THOMAS BIRD Wrote “Sa­vor­ing Sarawak,” p. 96

DestinAsian - - CONTRIBUTORS -

“Vis­it­ing Sarawak was ini­tially just part of my avoid-Bei­jing’s-win­ter-at-all-costs pol­icy,” says Bird of his Fe­bru­ary so­journ in Kuch­ing. “What I dis­cov­ered went far be­yond a trop­i­cal es­cape, though—a rich ta­pes­try of cul­tures still busy forg­ing a Sarawakian iden­tity. And this com­plex mélange is per­haps best un­der­stood through the food. As a writer, I’m a nat­u­ral cof­fee shop fiend and I soon be­came a con­nois­seur of the Malay ko­pi­tiam. As a Man­darin-speaker, I nat­u­rally grav­i­tated to­ward the plethora of Chi­nese restau­rants. But when I dis­cov­ered na­tive jun­gle food, par­tic­u­larly the var­i­ous types of ed­i­ble ferns, I felt com­pelled to write. Sadly, ferns per­ish eas­ily, so they’re not re­ally for ex­port. Which means you’ve no ex­cuse but to visit your­self in order to sam­ple these mar­vels of na­ture.”

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