THE Lenggong Traditional Food Festival will become an international event beginning this year.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said it was the right time for the food festival that was in its fifth year now.
He said besides the food festival, Lenggong would also see its first international seminar on heritage as well.
“We will decide on the right month for the events to be held and an announcement will be made soon.
“There is a variety of unique traditional food available in Lenggong, which must be made known not only to Malaysians from other states, but to the rest of the world as well,” he told reporters after the launch of the food fest at Dataran Lenggong on Thursday.
Also present at the event were Lenggong MP Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah and state executive councillor Datuk Saarani Mohamad, who is also the Kota Tampan assemblyman.
Dr Zambry said the Tourism Ministry had also agreed to assist in funding the international food fest.
He added that pre-launchings of the international food festival would be held in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore soon.
Dr Zambry said he had also asked state Tourism committee chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi to liaise with the Asian Food Channel to feature the food festival.
He said over one billion people watched the channel and if the festival could attract just half of that number, it was good enough.
“People keep saying there are no hotels in Lenggong to accommodate tourists. What we need here are homestays.
“However, those interested in converting a part of the house into a homestay must ensure that the toilets are clean, because this is important for tourists.
“Tourists would savour the delicious food available in Lenggong while staying at homestays with natural surroundings,” he added.
Dr Zambry said with Lenggong Valley recognised as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage site, a relevant international seminar would be organised as well.
“We will invite worldwide specialists in the field of heritage, anthropology and archaeology to the event to present papers on research and tourism,” he added.
He said the Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi in Lenggong has a research centre for herbal and traditional plants and this could help put Lenggong on the world map.
“The food fest, the heritage seminar and the setting up of the herbal and traditional plant centre can be internationalised, if properly promoted,” he added.
Shamsul Anuar said several roadshows on the food festival would be held nationwide beginning February.
He said there was a variety of national heritage food that could only be found in Lenggong.
“The National Heritage Department will come up with a book on the food,” he added.
During the event, some 300 people were also seen pounding different types of sambal using pestle and mortar, while 100 others grated coconut.
Among the signature dishes of Lenggong was kebebe, a mixture of 13 different types of fruits, shrimp paste, salt, sugar and cili padi.
Tayibah Ismail, from Kg Teluk Batu, who was manning the kebebe stall said among the fruits used to make the dish was pineapple, guava, starfruit, the bud of a jackfruit, jantung pisang, buah cedong and kelempong.
She said all the ingredients were pounded using wooden pestle and mortar.
“This dish is usually prepared during kenduri and the village folk will usually make the kebebe together,” she added.