days inspired his famous dish, created the original Satay Mee back in 1979. Many have since tried to come up with their version of the dish but none can come close to the real deal.
Mr Chung’s Satay Noodle is crispy and fragrant, and is smothered in a wonderful homemade satay sauce, and topped with pork.
Mr Chung’s coffee shop, located at an old shop lot at the Sri Aman Waterfront, opens from 7am to about 1pm. The locals will be glad to help you out with directions.