Gawai would not be complete if I do not talk about the Gawai Food. Yes – like I mentioned earlier. Gawai is not about drinking our hearts out. It also meant that we get to enjoy Iban Authentic Cooking. Something that I miss when living in the City. The food during Gawai is something we all look forward to, and when the best cooks gather to show their skills, one cannot help but to forget about the diet plan that one may be observing now.
Gawai special drinks
Ai Ijok (Ijok Drink)
So what is the Ai Ijok? From my experience of consuming the drink, Ai Ijok is different from the famous rice wine or tuak which is the official drink for Gawai. Ai Ijok originates from a tree called ‘Pun Ijok’ (Ijok Tree). The latex-like sap from the palm family tree is extracted (like tapping rubber) in the wee hours of the morning and used to make the drink. The alcohol content is almost the same as the rice wine except that it is preferably taken fresh and warm, just after fermentation, and you will realise it tastes like….. Ai Ijok. That is the beauty of it, Ai Ijok, is unique. Its just like eating durian and you can’t compared it with eating Apple. Maybe another way of looking at it is comparing Coca-Cola with Pepsi Cola. Ai Ijok is the Macintosh of Iban Alcohol.
Please note that Ijok is best served in this 3 Litre to 5 Litre Gallon Container. It brings new meaning to the Mother of All Drinks. We try to finish it in one session as it may not last the night as it tends to turn sour. Here we see Darren’s father in law doing just what is required of Ai Ijok. He went to bed early and recovered the next evening.