Iconic Sarawak Dishes To Celebrate Gawai

Iconic Sarawak Dishes to Celebrate Gawai | Selamat Ari Gawai Dayak nuju bala kaban belayan. Selamat ngirup ai pengayu. Ngarap ke semua lantang senang, gayu guru nguan menoa. 

I am a proud Sarawakian and an even prouder Iban, who currently resides in Selangor. And even at work, I tries my best to educate my colleagues about my roots and especially about Gawai. 
So, what's Gawai? Here's an infographic that I managed to grab online. Everyone loves infographic right?

Every June, Sarawak comes to life as the Dayak people celebrate Hari Gawai, a vibrant celebration that expresses gratitude for a plentiful crop. In recognition of the Dayak people's profound connection to the land, Hari Gawai has grown over time to encompass a bigger cultural festival of Dayak customs and traditions. 
It is not only a vibrant celebration with significant meaning for the Dayak community, but it also highlights Sarawak's rich cultural legacy. Here are some thoughts by Adeline Tang, a Sarawakian who works in the food industry, since food plays a significant role in Sarawak's history and heritage.

June is a month of nostalgia
Tang lives and works in the Klang Valley, just as many other Sarawakians. She remarked about Hari Gawai, saying, "Every June is a month of tremendous homesickness and nostalgia. I believe that many other Sarawakians who reside outside of the state may agree with this. However, as a Malaysian, it goes without saying that I miss eating real Sarawakian food the most". Here are some of the food that she misses, the most.
According to Tang, the four characteristic Sarawakian meals best encapsulate the nation. Pansoh Ayam, commonly referred to as Manok Pansoh, is a traditional Sarawakian delicacy prepared in bamboo, and it plays a special role in the Gawai celebrations. The cuisine calls for frying chicken with aromatics including onions, ginger, lemongrass, garlic, burned ginger flower, and galangal in a freshly cut bamboo stalk. The bamboo is roasted over an open flame, imparting a unique flavour to the chicken.

A proper Pansoh Ayam is difficult for most people in concrete jungles like Klang Valley to prepare at home since it requires a lot of time, knowledge, preparation, and the suitable area for building a fire. 

The Sarawak Laksa is another delicacy that is exclusive to the state and has roots that go back to the 20th century. The origin of this noodle soup is unknown, however it is thought to have been created by Chinese immigrants in Sarawak. The Tan family popularised it in the 1960s and 1970s when they created the Swallow brand laksa paste.

The addition of sambal belacan, a pounded chilli paste prepared with fermented prawn paste, gives this laksa its reputation for having rich flavours and sets it apart from other dishes like curry laksa and asam laksa. The most genuine Sarawak laksa paste, depending on who you ask, has a bright orange colour and contains 20–36 (or more!) ingredients, such as garlic, shallots, chilies, candlenuts and dried prawns.
The distinctive feature of Sarawak laksa is its thick and creamy soup, which is garnished with shredded chicken, prawns, bean sprouts, and pieces of omelette. The laksa paste, like with other laksas, is crucial to achieving the ideal flavour. However, as Tang noted, it might be difficult to find genuine Sarawak laksa paste. "Sarawak laksa paste requires a lot of components, so if you make it yourself, it could be trickier than you think to get the flavour just right. Although you may occasionally find Sarawak laksa paste here, she claimed, it wasn't always true to flavour.
Another cuisine that is exclusive to Sarawak is called Ka Chan Ma (Motherwort Herb Chicken Soup). The motherwort herb, which grows naturally in the state and has been utilised in many civilizations for its therapeutic benefits, is a component of the chicken soup recipe. According to Tang, "Ka Chan Ma is an acquired taste due to the motherwort's sometimes-strong bitterness. The rich, bitter yet floral flavour and its health advantages, however, have grown on me over the years.

The plant is said to help regulate mood and lessen anxiety. The meal is thought to be effective for reducing gas and enhancing blood circulation because motherwort is used in its preparation, along with ginger, wine and other spices. The filling chicken soup is frequently served as confinement food due to these factors, but it is also well-liked by the general public due to its distinctive flavour and status as a dish that is both highly nutritious and has numerous health advantages.
Ding Pian Ho (鼎边糊), another distinctive Sarawakian food, is another thing Tang remembers with affection. The name of this Foochow cuisine, which alludes to the method of making the noodles, approximately translates to "wok edge paste." In a wok filled with soup, a flour slurry is applied to the sides. A portion of the slurry is cooked in the soup before being scraped back into the wok with the cooked noodles. The end result resembles a hybrid between congee and flat rice noodles.It may seem unimportant to many Sarawakians who grew up seeing hawkers scrape woks to prepare a bowl of Ding Pian Ho. It is without a doubt one of the most intriguing techniques to produce a flat noodle, Tang recalled watching the hawker manufacture these noodles with great fascination. 

Freshable is a fresh start
Tang shares her disappointment with other Sarawakians about losing the taste of home on Hari Gawai this year. Since she missed eating real Sarawakian food, Tang was motivated to start her own food company, Freshable, and this June's monthly special highlighted the cuisine of her own state.
"I considered Hari Gawai to be the ideal occasion to highlight Sarawakian food. There is a lot that can be said about how distinctive our food is, but I would like to put a bowl of Sarawak laksa in front of someone and let them taste it for themselves," she continued.
As for the Sarawakians who, like Tang, are experiencing homesickness this June, they say, "A hot bowl of food from home provides me so much comfort. While I'm away from home, I want to give my fellow Sarawakians a flavour of home.
Tang is one of the co-founders of Freshable, a cutting-edge meal kit delivery business that brings carefully selected meal kits to your door. Subscribers choose a dish of their choosing, and Freshable sends meal kits including already-cut and precisely measured items to you. 
The Sarawak meal for this month uses locally sourced foods from Sarawak and recipes that have been modified for use in the kitchen. She continued by saying that she wants to deliver the best cuisine from Sarawak to Klang Valley homes. 
"When I originally began my firm, my love of food served as its main motivation. And a huge part of that was the Sarawakian food I grew up eating and came to adore. I feel like things have gone full circle as I pay homage to my heritage by include my favourites in this month's special," she said.
Get a taste of Sarawak now by visiting Freshable's website at https://freshable.co/ and following them on social media at Instagram and Facebook, regardless of whether you are unfamiliar with Sarawakian cuisine or you are homesick and long for a flavour of home.
#Gawai #Food #Freshable #Sarawak #RawlinsEats #RawlinsLifestyle #RawlinsGLAM

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