Sarawakians love eating sambal. It is a spicy condiment that is used as a side dish. The most common sambal is sambal belacan. Chili is pounded together with toasted belacan (processed shrimp paste) in a stone mortar. Sometimes, ikan bilis (anchovies) and sweet sour mangoes are added. Salt, sugar and lime juice are the last items mixed in. It is usually eaten with cucumbers or ulam (raw leafy herbs) in a meal of rice and other dishes. Another version is fried belacan with chili that is popular among the Chinese.
Organic food in Sarawak has yet to pick up as a major industry, but we still have our own organic food “store and supplier” – our jungles. If you frequent the local pasar or markets, we are endowed with sellers of these organic jungle produce.
As if the local delicacy that is belacan (processed shrimp paste) isn’t enough, Bintulu is also famous for cincaluk. Cincaluk is actually shrimp paste that is pickled and served as a side dish. Chilies and lime are added to give more zing to it and it can be eaten with cucumbers or in a meal with rice and other popular local dishes. Like belacan, cincaluk is an acquired taste for those unfamiliar with Sarawak cuisine. It has a strong aroma and a salty bite to it that might repel those used to less exotic foods. However for those brave enough to try this local treat it promises to grow on them.