Kitchen Tips

5 Local Delicacies of Sarawak

The perks of knowing more about Malaysia lies the diverse culture and cuisine that has endless options to offer.

You will quite literally be spoilt for choice with the plethora of food from Peninsular Malaysian coast ( Terengganu and Kelantan) or the East Malaysian land (Sabah & Sarawak).

Sarawak is famous for its multi-ethnic population of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Penan, Kayan and other indigenous people like Orang Asli and that is why it is a melting pot of cultures.

Sarawak cuisine is less spicy and has a subtle in taste. It uses fresh seafood and natural herbs like turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, lime and tapioca leaves. These ingredients are not only easily available, but also add a hint of aroma, texture and freshness to the delicacies.

Here are 5 local delicacies of Sarawak you must savour:

Bario Rice

Bario Rice is a staple food, which is named after the Sarawakian highlands where it is cultivated. It is regarded by the natives as the best and finest rice from the highlands of Sarawak. The rice, as per the natives, is known to be eaten only by the longhouse chief on special occasion although it is now available in Sarawak restaurants.

Manok Pansoh

Manok Pansoh is the most common dish among the Iban tribe made of chicken and normally eaten with white rice. Chicken pieces are cut and stuffed into the bamboo pipes together with other ingredients like mushrooms, lemongrass, tapioca leaves and cooked over an open fire – similar to the way lemang is cooked.

Manok Pansoh -5 delicacies of Sarawak

Image Courtesy: used under the Creative Commons Licence


Umai is a raw fish salad popular among various ethnic groups of Sarawak, especially the Melanaus. It is a traditional working lunch for the Melanau fishermen and is prepared raw from freshly caught fish, including Mackerel, Bawal Hitam and Umpirang, that are thinly slivered along with onions, chilli, salt and the juice of sour fruits like lime or assam. It is usually accompanied by a bowl of toasted sago pearls instead of rice.

Umai -5 delicacies of Sarawak

Image Courtesy: Cindy K used under the Creative Commons Licence

Bubur Pedas 

Bubur Pedas is cooked with a paste made of spices, turmeric, lemon grass, galangal, chillies, ginger, coconut and shallots. Bubur Pedas is prepared during the month of Ramadan and served during the breaking of fast.

Sarawak Laksa

When in Sarawak, who can miss the Sarawak Laksa? The deliciousness of this dish is the local spin which has a unique mix of heavy spices, sambal belacan, plus toppings of prawns, chicken and egg.

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