Recently, we saw a lot of indigenous food popping all over Kuching, especially all the yummy barbeques.
Here at WADD, we bring you the indigenous food that brings smiles to our face and happiness to our stomach. Here's our to-go place for good indigenous food in Kuching.
Not in a particular order:
Lepau restaurant is definitely one of the more popular place for indigenous food in Kuching. The word ‘lepau’ means ‘home’ or ‘house’ in the Kayan language. It is located right in the city centre. It serves a variety of Orang ulu and Dayak dishes and can cater for small gatherings and parties. Lepau restaurant serves no pork, so everyone could come and enjoy the indigenous food.
What's good to have there? Manok pansuh (bamboo chicken), the tempoyak (fermented durian) and the Umai Ikan (fish ceviche)
When is it open? Monday to Saturday from 10 am till 2.30 pm and 5.30 pm till 9 pm.
The Dyak is one of the older Indigenous restaurants in Kuching, located at Simpang Tiga. The Dyak serves native Kenyah cuisine from Pansuh to Kasam (fermented poultry/fish) and terong asam. The Dyak also serves many options for vegetarian. This place is slightly pricier than the rest of the indigenous food in Kuching. Just check out their menu here.
What's good to have there? The Tuak ice cream and the steam fish in banana leaf is a must.
When is it open? It opens from Monday to Saturday, from 11 am to 9 pm.
3. Pinggai Cafe
Pinggai Cafe, located at China Street, offers Iban and Bidayuh cooking but with a modern twist. You would have tuak with passion fruit tea, Nasi Lemak with Daun Empasak (tapioca leaves) and Dayak Char Siew, Babi Goreng tempoyak cili api and many more.
What's good to have there? Dayak Char Siew, tempoyak dabai fried rice and the pitcher plant glutinous rice are must-try.
When is it open? It opens from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8 am to 5 pm.
4. Rumah Asap Dayak Samarahan (RADS)
Rumah asap, translated to "Smoke House, " has been popping up in Kuching and Samarahan. Rumah asap is the place to be if you feel like having a couple of beers with some barbecue meat. RADS is one of the first Rumah asap in these areas. It is located at the roadside of Kota Sentosa-Samarahan trunk road.
What's good to have there? Definitely the three-layer pork barbecue and their grilled pork innards; it's legendary.
When is it open? It opens every day from 2 pm till late.
A Rumah asap that's tucked behind a housing area, Rumah Asap Tabuan Dayak is the largest Rumah asap in Kuching. One of the unique features of this Rumah asap is they repurposed all furniture or parts of the old house into tables and chairs. So don't be surprised that you are sitting on a "door". Before the Covid-19 pandemic, they have live band performances during the weekend. This Rumah Asap Tabuan Dayak serves many types of indigenous food and some Chinese food, so it might take a while for you to get through to all the stores! If you are looking for variety, this is the place to go.
What's good to have there? Barbeque pork and various indigenous food, you will be spoilt for choices.
When is it open? It opens every day from 4 pm till late.
6. Langkau Arau Rumah Asap Dayak Stutong
This is relatively newer Rumah asap located along the BDC road, you will see huge signage "Langkau Arau Dayak".
The huge signage can be seen by the roadside. Image source via Facebook/Langkau Arau Rumah Asap Dayak
What's good to have there? Definitely, the three-layer pork barbecue where they provide a small barbeque kit on your table for you to "grill" to the perfect crispiness. Personally, we love the grilled catfish. Talk about the flavour! Apart from that, the pizza here is excellent too, give it a try.
When is it open? It opens every day from 3 pm till late.
7. Dapuh Temuai - Merdang Gayam
If you want to have the "longhouse" experience, this is the place to go to. This place often organised "open mic" and singing competitions so you will surely be entertained and have a great time. Set in a Rumah asap style, various stalls offer indigenous food, Chinese food, and beer snacks like fried chicken wings, chicken butt, and pork.
What's good to have there? Babi goreng cencaluk and umai.
When is it open? It opens every day from 3 pm to 10 pm.
Next, we visit some of the more economical options if you want to have a quick indigenous food lunch or dinner. It's a no-frill, honest, yet delicious Indigenous food.
When we talk about good food, we always think about our mother's cooking or essentially home cook meal. Mummy Patz Dayak tastes exactly like your home cook meal. It's simple but executed perfectly. We first know Mummy Patz from Da-Light Food Court, King Centre, where she first started with a food stall. She's your favourite aunt that kept serving you food. Now she has relocated to Uni Central, still serving great cook at affordable price.
When is it open? It opens from Monday to Saturday, from 10.30 am to 3 pm.
The Dayak Food is a food stall in CS Food Street Padawan, serving cheap and delicious authentic Dayak cuisine. How cheap? One portion of chicken or pork pansuh cost only RM7, while the stir-fry vegetable at RM4 for the one portion. The Kasam Ikan Sultan (fermented Sultan Fish) cost only RM10 for 400grams.
When is it open? It opens from Monday to Saturday, from 5 pm to 10 pm.
10. Aroma Cafe
Aroma Cafe serves delicious Bidayuh cuisine. It is located at Jalan Tabuan just after the SJK Chung Hua No. 1.
When is it open? It opens from Monday to Sunday, from 7 am to 10 pm.