Humble poor man’s dish turns culinary superstar

Freshly picked midin available for sale together with other types of jungle produce at the Bandar Riyal wet market./Filephoto

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Nov 16: Midin was considered a poor man’s dish as recently as in the days of our parents and grandparents. However, now it is a prized commodity which is much sought after in local wet markets.

Today I went to a few wet markets in Kuching, searching from Matang Jaya to Kota Sentosa, but midin was nowhere to be found.

Midin was nowhere to be found at the Kota Sentosa wet market today (Nov 16, 2020).

After asking a few stall owners at the Kota Sentosa wet market, I discovered that midin could be found at the Bandar Riyal wet market in Kota Samarahan.

“It’s much sought after now as only one stall here sells it but it’s not available every day as it depends on the supplier,” a woman in her 50’s who preferred to remain anonymous told DayakDaily today.

At the Bandar Riyal wet market, there are a few stalls which sell the popular wild fern there, and there is a steady supply available every day.

Freshly picked midin available for sale together with other types of jungle produce at the Bandar Riyal wet market.

“We get our daily supplies from the locals here. There is still plenty of midin here in Kota Samarahan. The gatherers told us that as long as they are willing to go the extra mile, they can easily collect 10kg per day,” an Iban woman who did not want to be named, revealed.

Midin is usually sold at RM3 per 200 grammes while a kilogramme of the fern at the Bandar Riyal wet market can fetch as much as RM15.

An Iban trader tends to her stall at the Bandar Riyal wet market at Kota Samarahan.

Meanwhile, in Serian, Joseph Paru who owns the famous Sri Jati Cafe, said a bundle of midin weighing 200 grammes is sold for RM5 at the Serian wet market.

“Before it is a poor man’s dish. But now if someone is ordering a midin dish, a customer must be willing to fork out RM50,” he said.

Due to the increasing price, Joseph has taken midin off the menu of his food business and only cooks it upon customer request.

“We only prepare by order now. It’s difficult to put it as one of our menu items as it’s not easy to determine how much to charge a portion for each customer who dines at my shop.

“But even then, we can’t prepare for more than 50 pax (at a time) because it’s not easy to get the supply,” said Joseph.

Sri Jati Cafe in Serian offers Halal dishes

Similarly in Lundu, 200 grammes of midin is sold for RM5, but with prices soaring higher, it can fetch up to RM25 per kilogramme.

With midin’s increasing popularity among Singaporeans, where it is reportedly sold for RM35 per kilogramme, midin is likely to only get more expensive in the near future. And it would definitely be no longer considered a poor man’s dish. — DayakDaily