Kuching South mayor Datuk James Chan once said you have not visited the city if you have not attended the annual Kuching Festival.
It is not difficult to see why, as the Kuching Festival this year boasted more diverse cuisine, from local to international favourites, as well as unusual food that might tickle your fancy.
At the festival in this city of unity, everyone got a taste of the harmonious relations shared by the people as well as the delicious food available.
Organised by the Kuching South City Council (MBKS) every year since 1986, it is a highly anticipated festival for both locals and tourists from abroad.
Oyster pancake a must-have among Kuching folk and visitors
Some returning tourists had even expressed their wish to attend the Kuching Festival again.
Even the gloomy weather on some nights was not a hindrance for eager visitors who came to the festival to enjoy their favourite food or just to take a stroll around the venue.
Stall owners were quick to follow the food trends by serving up a variety of popular flavours such as matcha (green tea), salted egg yolk, durian, coconut and wasabi, incorporating them into hanjuku cheese tarts, croissants, mille crepe cakes, buns, ice cream and more.
One of the new additions to Kuching’s food scene was the Japanese raindrop cake.
Also available this year was the liquid nitrogen ice cream, which fast became a favourite with visitors.
Welcoming entrance for visitors
The Kuching Festival has become a platform for young entrepreneurs to start up their businesses and try out the local market before taking the plunge.
The mayor welcomed such passionate youths, saying he felt privileged to be able to organise the festival.
Many new food items and experimental food flavours made their debut this year, with adventurous visitors sinking their teeth into some unconventional offerings.
Some of the more unusual inventions that attracted visitors were nasi lemak ice cream, glow-in-the-dark volcano ice cream, cone donut ice cream, fried Japanese Onigiri, beer cheese soup and poop cake!
Other than food, the trade fair offered several new innovative products, while the mini theme park near the MBKS Stadium provided some fun for the young and young-at-heart.
For secondary school teacher Stella Chang, 56, the Kuching Festival is a unique event because people from all walks of life come together to share their cuisines – showing that food can unite people.
Colourful glutinous rice cakes make for an interesting sight.
“I come here every year to see what is new. Sometimes, I buy my dinner from here for my family when I am too busy to cook.
“Besides, I get to check out the latest innovative products being promoted at the trade fair,” she said.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Faculty of Applied and Creative Art second-year student Janiece Liew said the festival was a must-visit for her every year.
“Growing up in Kuching, I make it a tradition to go every year with my friends to jalan jalan cari makan here.
“Every year, I see different food items and it is fun to try out the new things.
A stall owner spinning a flower-shaped cotton candy, which was a big hit among children.
“So far, I have tried the nasi lemak ice cream and poop cake. Next up is the glow-in-the-dark ice cream,” she said with a laugh.
The Kuching Festival was such a hit this year that visitors are already looking forward to a more adventurous gastronomic journey at the festival scheduled for August 2017.