Whiffs of S’wakian food flavour the air as STATOS cooks it up in S’pore

From Left: STATOS chief executive officer Chew Chang Guan, owner of JJ Sarawak Noodle Wong Kim Lam and Putrie Rozana Soraya.

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KUCHING, Nov 20: Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office Singapore (STATOS) and its ‘hawker stall ambassadors’ are cooking up a storm with Sarawak Food Tourism, by luring thousands of Singaporeans every month to indulge in iconic dishes such as Sarawak Laksa and Kolo Mee, as part of redoubled efforts to promote future visitation to Sarawak.

STATOS’ current campaign, a spin-off of its broader ‘Taste of Sarawak’ promotion, draws Singaporeans to take a closer look at Sarawak on their home turf, by offering Sarawak style culinary experiences at hawker stalls in Singapore and triggering future wanderlust after the Covid-19 pandemic has subsided.

STATOS deputy chief executive officer Putrie Rozana Soraya said in a statement they have doubled down on the promotion of Sarawak as a ‘priority future leisure destination’ to Singaporeans, by using the universal appeal of food tourism to stir up interest in Sarawak’s travel appeal and cultural identity.

“Food has always been a fabulous bait to influence Singaporean travelers to choose a travel destination. Popularising signature Sarawak dishes before tourism begins to bounce back from Covid-19 allows STATOS to build destination awareness organically, by using the resources on hand with hawkers and media in Singapore itself.

“Prior to full reopening of international travel, food tourism promotion will help Sarawak to gain a competitive advantage. STATOS is building a community movement to unite passionate Singaporean foodies, including entrepreneurs and social media, to sample Sarawak without having to leave the country,’ she said.

STATOS team, members of the media, and Agnes Wong (right), owner of Sarawak Delicacy Laksa and Kolo Mee.

Last month, STATOS and Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) minister Datuk Sri Nancy Shukri identified food tourism as a special ‘tourism niche’ that could stimulate Singaporean’s travel appetites for Sarawak, once the pandemic has subsided.

Launched in Dec 2019, STATOS ‘Eat Chiak Makan – Kuching Food Trail’ campaign highlighted attractive Kuching eateries for the Singapore market.

Since then, STATOS has created ambassadors out of three hawker stall owners in Singapore who directly promote Sarawak’s travel values to Singaporeans who are seeking out new flavours.

The move has paid off with 5,000 additional stall visitors in Aug 2020 and a 30 percent increase in sales for participating hawker stalls in ensuing months up to November, on the back of a STATOS publicity blitz with a local popular radio station, magazine and social media food platforms.

Hawker stall owner Rushen Tan, who owns JJ Sarawak Noodles in Singapore said that Sarawak cuisine had seen both positive business outcomes and also new interest.

in Sarawak as a destination from both regular and new patrons alike.

“Many of our Singaporean and expatriate customers expressed excitement over both the unique taste of our Sarawak Laksa and Kolo Mee, which is reflected in our soaring sales figures and our customers are now far more aware of Sarawak’s heritage, culture and traditions”, said Tan, adding that food was a gateway into other cultures’ identities to create lasting memories and deeper insight. – DayakDaily