Borneo Cultural Festival 2014

borneo cultural festival

The Borneo Cultural Festival is back! BCF 2014 is the latest iteration of this Sibu festival celebrating local Dayak/Iban and other native cultures. It’s our version of Kuching Festival and there’s a similar emphasis on food! The last time I went was when I was working here, during Borneo Cultural Festival 2008.

sellers

I went with my dad for the last two days and the layout is similar, with sections for Dayak cuisine, Malay cooking and Chinese food. I first wrote about Borneo Cultural Festival in 2003 when my blog was just over a year old (they had a beauty pageant for Miss Malaysian Chinese that year) and went again for BCF 2006 – check out the Borneo Cultural Festival category for full coverage!

bcf2014

Here is my photoblog for BCF 2014:

ayam pansoh

Ayam Pansuh is a Sarawakian dish that uses bamboo to cook chicken. The meat is stuffed into the tube with tapioca leaves and some water before being cooked over a charcoal fire. The bamboo is then cracked open and the water becomes the stock of this chicken dish. You can eat the tapioca leaves too!

beancurd sheet

This is a piece of tofu skin that’s been dipped in *real fish batter* before being deep fried. I’ve never quite had something like this before. It’s made of soybeans – basically a bean curd sheet that’s rehydrated and coated with fish. My dad loved it.

satay

12 different types of satay! There’s chicken skin, chicken heart, chicken liver, rabbit, beef, lamb, cockles, ostrich, and many other unusual proteins on skewers. No pork satay here though coz this is a halal stall. However, my favorite guilty pleasure is here in abundance – grilled chicken skin actually tastes wonderful, but you can’t eat too much of it or you’ll get sick of the ultra rich fat.

wife biscuits

Wife Cake comes in many different variants here. Besides the traditional lao por peng, there’s also “Husband Biscuits” (Biskut Suami) which uses star anise as a filling.

pulut panggang

Pulut Panggang makes an authentic appearance too! It’s glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves that’s been grilled over a charcoal BBQ, giving it the distinctive smoked flavor. I bought several of the beef and chicken filled ones and it was good.

potato twisters

I got potato twisters as well – a staple fair food. It’s a whole potato that’s been cut into spirals and this version uses a sweet batter to coat it before it’s deep fried and slathered with mayo and chilli sauce.

bcf2014 me

Awesome stuff.

ice cream cone

This is a very diluted soft serve ice cream cone. It’s a mix of chocolate and vanilla but it tastes horrible – akin to a penny pinching coffee shop being miserly with the cocoa powder. smirk

chess competition

Chinese chess competition that’s open to the public. It was played on one of the smaller stages in a tournament format.

best pavilion

This particular booth got Best of Show. The Chinese pavilions are usually very well decorated compared to the sparse Malay booths.

pavilions

Here’s another example.

chinese culture art

These pavilions are usually made by clan associations e.g. Heng Hua, Foochow etc but some of them are owned by more general groups like the Chinese Culture & Art Appreciation societies…

gula melaka puffs

…and they have the manpower from clan membership working inside too!

clan pavilions

The Chinese pavilions line the side facing the main road so it’s beautiful when you look in that way – the lights, the glitter, the jazz! (or rather, er-hu ;))

taiwanese food

There’s also a huge Taiwanese food trend in the stalls this year.

bcf

Music, dance and cultural performances are constantly done on the main stage – it’s also a major attraction besides the food.

sugar machine

Sugar twill machine that makes candy on a stick with CAD printing that you can choose – anything from your Chinese Zodiac (Rooster, Dragon, Snake etc) to intellectual property (Doraemon, Hello Kitty and the Disney character lineup). It’s very popular with kids.

sugar twill

(and the young-at-heart)

sibu pasar malam

The Sibu Pasar Malam Association also has a booth selling traditional night market fare.

UniqBun

Gardenia, Massimo and other commercial large-scale baking and distribution operations in KL don’t sell their RM 0.80 ready-to-eat cream filled buns here, so people often buy them in bulk at LCCT/KLIA2 before flying back. There’s now a Sibu company doing it – UniqBun.

cook-to-order

This is my favorite food of the Borneo Cultural Festival 2014. I award it my personal blue ribbon. ;) I even went back the next day with my dad to get some more. It’s cooked-to-order palm sugar balls filled with glutinous rice (pulut). It puffs into a ball when it’s deep fried and it’s a sweet treat at RM 1 each.

palm sugar balls

You just can’t argue with piping hot, deep-fried sweet balls of caramelized airy dough.

dabai sarawak

Oh, and it’s dabai season again! I like how this stall had samplers that has been blanched and marinated in soy sauce and sugar (the traditional way of preparing it). You can only get these in Sarawak. It’s called okana (black olives) but it’s not technically in the olive family. A delicious, seasonal local delicacy.

cultural performance

I quite enjoyed going to this year’s Borneo Cultural Festival with my dad. It didn’t run for a while due to politics but now that it’s back, I hope it’ll be an annual event. It wasn’t very packed on the last day due to the rain and some of the food items sells out fast since it starts at 5 pm but it’s a lot of fun!

food stalls

More importantly, BCF 2014 is a festival we can call our own! :)

Yip Chee May Big Bun and other interesting night market food

Yip Chee May Big Bun (RM 6)

yip chee may bao

Yap Chee May is a huge adult film star in Hong Kong back when I was a kid. She’s famous for her big boobs and this absurdly huge bun is named after her. Ong Kee Yap Chee May Big Bun is made in Taman Connaught, Cheras and pays tribute to the Category III Hong Kong star.

yip chee may big bun

It’s a pau (Chinese meat filled bun) that’s supposed to be the size of the DDD breasts of Yip Chee May. At least, that’s the marketing spiel, I don’t know anyone who actually went up to measure her assets to make sure this conforms to the exact dimensions but it’s ginormous!

yip chee may bun

I found this at the local pasar malam and it’s a dinner plate sized egg and chicken filled bun that’s actually really yummy! There’s a lot of prime meat inside but one downside is that it also has the chicken bones attached so you have to eat it carefully.

yip chee may bun

This RM 6 big bao is so huge it’s a meal unto itself!

Chicken Floss Bread with Dried Meat + Egg (RM 3.50)

ba kua bun

It was a dinner cum stroll along the night market and we also found a stall selling Chinese burgers. I call them that coz everything is Asian – from Chinese style bakery bread to the strips of ba kua (pork jerky) and chicken floss inside.

chinese ramly burger

I was a but puzzled as to how they’re going to put the egg into the fried bread…

pork floss burger

…it turns out that it’s cooked on the same flat top surface before ba kua, cucumber slices and chicken floss is layered onto it.

chinese burger

It’s a Ramly burger, Chinese style! :)

Taiwan style pancakes with sweet and savory fillings

taiwan crepe

You can choose everything from Taiwan sausage, slices of luncheon meat, pork floss etc from an array in front of you for a customized crispy pancake that you can eat while walking.

Golden Swallow durian

durians

It’s durian season again! Ling hasn’t tried the Golden Swallow durian that I like so much so I got one for her to try.

golden swallow

It’s RM 18/kg which is a bit steep and the durian I chose cost RM 30 for the beautiful single-seed-per-segment fruit. I can only find this from independent sellers at night markets and not from the durian buffet chains.

golden swallow durian

It tastes sweet and creamy – we shared one seed when it was opened and bought the rest back. There’s only a few but it’s a quality over quantity thing – if you want cheap durians with a lot of seeds and flesh, D24 is the way to go.

apricots

It was a good trip where we got RM 10 apricots (the same ones sell for RM 12.99 at supermarkets) but the best bit was still the Yip Chee May big bun.

yip chee may filling

It comes with a small sachet of chilli sauce too! The second largest pau I’ve ever seen – Sin Kwang Foochow Big Pau looks like a airplane landing strip compared to it. ;)

yip chee may us

It’s delicious and can be more than a handful for someone to finish in one sitting. smirk

Deep fried battered burgers!

battered burgers

This is one of the most sinfully delicious finds that I’ve had the pleasure of eating recently. I was at the Langkawi pasar malam and chanced upon this deep fried burger stall.

deep fried burgers

Let me reiterate the awesomeness of that sentence just in case it didn’t quite sink in.

fried burger

It’s an entire burger that’s been dipped in batter before being deep fried in glorious churning oil until it’s golden brown.

deep fried burger

It’s just RM 1.50 but the patties seem to have been sliced in half.

artery clogging

This burger will clog your arteries faster than you can eat it. :)

Bangsar Pasar Malam (Night Market) @ Jalan Telawi

pasarmalam.jpg

A couple of us headed down to Bangsar pasar malam last night to get
some fresh produce. It’s only open on Sundays from what I heard from
Richard, unlike Sibu pasar malams which are open every day of the week.
Anyway, we had dinner at the place right in front of the pasar malam
before heading in. I saw this perfect roti tissue while walking in, so
I ordered that but unfortunately, there seems to be two roti canai
stalls because my roti tisu was quite dismal:

uglyrotitisu.jpg
One of the less aesthetically pleasing roti tisu’s around.

Anyway, I didn’t finish that one, don’t really see the appeal in
roti tisu since it’s just a roti canai. Shaped like a hat. I got
another roti pisang to eat, that was great, I like eating roti pisang
without the curries, coz it’s sweet by itself.

rotipisang.jpg
Roti pisang (with bananas inside).

Well, after that we walked around the pasar malam to get some
vegetables and other stuff for cooking. Here are the photos of the
Bangsar pasar malam at Jalan Telawi photo shoot:

bangsarpm1.jpg

bangsarpm2.jpg

bangsarpm3.jpg

bangsarpm4.jpg

freshvegies.jpg
Fresh vegetables!

Pasar Malam and Sugarbun Gateway

I went to the pasar malam [jfriends.com] again tonight with
Daniel, to get one last photo opportunity before it gets torn down to make way for more parking
space.

The food area of the pasar malam.

All sorts of stuff on display at a stall.

I saw this old woman who has been selling a type of appetizer there for at least several
decades. I remember buying food at her stall when I was in primary school. It seems kinda sad, but
interesting nevertheless. It was relatively cool tonight, and it rained just as we finished
covering the area. We then headed to the newly renovated and redesigned Sugarbun Gateway [sugarbun.com] at the town center. The
renovation must have just finished a couple of days ago, because they were still going at it
when I went on Saturday to attend the SUKMA athletes meet and greet
[sixthseal.com]. It’s one of the fastest renovation jobs ever, according to Daniel, who tends to
notice facts like this, being an architecture major. I think they just took a few days to
completely revamp the old Sugarbun layout.

The counter area of Sugarbun Gateway.

The al fresco dining area.

The air conditioned indoor dining area.

To my delight, their menu has been beefed up (no pun intended) significantly. In addition to the
usual fast food fare, there is now an assortment of pies and quiche (!) and also some Chinese food.
I had the claypot sweet and sour chicken “with long beans and carrots and served with a spicy
sauce” and an ice blended mocha.

For the life of me, I couldn’t find the long beans in the stew.

I like to eat spicy food, and my tolerance is reasonably high, but I still found the sauce
plenty hot. The chicken has a high proportion of breast meat though, which I rather dislike. I much
prefer bits of thigh and drumsticks. The ice blended mocha was pretty good though, very thick. Very
nice decor and it even has a balcony at the second floor for al fresco dining. The service has been
improved as well, heaps of Sugarbun people around and there is even someone to hold the door open
for you. =D

The view from the second floor al fresco area.

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