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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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