Nukenen -Bario Food Festival

Kelabit elder watches over her jungle buffet at one of the many stalls at Nukenen Festival

This article is to give an insight to one of the signature festivals of Sarawak, the Nukenen Festival. This year the festival will be from July 30, 2020 till August 1, 2020.

Link goes to the Official FB Page of Nukenen.

What is Nukenen

Nukenen is a traditional Kelabit food and cultural festival that celebrates Kelabit cuisine, cultural arts and games. The three day festival showcases all sorts of rare treats, from jungle grubs, wild meat, edible flowers and the glamorous Adan Rice which is also popular known as Bario Rice.

Thumbs up from the Kelabit ladies that proudly don their traditional costume

The festival site is at the Bario Town Centre and each stall is usually represented by the many villages that make up Bario. Pa’lungan, Pa’Umor, Ulung Palang and so forth. Some 17 villages altogether.

Each stalls are decorated with plants, mats, palm leaves and bamboo. Most had pineapples as their decor pieces.

Simple but nice decorations of the stalls at Nukenen.

What to Expect

Almost anything the jungle can provide basically. Wild meat, frogs, bats, grubs , mushrooms and more.

Steamed frog anyone?

Then again for the less adventurous, there is the mushroom rice, jungle ferns and of course the typical barbecue. What better way for the Bario folks to catch up with relatives if not with a nice barbecue.

Pork ribs and corn. something less traditional.

Other Activities to do during Nukenen

Let’s be honest. As much as we love food, we can only take so much. So here are a few things that you should do to burn those calories.

Hike up Korea Hill

Just near the town centre where the Nukenen Festival there is a trail that leads up to Korea Hill. A 10 minute hike, the view makes it all worth it.

Plenty of hills surrounding Bario for you to try out.

View of the signature paddy fields of Bario
Trek to Pa’Lungan Monolith

This is a full day trek and is guaranteed to give you an appetite once you have done this trek . This would take you about 8 hours in total or maybe less.

Pa’Lungan Monolith
Jungle Shopping

This is what the Nukenen is all about, celebrating the various bountiful supplies available to the Kelabits from their nearby jungles.

Village Chief Scott Apoi of Ngimat Ayu Homestay shows how to pick a bamboo shoot.

Most home stays in Bario offer jungle shopping experience for it’s guests.

For a more comprehensive information on things to do in Bario, you may want to check the link.

Words of Advice

Book your flights and accommodation now.

Flights are by MasWings and it is limited to Bario especially during Nukenen. They do try to mount extra flights but no guarantee.

Same thing applies to your accommodation. Book early.

Thank you for reading and if you want extra details on the above, drop me a line and I’ll get back to you soon as possible. 

Till my next Bejalai, remember to be a responsible traveller. Respect nature and respect culture.. take care and don’t forget to comment.

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