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Eat Drink @ Kantin Jewel Changi Airport · Borneo Tribal Cuisine & Jungle Inspired Cocktails

Airport food everywhere the same? Kantin @ Jewel Changi gives you something different 
I visited Sarawak Malaysia a few times recently and fell in love with their indigenous cuisine. 

You know...., when we think about Southeast Asian cuisine, most of us are unaware of Dayak cuisine of Sarawak.

It's time to shed light on this blind spot in Malaysian / Southeast Asian cuisine which has already caught the eye of the United Nations, which named Kuching of Sarawak, a UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2021.

I am so glad that Kantin from Sarawak set up an outlet at Jewel Changi Airport Singapore. This is Kantin's first overseas foray.

Kantin serves authentic Borneo cuisine providing a unique experience beyond the generic international food brands and even familiar Southeast Asian / Asian cuisine.

It is actually quite apt that Kantin is in Changi Airport as Changi is a global gateway and Kuching, Kantin's home base is just one hour's flight time away.

Borneo cuisine is a world apart from burgers, pizzas, mala hotpot, chicken rice, roti prata, satay and such.

Emily is one of five young Sarawakian partners of Kantin. They come from an art and media background as partners in media company Sarawak Eye which promotes Sarawak indigenous culture.

When they realised that food culture is also a way to promote Sarawak's indigenous culture, they took the bold step to open Kantin.

Kantin @ The Granary Kuching
Kantin · Food x Art x Culture opened at The Granary in Kuching, Sarawak in 2021. We were there in Jan 2024 but our itinerary was too packed 😥 - must go back and try it soon!

Last year (2023), Kantin took a big bold leap across the sea to open in Jewel Changi Airport taking Sarawak cuisine out of Borneo to meet the world.

We met up with Emily who introduced us to some of Kantin's unique dishes and beverages.

She started us off with the popular signature Headhunter Pansuh Set.

The centrepiece was manok pansuh - chunks of fresh chicken boiled in water with tapioca leaves, aromatics like lemongrass and seasonings served in a bamboo stalk.

This is a Bidayuh Dayak dish where traditionally chicken, tapioca leaves, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and salt are packed inside the hollow of a bamboo stalk, and cooked in a heap of burning wood.

It is savoury sweet, aromatic comforting chicken soup for the soul done the Dayak way.

Tasty side of tapioca leaves stir fried with mildly umami savoury spicy belacan (fermented shrimp).

Umai obor obor or jellyfish ceviche.

Sourish sweet spongy chewy jellyfish ceviche with Melanau Dayak dressing of vinegar, ginger, calamansi, shallot, and chili.

Purple Sarawak highland rice, tender, not as sweet, not as starchy as the familiar jasmine rice (of Thailand).

"Wild Chicken Chop".

Thick succulent slab of grilled chicken with aromatic lemongrass set on a soft bed of mashed potato nestled in a bouquet of fried tapioca leaves.

Sotong Bakar or grilled squid.

The savoury smokey taste from the spongy chewy grilled squid is perfect with Kantin's jungle inspired cocktails which I will come to soon 😁 🍸

Anthony Bourdain was a huge fan of the iconic Sarawak laksa which he described as "breakfast of the gods" and "weapons grade plutonium of breakfast".

There he said it, Boomz! 💣

Blew him way like an atomic bomb.

Kantin's rendition of Sarawak laksa is fully loaded. Topping the blanched rice vermicelli with chunks of chicken, good size shelled prawns, strips of fried egg, and everything soaking in the umami savoury, spice saturated full flavoured coconut milk and prawn / chicken stock based gravy. It's one of the most complex laksa recipes there is.

You can have one of Anthony Bourdain's favourite dishes right here in Jewel Changi, provided you are game for a mildly spicy umami kick 😁

Show your true blue foodie credentials by coming with a packet of crispy, crunchy noodle snack. Sarawakians crush the noodle snack and enjoy it with the laksa gravy 😋

Sarawak Teh C Special.

Sarawak three layer tea with black tea on top, evaporated milk in the middle, and at the foundation, Sarawak's gula apong (nipah palm sugar).

Most coffee shops or kopitiam in Sarawak have this iconic drink but I like Kantin's version as it was not overly sweet. I can taste the black tea and smell its fragrance, plus the gula apong wasn't too sweet and had a nice subtle tang from slight fermentation 😋

No ordinary milk tea, this.

Popular Three Sour Crush of asam boi, lemon and calamansi.

You know, after you have done all your pre-flight processes and have some time before boarding.... relak one corner here at the Kantin with cocktails 🍸

They have a good range of refreshing, cool, rainforest inspired cocktails with indigenous liquor such as tuak / rice wine.

Borneo Elixir, negroni with motherwort and jungle herbs.

Pre-departure fling with Borneo Sling, a marriage of gin and Borneo rice wine.

Kantin, a frontrunner of indigenous Borneo cuisine from Kuching, UNESCO City of Gastronomy has landed in Jewel Changi Airport, a unique gateway of shopping and dining experiences.

Come aboard and take your culinary experiences to the next level. Maybe, you want to fly to Sarawak after that (it's just one flying hour away, anyway). 


Restaurant name: Kantin at Jewel Changi

Address: Level 5, #05-206 / 207 Jewel, Singapore Changi International Airport, S819666

Nearest MRT: Changi Airport

Tel: 9684 3690

Hours: 11am - 10pm

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Written by Tony Boey on 4 Feb 2024

🎗Disclaimer: Please note that this was a media tasting. I rarely accept media tasting invitations. I did not pay for these food but I did not receive any payment for writing this post. I report exactly how I felt even though that could mean that I may not receive another media tasting invite again 😄

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