‘Gastronomy and I: My Favourite Dish’ Top 10 Articles (Youth) — Tan Yee Xuen

Sarawak Laksa. Photo by Tan Yee Xuen

Sarawak Laksa

Sarawak Laksa, a culinary gem hailing from the Malaysian state of Sarawak, is a symphony of flavors that tantalizes the taste buds and warms the soul.

At its heart lies a fragrant and creamy broth, infused with a harmonious blend of aromatic spices, creamy coconut milk, and tangy tamarind.


This flavorful base serves as the canvas for a vibrant array of toppings, including tender shreds of chicken, plump prawns, slices of boiled egg, crunchy bean sprouts, and fresh cilantro, each adding its own unique texture and taste to the dish.

With every spoonful, Sarawak Laksa transports diners on a sensory journey through the diverse culinary landscape of Sarawak, where indigenous traditions blend seamlessly with Chinese and Malay influences.

With every spoonful, Sarawak Laksa becomes more than just a dish; it’s a nostalgic journey that bridges the gap between distant lands and home, offering solace and a taste of familiar comfort to those like me who study abroad.

In the bustling streets of Kuching, Sarawak, the aroma of spices and the sound of sizzling noodles filled the air.

It was here that my grandmother, Wai Po, ruled her kitchen like a seasoned chef, her hands weaving magic into every dish she prepared. Among all her culinary creations, one stood out—her legendary Sarawak Laksa.

Growing up, Sarawak Laksa wasn’t just a dish; it was a symbol of comfort, love, and strength.

Every spoonful carried the warmth of Wai Po’s affection and the flavors of my childhood memories. But as life pulled me away from home to pursue my studies abroad, the comforting embrace of Wai Po’s kitchen seemed like a distant dream.

University life was a whirlwind of deadlines, exams, and homesickness. Far from the familiar sights and sounds of home, I often found myself overwhelmed by the weight of academic stress and the pressures of adapting to a new environment.

It was during one particularly difficult semester that I felt like I was on the brink of breaking down.

In the depths of my despair, a simple craving for home stirred within me. I yearned for the taste of Wai Po’s Sarawak Laksa—its rich, fragrant broth and tender noodles seemed like the remedy for my troubled soul.

With a pang of longing, I dialed Wai Po’s number, my heart heavy with homesickness.

“Wai Po,” I whispered as her familiar voice greeted me on the other end of the line.

“I miss you, and I miss your Sarawak Laksa.”

There was a moment of silence before Wai Po’s gentle laughter filled the air.

“Don’t worry, mei mei. I’ll make you a bowl of Sarawak Laksa that will chase away all your worries.”

True to her word, a few days later, a parcel arrived at my doorstep, filled with the comforting aroma of home.

As I eagerly tore open the parcel, the tantalizing aroma of Sarawak Laksa enveloped me, instantly transporting me back to the comforting embrace of home.

Nestled within the container was a generous serving of the aromatic broth, adorned with all the traditional toppings that I had grown to love. But it was the sight of the handwritten letter nestled beside it that truly tugged at my heartstrings.

With trembling fingers, I carefully unfolded the paper, revealing the familiar curves of my grandmother’s handwriting. As I read her words, penned with love and nostalgia, tears welled up in my eyes, mingling with the steam rising from the bowl of Sarawak Laksa before me.

In that moment, despite the miles that separated us, I felt closer to my grandmother than ever before, her enduring love and warmth transcending the confines of distance and time.

As I took my first spoonful, the stresses of university life melted away, replaced by a sense of calm and contentment. With each sip of the fragrant broth, I felt reinvigorated, as if Wai Po’s love was infusing me with the strength to face any challenge that came my way.

As I indulged in the savory delight of Sarawak Laksa, a bittersweet pang of longing swept over me, tinged with the ache of missing my grandmother.

Here, amidst the foreign surroundings of my studies abroad, each spoonful of the aromatic broth stirred memories of her warm embrace and the comforting aroma of her kitchen.

With every bite, I yearned for the familiar chatter and laughter that filled our family gatherings back home.

In that moment, surrounded by the tantalizing flavors of home, the absence of my grandmother felt palpable, reminding me of the cherished moments we shared and the bond that transcends distance and time.

From that day on, whenever the weight of the world threatened to overwhelm me, I turned to Wai Po’s Sarawak Laksa for solace. With every bowl, I felt a little closer to home and a little more fortified to tackle whatever life threw at me.

For me, Sarawak Laksa wasn’t just a dish; it was a lifeline—a reminder of the enduring bond between a grandmother and her grandchild, and the unyielding strength that comes from love.

And as I savored each spoonful, I knew that no matter where life took me, Wai Po’s Sarawak Laksa would always be there to guide me home.

In total, Sarawak Laksa isn’t just a dish to me; it’s a treasure trove of memories, emotions, and connections that transcend time and space. With each spoonful, I am transported back to the warmth of my Wai Po’s kitchen, where her love and culinary prowess wove magic into every bowl.

It’s a taste of home in a foreign land, a source of solace during the darkest of days, and a reminder of the unwavering bond between generations.

Sarawak Laksa isn’t just food; it’s a testament to the power of love, nostalgia, and the indelible mark that family leaves on our hearts.

It’s no wonder that amidst a world of culinary delights, Sarawak Laksa reigns supreme as my favorite dish, a comforting embrace that I hold dear wherever life may take me. — DayakDaily

Tan Yee Xuen from Kuching is one of the top ten writers (Youth Category) in the ‘Gastronomy and I: My Favourite Dish’ writing competition organised by DayakDaily and supported by the Sarawak Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts, and Imperial Hotel Kuching.