UCCN Kuching forum ignites passion for Sarawak’s gastronomy among tourism professionals

Tour guides, operators, and tourism professionals pose for a group photo at the forum.

By DayakDaily Team

KUCHING, May 2: The Unesco Creative Cities Network (UCCN) Kuching recently hosted a forum for the city’s tourism professionals on Kuching’s gastronomy and heritage products as part of its programme to stimulate and curate tourism packages based on Sarawak’s food chain as part of its Unesco Creative Cities Network membership.

According to a press release from UCCN Kuching, the forum marks a significant milestone in the growing collaboration between tourism providers and tour guides, Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF), and Sarawak Tourism Board (STB).


“The forum witnessed a gathering of 60 participants at Telang Usan Hotel on April 24, 2024, where renowned experts in the food chain shared their valuable knowledge and expertise.

“Martiana of Rasa spoke about her business bringing a family tuak recipe to a new community of enthusiasts through Instagram and events. Kenny Lee of Earthlings Coffee Workshop shared about the extreme diversity in Liberica coffee beans found in the Sarawak landscape and their efforts to bring this unappreciated bean to the world.

“Masrina of Tanoti Foods brought gula apong to life along with Pak Mahli and Puan Rohana who gave a live action demonstration of gula apong processing, from air nirah to kueh penyaram. Diana Rose of Lamin Dana told the story of sago, from Mukah staple to Batik Linut. Last but not least, Datin Dona Drury-Wee of the Culinary Heritage and Arts Society Sarawak brought it all together with a stroll through the food that has made Kuching famous,” read the press release.

As per the press release, Karen Shepherd, Strategic Director and Focal point with Unesco, started the day off with a talk on Sarawak’s food chain, from earth to table, and also on Sarawak rice.

“Gastronomic tourism is an excellent fit for Sarawak. Not only is food one of our key tourism pillars under Sarawak Tourism Board, it is very dear to the hearts of guides and tour operators alike. In fact, to all Sarawakians!

“The room was buzzing with new ideas of how to represent our culture and environment to visitors through the food we eat,” she said.

“We have always offered food as a tourism product. But now we are making a slight adjustment, to position the food chain as the main purpose of visiting.

“This is not reinventing the wheel, but rather giving it a new spin. Our tourism professionals are well-versed in the context of gastronomy, but this forum gave them some additional information necessary to fully satisfy this niche group of visitors.”

The forum ended with an interactive session led by Sarawak Tourism Board.

Maurice Balang, STB’s Director of Marketing for Europe and Oceania and Barbara Benjamin, STB’s Director of Marketing for ASEAN and Domestic, facilitated discussion on creating culinary experiences.

“This was an important next step in the vital ongoing collaboration between UCCN Kuching and the Sarawak Tourism Board which is looking to expand in the coming months.

“These gastronomic tourism packages will form the backbone of Kuching’s action plan agenda under the city’s membership of this international network, providing incomes for tourism and gastronomic professionals alike.

“Sarawak Tourism Board and UCCN Kuching will be working in tandem to promote Kuching’s food chain and its profile as a gastronomic destination,” noted the press release.

For more information, contact UCCN Kuching at uccnkuching@kuchingcreativecity.com or visit www.kuchingcreativecity.com. — DayakDaily