The Bawang Assan Longhouse Village is one of the oldest Iban settlements in Sibu that welcomes tourists to experience their culture and heritage. To get to the village, one can choose to travel by road or the boat and we travelled on the river for the serenity and beautiful riverside views as we cruise along the longest river in Malaysia- the Ranjang River. The Iban is the largest community with Christianity being the main religion and visitors to the longhouse gets to experience the culture and their style of living. The group of us from the AirAsia Bloggers Community took a boat ride from Rejang Esplanade and saw the most beautiful sunset before we savour the delicious dinner prepped by our host.
Upon arrival, we received the delicious welcoming drink- Tuak. Tuak is the local term for rice wine and it is used in every ritual and festive and is a deeply rooted culture in the Iban tradition. This traditional alcohol drink is made from the fermentation of rice using yeast and enzyme naturally available in ragi. Every household has their own recipe for tuak and we sampled a real delicious one here.
Upon greeted with the welcoming dance and drinks, we get to spend time mingling with the locals and later savour the delicious meal prepared by Aunty Erin. One dish that is exceptionally delicious is the stuffed bamboo. This traditional dish called Pansuh is prepared by stuffing the choice of meats with tapioca leaves and perpetually turning the bamboo at the fire to cook them evenly. The thicknesses of the bamboo rely on the type of meats and there is usually no additional water into the bamboo. This cooking method seals all the flavours inside the bamboo and so every bite of meat is succulently juicy and deliciously tender.
Vegetables is a must especially when Midin is only widely available in Sarawak. Here we are being served fresh and humble vegetables and I must say, I love all of them. You’ll see this on the menu at most of the places in the state and with that being said, pineapple is also the best fruit the locals will serve because the land is blessed to produce super sweet pineapples.
Also a must have is their Kuih Chuan- a crunchy delicacy similar to the kuih lubang (aka kuih Loyang) at the Peninsular commonly seen during the Chinese New Year festive. This one is slightly thicker and had a more textured bite but I’d say it’s about 85% close to the kuih Loyang from the Peninsular.
It was a lovely experience to learn a whole lot of history and culture of Iban people through culinary. Bear in mind that the locals are probably one of the friendliest people you will ever meet so just enjoy all the time and the serenity of the place. Watch this appearing on my vlog in future posting.
Click HERE for more photos on flickr.