Mouth-Watering Dishes of “Land Of The Hornbill”

Sarawak Dishes
Sarawak Food

People say you can learn about a culture in a different country through their food, and I don’t doubt the truth behind that statement. Although I didn’t have to go to a different country to taste the authenticity and diversity of another ethnic’s food. Sarawak, the “Land Of The Hornbill” certainly caters for the curious palate, no matter where you’re from.

There are many similar dishes that can be found in Peninsular Malaysia and in Sarawak but there are also some very distinct type of dishes that are very local. Nevertheless, Sarawak dishes are still delicious and rest assured, completely edible.

Sarawak Traditional Home-Cooked Food

While I was in Sarawak, I visited many places, especially the cooperative villages and the tourism industry they have for the public. There, we were always served plentiful of food and the most popular amongst the dishes was definitely the popular “Stir-fried Midin with Shrimp Paste” or known as Sayur Midin Goreng Belacan in Malay.

Sarawak Traditional Food
Top right: Stir fried Midin with Shrimp Paste (Midin Goreng Belacan)

My friends and I would be spooning that into our plates before anything else.

What is Midin? Midin (also known as Milin or Bilin) is a type of jungle fern that can be found in tropical South East Asian countries. Midin can also be found in Peninsular Malaysia although, since you can find abundance of Midin in Sarawak, it has become a very familiar vegetable dish at homes and restaurants and very popular in Sarawak. When stir-fried with shrimp paste, it is more aromatic and delicious, especially eaten with fragrant rice.

Sarawak Food

Then there’s the Ayam Pansuh or literally translated as “Chicken Cooked in Bamboo”. Just as the translation suggests, the chicken meat is cooked in bamboo that is covered with tapioca leaves from the cassava plant. Seasoning is added with water stuffed into the bamboo before the bamboo is placed next to the fire.

The Ayam Pansuh is usually prepared for celebrations or festivals.

Sarawak Dishes
In the making of Kek Jantung Pisang (Banana Flower Cake)
Sarawak Dishes
Kek Jantung Pisang that took almost 2 hours to complete. Sweet and soft.

The Kek Jantung Pisang is a traditional cake made from generations. Using flour, baking powder, eggs and sugar, to be cooked in frying pan will get a finalized cake that tastes sweet and spongy. Now, the making however, would require a lot of patience because a medium-sized plate cake will take nearly 2 hours to make. The making of this layered cake needs you to be flipping, taking out, putting in and repeating the same process until you get the desired size for you and your family. Hence why this cake is quite pricey and is also said to be the origin of the famous Sarawak’s Kek Lapis or Layered Cake.

Other famous Sarawak dishes? How about the Sarawak Laksa or Kolok Mee (noodle)? You have got to come to Sarawak to try the authentic food yourself!

Sarawak Traditional Dishes – Commercialized Food

There are quite a number of commercialized food available but the most popular is definitely the Sarawak Kek Lapis or Layered Cake.

You can find the Kek Lapis in many different flavours and colours. The cheaper cake is made with margarine and due to this, the cake tastes slightly bland and it doesn’t last very long. The more expensive cake is made with butter. It tastes sweeter and the expiry date is longer than the cheaper version.

Be careful where you buy the Kek Lapis in Sarawak. Choose well.

Sarawak Traditional Dishes
Sarawak’s popular Kek Lapis can be found in many flavours, colours and locations. There is the margarine version or butter version.

Learning About A Culture Through Food

Sarawak has some of the most interesting food for the adventurous taste buds – be it Halal, or non-Halal. It is always a great experience to learn about a culture through their traditional dishes.

If you happen to be in Kuching, Sarawak, the n the Top Spot Restaurant is definitely one of the favourites with tourists. If you don’t know where else to find authentic Traditional Sarawak Dishes, then you should visit Top Spot Restaurant to tantalise your taste buds.

Sarawak DIshes
One of the most famous restaurants in Kuching, Sarawak. And a haven for travellers.

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Sarawak Dishes
Ice Cream Gula Apong

Written by 

LizzaBella is a part-time traveler, amateur photographer and videographer and writer. Connect with LizzaBella through her social medias today!

34 thoughts on “Mouth-Watering Dishes of “Land Of The Hornbill”

  1. I miss my adventure in sarawak too! ๐Ÿ™‚ sayur midin is best at its simplicity.

  2. I’m not too adventurous with my food when I am on the move. I don’t fancy getting into trouble with my gut. I do, however, enjoy Ayam Pansuh and I think that’s what I had the most over the other dishes.

    1. I’m not much of a foodie but I don’t mind trying new things when I travel, especially if I wouldn’t be finding them anywhere else. Yes, I think the Ayam Pansuh is delicious – when cooked right.

  3. Oh wow… I won’t mind trying some of these traditional Sarawakian food…. have not actually really try any….

    1. You should try some Miera. I’m not sure where to find the really authentic Sarawak cooked food in Peninsular but if you do make way to Sarawak soon, you’ve got to try some of their specialties!

  4. Oh dear.. the food looks delicious.. I’m hungry now after seeing the food pictures. (:

  5. I lived there for 3 and half years when my dad was transferred there to work. Love the place, give me peace of mind.

    1. They’re not as fast paced as us here in KL, I think I would enjoy living there for a while too.

  6. Only thing I always heard about when it comes to Sarawak is Kolo Mee. LoL. I kept thinking that aside from the usual food, that’s the only specialty they have.

    1. I think maybe because Kolok Mee is easier to find in Sarawak (I mean, you can get them in the local Food Court and all) but there are other equally (if not more) delicious specialties in that state actually.

  7. Aliza sara says:

    Getting a taste of actual natural flavours of the world ๐Ÿ™‚ Proud to be sarawakian

  8. Not much opportunity to try out Sarawak cuisine, but I like the colorful Sarawak layered cake ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Owh the layered cake are delicious, especially the ones made with butter. Yummy just thinking about it.

  9. oh my goodness, my homeland food. my eyes opened wider and mouth start to water just reading this post. thanks for it.

    1. I’m sure you can cook some of these then. It must be nice to be able to cook them yourself, for your family. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I love Sarawak food, especially the Sarawak Laksa with the lada hitam sarawak the best! I can eat more than 2 bowls hehehe.

  11. i read land of the horny. ooo..

    good food here la, but i need my meat. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. HAHA! What is on your mind Isaac? ๐Ÿ˜›
      You need meat all the time? There are also meat type specialty (like in the main photo), but I don’t recall the name. Heee

  12. wah, first time I heard about Sarawak food introduced… So we want to try it!

  13. Never been to Sarawak but heard so much about their food and Kuching food festival… thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome. Hope you’ll be able to try them yourself and rate the deliciousness level. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Every time I go to Sarawak, I must have a plate of midin sambal belacan for every meal.

    If only they have it in abundance in Peninsula Malaysia!

    1. Me too! Since I always need vege in every meal, midin is the first that I look for each time. Just love it!

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