Gastronomic treats await during Kaamatan festival on May 26


KOTA KINABALU: Sabahans are in for a gastronomic feast this harvest festival, as an open house - Moginakan Kaamatan - in Penampang promises both the popular dishes as well as the lesser known delicacies from communities in the deeper interiors.

Festival coordinator Kenny Chua said the open house on May 26 evening would see representatives from over 50 ethnic groups coming together to prepare unique dishes at the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) compound.

“We have never had a Kaamatan Open House as far as I know. So this year, the organising committee decided to come up with something different,” he said during a press conference here on Friday (May 3).

He said visitors could enjoy different types of traditional food, including the famed Hinava (raw fish salad), bosou (fermented pork or fish), bambangan (picked wild mangos) and tuhau (pickled wild ginger).

“However, what is more unique is that we will get to taste some of the rarer types of food from the other more remote places in Sabah,” said Chua, who is the state assistant finance minister.

He said those preparing the food for the open house would be providing more than 20 types of traditional dishes unique to their own districts, some deep in the interiors.

There will also be traditional song-and-dance performances.

“We want to bring people closer as a family; we want to get to know each other’s cultural practises and beliefs better so that we can strengthen our unity and understanding, as well as tolerance amongst each other,” Chua said.

Every year, the KDCA grounds will be opened, starting mid-May for food and drink bazaars, as well as sales of handicraft and other items.

“This time, the KDCA will open earlier on May 11 for these programmes to start,” Chua said, adding the peak of the festival would see local beauties vying for the Unduk Ngadau (harvest queen) title on May 30 and 31.

There will also be traditional sports and games for visitors to try their hands on.