There’s nothing quite like Sarawak food. With remarkable diversity and flavours, Sarawak’s unique culinary styles continue to delight locals and tourists alike. Whether it is Sarawak Laksa or Labo Senutuq (Kelabit style shredded beef), the rich tastes and aroma of Sarawak’s amazing food are guaranteed to have you coming back for seconds or thirds, maybe more so. With that in mind, let’s explore some of the key aspects of Sarawak’s food & culinary culture.
Influenced by myriad of cultures
If you spread out a table with various Sarawak cuisines, you will discover that the food is as diverse as the State’s multi-ethnic population. Each native group in Sarawak has a delicacy that is iconic to their respective groups, their own food identity. The Sarawak Malay are famous for their spiced-up rice porridge called Bubur Pedas. Meanwhile the Iban have their Tuak (rice wine). The Melanau people are famous for their Linut (a delicacy made from sago starch) and the Chinese have their Kacangma (motherwort) and Kueh Chap (flat rice noodles in pork broth topped with sliced pork meat and innards).
On top of that, we have the seasonal ‘dabai’ fruit, or better known as Sarawak black olive, as well as the popular vegetable midin (jungle fern). Of course, breakfast staples like Kampua Mee and Mee Jawa are also shared heartily on a kopitiam table regardless of each one’s cultural identity.
Herbs and spices from backyard
Having access to fresh herbs planted in your backyard help a great deal in making your dishes like salads and soups taste better. The natives of Sarawak who live in kampung (villages) are lucky to be surrounded by plenty of natural herbs and spices like tepus (red gingerwort) and black pepper. In fact, if you venture into the villages throughout the State, you will find the precious king of spices cultivated in abundance. Alternative, tourists who come for a visit in Sarawak, who are looking for quality Sarawak black pepper, can purchase them from a reliable and trusted homegrown brand GWS Foodchains. Read more about it on https://www.borneotalk.com/5-reasons-why-every-household-needs-to-have-gws-foodchains-sarawak-pepper/
Cooking Tools & Techniques: Back to basic
The culinary culture in Sarawak emphasises on different styles of food preparation and use of local ingredients. Among the back-to-basic cooking techniques are preserving, acidic dressing and using the readily available materials from the jungle.
The Dayak, particularly the Iban and the Bidayuh use bamboo quite a lot in their cooking. The most famous dish cooked with the bamboo is none other than Manok Pansoh (chicken in bamboo). There’s also the salted Ikan Terubok, which goes perfectly with hot rice and enjoyed for lunch or dinner. Who can forget the Umai? Raw fresh fish slices are “cooked” in an acidic dressing made with lime juice and salt as well as other ingredients to give the Melanau raw fish salad its “oomph”. The Orang Ulu are famous for their dishes like Nuba’ Laya (mashed rice wrapped in leaf and a variety of other unique dishes.
Surely these are the perfect candidates for your #TravelLater to Sarawak. They are in fact just a tiny fraction of the amazing array of food to be discovered in Sarawak. So come on down to the beautiful Land of the Hornbills, for an exciting gastronomic adventure.