Saturday, October 08, 2016

Siniawan - Preserving our heritage

LAST month, some friends and I decided to play tourist in our own backyard and visit the night market at Siniawan.

Siniawan is a historic Chinese settlement on the old road to Bau whose transformation into a successful heritage conservation has been well documented.

What makes Siniawan’s restoration all the more notable is that it was led by the local community, spurred by a Kuching architect and the Sarawak Heritage Society.

Today, the two rows of wooden shophouses in the town have been renovated and preserved, maintaining their olden-day charm while serving a new purpose.

Every weekend, Siniawan plays host to a night market along the restored shophouses, with hawkers and stall operators selling all kinds of food while tables and chairs are set up in the street.

Colourful lanterns strung between the shops add to the festive air, while an open-air karaoke stage invites patrons to try out their singing abilities.

The night market has become a well-known attraction over the years.

My friends and I had read about it and seen plenty of photographs on Facebook and social media.

But we had never been there.

So one fine Saturday evening, we went to Siniawan to check it out for ourselves.

Our first surprise was that the drive took less than half an hour despite some heavy traffic along the way.

Shortly after 6.30pm we reached the town, where we were again surprised to find that the car park was already full and more vehicles were arriving.

Clearly the Siniawan night market is very popular among Kuching folk.

As it was still quite early, we decided to walk down the length of the street, taking photographs and admiring the restored facades of the shophouses and the pretty lanterns.

We were struck by how quaint and charming the place looked, including its spruced up riverbank as well as the crowds of people thronging the street.

We were definitely spoilt for choice when it came to dinner options.

There were stalls selling the usual array of street food like satay, noodles and oyster pancakes known locally as “o chien”, while others offered traditional delicacies, local kuih and fusion dishes.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Siniawan - Preserving our heritage