Sarawak Series 3

Organized by Badan Warisan Malaysia

Live Webinar Details
Date: Thursday, 19 May 2022
Time: 5:00 PM (Kuala Lumpur, GMT+8)
Topic: Sarawak’s Exotic Food Heritage
Speaker: Datin Dona Drury Wee
Moderator: Habsah Abang Saufi
Venue: Virtual – Zoom Webinar
Free Admission

About The Talk
This talk will take us on a journey through the jungles of Sarawak to the modern day cities and all the gastronomical fare that Sarawak’s bounty has to offer. Learn about our unique indigenous ingredients and culinary traditions that form an integral part of our heritage – connecting different tribes, cultures and communities. Discover about our heritage rice, and the variety of tuak (rice wine) made from these and the taboos and beliefs that are practised in the making of tuak. If smells and tastes could be transported through the internet, your taste buds will be tickled as we introduce you to tepus (red gingerwort), terong assam (sour eggplant), assam payak (sour snake fruit) and the multitude of edible ferns. From fruits, to the ulat mulong (sago worms) to the heartwarming dishes that are plated and placed on the table in front of you, to the festivals, traditional and new, come and learn about all the different flavours of Sarawak that make us a melting pot of unity.

About The Speaker

Datin Dona Drury Wee was born in Sibu of American-Iban parentage. Her father, Don, came here as a wood working consultant in the 60s and helped to set up some of the earlier plywood factories. Annual family holidays back to her mother’s longhouse when she was a child instilled a great sense of pride in her Iban heritage, a rich cultural history she now wishes to take an active part in preserving. Married to Dato Richard Wee, a member of a traditional Hokkien family, Dona has gained an insight into local Chinese customs and practices.

Dona is active in the Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) where she holds the post of President, the Sarawak Branch of the Trefoil Guild Girl Guides (former Girl Guides) where she is the current Deputy Chairman, as well as the being immediate past President of the Sarawak Eurasian Association, publishers of the award winning “Legacy Cookbook” – a compilation a stories of the origins of Sarawak’s Eurasian families mixed in with their favourite family recipes. After winning the “Best Local Cuisine Book in the World” Gourmand World Cookbook Award in 2011, Dona was invited, during the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture’s Tourism Taskforce Workshop, to start the Sarawak Culinary Heritage Committee with Marian Chin, Gracie Geikie and Datin Esther Balan. This officially evolved into the Culinary Heritage and Arts Society Sarawak (CHASS) and they were part of the bid team that won Kuching recognition in 2021 as a UNESCO Creative City Network (UCCN) ‘City of Gastronomy”. Dona is also a committee member of the Friends of Sarawak Museum, as well as in Kelab Mirage Sarawak. Dona was also invited to be a TedX Kenyalang speaker in 2019 where she spoke on “Animals and our Environment: We are all Connected.”

About The Moderator

Habsah Abang Saufi believes in reinventing herself but one thing remains a constant – staying true to her heritage.

Habsah’s first job was as a marketing representative for IBM as Mathematics was her major and after a few years, she went on to pursue a career in properties. She was a founder member of Central Market, turning a wet market into an adaptive reuse project, a modern bazaar of traditional crafts and foods and managed to save the biggest example of an Art Deco building in the region from being demolished.

Habsah was partner of Tom Abang Saufi for 17 years, the fashion brand well known for championing iconic eastern motifs and cuts, and the use of ancient batik. Together she and her sister, Dato’ Tom, the chief designer, they took Malaysian fashion on shows in major cities around the world.

Habsah now paints as “The Accidental Artist”. Food and cooking has always been her love, and visiting markets is her passion. She believes Sarawak food is unique, and the taste of childhood that her mother brought to the family table is her favorite cuisine.