Borneo Tuak Festival 2023 makes history with largest gathering of tuak brands, testament to cultural preservation

Sirai (ninth left) presents an award to one of the Borneo Tuak Festival 2023 vendors during the closing ceremony of the festival held at The Hills in Kuching yesterday (Nov 26, 2023).

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Nov 27: The largest gathering of tuak brands, Borneo Tuak Festival 2023, is a remarkable achievement for the first festival and serves as a testament to cultural preservation, says Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.

The Food Industry, Commodity, and Regional Development (M-Ficord) Sarawak minister stated that the festival featured more than 30 distinct tuak varieties from all over Sarawak, including Miri, Bintulu, Selangau, and even Kuala Lumpur.

“Borneo Tuak Festival 2023 is a sensory journey that celebrates the diverse cultural expressions that define Sarawak as well as the creativity of our brewers,” he said at the closing ceremony of the festival held yesterday (Nov 26) at The Hills here.

Dr Rundi’s speech text was read by M-Ficord’s permanent secretary, Sirai Daha, who represented him.

Dr Rundi went on to say that the inspiring talks and panel discussions with wise elders from the Iban, Bidayuh, and Orang Ulu tribes, such as ‘Tuak Tales: Practises Across Generations, Cultures, and Ethnic Groups,’ provide windows into the intricate tapestry of Sarawak’s tuak traditions.

“These discussions transcend local boundaries, exploring the global potential and innovation within the tuak industry, including biotechnology tuak and a myriad of flavoured tuak.

“This not only deepens our understanding of our culture but also encourages knowledge exchange, fostering a deeper appreciation for our heritage and positioning tuak as a cultural ambassador for Sarawak, beckoning curious travellers to explore our rich tapestry.”

The M-Ficord minister also expressed hope that the Borneo Tuak Festival becomes an annual celebration as it serves as a dynamic platform for intellectual exchange, innovation exposure, and the catalyzation of a tuak industry.

“It can be a platform for our micro to small brewers and businesses, a space where thought-provoking talks and panel discussions become the norm, fostering knowledge exchange and driving the creative spirit of Sarawak.

“This festival has the potential to be a stepping stone to create a new and emerging tuak industry, creating job opportunities and contributing to our State’s economy,” Dr Rundi added.

The event was attended by various dignitaries and officials, including Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts (MTCP) Sarawak Deputy Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew, Youth, Sports, and Entrepreneur Development (MYSED) Sarawak Deputy Minister Dato Gerald Rentap Jabu, Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Native Customs and Law) Datuk Jefferson Jamit Unyat, Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng, and Culinary Heritage and Arts Society Sarawak (CHASS) chairwoman Datin Dona Drury-Wee. — DayakDaily