November 12, 2017

Sarawakian Local Delights : Oil Palm Hearts or Upa Sawit

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It was in 1988 when I moved to Miri that I had my first taste of a lovely dish, with a delightful fine textured and creamy shoot which looked like bamboo shoot but it was not. It did not have that sourish bitterness of the normal bamboo shoot that I knew.

That was my first taste of the palm heart from Oil Palm or upa sawit. In those days palm oil was new to many Sarawakians as it was a crop grown by government estates and some private companies.

From then on, it became a common dish at my new home as it was readily available in the market.

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Palm shoots cooked with wild boar meat
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Palm shoots cooked with fresh pork ribs
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At Ruas Kitchen in Miri, the palm hearts are cooked with wild torch ginger flowers, shoots and chillies with pork

Many friends of mine cook Upa Sawit cooked in a mild coconut milk based curry with chicken, local wood ears, some fu chuk (bean curd sticks) chinese dried mushrooms in chicken broth is a hearty soup for the family and large number of friends in a gathering. That is indeed a really memorable dish to share with good friends and loved ones.

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