My Sarawak Adventures for the year 2014 began in Miri. My first trip was none other than the ultimate hike to Mulu Summit and the Pinnacles with a short stopover in Miri. Therefore, my previous Sarawak Adventures was limited to Mulu World Heritage National Park.
Miri is Sarawak’s second largest city and the gateway to the state’s northern region. Sarawak lies in East Malaysia and shares the island of Borneo with the eastern state of Sabah and separates Brunei and Kalimantan from East Malaysia.
Despite rapid developments, Miri has become a starting point to some of Malaysia’s world-famous national parks including Mulu World Heritage National Park, Niah National Park, Lambir Hills National Park and Miri-Sibuti Coral Reef National Park.
This blog post is dedicated to the new things I learnt in Miri especially on food and places of interest.
The first place I was taken to was Pasar Tamu Miri. Pasar Tamu is a generic term used for market where native ethnic groups come to sell their native products. Pasar Tamu is popular in Sabah and Sarawak. Do you know Sarawak has more than 40 sub-ethnic groups, each with its own language and way of life? It’d be very interesting to see the local products of people from different sub-ethnic groups.
The advantage of having locals guiding you around was that they would always have answers to your questions.
Introducing Bubok (Udang Geragau in West Malaysia), tiny migrating shrimps in the waters near Miri and Bintulu found in February and March each year. I was lucky to be in Miri during the season because Bubok and fresh belacan were being sold in abundance. Miri belacan is actually a shrimp paste used for cooking. Apparently, Miri belacan is famous for its uniqueness in terms of smell and taste. It is a favourite buy as souvenirs by visitors outside Miri.
Miri belacan is traditionally prepared using mortar and pestle. No wonder, the taste and smell are good. Miri belacan is brownish in colour and usually sold in rectangular shape.
Because of its good quality, Miri belacan is sold higher than the normal price in West Malaysia. I bought 1kg of Miri Belacan for RM30. I also bought dried Bubok for RM20.
Miri Belacan recipe as shared HERE (translated in English by yours truly)
Then, there’s ikan tahai which looks like ikan tamban.
Angela pointed out a packet of long strand dried prawn; it read smoked prawns. If prices and deliciousness of the product run on linear line, the smoked prawns must taste really good for it is sold at the price of RM100 per 1/2 kilo.
Sago pellets. I had not seen sago pellets that I had mistaken it for white peppers.
Packets of colourful sago cookies would be just the right souvenirs to bring home.
The red-coloured banana. Jerengan.
This is gula apong as introduced by Michael.
If Melaka is proud of its gula melaka, Sarawak also has its local sugar made from nipah palm sugar. I did not have the opportunity to taste gula apong during my Sarawak Adventure. But listening to Michael and Angela’s conversation on how they prefer cendol with gula apong more than one with gula melaka, I am convinced it must taste really good. By the way, I heard there’s a famous cendol gula apong at the corner of Wayang St and Main Bazaar. Go check it out whenever you are in Kuching and tell me how good it taste.
Adan rice or Bario rice comes in many colours. There’s black, white and red. Unlike Brasmathi rice which is long, Bario rice is finer and small in size. According to Angela, the Chineses prefer Bario rice for it makes good porridge.
Enough of native products, my Sarawak Adventures proceeded to Canada Hill which was a historic area due to it becoming Malaysia’s first oil well. Canada Hill is a limestone ridge overlooking the town and offering views of Miri and the surrounding area. Oil Well No. 1, known as the “Grand Old Lady” is situated on top of Canada Hill.It was drilled using cable tool method. It was drilled in 1910 to 452 feet depth. It recorded estimated total production of 660,000 barrels.
Nowadays, the site houses a very well designed and interesting Petroleum Museum which opens daily except Monday and first day of Public Holiday, from 9.00am – 4.30pm.
Canada Hill is famous for sunset photography.
The view of Miri town from on top of Canada Hill.
Jalan North Yu Seng is the backpackers’ alley in Miri. It is one happening street at night with clubs, lounges and food stalls. The first stall from the junction serves the best mee kolok, said Marcus, our tour guide of the day.
Dinner time. I was taken to eat at Meng Chai Restaurant.
The best grilled sardine fish I have ever tasted.
Midin belacan cooked with Miri belacan. Not a big fan of belacan. Miri belacan is an exception to my dislike. It tasted good and the smell was not too pungent. The taste was just nice; not too strong nor mild. Midin is hard to find in West Malaysia. I am sure Angela would not agree to my statement as she had taken notice of the wild midin that sprung by the highway in West Malaysia. Only that, we, the people of Semenanjung don’t know how to eat Midin.
This is just an introduction. Stay tune for more Sarawak Adventures series to Niah National Park & Mulu World Heritage Site National Park. To learn more about places of interest in Sarawak, make full use of Sarawak Tourism Board Website.
This blog post was made possible by Sarawak Tourism Board that took me for 4D3N journey in Sarawak. The tour was held in March 2014.