Gastronomic treat for Tamparuli visitors this weekend
Published on: Tuesday, February 12, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Locals and visitors heading for Tamparuli this weekend will be in for a gastronomic treat as they will get to taste a variety of food synonymous with the area, some as long as 40 years.

And the best part is that all the food such as the “sambal mee hoon” (rice vermicelli mixed with some spicy condiment), Chinese New Year cakes and “kambing panggang” (grilled mutton) will be free, including drinks.

Thanks to an anonymous donor, there will be 18 stalls providing different kinds of food which, although not uncommon in other places, are uniquely Tamparuli’s going by taste and how they are prepared.

The event on Feb 16 (Saturday) from 4pm to 6pm is in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration and the first to be organised in Tamparuli, according to Lisa Wong. She is organising it on behalf of her friend, the generous donor, who prefers to stay anonymous.

“It’s the first time that we are doing an event like this. We want to have something special in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration where everyone can share the joy and benefit.

“So we came up with this idea of showcasing many of the food which have become known to be from Tamparuli. All these 18 food operators who started making and selling those food 30 to 40 years ago are still selling them today. Not much has changed. And their food still taste like they did decades ago,” she said.

According to her, food like “sambal mee hoon”, “nasi lemak” and Chinese New Year cakes are only found in Tamparuli.

She believes many will rekindle and share fond memories of their younger days when they enjoy these food at the event, to be held at the field near Tun Hamdan community hall.

“It will certainly bring back many sweet memories when they see ‘mee’ (noodles) packed in small plastic packets. Young children growing up 30 or 40 years ago would remember how they would bite at the tip of it and eat the ‘mee’ through a small hole. This is still sold the same way today,” said Wong.

Although the Tamparuli food will be the main attraction at the event, the bigger objective, she said, is to celebrate community harmony which has been ever present since the town came to being.

“Chinese New Year is about sharing love and joy with the family. It is in this same spirit this event will be celebrated, and, of course, in the context of a much bigger family,” she said.

Aside from the food stalls, there will also be events jointly organised by a few charitable Chinese associations such as unicorn dance, brass band and singing performances as well as a lucky draw which will take place inside the hall, starting 6.30pm.

Asked why it is held in Tamparuli, Wong said it was the choice of the generous donor who cherishes the best the district can offer both in terms of its local food that survived the test of time and multi-racial community harmony.

She expects over 2,000 people will visit the event. - Leonard Alaza


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