KUCHING, Oct 22: Eating lunch at Patz’ kitchen which offers home-cooked Dayak food here, is always gratifying — reasonably priced lip-smacking morsels to satisfy your hunger pangs, and you will get free cooking tips too!
There is traditional ‘pansoh’ — pork, chicken and fish cooked with tapioca leaves and lemongrass in bamboo — everyday, and a variety of other different dishes — a total of 16 dishes served daily from 11.30am to 2pm, except Sunday.
And for pork lovers, there’s ‘Babi Cincalok’, ‘Babi Lempis’, and ‘Kari Babi Nanas’. These are the Dayak dishes you can get at Patz Dayak Home Cook Special, which operates from a stall in Full 3 Food Court next to Giant at Stutong here.
The dishes use mainly local ingredients cooked in traditional Iban style with an innovative twist. The chef Patrila Augustine, or more commonly known as Patz, is proud to present her food and generous enough to share her recipes.
“MSG? No, I don’t use much, there is something else that makes your food even tastier,” she told DayakDaily, referring to her secret ingredients that make her food so scrumptious.
She shared how her ‘Babi Lempis’ is cooked with banana leaf and ‘bunga kantan’, and her signature ‘ikan salai’ dish with pumpkins.
The day this interview was held, the dishes on the menu include okra (ladies’ fingers) cooked with yam, ‘Babui Masak Arak Tuak Halia’, ‘Babui Kari Nenas’, ‘Babui Lempis Daun Pisang Dengan Buah Timun’, which she also uploaded onto her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nenek.pinq.
Customers may check the menu on her page and make special requests for the dishes they want a day before.
As the housewife turned businesswoman shared about her humble beginnings, a few customers stopped by to bid her goodbye. She said they were among her very first customers who patronised her stall seven years ago when it was at King’s Centre.
“It was June 8, 2011. I only targeted to have five customers and 15 people came. I had 30 customers the next day, and the third day the number doubled again. It was packed after a month’s time,” she said, relating how she started to serve Iban food in Kuching city, which was not widely available at that time.
Many of her customers have now become her friends, including this Dayak Daily writer whom had gotten many free recipes and cooking tips from her throughout the years.
After so many years with prices of almost everything skyrocketing, Patz’ food remains reasonably priced — two meat and vegetable over red rice costs a mere RM5!
Patz has a regular customer who often piles a plate high with food and she only asks the customer to pay whatever amount he deems fit.
“He wanted to pay me RM12! And I said it was too much! I just take whatever he pays,” said the 50-year-old lady who is always dressed nicely with flawless make up, and a cheerful smile.
Hailing from Betong, Patz never liked cooking until she got married and lived in various places across the state with her husband who works as a civil servant.
“I was never good at cooking. I learnt it over the years from eating my neighbours’ food.”
At every new place they settled, new neighbors and new colleagues would cook for the couple and it was from eating others’ cooking that Patz eventually learnt to cook in her own unique style.
Her husband is also her ‘makan buddy’ now, who dines out with her every night to try new food and to get inspiration for new recipes.
Patz also caters for special occasions. Conducting cooking classes is currently not in her plans but if you want to know the recipe and secret ingredient, just ask her! — DayakDaily