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KAAMATAN: A Symphony Of Joy And Belonging, Over Vibrant Events And Exciting Food
Published on: Friday, May 24, 2024
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KAAMATAN: A Symphony Of Joy And Belonging, Over Vibrant Events And Exciting Food
Pesta Kaamatan is full of celebrations. The harvest festival lasts for one whole month, coming to a climax on the 30th and 31st of May, each year.

So, what really makes up a celebration? Food is definitely the key ingredient. Apart from food, it is – the people, the smiles and the get-togethers that make the world go around!

Unity and harmony in diversity

Home to about 35 ethnic groups and 217 sub-ethnic groups including Kadazan-Dusun, Bajau and Murut – the three largest indigenous groups – Sabah is such an amazing place to explore and experience the wonders of multi-ethnicity.

With so many colourful and fascinating traditions at play, Kaamatan serves up a feast of cultural and culinary delights, featuring folk music and dances, alongside entertaining fixtures such as singing, games and beauty pageants.

Sumazau folk dance

Sumazau is the iconic dance of Sabah with deep cultural roots. Being a key fixture of Kaamatan, the dance resembles eagles in flight, with performers stretching their arms and swinging them up and down like soaring wings.

Sumazau features male and female pairs dressed in traditional Kadazan-Dusun costumes, whose dance rhythm is dictated by the beats of hanging gongs. The ‘happy dance’ is mainly performed during weddings, festivals, celebrations, social or tourism events, and as an official welcome for dignitaries.

Making Sabahans even prouder, Sumazau is officially listed as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Malaysia.

Sugandoi singing competition

Another key highlight of Kaamatan would be the singing contest called Sugandoi. Knowing that singing holds a very special place in the hearts of the Kadazan-Dusun and Murut communities, Sugandoi is therefore an important element of the harvest festival.

The singing competition is typically divided into different categories involving regional and state levels where contestants serenade the crowd with their beautiful voices.

Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant

Together with Sugandoi, a beauty pageant called Unduk Ngadau serves up the climax of Kaamatan. The eagerly anticipated event has been held for 63 years and it has become the soul of the Kaamatan festival.

Unduk Ngadau echoes a showcase of Sabah’s cultural diversity, featuring district winners with unique personalities and appearances, who will be vying for the overall ‘beauty queen’ crown on the 31st of May.

Food still holds dear in any celebration

And of course, what makes Kaamatan celebration complete is the wide selection of traditional food. In our previous feature, we have talked about Bosou, Linopot and Hinava. Now, let us try something else considered unique to Sabah. Pinasakan, Ambuyat and Latok are three examples to tingle your taste buds.

Pinasakan – a signature taste for generations  

Pinasakan or Pinarasakan – packs in more than a dish. It is a reflection of the rich culinary ingenuity of the Kadazan-Dusun people.  The dish features basung fish braised with takob akob, a tangy wild fruit mainly harvested for its skin, and topped with fresh turmeric, salt and slices of Bambagan (wild mango).

Pinasakan is braised until much of the liquid has evaporated. The fish takes on a slightly sour taste with a balance of saltiness as well. The preserved food can be eaten for days, which goes well with rice or Ambuyat (Sago Sabah) and a dash of sambal.

You may add Lee Kum Kee’s ready-to-use Seasoned Soy Sauce for Seafood to the preparation of Pinasakan to enhance the overall taste of the dish for an appetising treat.

Ambuyat  – a good pairing for tasteful food

Fondly known as 'Sago Sabah’, Ambuyat is another local food to grace your culinary checklist.

Derived from the interior trunk of sago palm, the translucent dish does not come by easily on non-festive days. So, Kaamatan is possibly the best time to enjoy it as a rice substitute.

Considering Ambuyat is a starchy, bland substance and tasteless, the sauce or gravy that you add makes a big difference. Ambuyat can be eaten with a variety of side dishes including seafood and vegetables. In this case, Lee Kum Kee’s Selected Light Soy Sauce is ideal for dipping and dressing.  


Known as sea grapes or green caviar, Latok delights you with ‘a taste of the ocean'! Rich in dietary fibre, minerals, proteins and vitamins, the seaweed can be eaten raw or made into salads.

Latok can be enhanced with Lee Kum Kee’s Selected Dark Soy Sauce for dressing, together with lime and chilli, and served as a type of salad, combining green mangoes and sambal belacan.

Celebrate with the flavours of Lee Kum Kee

Whether you love to cook or eat, celebrate Kaamatan with Lee Kum Kee sauces by incorporating them into your favourite dishes. It helps enhance the flavours of your cooking, making it richer or more delightable to our palates. The Asian-inspired sauces are suitable for marinating, seasoning, stir-frying, dressing, dipping and so on.

Panda Brand Oyster Sauce, Selected Light Soy Sauce, Selected Dark Soy Sauce, Seasoned Soy Sauce For Seafood, Oriental BBQ Sauce and Hoisin Sauce – all by Lee Kum Kee – are among the exciting flavours to make your Kaamatan dishes extra tasteful.

Celebrate and win great prizes

In conjunction with Pesta Kaamatan, Lee Kum Kee is running a contest named Celebrate With The Flavours Of Lee Kum Kee, offering RM77,000 worth of great prizes, including First Prize (RM5,200 cash x8), Second Prize (Samsung Galaxy S24 worth RM4,099 each x5), and Third Prize (Dyson Vacuum Cleaner worth RM3,099 each x5).

Just purchase any Lee Kum Kee products worth RM10 and above in a single-receipt transaction, write your full name and MyKad number on the original receipt, scan the given QR code or submit a clear photo of the completed receipt to 014-3758106.

Contest closing is 30th June 2024.

Let’s celebrate together!

With Gawai Dayak gaining momentum, whether you love to cook or eat, Lee Kum Kee is always there to create delicious moments on any occasion!

Check out Lee Kum Kee’s Instagram page for more information and get inspired this Kaamatan!



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