Sarawak is a melting pot of cultures right from Malay to Chinese to Indian and then there are tribes and sub- tribes including those in the highlands where unique and exotic ingredients found in forests are used for cooking. Sarawak cuisine is naturally an amalgamation of all these communities making it a cuisine distinct from other parts of Malaysia.
The staples of the cuisine are rice (Bario rice from highlands is famous), maize, palms like sago, nipah, pantu, coconut, meats like fish, poultry, beef and pork and vegetables such as pumpkins and yams. It uses natural herbs like lemongrass, turmeric, tapioca leaves, tengayen (local young leaves) lime, chili, garlic, pepper and ginger which add aroma and texture to the food. The Sarawak cuisine cooking methods are stir frying, grilling, frying and boiling besides food being cooked in traditional bamboo tubes.
Popular dishes of Sarawak
Kolo Mee – a traditional egg noodle/flat rice noodles dish tossed in a light aromatic sauce and topped with minced meat and garnished with fresh spring onions and is eaten with broth,Sarawak Laksa – a very popular dish which features a shrimp based broth made with sambal belacan, sour tamarind, lemongrass enriched with coconut milk, bean sprouts shrimp and chicken slices, fresh mint and lime, Manok Pansoh – bamboo chicken, Bidayuh asam sok – chicken rice, Umai – raw fish mixed with lime juice, Acar timun – sweet and sour pickle, Belacan bihun – rice vermicelli in gravy, belacan tamarind, dried shrimp, garnished with cured cuttlefish, julienned cucumber and bean sprouts, Bubur Pedas – rice congee cooked with spice paste, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, coconut and chillies, Ikan terubuk masin – toli salad is an iconic delicacy of Sarawak, Kompia – a Chinese bread made with meat, onions, salt and flour, Manok Pansoh – is a traditional chicken dish seasoned with bungkang leaves lemongrass, ginger and tapioca leaves and is cooked in bamboo tube. Nasi aruk Sarawak – is a traditional fried rice dish, Naso Goreng Dabai – is a stir fried rice dish cooked with dabai, an indigenous olive like fruit found only in Sarawak, Roti canai goreng Kapit – is a flatbread made with flour, fat and water and fried in oil and is served generally with chicken curry, Sup Terung Dayak – is a soup dish made with wild eggplant combined with fish/shrimps, Tomato nee – is a noodle dish made with tomato sauce, Sarawak Popiah – Sarawak spring rolls, Chwee Kueh – steamed rice cake.
ABC Apong – sugar and ice dessert, Jagung Milo – a combination of shaved ice, condensed milk, sweet corn and milo is a traditional desert, White Lady – a legendary dessert from Kuching is a combination of juicy fruits, condensed milk, fruit jellies and lemon on top, Kek Lapis – Sarawak layer cake, Tebaloi – a sweet cracker made from Sago starch, egg, coconut and sugar and Gula Mitai – candy floss.