Traditional dining at Redeems ethnic food festival
The Ethnic Food and Music Festival organised by the Research and Development Movement of Singai Sarawak (Redeems) was, for participants, a great platform for them to promote their culture and traditions, including their traditional cuisines.
Held at Redeems centre in Bau, the inaugural festival saw various ethnicities participating as Malay, Chinese, and Dayak communities gathered in one venue to showcase the traditional foods and music of their races.
For Agnes Chan Kam Ban, 74, from Bau, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her to showcase Chinese traditional cuisines to about 1,000 visitors who went to the festival.
“It is a great avenue for me to introduce and make better known our local cuisines that have been passed on to us for generations and has become part of our daily dishes,” said Agnes, who also owns a restaurant located at Bau Bazaar here that also sells local Chinese cuisine.
Agnes prepared three Chinese dishes for the festival: Kacangma, roasted pork leg, and pork-stuffed fried tofu.
“These are all original Chinese dishes and I feel proud and happy that I am able to be part of this festival to introduce these to everyone here,” said the winner of the cooking competition (Chinese) organised at the festival.
Meanwhile, for Siti Shahidah Wahab, the winner of the same cooking competition in the Malay category, the festival helped promote local favourites including Mee Jawa, Keli Masak Sambal (catfish in sambal), Umai (raw fish salad), Ayam Pansuh (steamed chicken in bamboo), and lobster in sambal.
“All the food we bring for display and sell at our booth are famous in our restaurant,” said the 23-year-old co-owner of Siti Café and Catering located in front of Kolej Komuniti Mas Gading near here.
Dayak cuisine was also a main highlight at the food portion of the festival in an effort to update it commercially said Riwin Jupa who is famous for her pancake made of sago known as ‘Kubar’.
“Kubar is a delicacy that has been passed down from our ancestors and it has become one of the dishes popular among the Bidayuh community here in Bau,” she said.
“Unfortunately, there are still people who do not know about this delicacy, and fortunately this festival helps a lot in introducing it to members of the public, especially among the younger generation so it will not disappear,” said the 54-year-old teacher at SK St Stephen Bau, adding that it is a delicacy easy to make because the recipe is only made up of a few ingredients: sago, grated coconut, salt, and sugar.
Other Bidayuh dishes introduced at the festival include Linut (sago paste), tapioca leaves, sambal serai (lemongrass sambal), sambal asam (chili paste), sambal tempoyak (fermented durian sambal), kuih penyaram (a deep-fried cake), tiboduk (steamed glutinous rice and gula apong cake), kasam babi hutan (preserved wild boar), and kasam ikan (preserved fish).
The three-day festival also featured musicians from Social Development and Urbanisation Ministry (KPSU) performing ethnic music and songs from various races and ethnicities in Sarawak in the evening.