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Paku Pakis

Have you ever travelled to another country and wondered what the local people really eat? I’m not talking about the touristy things that tend to be dished out at hotels and restaurants but the food people eat at home on a regular basis. Something that you wouldn’t necessarily be served in a restaurant because for whatever reason, locals may think that travellers might not enjoy it. It is comparable to tourists visiting Karnataka and not getting a chance to taste “neer dosa” or “ragi mudde”, two very typical Kannadiga dishes.

In Borneo, Patrick and I had the wonderful opportunity to taste such a culinary preparation. I suppose one would call me a fussy eater but in this case, it definitely played to our advantage. The lodges in Borneo pride themselves on providing a culinary extravaganza in the form of a buffet with a superb selection of meats and sea food. If you’re vegetarian, it can be a bit of a challenge. While I’m happy to take a tiny bite of these dishes just to see what it tastes like, it doesn’t fill my belly.

Rafel, our guide in Tabin Wildlife Lodge, understood quickly that although the prawn curries and curries were delicious, they were not going to work with me. He came up with a brilliant solution- get the cooks to prepare “Pakis” one of their traditional side dishes made of baby fern marinated in soy sauce, garlic, lemongrass and chillis. The result: a brilliant culinary experience. So delicious that during our week long stay, we collected the ferns on several occasions so we could enjoy this tasty dish some more. And they served it with such flair and colour!

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