7 Foods that You Must Try during the Harvest Festival

7 Foods that You Must Try during the Harvest Festival

Now, we all know that Malaysia is best known for its cultural celebrations. Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali, Christmas, and the list goes on. Have you ever heard about the harvest festival in East Malaysia? Well, if you have never heard of the festival before, we’ll keep you informed! In this article, we have compiled a list of food to try during the harvest festival.

Harvest festival is celebrated in both Sabah and Sarawak annually. In Sarawak, it’s called Hari Gawai, whereas in Sabah, it’s called Pesta Keamatan. For Hari Gawai, it is celebrated on every 1st and 2nd of June, some may celebrate it throughout the month. Meanwhile, Pesta Keamatan is celebrated throughout May. Harvest festivals are celebrated to express gratitude to a bountiful rice harvest.

Many ceremonies are carried out during these harvest festivals. When you get a chance to celebrate them, you must try the unique food offered during the festivals.

7 Foods that You Must Try during the Harvest Festival:

1. Butod (Sabah)

Butod can be found in both Sabah and Sarawak, but it is considered as Sabah’s traditional cuisine. “Butod” means “sago larvae” in Kadazandusun. This is an exotic food that not many are daring to try. If you’re adventurous, we recommend trying this dish out.

You can eat these sago worms live, or you can also eat them fried. It has a sweet taste and a chewy texture; in case you’re curious. Your harvest festival experience would not be complete without trying these sago worms.

2. Ambuyat (Sabah)

Ambuyat is another traditional Sabah food which you can find during the harvest festival. It is also known as “Sagu Sabah”. Acquired from the sago palm’s interior trunk, this dish is very hard to find on non-festive days.

Thus, it’s best if you try it out during the harvest festival! Ambuyat is often used to substitute rice during a meal. Just twirl it around a stick, dip it into the sauce and eat – as simple as that! Ambuyat is tasteless, so the sauce that you dip in gives the flavour.

3. Hinava (Sabah)

Hinava is another famous traditional Kadazandusun dish in Sabah. It is made of raw fish that is mixed together with lime juice, ginger, bird’s eye chilli, sliced shallots, and grated ginger.

You can basically call it a raw fish salad. Hinava can be eaten on its own, or with rice – it’s up to your liking! Keamatan Festival wouldn’t be complete without this dish.

4. Bambangan (Sabah)

Bambangan is a seasonal wild mango, you can’t find this in West Malaysia! Did you know that the skin of this fruit is edible?  You can eat the skin pickled or fresh with some sambal belacan.

Meanwhile, the kernel is used to make pickle, along with the flesh of the fruit. You can eat pickled Bambangan with deep-fried fish or white rice.

5. Penganan Iri (Sarawak)

Penganan Iri, better known as “penyaram”, is a famous kuih in Sarawak. You’d often see it being served during Hari Gawai. Many might call it the ‘kuih UFO’ because of its shape. Penganan Iri is deep-fried in oil and often eaten together with tuak (rice wine) during Hari Gawai.

As soon as you take a bite of this kuih, you’ll find it difficult to stop eating. The sweet taste of the kuih is simply delicious and addictive! One is never enough.

6. Sarang Semut (Sarawak)

Now, now, before any of you get the wrong ideas, there are no ants in this dish. Sarang Semut is a delicacy served during Hari Gawai. There’s a reason behind its name “Sarang Semut”; which translates to “ants’ nest”.

This kuih actually resembles the shape of ant’s nests. Interesting! Expect a sweet taste of palm sugar when you try these.

7. Manok Pansoh (Sarawak)

Who doesn’t know what Manok Pansoh is? If someone mentions “Sarawak delicacies”, Manok Pansoh will come to mind. This Sarawak dish is basically chicken cooked in a bamboo log. The bamboo log will then be stuffed with water as the dish’s soup.

Different seasonings are used to give the dish its unique flavour. Believe us when we say that this is one of the best dishes you’ll ever taste! Try it out if you have the chance to celebrate Hari Gawai in Sarawak.

That’s about it, folks! A list of 7 food that you must try during the Harvest Festival. You can discover more food choices on foodpanda. Make an order and they will deliver your meals to you!

Are you in love with festive dishes? Check out the best vegetarian dishes to try during Wesak day!

Article Written By Marcovy

Marcovy is a passionate writer who thinks life is about living to eat and enjoying it to the fullest. He wanted to explore the restaurants around Malaysia and the idea of documenting those food experiences was what inspired him to start writing food blog.

Join the discussion!

Share this story