One of the good things about visiting Sarawak is their wide array of local — not to mention cheap — food. That being said, here are the 12 Local Food You Should Try in Sarawak.
1) Sarawak Laksa
Unlike your usual mackerel-based asam laksa variety, there is no trace of fish in Sarawak laksa. Instead, they serve it mainly with prawns, chicken slices/shredded chicken and bean sprouts. The laksa typically uses bihun (vermicelli rice noodles) while the shrimp-based broth is a combination of sambal belacan, galangal, lemongrass and sour tamarind. Coconut milk is also used as a soup thickener to help make the broth more robust and flavourful.
2) Kolo Mee
It may look like a simple dish reminiscent of instant mee goreng straight out from the packet. But kolo mee or mee kolok is a favourite among many locals in Sarawak. It basically consists of thin, springy yellow noodles tossed in a light sauce, complete with char siew slices, minced meat and spring onions. The word “kolo” literally means “dry-mixed” in Chinese.
3) Kueh Chap
If you are a fan of pork dishes, kueh chap should be in your must-try list upon visiting Sarawak. This traditional Hokkien dish basically consists of flat noodles (kuey) served with pork innards and meat altogether and cooked in a pork-infused broth.
4) Stir-Fry Midin
When it comes to vegetable dishes, midin is among the most popular choice among many Sarawakians. It is actually a type of wild fern and typically cooked in a stir-fry style with sambal belacan. This simple dish can be easily found in most hawker stalls, coffee shops and restaurants.
5) Tomato Kuey Teow
Most of us come across the usual version of fried and wet kuey teow. But tomato version? Well, you can find this in Sarawak. And as the name suggests, tomato kuey teow consists of flat rice noodles served in tomato gravy with prawns, chicken slices and vegetables.
6) Sarawak Kek Lapis
Sarawak kek lapis or “layer cake” in English is a traditional dessert that comes in different vibrant colours. The base of the cake itself is made from the simple combination of eggs, flour, milk and butter. But what makes Sarawak kek lapis such a favourite among many locals is the choices of different flavours.
7) Manok Pansuh
Also known as ayam pansuh, this traditional Iban dish consists of chicken slow-cooked in a bamboo tube until tender over a wood fire. Other ingredients are added as well, which include garlic, ginger, lemongrass, salt, shallot and tapioca leaves. The dish is typically served with steaming white rice.
8) Oyster Pancake
Sarawak’s version of oyster pancakes is different than the usual starchy varieties typically found in Peninsular Malaysia. They are rather thin and crispy using a combination of eggs and flour with oysters in the centre. You can either dip it in light peppery soy sauce or just enjoy it on its own.
Think of it as an Asian version of bagel. Kompia is actually a traditional Foochow snack, consisting of oven-baked buns that come in a soft or crispy layer. This snack is typically stuffed with savoury meat and gravy.
10) Sago Worms
The word “worm” itself is already more than enough to make one’s stomach feel queasy. But it happens to be a popular local delicacy, particularly the indigenous Melanau people in Sarawak. These sago worms are said to be creamy in taste and can be eaten alive or fried. Definitely an acquired taste and probably better suited for more adventurous foodies.
Here is another Melanau delicacy, which consists of fish with sliced onions, chilli and salt with a squeeze of sweetish calamansi limes. Umai is typically served with roasted sago pearls.
Can’t decide whether you should order a coconut or sugar cane drink? If that’s the case, why not choose both? And by both, we don’t mean by ordering them separately. But rather a drink that literally combines fresh sugarcane and coconut water served with peeled coconut flesh for some added bites. A must-have thirst quencher best enjoyed on a hot, sunny day.