The delicacies of harvest

The Harvest Festival is right around the corner and despite the current situation which has put the whole country under the constraints of the Movement Control Order. Even so, we can still enjoy the festive season safely and MCO-friendly as possible. 

The Pesta Kaamatan or Hari Gawai in Sarawak, is one the most celebrated festivals in East Malaysia with a lot of good food, good people and a whole lot of celebrations is without a doubt one of the best festivals in Malaysia. Every festivities’ highlight is the food and to get into the festive mood, let's look at some of the food for this festive season:

1) Tuak

Tuak, or rice wine is a drink for all occasions, be it Gawai, weddings or entertaining visitors. It is commonly served in any sort of entertainment or festivities which is commonly served by occupants of longhouses during festive seasons as a welcoming drink.  

Traditionally, it would offend the occupants if visitors refuse the offering. However, over the years the occupants have become more and more understanding as some religion prohibits the consumption of alcohol of any sort.

2) Butod

Butod is a cuisine both found in Sabah and Sarawak, however it is considered to be Sabah’s traditional cuisine. “Butod” translates to “sago larvae” in Kadazandusun and is an exotic food, of which not many dares to try. 

You can consume these worms live or fried, depending on your preference. This unique cuisine is said to have a sweet taste with chewy texture. Your harvest festival experience would definitely be one to remember once you try this dish.

3) Ambuyat

Ambuyat  is another traditional food in Sabah during the harvest festival. It’s also known as “Sagu Sabah” which is extracted from the sago palm’s interior trunk. This dish is rather difficult to acquire on non-festive days.

Therefore, it is a dish you must try during the harvest festival. This dish is commonly used to replace rice during a meal. Stir it around and dip into the sauce and voila! Simple as that. The dish is tasteless, and the sauce that you dip it in will give the flavour.

4) Hinava

Hinava is a famous traditional Kadazandusun dish in Sabah. The dish consists of raw fish mixed together with lime juice, ginger, bird’s eye chili, grated ginger and sliced shallots. 

It can basically be considered as raw fish salad and it can be consumed on its own, or with rice. Your Kaamatan Festival would not be complete without this exquisite dish.

5) Sarang Semut

“Sarang Semut” directly translates to “ants nest”. Now don’t get the wrong idea, there are no ants in this dish or was any harmed in the process of making it. This dish is a delicacy commonly served during Hari Gawai. 

The reason for it having such a unique name is due to the fact that the kuih resembles the shape of ant’s nests. This dish brings forth a sweet taste of palm sugar when eaten.

6) Manok Pansoh

Manok Pansoh or Pasoh is a very famous Sarawakian delicacy. This Sarawak dish is basically chicken cooked in a bamboo log and will be filled with water which will serve as the dish’s soup. The bamboo log will give the soup the gorgeous aroma that will surely strike you to your core.

The dish will be seasoned with multiple spices such as lemongrass and ginger as well as tapioca leaves to give the dish its unique flavour. This dish is a must-try during this harvest festival in Sarawak as it is one of the best dishes you will ever taste!

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