Kuching attains recognition as Unesco Creative City of Gastronomy

Traditions, cultures, historical past and values bring a symphony of flavours to Sarawak's culinary diversity.

By Karen Bong and Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Nov 9: Kuching is now a Unesco Creative City of Gastronomy, with the city being the first in Malaysia to join some 36 cities around the world to be recognised under the Unesco Creative Cities Network (UCCN) for its food heritage and diversity.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has congratulated the team who has worked hard on this initiative as well as the people of Sarawak for this unique distinction.


“We received the news last night (Nov 8) that Kuching has been accepted by Unesco as one of the cities in the world for gastronomy.

“We are very proud and I am so happy and delighted. This will be a good marketing point for us as far as tourism is concerned. We want to promote our city’s diverse types of food and the heritage behind and Kuching and Sarawak is the place,” he said at a press conference at his Ministry’s office in Baitulmakmur Complex here today.

With Kuching added to UCCN’s list, Abdul Karim pointed out that Sarawak now has two Unesco recognitions after Gunung Mulu National Park was designated as a World Heritage Site.

“It was understood that more than 40 cities in the world have been newly inscribed under the UCCN list under (different categories like) heritage, gastronomy, culture, crafts and many more.

“In Malaysia, only Kuching has won the recognition for the field of gastronomy,” he said.

Abdul Karim added that the Ministry together with other stakeholders including Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) will hold a joint press conference to announce this in the near future.

“I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the team who have worked very hard to make this happen. It was not easy. The team was rushing through it at that time.

“I have to acknowledge that the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia is also in a way involved as submission has to go through Putrajaya. Unesco will not recognise submission from a State,” he explained.

The project was initiated by MBKS and DBKU who were backed by a broad coalition of Sarawak stakeholders, including Culinary Heritage and Arts Society Sarawak (CHASS), Society Atelier Sarawak, food professionals and their associations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), entrepreneurs, food researchers and scientists, artisans, educationalists, smallholders and agriculture specialists.

The application was submitted on June 30 after extensive planning and preparations that took some nine months involving a wide base of stakeholders.

Introduced by Unesco in 2004, the UCCN initiative aims to foster innovation and creativity as a driver towards a sustainable and inclusive city.

There are currently 246 cities that made up this network to work together towards a common objective which is placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level. — DayakDaily