Reminding the new generation about traditional cuisine

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KUCHING: A cooking competition showcasing various authentic Bidayuh cuisine held during the recent Bidayuh Mystique Festival 2022 apparently attracted the attention of visitors to the festival.

They were excited by the food prepared by eight participants who took part in the cooking competition, especially the young generation who may not have much inkling about the daily food of their ancestors.

During the competition, the eight participants prepared a variety of traditional Bidayuh cuisine using original ingredients used by their ancestors.

Among the food cooked and showcased during the competition included steamed chicken in bamboo or in the Bidayuh language “syiok tenuh darum bu’uruk”.

“Syok” means chicken, “tenuh” means cooking, “darum” means inside, while “bu’uruk” is bamboo.

Other dishes prepared by the participants included steamed fish in bamboo, grilled fish wrapped in a type of leaf called “dewon bu’an” in Bidayuh, chicken rice cooked in bamboo (rice mixed with chicken meat and cooked in bamboo), fish and meat dishes cooked using traditional methods, in addition to cooking of various wild edible vegetables collected from the jungle.

Datin Yee Chooi Ling, wife of the Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities who along with the judges of the cooking competition tasted the dishes prepared by the participants admitted that all the dishes were delicious.

“All are tasty and delicious and I think that all these cuisine have the potential to be commercialised,” she said, adding that more Bidayuh traditional cuisine should be promoted in eateries including restaurants.

Likewise, Chef Binyas Suem and Chef Henry Bateh, two of the three judges in the competition, said the food tasted really good and thought it should be included in restaurant menus.

Henry, who has more than 20 years of experience as a chef in several restaurants abroad, said his White Dove Café at the junction of Kampung Giam, Borneo Heights Road is now promoting and serving Bidayuh traditional food, adding that it has become the menu of choice among customers to his restaurant.

Meanwhile, Chef Binyas felt that with additional creativity in terms of preparation, the Bidayuh traditional cuisine would be able to compete with Western, Chinese and Malay cuisine.

Jane Apuk, 50, who won the competition with her steamed chicken cooked in bamboo and local fragrant rice chicken rice cooked in bamboo, said fragrant rice mixed with chicken meat and simmered in bamboo using firewood produced a better taste and a very fragrant aroma, topped up with tasty spices and black pepper powder.

“I have already participated and won several cooking competitions and this is the first time I featured steamed chicken rice in bamboo.
“This is the traditional method used by our Bidayuh ancestors to cook chicken and rice in bamboo using firewood,” she said.

According to Jane, the method of cooking using bamboo is used by the Bidayuh community when they are in the garden or in their paddy field.

Meanwhile, Letty Mawap who admitted that she did not know much about traditional Bidayuh food, said she got a lot of information from the cooking competition.

“Apparently traditional Bidayuh cuisine is very tasty if prepared correctly.

“After this I will try to cook a variety of traditional food myself, especially vegetables collected from the jungle and cooking chicken in bamboo that emits a very fragrant aroma,” he said.

Coordinator for the cooking competition Isabel Julau said the competition aimed to promote Bidayuh traditional cuisine to the public, especially among the Bidayuh young generation who mostly do not know about the specialties of their own community’s traditional food.

Penrissen Segu Bunuk Association (PSBP) chairman Gabriel Michael meanwhile said that Bidayuh cooking and traditional dance competitions were among the attractions during the Bidayuh Mystique Festival 2022 which took place recently, in addition to the Dayung Remus Bidayuh Mystique beauty pageant.

He said some 6,000 visitors visited the festival

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