Two tribes…

Well, there are definitely more than two – as a matter of fact, we have quite a few of those ethnic racial groups here and they are usually collectively referred to as the Dayaks of Sarawak or Borneo. There may be some slight similarities in their cultures and likewise, in their cuisines but each tribe may have its own special dishes that are peculiar only to its own group of people. Some of these are really very nice, I tell you – simply out of this world and will leave you craving for more.

Of course, there is no way you can get to eat any of them unless you can cook your own…or you have some friends from these groups of people …or you go and visit them in their longhouses and villages and they cook for you. That is why I was delighted when I saw in some blogs that they had opened this restaurant in Kuching

Dyak 1

…serving some of those tribal delights and when I was in Kuching earlier this week, I jumped at the chance of dropping by the place to give it a try even though I was very full that night from a feast of pies and pork ribs and more the moment I arrived – those will come in another post, no worries.

I liked the decor…

Dyak 2

– very authentically ethnic…

Dyak 3

…right down to the old kerosene lamps…

Dyak 4

…and the cloth with the very nice traditional Dayak designs that they used for their table cloth. I did wish they would use the pu’a though – the traditional blanket but not the expensive handwoven ones, of course. There are some factory machine-made ones that are actually quite affordable…especially for a somewhat classy restaurant like this.

Business was good – you can see in the photos that there were people of all nationalities…

Dyak 5

…and colour…

Dyak 6

As for the food, you do not have a choice as far as the rice is concerned. Anyone who wants rice will just have the order the whole-grain unpolished indigenous rice (RM3.00)…


Hey! I did not see this that night!

Dyak menu

As it appears, I think they actually charge you, should you decide to ask for an empty plate or bowl to share the rice. Hmmm…next time, we will just eat from the same plate then if we’re sharing the rice.

I wished they had other options as well though – like Bario rice, for instance. No doubt it is supposedly healthy but I do know of some people who are not too fond of this unpolished rice. They claim that it is hard to swallow but it is perfectly all right for me – never have a problem with that!

We ordered the ayam pansoh or what is listed as manok lulun on the menu (RM22.00)…

Manok lulum

– their chicken cooked in bamboo with tapioca  leaves and everything else but I would say that at best, it was all right. Yes, it did have a hint of the taste of what the dish should be but I found it rather watered-down or diluted…or perhaps that is done on purpose to cater to the taste of the general clientele. My missus’ tastes a whole lot stronger with all those things added for that extra fragrance that I feel would make the dish very much nicer.

The cangkuk manis and pumpkin dish – their changkuk manis guring labu (RM10.00) was good…

Changkuk manis guring labu

We enjoyed that very much but I’m afraid our attempts to cook something as nice as what we had here had been futile.

But this was really really great though – their jani kari (RM20.00)…

Pork belly curry

– pork belly or three-layer pork simmered in rich curry gravy…and yes, the gravy was thick and very rich and went absolutely well with the rice – a must order, I would say, for anyone dropping by this place…

Dyak by night

We did not order a lot as like I said earlier, we had had a lot to eat for tea the moment I got into town. Somebody was telling us about a very nice dish with cincaluk (fermented shrimps) but when we got there, it simply slipped our minds. I guess that would have to wait till my next visit and in the meantime, should anybody happen to drop by Kuching and would like to sample some authentic ethnic food, this is probably a pretty good place to go to for that.

Thank you so much to my cousin and my aunt (her mum) for taking me and Melissa here. It was pleasant enough, I would say…and finally, I can say that I’ve been here.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

35 thoughts on “Two tribes…”

  1. jot tis one down… got nice chair… take me there next trip to kuching ok!?

    Cakap only! When…when…when…???

    1. the last time i said going to KK, u macam tak interested je… hahaha… well, not too soon re kuching, second half of the year most probably… more to join will be merrier, reana taknak join pon… hmmm….

      Let me know the moment you’ve booked your tickets. KK, you never confirmed that you’ve booked…just said only and then a few days before going, then you said you’re going. I pun terperanjat!!! Not easy to go KK from here – Kuching, ok.

  2. I like this place, hmm if I would have chance to visit Kuching one day, I’ll ask my friend to bring me there…

    You must! Unless you’re heading to the longhouses for the real thing… Many visitors do that.

  3. The cangkuk manis certainly looks good. I tried cooking it on my own…oklah the taste…but somehow does not look like the one you shared on your blog previously.

    I was getting pretty close that day with some pumpkin that I cooked…but I did not have any cangkuk manis in the house – will blog on it once I get it perfectly right.

  4. I love the interior of the restaurant. So lovely!

    Wait till you see the next one! Come back for tomorrow’s post!

  5. I’ve been meaning to come to this place for a while and your visit to Kuching gave my mum and I the opportunity to try the food there. Was pleasantly surprised that simple food can taste great too.

    …and more often than not, without the need to add any msg too!

    With some, of course, you would need to acquire the taste like kasam, e.g. I wouldn’t touch that with a 10-foot pole…but I’m fine with a lot of the rest. Pounded tapioca leaves with chicken tastes something like kacang ma minus the white wine – very nice. I saw something with tempuyak on the menu but I guess you would not like that and neither would Melissa – she’s not really into ethnic cuisine either. 😦

    But you had steamed cincaluk pork at my house when you were in Sibu or you didn’t touch that?

  6. I always saw this place on the way back from my office. Thanks to your post I can get the picture inside this place. Interesting! Good effort for the local to promote our cultures to outsiders.

    Ya, but too bad it’s non-halal…so some people will not have the opportunity to drop by and try the nice ethnic dishes. I guess pork is part and parcel of their cuisine especially babi hutan so it would not be the same anymore if they do not include it in the menu.

  7. Nice deco. Foods looks superb. Where about is this place? There is another one Absolute Tribal Restaurant, somewhere along Jalan Tabuan. They also have deco more or less the same. Heard that the food is good. Yet to try. Wow, empty plate/bowl also charge. Everything is money, cissssss!!!…

    Come back tomorrow and you will see that other place you mentioned. Aiyor…you Kuching nang, ask me where it is. This one is at Jalan Simpang Tiga, just past the traffic lights junction with Jalan Mendu, if I’m not mistaken…before Spring.

    1. Only Kuching nang in name. I think you know Kuching better than me. I told you before I am not very adventurous about food and will not venture too far out, just the surrounding area.

      Gee!!! Staying at home, never eating out…saving every sen eh? Like that, must be really kaya raya wor…. Muahahahahahaha!!!!!

      1. Sometimes eating out only but still prefer home cooked food. Where got save every sen. Nothing to save at all, hehehe!!!…

        Hahahahahaha!!! Such things, of course, will never tell others one – the big MILO tin under the bed. LOL!!! 😀

    1. A sign like that should not be encouraged. Malaysia is not the same as some western countries where tipping is expected. In Malaysia we tip if we believe the service has been good not because a sign says we should just because they don’t charge us a service charge. I also think those type of signs lower the standard of the establishment. Anyway, since when does the service charge in Malaysia get divided up amongst the staff?
      As for adjusting dishes to suit the general clientele, how would people know what the traditional dish is supposed to taste like, and if they like it if it’s been watered down? I can understand if an Indian restaurant in a western country reduces the spiciness of its dishes, but for a local restaurant, serving local food to locals to do this does not make sense. You don’t find prawn mee in Penang and Nasi Kerabu in Kelantan being made to suit the taste buds of Mat Sallehs, do you?
      Don’t even get me started about the charges for empty plates and bowls! So no class!

      I agree with you 100% about the tips – was waiting for someone to comment on that. The audacity of asking people for tips is definitely not Asian where politeness means turning it down even when given and accepting only when insisted. Really, I think this is quite shameless…and such a huge basket for the purpose some more!

      As for the watering down to suit certain tastes, I was only saying it – instead of saying that it was adulterated, diluted…not nice! What we buy from the stalls during the Borneo Cultural Festival here…or even the ones at the Ramadan stalls are a lot nicer, I must say.

      And yes, the charging for the empty plates and bowls! I for one, would not want to go there ever again for this reason alone…and to think that tripadvisor rates this place as the No. 1 restaurant in Kuching. If that is the case, the rest must suck big time!!!!

  8. hey, i love that old-time kerosene lamp!! so vintage so retro so reminiscent.. i always love all these, haha, does that prove i am old too?? 😀

    You are as old as you think…so what do you think?

  9. Nice restaurant and food looks delicious. Noticed the prices are slightly higher than those in Sibu, but then again, the restaurant has a cosier ambience.

    Not necessarily – the themes are different so it is hard to compare the venues or even the menu.

  10. wah the curry…
    really want me eat some rice with it…

    As long as you eat your own – RM3 a plate, more expensive than a plate of kampua noodles in Sibu…and don’t ask for an extra plate! You’ll be charged 50 sen for that. Tsk! Tsk!

  11. ooo, this is a very cool restaurant! interesting design and pretty intriguing food. very enticed by all the dishes u ordered, especially the pork belly curry 😀

    A lot more dishes actually…but we were really very full and just wanted to try a bit.

  12. Very nice! I think a lot of us are missing out on the foods of the indigenous people in East Malaysia. There is a lot to discover. From the looks of it, the food is very tasty. Hope that there will be a restaurant like this in the peninsular so that we folks here can have a taste of the tribal food.

    I don’t know what they have at this place around Sunway – the Borneo Rainforest Cafe…owned by Tiara Jacquelina. Dunno of any such place in Penang though. Anyway, everyone can fly and there are direct flights from Penang to Kuching – very convenient.

    1. wonder why arthur thinks PH is from penang… u penang lang meh?

      I seem to get the idea she’s from there or based there…based on her comments and stuff like that, not too sure.

  13. I have a short memory. Can’t quite remember the cincalok with pork I had at your place.

    Hah!!! You will have to come again then. 😉

  14. well the rice seems different indeed,
    but then the meals were equally mouth watering, tho it was too leafy for me haha

    Ethnic or native rice – healthier than the polished ones…and leaves are good for you, young boy.

  15. Love the manicai and pumpkin dish, will definitely eat more of that unpolished rice with it. 😀

    It was good but I think they scrimped on the ingredients used so the taste was there but we do it a lot better at home. Not surprising though considering that Rajang hay bee is RM180 a kg now…when it was only RM80 a year ago – they say West Malaysians coming and sapu-ing all at source so the locals have no choice but to buy at that same price if we want to eat it.

  16. Hi, the restaurant decoration look very nice and comfy, food look delicious too. But then to charge 50 cent for empty plate and 20 cents for empty bowl, like a bit cut throat price. Washing liquid and labour just to wash one plate and one bowl cost that much like 5 stars hotel!!! If ever want to drop by again, better to share from the same plate. 🙂

    Have a nice weekend.

    Yup! Daylight robbery, if you ask me. Like one place here – you pay 20 sen extra per item that you order (not per head) if you sit in the aircon section…and it’s not even nice and cool there – they always leave the door open. If you have a lot of people ordering a lot of things, that can come up to quite a lot. I would just sit outside – not much difference really.

  17. It has been ages since I last saw a kerosene lamp. I’m always afraid of those lamps. Fear of them starting a fire, a really huge fire that will engulf the entire house!

    Paranoid. I think they still use those in the remote villages and longhouses.

  18. wow this is really something different. Would keep this place in mind if I ever get a chance to travel there.

    It’s ok – local ethnic fare – not easy to come by elsewhere…but I can tell you that those who can cook those dishes would feel they’re somewhat watered-down – not the best they can be! And I was put off by the charges for the extra plates & bowls…and the request for tips!!! Such audacity! Tsk! Tsk!

  19. this is a first time I m seeing a charge for empty bowls/plates.. wondering what is the cause for this charge… do ppl ask for these often in Sarawak?? @_@

    Never! 1st time seeing this anywhere. Usually we can ask for as many as we want, no charge. The charges are rather steep too, I would think this is quite ridiculous really. I’m surprised nobody has complained about this…

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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