An oft repeated sentiment (at least by self-professed foodies) is that food is the window to a culture. For a total neophyte to the local Sarawakian culture, I reckon the food is a good way to start exploring what the people and the land had to offer. I’ve tasted the tuak of the Iban, and tried the cuisine of the Kelabit folk, and so far I’m definitely liking what I see.
Much to my delight, there’s quite a decent selection of indigenous food in Miri. Kelabit food in particular is readily available, and had tried the various offerings available in Pahlung cafe at Lutong baru, as well as the very decent Summit cafe at Centerpoint, which is not far off from the Pasar Tamu located in the old part of Miri. Although I’ve never been to Bario, which is the motherland of the Kelabit tribe, I reckon I’m starting to get a good feel for their cuisine. Well, after tonight’s outing, I’d thought wrong. Behold!
This place is official my newest favourite place in Miri. And this glorious barbequed pork that glistens above is the reason why. The meat was well marinated and tender, but the dipping chilli sauce that comes with it just elevates the dishes into another realm of its own. The initial heat hits you hard, then mellows out in perfect balance. Just a touch of it with the pork goes a long way.
Operated by a few Kelabit folk, whom at this moment in time are my favourite people in the world, is Store No. 5 at the Rumah Asap (Smokehouse) adjacent to the Pujut bus terminal. Although BBQ is a universal concept across the globe, this place is certainly something else. There’s no frills about it, but the food is brilliant enough to draw me back in the future many times over. And then some!
Another highlight was the barbequed Catfish, which was sublime. There’s definitely something going on in their marinade, which is out of this world. And the smoke that permeates the dish was also very pleasant.
Notably, they also serve a plethora of other dishes e.g. pork intestines, pancreas, fish, etc. We had some of the intestines, which were decent albeit we were absolutely stuffed by the time it had arrived.
If you’re hankering for good bbq in Miri, this place should undoubtedly be in your food itinerary. And just in case, schedule another revisit before you depart the city. It’s now probably one of the reasons to make me reconsider staying in Miri for a longer term, just to bask in the glory of barbequed pork. There’s nothing quite like it in Peninsular Malaysia, at least in my limited experience thus far.
The more I delve into the local culture i.e. the more food I experience, the more I fall in love with it. There’s soul to it, which I don’t think many West Malaysian had ever experienced before. And honestly, we’re missing out! I reckon it’s time we give some love back to our neighbours in the East, and perhaps food can bridge the gap between us, and make us realize that we’re not so different after all. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy good food with good company.
Location: Beside the Pujut Wet Market and Bus Terminal, Off Miri Bypass road. Google Maps