Young Sabahan promotes local food through social media accounts

KOTA BELUD: A business graduate here has turned to social media to promote exotic and traditional dishes in Sabah.

Pison Jaujip, 33, said traditional food was a part of Sabah’s native people’s identity and that it was important to share the information with others.

“I created a social media account under the name of ‘Ropuhan Di Tanak Wagu’ to share new and improved local tradition recipes with fellow Sabahans.

“It is also to convince them that our local produces are on a par with imported goods,” he said, adding that the meaning of the username is “kitchen for a young man” in Kadazandusun language.

Pison started posting about traditional delicacies on his website, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube since last year.

Among the photos he shared were tuhau (pickle wild ginger), bambangan (wild mango), butod (sago worm), kodop (fungus), and bee larvae.

Despite being busy with his business in selling local rice, Pison finds time to obtain raw ingredients from the forest or oil palm plantation.

He also likes to go to the tamu, or weekly market, here as it gives him the opportunity to exchange information about traditional food with the people there.

“I have been cooking and preparing traditional food since I was a child.

“I have fond memories of helping my grandmother to make bosou (fermented river fish with pangi/keluak and rice),” he said, adding that his favourite dish was the fish soup cooked with bambangan.

Pison also posted videos on his social media accounts, sharing recipes of tuhau-flavoured mayonnaise, tuhau fried chicken, sambal liposu, sago crepe with banana and even tapai (rice wine).

“For now, people from Sabah and Sarawak are very supportive (of what I have been doing). There are also many visitors from peninsular Malaysia asking about the ingredients for my recipes.

“I hope through social media, I could generate more interest and exposure locally and abroad on Sabahan cuisines and raw ingredients.”

Pison’s perseverance and passion in promoting local foods have recently started to bear fruit.

He had the oppprtunity to film with a local television to showcase food, such as bambangan soup, grilled salted fish, brinjal and local banana and corns, at a campsite here.

He was also invited as a guest exhibitor at several food festivals in the state to demonstrate cooking and promote local dishes to more people.

Source: New Straits Times

Signature Food Fest back with more F&B outlets

KOTA KINABALU: The Signature Food Fest returns for its fourth instalment this year after last year’s successful run, featuring more new food and beverage (F&B) outlets.

Organised by Eleventh Avenue Media Marketing, this year’s Food Fest is joined by renowned establishments Hyatt Regency Kinabalu and Grandis Hotel, an unprecedented move.

“We are extremely overwhelmed by this year’s response with two well-known hotels participating, compared to previous years when no hotels took part.

“This year, they are more prepared and we look forward to having them in years to come,” said Signature Food Fest organiser, Alfred Allen.

Other participating F&B operators include Borenos Fried Chicken, BTC Restaurant, Dart Bistro, Ebizou Japanese Restaurant, Hard Rock Café, Little Melaka, Mosaic by Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Tanjung Ria Kitchen also by Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Rosea Café by Grandis Hotels & Resorts, Sakagura Japanese Restaurant, Shoney’s Dining & Bar and The Glass Grill & Bar.

The operators will each showcase their signature dishes, respectively full spring chicken meal, nasi briyani chicken set, Bistro mixed grill chicken & lamb, collagen chicken ramen, classic nachos, Little Melaka signature, cake set, oxtail assam pedas and cheese garlic naan, garlic prawn spaghetti, Sukiyaki with special wagyu, Shoney’s 13-inch giant burger and fish rolled with sweet potato.

Throughout the month of October, each signature dish will be showcased at its respective establishment for patrons to sample, which will also make it eligible for the ‘Dine, Win & Vote’ campaign.

Patrons who order the signature dish stand a chance to win lucky draw prizes by simply attaching the dining receipt to a voting form.

Meanwhile, all 12 Signature Food Fest participants will offer special packages and free samples during a three-day opening event from September 29 to October 1 in Suria Sabah Shopping Mall.

During that time, Eleventh Avenue Media Marketing will also be joining the International Sabah F&B Fair at the main atrium of Suria Sabah.

A total of eight awards will be made the highlight of this year’s Signature Food Fest, comprising Best Signature Menu, Best Ambiance, Best Customer Service, Outstanding Chef, Best Plate Presentation, Facebook’s Most Popular, Blogger’s Choice Award and the new MoreFun Best Awards.

Winners of the respective awards will be acknowledged during the Signature Awards Night on October 31, at Grandis Hotels & Resorts’ piano lounge.

Source : Borneo Post

Taking ‘tapai’ to international level

An enterprising couple have pooled their resources to create Naga Tapai – their version of Sabah’s traditional rice wine – for the local and overseas markets.

The striking label reads “Naga Tapai by Kennedy John (with the support of Keningau folks)”.

Naga Tapai means Dragon Tapai.

Kennedy, 42, is the only son of former PBS Deputy Speaker Datuk John Angian. Practically a husband and wife team, his task is sourcing for the Tapai, processing, quality control and bottling while his wife Alyssa Lim, 43, is in charge of designing, branding and marketing by virtue of her formal education in Graphic Design.

Basically, “Naga Tapai” is a social enterprise, a genuine attempt to help the rural populace in Keningau elevate their household income by producing good quality Tapai. “We will then buy their Tapai, bottle and market it.

Yes, our venture is considered a cottage industry for much of the production process is done from home,” said Kennedy.

Alyssa, a former air stewardess, chipped in to say that it takes a Kadazandusun to have “know how” to brew a good tapai, and to market the age-old taste that has been passed down for generations, potentially in a big way.

“I complement my husband’s Kadazan roots. He grew up witnessing the making of tapai by experts from the Keningau community. Our competitive edge over others is purely derived from our passion to help our community prosper but simultaneously sharing our rich culture, tapai in this context, which is deeply entrenched in Kadazandusun society.”

Kennedy mooted the idea of producing “Naga Tapai” after numerous visits to villages in his area, Bingkor (in Keningau) and socialising with the residents there.

“Part of my job as a community leader is to visit all the kampungs in Bingkor every now and then.

Of course, during those visits, there will be fellowship with the people and most of the time, they will serve Tapai to their guests.

“And after countless Tapai drinking sessions with my wife Alyssa, Tapai should be shared with the rest of the world, not just during Pesta Kaamatan but any other day,” he said.

He also drew inspiration from overseas trips where there are bars or bistros serving their home brew.

“Why can’t Tapai be the same? We need to promote Tapai as another alcoholic beverage that you can enjoy anywhere and anytime.”

Why name it “Naga Tapai”? Kennedy cited a familiar folklore, saying a ferocious dragon once roamed atop Mount Kinabalu (Southeast Asia’s majestic peak) guarding a huge pearl (treasure). He said the mountain is also much revered as a sacred place for the Kadazandusun people.

“Apart from that, the Dragon (Naga) is the highest-ranking animal in the hierarchy of the Chinese animal kingdom. It also represents the emperor, the prosperity and power of the nation.

Hence, Naga Tapai is the illustration of a premium (symbolised by the dragon) treasure (tapai), and that is dragon tapai, which we would like to share with the outside world,” he explained.

The couple has so far invested around RM30,000 for research and development (R&D), branding and marketing.

Asked on the production capacity, Kennedy said matured Tapai is procured from villages in Keningau such as Kg Pagansangan, Kg Kuangoh, Kg Bingkor Lama, Kg Liau Darat and Kg Apin-Apin. “Presently, we can produce up to 500 bottles (230ml) of Naga Tapai and 50 Siopon (in a jar/tajau 750ml) per month.

Depending on demand and if the demand is good, we can even replicate the same production in another village and thus double the capacity.”

“So far for Siopon (in jar), we deal direct with consumers with a minimum of two siopon.”

The “usuk”, a bamboo straw traditionally used to drink tapai from the tajau, comes along with the tajau.

Negotiations are underway with hotels and resorts, especially in the State capital to help promote “Naga Tapai” to their guests and patrons. “We hope that in the near future, Naga Tapai will become a ‘must bring home’ souvenir for domestic and foreign tourists.”

Apart from catering to the local market, Kennedy and his wife are looking for partners or distributors not just for the Malaysian market but also abroad. A good sign was that during the Kaamatan month of May, “Souled Out” in Kuala Lumpur actually ordered 80 bottles of Naga Tapai as a mixture for their “Mojito”.

Maturity of the tapai is measured by months. “Tapai is best consumed after being kept one and a half to two months from the date of production. Going by this practice, we will not buy or get Tapai that is less than one and a half months old.”

On how he carries out quality control, Kennedy noted that people tend to have a different preference on the taste of Tapai as some will like it sweet while others may want it to be slightly bitter.

“But as far as we are concerned, good quality Tapai must have a bitter sweet and sour taste.

That is what we consider a quality Tapai and it’s only through years of experience you can determine whether the Tapai is good or otherwise,” he shared.

According to Kennedy, sasad (yeast) is also one of the factors in ensuring the desired quality of Tapai.

“In this respect, we are considering the need to distribute our own sasad so that we could have more families involved in the chain process.”

Come September, we will be working with UMS students to conduct more research and development (R&D) work.

“We are looking forward excitedly to this collaboration.”

Admittedly, their participation in the recent Trade Expo in China was a great exposure to the couple.

They met a few companies which are interested to market Naga Tapai in China but nothing is concrete at the moment. “We gave them some samples as they need to send these items for testing. In fact, this is one of the few requirements we must adhere to. However, in terms of packaging, we believe we are ready,” said Kennedy.

Visitors who came to their booth at the expo were reportedly mesmerised with the product packaging design and uniqueness of the tajau (siopon), especially the way it is presented to consumers.

Pressed for an answer, Kennedy said China is looking at a big volume, perhaps by the container.

“As such, we must get our people ready for this demand. For now, no deal has been closed yet with any potential overseas buyer.” – Mary Chin

Source: Daily Express

Dinner in the Sky – Sabah’s Latest Attraction

KOTA KINABALU: Dining a three-course Italian meal while being suspended 50 metres in the sky is the latest attraction introduced here.

Locals and tourists can get the bird-eye view experience at Sutera Harbour Resort, where two dinners are served daily this August.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun who had first hand experience during the launch last night, said both locals and tourists alike are expected to be drawn to this new tourism experience.

“I took the first ‘flight’ and what better way to experience our beautiful sunset.

“It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but then again it is something unique and eventhough Sabah is known for its nature as our niche, I always encourage new products here to keep visitors engaged.

“Those with a fear of heights, I suggest them to try as you are safe. With the music playing and the chef and waiter talking to you, you would be so busy, what with eating and taking photos that you wouldn’t realise it (being high off the ground),” he said after his dinner.

‘Dinner in the Sky’ has history which began in Belgium and over 5,000 dinners were hosted over 45 cities including Kuala Lumpur to date.

Organiser TwoSpicy Entertainment who brought the experience to Sabah said up to 30 percent reservations were made after just three days of opening the tickets for purchase.

“This is impressive as we didn’t expect this kind of response in Sabah,” said chief executive officer Arvin Randahwa.

He assured the standard safety measures of seated guests wearing safety belts while standing presenter and crew are secured by safety harnesses at all time during the dinner.

The dining experience is endorsed by Sabah Tourism Board and co-sponsored by Sutera Harbour.

Source: New Strait Times

Food writers, bloggers attending Sandakan Food Festival

SANDAKAN: As the final ingredients are put in place for the first Sandakan Food Festival (SFF) 2017, the local food and tourism community are excited about the confirmation of important food writers and bloggers travelling to the town of Sandakan.

According to the festival coordinator, Anton Ngui, considerable effort had been put into organising the first multi-cultural and largest Sandakan food platform by the Sandakan Tourism Association (STAN).

“Two seasoned travel and food bloggers from China who feature strongly on the blog platform will be visiting.

“From Shanghai, Newpepsibear is a highly popular travel and food blogger, with a quarter of million followers on his Sina and Weibo accounts. With over 100 million hits on his blog since its inception, Newpepsibear is also a travel column contributor to the United States National Tourism office as well as the Sendai City (Japan) Tourism Office.

“Summerdejia is a social media influencer on Sina blog and Weibo, but she also publishes her own cook book, a true food lover. With nearly 300,000 following on her blog and 80,000 followers on her Weibo account, her blog has garnered more than 35 million hits since its creation. Summerdejia hails from Beijing, China,” Anton said.

From Singapore, there will be a team from Seth has a wealth of experience in the food and beverages industry, an ex-bartender as well as owner of numerous food and beverages businesses over the years.

Seth is a now a food retail entrepreneur and consultant, and his site is an important part of his brand. His blog sees around 600,000 unique visitors a month, with over 1.5 million impressions and is one of the highest traffic food blogs in Singapore.

Further food specialists and writers are expected to confirm their attendance at the SFF in the coming weeks, as the team at STAN continues to bring the best of Sandakan to the international audience.


Source: TheBorneoPost