The Terung Dayak

Do you know Sushi and what country it comes from? I guess this kind of question is pointless since even a little boy knows that Sushi is from Japan. So, let’s talk about Asian cuisine, an extraordinary one, all of it. So many choices, most still unknown to the world but so delicious and with an  unforgettable taste. Do you know any of it?

Cooked Terung Dayak

Well, when you travel in Asian countries, you will find tons of traditional food. Asia is a big continent divided into several countries, so there surely is plenty of local food out there waiting for you to come and try.

Let me tell you about food from my country, the Malaysian Borneo. Terung Dayak, also known as Terung Assam, is secret recipe of Sarawak’s indigenous people. Terung Dayak has been recognized here as traditional food from generation to generation.

In scientific term, the proper name given to this vegetable is Solanum Feroc L, one of the egg plant species. It can be found in many South East Asian Countries like Indonesia, where they call it Sour Brinjal. Usually, it has a round shape and it is covered with a hairy and itchy skin. Its starting colour is usually green, and it turns yellow once it is ripe.

According to history, its seeds were brought back to Sarawak from Indonesia by the Dayak people. Terung Dayak is a wild vegetable which used to only grow wild in the forest; now the Dayak people plant it and harvest it from their paddy fields.

For Sarawakians, this vegetable is suitable to be cooked with salted fish, particularly with salted and dried shark, in a soup. Besides that, the native people like to slice it into small pieces and eat it dipped in spicy sambal sauce.

The uniqueness of Terung Dayak is that it is usually cooked and served during Dayak weddings or special occasions. It is one of the favorite dishes among Sarawakians and it is now promoted as part of Sarawak’s famous cuisine.

terung Dayak

Terung Dayak soup cook with fish

Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, disclosed to the Borneo Post that Terung Dayak is one of the Key Focus Activity (KFA) projects implemented by the Research Division of State Agriculture Department (DOA) this year. Thanks to modern times, Terung Dayak is now being promoted as a niche product of Sarawak!

It is worth knowing that, aside from cooking, Terung Dayak is also very well-known as a traditional medicine: the Dayak people believe it can cure pin worms.

I bet by now everyone is starting to Google it. Personally, I cannot find enough words to fulfill the excitement of having the Terung Dayak here in Sarawak. You have to come to visit us and indulge yourself with this amazing delicacy.

Being Sarawak a state with multiracial citizens, do not forget to enjoy other popular dishes such as Laksa Sarawak cooked by the Malay people, Kolo Mee by the Chinese people, and Roti Canai by the Indian people. And if you drink alcohol, do not hesitate to try the traditional liqueur, the so called rice wine.

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About the author

Cato is a young woman, passionate writer, and a loving mother from Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Cato gained a Master's Degree with honours in Social Science majoring in Communication Studies at the University Malaysia Sarawak - UNIMAS. After a long spell as a full-time reporter writing for TV and Radio news in Borneo and beyond, she is currently a Senior Marketing in a private firm practicing writing, public relations as well as marketing. She is also a regular and passionate contributor at Asian Itinerary. Cato is a dynamic woman with several interests and hobbies such as travelling, listening to music, playing guitar, reading, hiking, kayaking and surfing the Internet. She is a young promise in the travel-writing world, and one of the main exponents of Asian Itinerary.

View all articles by Catohrinner Joyce Guri