Smoke House Rumah Asap in Miri


It has been a very long time since I wrote about food but the Smokehouse or Rumah Asap in Miri is something I have to share with you as it totally blew my mind away. You see, when my Sarawakian friend Kevin told me about this place a couple of years ago, I never did imagine how it would turn out and one fine day when I was in Miri, he took me to try this strange and unique gastronomic experience. 

The Miri Smokehouse is only well known to the locals and is found in a few places around Miri, not in restaurants or cafes, but by the road sides under makeshift tents or temporary food stretches. The catch? Well, you have to brave the humidity and heat in the hot afternoons while eating here. And why call it the smoke house? Easy - With all the cooking going on, there is a lot of smoke hence the straightforward name.

Natad Tuaw (Ngukab Terewe), the smoke house which I tried in Permy Jaya, Miri
Lady boss grilling the parts
All kinds of parts being barbecued
So, what do they serve? Pork and every possible part of the pig is served here. Yes, I kid you not, so if you are a pork lover, this is definitely one of the places you have to try and strangely, you can only find this smoke house in Miri. So take note that this is non-halal.

The history of the smoke house goes back to the early nineties where some local people started this business around the Pujut bus terminal and from there, it gained popularity and spread all over Miri. I also understand that there is a number of smoke house in Kuching areas too, but the originality of this started here in Pujut, Miri.

The style of cooking it is only one style - barbecue, so rest assured, you will be getting fresh barbecued pork, and the parts that you like. Generally, you can come in and order whatever part you wish, if they have it in stock and the head included.

So, here's how it works - When you arrive at the smokehouse, you tell the cook which part you want and they will barbecue it for you. You can also request for medium or well cooked and even chopped in what size. 

For example, Kevin ordered some lean meat and the pigs ears which he requested for the ears to be chopped into pieces. Then it was barbecued to be burnt a little where it is then served with a piece of lime and a special sambal spicy sauce. Different smokehouses have their own style of the spicy sambal sauce too.

Preparing the ordered cuts before barbecuing them
BBQ action on the grill
The finished dish, complimented with the special sambal sauce
Close up of the barbecued pork with a lime
After having a go at the barbecue pork, the sweat starts to roll down your cheeks, neck and all over and this is when the finishing part comes in - the cold bottle of beer, and let me just say, that combination is one of the best to have in a hot and humid afternoon in Miri. Prices vary at different smokehouses here but nothing too steep. 

Each local has their own favorite smokehouse therefore it is quit subjective to name the best Smokehouse in Miri as I always feel that there is no best, just acquired taste from each individual person.

Smokehouse at E Mart with the prices (2015)
What it looks like at a common smokehouse in Miri
Smoke House Locations in Miri, Sarawak

The locations of these places are not well documented but I will post those well known ones here. which I have been too or recommended by locals. They are;

• Smokehouse at Pujut Corner (Bus Terminal, the original Miri Smoke House)
• Smokehouse at E-Mart, the last shopping place before entering Brunei
• Rumah Asap in the Tudan area
• Rumah Asap in Permy Area
• Anacamp Smokehouse, Merdeka Mall Miri (Modern style rumah asap)
• MJ BBQ Smokehouse, Miri (Modern style rumah asap)

E Mart in Miri has probably the most smokehouses 
A look at the Rumah Asap E Mart
Currently, the competition has grown with many more locals opening up these smoke houses around Miri and many are being creative by offering other meats like chicken, lamb or beef. You can usually find them next to each other, sometimes five or six in a row like the ones in E Mart.

One of them which I recently visited in 2015 was MJ BBQ located in the main Miri area and they even had rice and other dishes being served to patrons. clearly, this goes to show the evolution of the traditional smokehouses here have now matured into semi-hawker restaurants.

MJ BBQ, one of the popular hybrid smoke houses in Miri
Cooks at MJ BBQ in Miri
Ready to eat barbecued pork at MJ BBQ
Back then, the locals would set up makeshift tents and sell the hunted wild boars for extra money. This eventually caught on and got quite popular where now farmed pigs are used. Whispers in the air also claimed that some of them even have 'special' meats at times but you needed to know the owner to be invited to try these delicacies. Of course, this is highly illegal in all ways. 

So, the next time you visit Miri and want to try something different and unique, ask a local there to tell you where is the nearest Smoke House or Rumah Asap in Miri. Most likely, they will point you in the right direction. But if you have a friend there, it would be much more easier for him or her to bring you around. If you are on tour, try asking the local tour guide about this too. 



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