Hi Guys, we meet again in yet another Food Adventure!
This time, I’ll be reviewing foods from the land of the hornbill! Since I rarely go back home to Sarawak and the fact that I’m from Serian, means that I have no clue where to eat (specifically, somewhere special to eat with good food!) in Kuching. I wanted it to be special because we celebrated my father’s birthday and also, my Boss was in town, so I wanted to celebrate them both. After through research (asking people in whatsapp group), my good friend, Ammar suggested that we go to Lepau, and so we did. Lepau which means “farm-hut” in the Kayan language, is a restaurant located at at 395, Jalan Ban Hock, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, they specialise in traditional Sarawak cuisine.
Lepau – 395, Jalan Ban Hock, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak
There was a lot to choose from in their menu, but we opted for the Umai Ikan, Ayam Pansuh & Butter Prawn, we also ordered the Brown Rice to get the best authentic taste of Sarawak.Lets start of our review with the Umai Ikan, for those who don’t know what an Umai is, it’s a famous traditional Melanau cuisine. It is made from fresh fish (the fish is eaten raw, some say it’s the sushi of Sarawak!), which is cut into small thin pieces, then is drenched in a combination of chili & lime dressing, topped with a some onions and other ingredients. Since my dad is a Melanau, of course we were going to be eating this dish!
The umai by Lepau was probably one of the best I’ve ever eaten from a restaurant,the savory taste of the lime was quite to apparent for my personal taste but overall, the dish was simply wonderful especially eaten with steaming hot rice. The fish was fresh, the savory, spicy and tangy taste was apparent and it complemented each other. I’d give it a 4.8/5 if given the option. You simply have to experience it yourself if you want to know how it taste like! Umai ikan is quite a delicacy, because not many restaurant offers it. Some requires you to order it before hand if you want a taste of this dish. Luckily, you can order it anytime of the day at Lepau! Umai is not only limited to using fish, but there’s a variety to it such as Umai Udang, Umai Sotong etc. All of which are fresh and raw!
Umai Ikan! Looking at this picture makes me hungry
Next up is the Ayam Pansuh, simply put, it’s chicken soup that is cooked in bamboos! Some restaurant in Sarawak does offer the Ayam Pansuh on their menu, but they cook the dish using a wok, so it’s not too traditional. As for Lepau, if I’m not mistaken, they cook the Ayam Pansuh the traditional way, which is with inside a bamboo on an open fire! That’s why the taste was superior compared to others! Imagine eating chicken soup that our mom cooks, but multiply it by ten, and that is how Ayam Pansuh taste like. The smoky and bamboo taste is infused in its soup, amplifying the taste of chicken to another level. Dare I say, once you’ve eaten an Ayam Pansuh, you will never look at a normal chicken soup the same way again!
Ayam Pansuh FTW!
Lastly, we have the Butter Prawn. Well, I know it’s not a traditional Sarawakian cuisine, but hey, we wanted to eat something different for a change. As for the taste, it was the same as any other Butter Prawn out there but point is given for the fresh prawn. The flesh of the prawn was easily separated from its shells. The butter was not overwhelming but I wished they could make it more spicy but that’s my personal preference.
All in all, the price was quite reasonable for the portion that we got. So for those who visits Sarawak, and wants the taste of authentic Sarawak cuisine can visit Lepau to experience it. For those who lives in KL or Selangor, you can go to Javian Kitchen if you want to taste the flavors of Sarawak! Believe me, when I say you will not regret it!
The Map to Lepau in Kuching
One the left is my dad, Mr Mohd Abd Hafiz@Talim Bin Tepung and on my right is my former boss at MAI, Mr Nizmar Bin Nazar. It was my fathers 50+ birthday in conjunction with my boss being here in Sarawak, so we celebrated it in the best way possible.
Family photo in front of Lepau, my brother is not present. The farthest left is my Big Sister and on the right is my Lovely Mother. Take note that I’m the youngest sibling.