Sibu Market is a source of a lot of interesting products from the far corners of Sarawak. The traders come from places like Belaga to Song to sell their stuff. The wharf and passenger jetty is within walking distance so a lot of them just hop off the express boats (many towns are only reachable by boat) and come over to hawk their wares. I have acquired a few hundred dollars worth of local durians (called buah pekan and buah isu) and am compiling that for an upcoming post!
There are also quite a few people selling the famous Sarawak kek lapis here. Kek lapis is actually of Indonesian provenance but the Malay communities in Sibu and Kuching have claimed it as their own. You’ll find them in the Kuching Waterfront / Padang Merdeka / Lao Pa Sat (Old Market) area. The kek lapis comes in all sorts of flavors like prunes, Milo etc.
Ikan Terubok is a delicious fish that is currently only obtainable from Sarawak. The fresh ones are usually sourced from Satok Market in Kuching where they have dedicated terubok sellers packing whole boxes of them to be shipped. These are the dried version which I believe comes from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – it’s not as good, but it’s cheaper. They also sell the prized terubok fish roe here.
Lokam is one of the local clams that you’ll find aplenty in Sibu. One restaurant in town called Fisherman’s Restaurant is renowned for their stuffed lokam (they take the clam meat and mix it with pork before stuffing it back). It’s quite good if you cook it well. There’s also a lot of jellyfish for sale due to an old wives tale – it’s said among the Foochow that you have to eat jellyfish after a haircut so the hair can be digested (something about the juices in the jellyfish) so it’s common to slice this raw and serve with a sauce of lime and chillis after a trip to the barber. I’ve had it lots of times as a kid at my grandma’s place.
Ghetto ice cream! These are simply satay skewers that’s been inserted into a tube filled with either Milo or strawberry flavored milk. Both are watered down but it’s pretty enterprising of these young boys to sell them for RM 1 each. I bought one last time my better half and the kids were in town for them to try, the “ice cream” is made by physically turning the huge churn (which rests on a bed of salted water with ice cubes) which will slowly freeze the receptacles holding the liquid.