Sunday, October 28, 2018

WAK 2018 - Tuak Fest

For a more formal write-up of this event, you can have a read at Sarawak Ethnic Cuisine's Blog

So last Friday night, me, my niece and a friend of hers went for the Tuak Tasting at The Bibber's Tale. I was actually looking forward for this session as I have never done any proper wine or tuak tasting. Normally I bought my wine off-the-shelf. It means a blind tasting, it can be a hit-or-miss experience. After few years of trial and error, I have my own personal favorite. I prefer a sweetish light or medium-bodied type with fruity taste of wine. For white, I choose Moscato and for red, its always Port Wine.

Back to the Tuak Tasting. My session started at 7pm, but I was half an hour late as I was busy preparing material for my Public Gold booth on Saturday morning the next day. At first I wanted to take a Grabcar but then decided against it due to time constraint.

When I reached there the The Bibber's Tale bar was pretty full, so we were seated at the high bar. We were immediately being given a briefing on the concept of the tasting session. First, the bartender would explained the background story of the rice wine (tuak), then we will be given a small amount to savor the flavour. Weighed on it, clean up and move on to the next wine. After the 10th bottle, we would vote for the best wine (we were not told what was the criteria, just choose one that we like). After the tasting completed, we can choose the tuak that we voted and drink as much as we want until our session is up.

For the ticket priced at RM80, we were given some barbecued food and a goody bag. The goody bag contained a small bottle for each of the participating wine to be brought home. The barbequed pork served tasted great and quantity was just nice to down with the tuak.

So, this is my verdict on the tuak that we tasted. I dont described it like a professional taster cos I dont know how. It is my honest feeling, and I hope no one will hold any grudges on me. Hey, it is just an opinion of a person, someone else might beg to differ.

Tuak No.1
No. 1 - Tuak Uncle Sam
Background story - it was roasted on firewood to produce the smokey taste
Verdict - sufficient tinge of sweetness, medium, sufficient maturity. A surprisingly great start.

Tuak No.2
No. 2 - Unnamed
Background story - brewed by a 22-yo lady from Kapit. Still experimental
Verdict - the taste shows the level of experience. The tuak not yet fully fermented, not enough amount of sugar added in the process. Sourish. Still have much room for improvement.

Tuak No.3
No.3 - Tuak Puji Sempuli Nyadi
Background story - made by a lady from Roban. Added spices into her recipe
Verdict - It does warm the throat but not to the point of overwhelming. Quite pleasant and on the strong side.

Tuak No.4
No. 4 - Tuak Inek Wai
Background story - made by a guy from Bintulu. Recipe from Kapit. Tuak made more for festivals at the longhouse
Verdict - Very raw and the smell reminds me of 'tempayan'. Its smells and tasted quite offensive I just discarded the whole thing after the first sip. Thank goodness for the pork.

Tuak No. 5

No. 5 - Lini Tuak
Background story - made by a lady from Lingga. Added pepper, cinnamon, ginger into her recipe
Verdict - The smells was pleasant. It reminded me of tuak made by my own mother-in-law. The familiarity of it gave me a warm feeling, and I had no problem finishing the whole sampling. No.5 was the favourite of the two ladies with me.

Tuak No.6
No. 6 - Ba-ram Tayung
Background story - made by a guy from Serian.
Verdict - tuak not yet fully fermented. Dry and sour. Discarded.

Tuak No.7
No. 7 - Aro Rice Wine
Background story - made by a guy from Saratok. Used mountain water
Verdict - MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE. The word NICE came up to mind on my first sip, and when you enjoy a wine with a close eyes, you know you found the one. Sufficient strengh, sweetness, maturity and the smells is what I wanted in a tuak. I would drink it daily like a Moscato. I chose this one to drink for the rest of the night.

Tuak No. 8
No. 8 - Entangen 
Background story - made by a fellow from Serian. 150 years old recipe and used 'to feed the dead'.
Verdict - The smells quite mellow. There is something pungent (but not bad) in its taste but I couldnt tell. Good enough that I would finish it off if offered during festivals

Tuak No.9
No. 9 - Tuak Indu Mior
Background story - made by a fellow from Sarikei. Tuak made for local personal consumption and during festivals
Verdict - Nothing special. Quite bland.

Tuak No.10

No 10 - Special Home Brew Tuak (unnamed)
Background story - made by a lady from Roban. Recipe from 4th century and has been perfected over the years. Lots of spices added.
Verdict - I am not sure whether I was affected by the back story, but my first sip tells me that this the one that can go 'international'. I dont prefer a strong drink, but I know this tuak deserve to win. I equalized it to a smooth and very old whisky that only the true drinkers can appreciate. My vote somehow, GOES TO NO. 10.

Here are pictures with some of the participants.

Participant No.1. Good job sir!

Participant No.2. Young and daring, I wish her all the best. She started at 22 making her first tuak. If she continue on perfecting her skills, she gonna have a bright future

Participant No.3. She have a distinct tuak flavor and I dont mind to have it anytime
As of the time this post is written, I do not know who is the winner of Tuak Fest 2018. But I am sure who will not win though.

I would like to say that the organizers did a splendid job at organizing this first-ever Tuak Fest event. I do hope though that in the future, a blind-tasting format will be done, and few categories and different type of tuak base shall be added in. I can see the organizers have a good vision on where this event direction going and I hope it shall materialized and can encouraged more local brewers to participate and refine their products for a bigger market.

This post is written on behalf of Sarawak Bloggers Society for #WAK2018, a month long event happening to showcase the celebration of arts, culture and lifestyle of Kuching city, to the global audience. The event is co-organized by The Bibber's Tale and Rajah Puteh Production.

Kindly visit About Kuching website for more info.

#whataboutkuching #tuakfest #sarawakbloggers

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