DIY tuak!

I have had an unending supply of great tuak, thanks to my friend Mary Jane – not her real name la. To protect her identity. She’s afraid her front door will be kicked in by a SWAT Team or hordes of tuak junkies.

She’s been with me at Sarawak many times for the world music fest. We normally get our supply from this hotel in Kuching that’s got da best shit (and d best laksa). Me n my crew would order like 70-80 bottles for d festival n drink kao-kao. Sometimes tapau some back to KL – still got some 07’s left.

Mmmm, golden rice juice. Sarawak laksa + tuak lunch

Mmmm, golden rice juice. Sarawak laksa + tuak lunch, Kuching. Perfection.


So she liked it so much, she decided to learn makin it here in PJ . Her 50% Sarawakian genes finally kicked-in.

The first batch was ready last year. It turned out good. Some of the following batches were as good or better than d Kuching one! The colour is perfect – gold. Not too murky like d longhouse ones, which are forced down your throat when u go upriver in Sarawak. Man i got some tales about that!


Some dude I met upriver. Nice hornbill feathers, hope d bird tasted good ol man

Some dude I met upriver. Nice hornbill feathers, hope d bird tasted good with tuak, ol man

Anyway, Mary Jane was kind enough to show me the tuak-brewing process. We”ll share it with yall – anybody can do it. Don’t ask me about d legality. Don’t know & don’t care. D way I see it, we’ve paid way too much booze taxes in this country already. According to The Star, Malaysians pay the second highest tax in d whole goddam planet for beer! Probably d same with other booze.

Like we earn a lot.

If u buy a can of beer for five bucks, about four bucks is tax. Stupid dam government, blowing our hard-earned money! Fuck em.

Anyway, ingredients are easily available. Maybe tedious but not difficult. I have yet to do it coz she’s just so nice to me – keeps me fed and supplied. Thanks Mary Jane! Ur da shit.

Anyway, if u start makin d product now, it will be ready in 3 months. No it’s not instant. Sorry.

Here’s d rundown on how to make tuak aka rice wine.


Mary Jane has a tuak logbook. With dates & measurements

Mary Jane has a tuak logbook. With dates & measurements. Respect

MJ fixin me a shot to test d latest stuff

MJ fixin me a shot to test d latest merchandise

Wat u need: (measurements based on 1kg of rice, but u can go for 5kg for more product. Multiply other ingredients by five too)

1. Uncooked rice (glutinous rice – can get everywhere, like Tesco) – 1kg

2. Fine sugar – 1kg

3. Yeast – 1.5 pieces – get it from a Chinese medicine shop. Mary Jane gets it from Centerpoint, PJ. It’s “sweet yeast for Chinese wine”. Aka ‘chao peng’.

4. A pot

5. A hose pump or a cup

and that’s it


Dates of each batch decorate the pot's cover

Dates of each batch decorate the pot's cover


Moonshiners these days have d latest bottling technology


1. Cook d rice (if u don’t know how to dat, quit now)

2. Pound yeast into powder, add yeast to rice (cooled down), stir it up in a pot. Always cover the pot (not air-tight, but make sure no dirt or insects get in)

3. Wait 2 weeks (that’s tough)

A layer of liquid will appear above d mix.

4. Boil sugar in water (make syrup), add into pot once cool. Stir it up. Wait 6 weeks (hang in there)

5. Sieve d pot’s contents thru a strainer. Dump the strained stuff, pour d brew back into d pot. Wait a week

6. Pump out the clear liquid which will float above the murky part with a hose / pump. Or u could scoop out with a cup, but that might stir up the murky shit

7. Sieve again. Liquid should be clear – it’s called tuak! Start bottling d stuff

8. Time to drink!


Rice - more handy than i thought

Rice - more handy than i thought

It’s legit. Have had many of Mary Jane’s bottles and am still alive. Most important part of d process is hygiene. Sterilize everything with soap (not d ingredients).

Actually she did say sumtin about – u gotta b naked when u do it. Hmmm… dunno la, she hasn’t given me any live demo. Yet.

U can probably brew five bottles per kg of rice. BTW, it’s supposed to taste either sourish-sweet or sweetish-sour. If u have no idea, ask someone who has tasted tuak before to sample it. Like me.

Get busy! Believe me, it’s worth it! Good tuak is awesome stuff, and the high is a real upper.

As they say in Sarawak when u cheers, OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

Brain damage rating: 7.5/10


Tuak on Foodista

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59 thoughts on “DIY tuak!

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  2. would like to know if Mary Jane is selling her home made tuak??? thinking of getting some from her… would appreciate if u can reply me.

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  5. Sounds great, but bit sloth to work that whole process out and wait for months..Mary J, any chance I get a sampling? cheers!

  6. hah..Mary J, u meant leave it to fate ? that would highly unlikely i would cross your path! LOL! anyways, do drop me a mail if you’re happy to share your special tuak. cheers!

  7. hie! how much of water to be added to the sugar? i believe that would determine how thick or light the tuak will turn out right? any suggestion on the water measurement?

  8. hmm i’m not so sure about the water measurement but i roughly add 750gm of sugar and boil it in a big kettle. Just agak2 la…

  9. Hello Mary J,

    My name is Philip. I’m a chef in Melbourne, Australia and I have recently entered a competition and I plan to cook Kacang Mah which is a very known hakka dish back home in Sabah. But I really need to learn how to make Tuak for it is the main base that gives its flavour. I really hope you can help me out as I’ve searched high and low for recipes and yours is the best. I’ll forever grateful to you. Cheers!

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  13. This is so cool. How do you bottle it tho? Mineral water bottles? I’m planning to make a batch, and do a naked dance around it just to be sure.

  14. Hi MJ, was just wondering abt the amount of yeast… i got a similar recipe from my aunt in sarawak, but the amount of yeast is way more than what u indicated.
    She uses 10 pieces of yeast for 1 kg pulut.
    But the yeast she told me to buy was from an indian kedai runcit… (cost only abt 60sen) per piece.
    Just wanted to know if the yeast u used from the chinese med shop comes in bigger size (and maybe that’s why u only use 1.5 pieces ?).

    Would appreciate your advise.

  15. 10 pieces is a lot of yeast! dunno, never tried so many before. Try it & let me know. Maybe it’ll taste nicer? Yes, it’s a bout 50cents from the chinese shop and it’s about 1 1/2 inch in diameter.

  16. hey…me and my buddies kinda completed our tuak project. But instead of 1kg, we went on to make tuak with 3kg rice and hence with 3kg sugar, so you can just imagine how bloody sweet it’ll taste.Anyway, the due date was on the 17th of december last year,but it was so sweet,we taught of keeping it for another month.Do you think the longer we keep it, the better it’ll taste?

  17. Hey franky.
    This is what Mary Jane my tuak consultant says- “No guarantee that it will taste better coz the yeast might make it more sour. Adding water is the best option.
    You can also add peach vodka for flavour & a stonger kick.
    Keep longer in clear bottles so that the sediments can settle.”

  18. Thank you! Pleeeeeeeeze tell me what this hotel is in Kuching–we are going there for the first time this year for the Rainforest Music Fest and want some of that laksa!!

  19. Dear Mary J,

    I’m also a fellow brewer and but new to KL. i was wondering if you could tell me where to get the clay pots and glass containers i see in the photos.

    In case you are interested to try, i have experimented with raisins, honey, various types of sugar (gula melaka, Sugarcane, etc), mineral water and/or a combination of the above. Adding ginger will also give you a nice zing in the drink.

    I can be reached at or just post the comments here.


  20. Well, I’ve started. Many thanks to Deep and Mary J.

    Date: 14.10.10 7.07pm.

    Will update you guys in a month on the success or failure.

  21. Nice DIY.. yea, u forgot to mentioned the water|sugar ratio, Deep.. Anyway guys, have u seen tuak that’s so VINTAGE, that the colour turned dark like a really thick tea drink? =)
    i tasted it at my longhouse! around 12-15yrs. that’s true vintage, guys..

  22. I have a bottle of tuak which i brought back from Kuching like 6~7 years ago

    jsut wondering if you happen to know anything about tuak storing like how long it can be store.

    i dont want to end up in the hospital for it

    thanks in advance

    • ok i finally strained the brew on Christmas, left it an extra day for it to chill and drank some yesterday, it’s sweet and smooth, stronger than beer, i would put it somewhere in the 10-15% alcohol content (rough estimate). my brew however isn’t as clear as the ones in the picture, but heck it tastes so good! my dad who drinks rice wine loves it! I am tweaking the recipe to understand brewing more and i will share my findings here.

      P.s. I use 2 chao peng and 2 liters of water to 1kg of sugar. it comes out as sweet as coca cola so adjust accordingly.

  23. hi, i’m making my 2nd batch of sugarcane tuak, however larger quantity, about 4litres, in the jar, there is this one white layer or coating that surfaced after 2 days of fermentation. just checking if any of you guys know what is it. result of the yeast? or its mold?

  24. i would like to know if the proportion is 1 kg rice and 1 kg sugar , how much water should be used to make the syrup? i am afraid my tuak might end up too watery or thick if i guess.

    Also your recipe only adds up to 2 months and 1 week but you mention it takes 3 months to prepare. so what happened to the left over 3 weeks?

    • From MJ: Hi Ashrel, I haven’t made tuak in ages as I moved out of the country (glutinous rice is hard to find here) so memory might be a little rusty. You might not get the mix right the first time as being living breathing organism, the batch is always different each time. You’ve just got to experiment and try again. Temperature and the container it brews in will effect it too.
      I’m not too sure about how much water to put in but the sugar water shouldn’t be too thick. The yeast will eat the excess stuff anyway.
      You can stretch the waiting time from 6 to 8 weeks. Stretch the waiting time to 2 – 3 weeks after you’ve strained it too. Just have a play and try again if your batch doesn’t work!

  25. Does the container have to be air tight or just enough to make sure insects and dust dont get in, that is allowing a low level of oxygen but still allowing for fermentation?

    • No, it doesn’t and shouldn’t be air tight. Glutinous rice is actually starch/sugar. The fermentation process will separate the sugar (glucose) into 2 different compound – ethanol and CO2. If the container is airtight, CO2 will be trapped and caused pressure buildup. In high pressure environment, the yeast will tend to “hibernate”. Hence stopping the entire fermentation process.

      I reckon using a cloth to seal the opening of the container to allow airflow while prohibiting insects from getting in.

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