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Kuching is now listed as the first city in Malaysia to attain UNESCO’s Creative City of Gastronomy.
This makes Kuching join nine other Gastronomy cities which had already been part of the list which is one of the categories under UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).
In South East Asia, Phuket was the first city to gain such recognition, with Kuching being only the second.
What does this mean to Kuching
To understand what the listing means, one must look at the whole UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), which is a network which consist of 295 cities globally.
This network was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development in which they work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.
Based on the network’s website, there’s seven main categories namely Craft & Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Airts and Music.
Kuching was listed under Gastronomy which gives it an opportunity to further promote itself as a foody destination as previous cities were not only listed by UNESCO in its website, but also in Wikipedia’s list of City of Gastronomy.
Being in such list means food lovers will definitely consider Kuching as a destination for great food in the future.
How did Kuching get into the listing?
It was reported last April that a few agencies and NGOs were working together to get Kuching on UNESCO’s creative network list.
However, to be listed, Kuching had to fulfil certain criterias which are listed below.
- Well-developed gastronomy that is characteristic of the urban centre and/or region;
- Vibrant gastronomy community with numerous traditional restaurants and/or chefs;
- Indigenous ingredients used in traditional cooking;
- Local know-how, traditional culinary practices and methods of cooking that have survived industrial/technological advancement;
- Traditional food markets and traditional food industry;
- Tradition of hosting gastronomic festivals, awards, contests and other broadly-targeted means of recognition;
- Respect for the environment and promotion of sustainable local products;
- Nurturing of public appreciation, promotion of nutrition in educational institutions and inclusion of biodiversity conservation programmes in cooking schools curricula.
It seems that Kuching was able to fulfil all the criteria as an article by DayakDaily mentioned that the letter of acceptance from UNESCO was received on 8 November 2021, hence listing Kuching as a City of Gastronomy.
Importance of being City of Gastronomy
I personally feel that it is about time Kuching gained recognition as a City of Gastronomy.
Within Malaysia, Kuching has plenty of delicious dishes and cuisines to offer with some, like Laksa Sarawak, making waves around the globe.
Dayak food is also a growing trend in Kuching and Malaysia.