Sarawak Heritage Food Festival expands to Kai Joo Lane, features more stalls and workshops

From left: Wee, Ting and MBKS Mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng giving their thumbs-up in front of a promotional poster for the Sarawak Heritage Food Festival.

KUCHING, Oct 7: Due to overwhelming reception in previous years, the Sarawak Heritage Food Festival this weekend will be expanded from India Street Pedestrian Mall to include Kai Joo Lane.

Sarawak Culinary Heritage Committee chairwoman Dona Wee said with more than 60 vendors and stalls confirming their participation for this year’s festival from Oct 11-13, it would be the biggest one to date since it was first held in 2016.

“This year’s festival will see the addition of Kai Joo Lane to cater to the numerous requests for additional stalls following the success over the last two years,” she told a press conference after chairing the committee meeting this afternoon.

Wee said, this year, 50 vendors will be stationed at India Street Pedestrian Mall and another 12 will be at Kai Joo Lane, serving an array of some 90 traditional dishes from Malay, Melanau, Indian, Chinese, Dayak and Orang Ulu communities.

“Featured aLongside the food stalls will be Sarawak’s unique arts, crafts and dried food. Our programme will also feature cultural dance and performance troupes over the three evenings, not forgetting our food demonstrations showing how to prepare some ethnic and local fusion delights,” she said.

Wee said besides food, the festival also aimed at promoting ‘Made in Sarawak’ food products by local enterprises such as Bario rice, jams, Bario cinnamon cookies, spicy chilli flakes and an array of sambal to name a few, showcasing and introducing small, local entrepreneurs and businesses.

From seated second left: Wee, Ting and MBKS Datuk Wee Hong Seng in a group photo with some of the vendors taking part in the Sarawak Heritage Food Festival.

To deal with the weekend parking woes, the organisers have also collaborated with ride-hailing service Grab, where GrabPay users will be entitled to an RM3 discount when booking their ride to go to the festival, using the promo code HFF19.

The three-day festival will also feature different culinary workshops from the Foochow, Hakka, Teochew, Bidayuh, Malay, Iban, Kayan and the Kelabit communities, starting from 7pm, and open to the public on a first-come-first-served basis as seats would be limited.

The workshops would be Senape Buned (Oct 12) — Orang Ulu glutinous rice wrapped in ‘itun sib’ leaf as the preparation in ‘eyung’ and ‘aluh’; Tumpik (same day) — Bidayuh grated coconut pancake with various toppings; and Panu Puri (Oct 13) — puffed balls made from wholewheat flour stuffed with spicy and tangy fillings, to name a few, said Wee.

Meanwhile Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting gave assurance of the ministry’s support and assistance to the organising committee.

He said this kind of festival featuring traditional Sarawakian food from various ethnic communities was timely because food was one of the major attractions for tourists and visitors coming not just to Sarawak but anywhere else around the world.

“Food is crucial in tourism. Other than food you also want to bring back souvenirs, so I commend the effort by the committee to also include arts and crafts in the festival,” said Ting. — DayakDaily