Start Young, Says Kadazan Food Enthusiast | Daily Express Online
The Kadazan culture has great diversity when it comes to the preparation of authentic foods. Each Kadazan family has its own values, recreating its own menu based on “recipes” passed down from previous generations.
As for Evelyn Annol, a Kadazan cuisine enthusiast, she said that there are many ways to remember one’s culture and traditional cuisine is one of them.
However, she said that if one is really keen on promoting indigenous food to the younger members of the family, one has to go to great lengths to get it started at home, the family has to take the leap first. .
“The family should expose their children to eating all traditional foods, especially authentic ones, while they are still young.
“They choose a day for the special menu, where all the typical Kadazan dishes are spread on the table, or even better the more exotic ones. I used to do this with my kids as they were growing up.
“Whether they like it or not is another story,” Evelyn said.
She was grateful that her efforts to educate children to love local specialties had paid off today. All of his adult children would look forward to coming home (from abroad) because they miss eating the original food, the home-cooked food.
She said her big influencer had been her mother who introduced her to the authentic home-cooked meals and who used to cook with passion for the family every day.
She was grateful that her mother had taught her the whole “secret recipe”.
“Well, actually, there’s nothing so secret about our authentic cuisine. In fact, the ingredients are easy to find and pretty basic, except for some items.
“What makes our food so important is the story behind each food, the culture that comes with it. It’s instrumental, and it becomes somewhat valuable to our heritage,” she said.
She was, however, saddened by families who took for granted and expected younger children to know about their local foods through books or social media.
“Ask one of them if his children can eat Soko (bamboo shoots) or Sopong (a type of catfish only found in small streams) or marinated raw fish, etc. .
“Hardly! I believe that exposure while they are young is so important to understanding family values, culture, way of life and our original food. These carry our own identity so that our heritage stay with us for as long as the population of Kadazan exists in the world,” she said.
Hinava is raw fish made into salad, a popular Kadazan appetizer.
Hombiding, a wild vegetable, is little recognized by young people.
“A lot of young people don’t recognize local fruits like Bambagan.”
She was happy that some families had made an effort to offer cooking classes (formal or impromptu) showing how to prepare local food, such as Hinava (marinated raw fish), Pinasakan Sada (fish stewed in sour fruit) and a few others. .
“By showing how to cook them, it encourages the youngest to taste and cook too. This type of activity should continue as it fosters closeness between them, imitates good example and they might also remember better when they see the action right before their eyes,” she said.
She said patience and passion would lead to good if the family went the extra mile to promote her ancestor’s food.
The pickled salty vegetable, or popularly known as Hamchoi by locals, is an easy homemade food.
Nowadays, few young people could prepare Bambangan pickles (a type of sour fruit) where it was done by older generations, Evelyn said.
Phoenix Abigail, 22, was happy to have learned the trade from her family.
“In case I don’t land any jobs in the future, I have this skill as capital to start a small business, you never know. So for now, I’m learning to cook dishes inspired by my late grand -mother,” Phoenix said.
Peter Tobob, 24, who was fluent in Kadazan, thanked his parents Ireneus Kondu and Jovinia Yahee for their efforts to pass on the native language to him and his sister, Donna.
Peter said that when it comes to Kadazan delicacies, he has no qualms. He also felt that the lack of exposure leads many young people to dislike or be uninterested in local food, but prefer western food.
Phoenix recently learned how to make Pickled Bambagan.
Donna said her parents helped her appreciate authentic Kadazan food.
“I remember when I was young, my sister Donna and I frequently had all kinds of local dishes at family meals.
“Now we have no problem tasting anything from exotic to authentic, everything is adaptable by my palate,” he said.
When preparing the food, Peter admitted that he was not in the kitchen but rather promoting the food for the sake of the legacy.
He also said that if the Japanese can break into the Sabah market with their authentic Japanese cuisine, there is no reason that authentic Sabahan food cannot do the same.
“It’s about how passionate and creative we are about styling or ‘re-designing’ our food to catch the eye before we taste it.
“If foreign foods could enter our market, I don’t see why we couldn’t have ours in their market.
“However, first and foremost we need to know our own local food, be interested in it, love it and know that it is part of our culture and heritage.
“Only then are we proud to present our culture to foreign visitors, right,” he suggested.
Peter’s sister, Donna, is well trained in speaking her native language, said she has always enjoyed eating local food. Hinompuka, a dessert is her favorite for tea time.
When preparing food, Donna would strive to cook whenever she had the time. She was grateful to her parents who had taught her an important lesson, and to her brother, Peter.
Phoenix said learning a skill is a confidence boost when it comes to food preparation.
Nick and his cousin Clifford taste Hinompuka, a popular dessert among Kadazans.
“I speak kadazan fluently and eat our local exotic food due to my parents’ exposure when we were still very young,” she said.
Ireneus Simon Kondu is a proud father to have his two children eating exotic Kadazan delicacies such as Nonsom Sada (marinated raw fish) and wild vegetables, he said he rightly did his part.
“If we don’t expose our origin and our identity to them, who else will. It is our responsibility to educate them, to instill in them the importance of knowing our own culture through our daily diet, it is actually easy and all we need is to put in the extra effort to do so,” said Ireneus.
Another skill Phoenix learned is making salted pickled bitter spinach, although it was influenced by the Chinese community, the local Sabahans had long practiced making ‘Hamchoi’ since Chinese migrants were on the island from Borneo at first.
Phoenix said there were many local (wild) vegetables she couldn’t recognize.
Homiding, Lalansa, Sundip, Solimpogun are some of the wild vegetables that few people could identify nowadays.
“That’s why exposure is really important in this aspect,” Evelyn said.