My January had been a very colourful and eye opening month as I explored Negara Tumpah Darahku. One of the highlights during Railway Tourism Trip to Perak was Pesta Makanan Tradisional Lenggong 2014. A number of local food originating from Lenggong and nearby places were there for display and consumption by the locals. They are difficult to find and most importantly, free of charge!
Before narrating about this event, let me warn you this post might be lengthy for I am going to share everything worth sharing about Pesta Makanan Tradisional Lenggong 2014.
Although it was a wet Saturday, Dataran Lenggong had gone all out with activities. By the time we reached Dataran Lenggong, we were ushered to the main stage where our Tourism Minister, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri was delivering his speech in conjunction with the launch of Alam dan Makanan, Budaya Warisan Lenggong book. I did not know why I was not given a copy of the book, but I wish I have a copy of the book.
From Dataran Lenggong, the mountain fronting the square was still enveloped by mist. A cool valley, it was.
Walking around Dataran Lenggong, I spotted tents where the locals where enjoying their lunch. Mind you, we arrived two hours late than expected. Some of the locals were too shy to have their pictures taken. Some were eager to have their pictures taken.
There are more than 10 types of condiments originated from Lenggong. Two of the condiments are known as Sambal Kelapa and Sambal Picit Ikan Kembung.
Sambal Picit Ikan Kembong
Traditional Coconut Grating Competition
Next to the condiments display, a number of men and women were seating on the floor with each having a coconut grater. Pertandingan kukur kelapa, I was told. Their faces show excitement! I loved the vibe in Lenggong town. They were very friendly and approachable. The coconut graters used in the competition were the seat-on grater with spiked round-surface grater.
Out of excitement, I told the ladies I wanted to try my hand on the coconut grater. With encouraging words and tips from the ladies, I sat on the bar and started to grate the half-broken coconut. Holding the surface of coconut firmly in my palm, I grated the coconut from the edge. Shredded white coconut came off and fell on the plate. It was just a beginning. I am sure to complete the half-broken coconut is one tough job, atleast to a beginner like me.
I was later told by a local man that coconut grating competition is one of the practice done in Kg Batu Ring on the night before wedding reception takes place. Unlike the city dwellers who engage catering for weddings, the villagers gather and cook for food for wedding reception. A true kampung spirit.
Throughout the event, I was in a confused state of mind on what we were supposed to cover. I decided I would go for the food, after all it’s Pesta Makanan Tradisionl Lenggong. I am sure people would like to know the food heritage of Lenggong. During Pesta Makanan Tradisional Lenggong, about 13-17 villages were tasked to cook their traditional cuisines.Daging Masak Besamah Kerabu Buah Beko Perut Kebebe Gulai Petani Rendang Lambuk dengan Udang by Kampung Changkat Berangan Daging Gulai Kawah dengan Umbut Pisang by Kampung Gelok Gulai Lemak Rebung by Kampung Banggol Batu Daging Masak Hitam by Kampung Banggol Belimbing Pecal Gulai Lemak Pisang & Daging Salai by Kampung Bukit Nangka Pindang Ikan Sungai by Kampung Luat Pau Al Sufi by Kampung Lenggong Siput Sedut Masak Labu
My favourite food is siput sedut masak labu, Gulai kawah dengan umbut pisang and daging masak hitam. I was told by fellow media friends that there were many food sections in Dataran Lenggong. Their sections were complete with grilled venison. The locals prepared the food at Dataran Lenggong portraying the teamwork effort by each kampung. They also go to the extend of providing recipes for each food. Really interesting.
Oh yes, when in Lenggong, how could we forget about the ulams. The vegetable eaten raw by the locals usually coupled with condiments.
Kebebe is not a type of condiment but belongs to a family of rojak. Kebebe is hard to find for it is made of exotic fruits like buah cermai, buah cedong etc.
I slipped through the area where the ladies were preparing for Kebebe. There was a strong smell of belacan, but I managed to seat through during the process to make kebebe. According to the locals, kebebe is only served during a festive like Pesta Makanan Tradisional.
Not long before I left the stall, two male teenagers were eager to make kebebe. They squeezed to the huge lesung while saying, “mai rasa kebebe buatan tangan anak muda pulok”. They were given the ingredients and off they went hitting the pestle over the ingredients in the mortar.
Kebebe tasted really good although it was a tad bit too spicy for me.
Here’s a recipe for Kebebe:-
Bahan-bahan:-Cili Padi Belacan Garam & Gula Belimbing Buloh Buah Cermai Buah Kelempong Buah Cedong Jantung Pisang/dipotong kecil Nangka Muda/dipotong kecil Jambu Batu/dipotong kecil Buah Nanas/dibelah dan dipotong kecil Kelapa Muda/dibelah dan dipotong kecil
Cara-cara menyediakan:-1. Masukkan cili padi, garam dan belacan kepada lesung. Tumbuk hingga lumat.
One unique freshwater fish cuisine of Lenggong is pindang ikan sungai. The freshwater fish is steamed for two days before it is served. When I was at pindang ikan sungai stall, a man with a child in his arm asked for a permission to taste the fish on display. It was the only prepared pindang ikan sungai available since it was already 1.30p.m. He said he came all the way to Lenggong just for a taste of pindang ikan sungai. Wow. There’s a demand for pindang ikan sungai.
Towards the end of the stall row, I spotted a motor vehicle which is used by ByRoadToMalaysia who travelled from Manchester to Malaysia. Remember a family of six who travelled who resided in UK who travelled overland to Malaysia last year via 39 countries? Yes, we bumped into the famous campervan. I read about them on the internet and followed their journey on facebook. Boy, I was really excited.
My sister and I were greeted by En. Jamal and his wife, Pn. Sofinee. Very humble and down to earth couple. Inspiring throughout our 30 minutes chat for which they shared their experiences throughout the journey.
You may have dreams, but never allow anything to stop you from realizing your dreams.
You should not be thinking much, just do it.
You are still young. You should seize this opportunity. Take the first step. Take sabbatical leave and go see the world.
At one point, I was very inspired that I thought I would tender a resignation letter the next day I walked into the office. No, it did not happen that way. I am still working. I still need to save up for that to happen, at least for a couple months to sustain my life along the road. I like meeting people whose lives are inspirational. Thank you, Pn. Sofinee for reminding me of what I have been wanting to do.
Sief, the youngest of them all posing with the motorhome.
Pesta Makanan Tradisional Lenggong is one of the best food events I have attended so far. It is interesting not only to the international visitors, but local visitors alike. Tourism player is trying to ensure that this successful event to be included as an annual event, which I hope would materialize. But I am not going to hesitate to recommend this event to anyone. I wish I had more time to explore. If I were to come again next time, I would make sure I arrive early in the morning so as not to miss many activities.