Making a Sarawakian Treasure: Dabai Paste

I can’t believe it’s been 9 months since we left Sarawak to return to the States! While we are settling in to our new home, we still keep in touch with our old friends from Kuching, through Facebook, email and WhatsApp. They’re always sending pictures of the yummy Sarawakian food that they’re eating, like Sarawak laksa and kampua mee. The good thing about dishes like these, though, is that we can make them at home, as the ingredients are not impossible to get.

One thing we cannot get, though, is dabai. Dabai, also known as “Sibu olive” (though it is not a true olive but a completely different species, Canarium odontophyllum), is grown only in Sarawak, generally in the central part of Sarawak around the town of Sibu. Over the years that we lived in Sarawak, we grew to love eating dabai. It’s one of the foods I really miss.

Fresh Dabai, “Sibu Olive”

dabai sibu olive

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A New Addition

Three and a half months after moving back from Malaysia to the US, we’re feeling a bit more settled now. We have moved into a new house in San Jose, and I have started a new job (praise God) in San Francisco with a great non-profit organization.

Since we left almost everything we had in Malaysia except for some clothes and important items, we really need to refurnish our new place with everything – dining set, sofa, TV, beds, desks – to get the House of Annie back in operation.  Fortunately, our friends have been very kind to us by donating a lot of things. But we are still missing a few things.

On Friday, I came home to find that the kids had prepared a “treasure hunt” for me, feeding me clues at each point around the house. They eventually led me outside to the shed.

What’s Behind Door #1?

What's behind Door #1?

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Catching Up at Saratoga Farmer’s Market

We’ve been back in San Jose for a few days now, and we are slowly getting over the jet lag (not easy when there’s a 16 hour time difference between here and Malaysia). It’s been pretty smooth so far, thanks in large part to our good friends who helped to ease us back in. I got a head cold the first day back, and experienced some troubling heart palpitations as well, but they couldn’t stop me from taking us out to our favorite Saturday morning destination: the farmer’s market at West Valley College in Saratoga, CA.

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House of Annie is Moving Back

Many of you who are friends of our Facebook Fan Page may have noticed a distinct change of picture posts. Where they used to be primarily Sarawak-based, they have become West Malaysia-focused. The reason is, after three and a half years in Sarawak, we are moving back to the US.

Our Bags are Packed

Bags are packed

We have loved our time here, and loved all the people we met. These experiences and relationships have enriched us immensely.

Having given up or sold off most of our possessions (twice), we have learned that life is not about the accumulation of stuff, but about the relationships we make.

We have been blessed with many good friends in Sarawak. We also know that we are blessed with many good friends in San Jose, where we will be returning for the time being.

We are looking forward to the next chapter! Not forgetting the many chapters that have been written during our stay in Sarawak, which we hope to document in the coming months.

Cheers and Aloha,

Nate and Annie

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About Us

My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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