PENAMPANG: Sabah's traditional food - a product of various unique ethnicities in the state - is primed for commercialisation to serve as a tourist attraction.
At the moment, there are only a few hotels or restaurants that showcase this exclusive traditional food, Penampang Assistant District Officer Hendry Idol said,
"For most people, the opportunity to taste Sabah's local delicacies only comes during certain festivals such as the Kaamatan or special occasions like weddings," he said at the launching of Sabah Traditional Food Festival here.
Hendry explained that the uniqueness of each district's traditional food makes them attractive for tourists visiting the state.
"Local restaurants should take the initiative to market traditional food - it is an effective way to introduce the unique culture of each of Sabah's different ethnicities."
JCI Penampang president Oliver Galasius added that the festival is also a way for people to sit down and find common ground.
"We all have differences ranging from race, religion, and political beliefs... but when it comes to food, we are all united," he said.
Organised by Junior Chamber International (JCI) Penampang, the Sabah Traditional Food Festival will be held until July 23 at the Sabah Cultural Centre here, where the National Youth Folk Dance Festival is also being held.
Three districts are involved in the festival, which showcases local delights such as sinalau daging (grilled beef), ambuyat basung (starchy dish mixed with fish), cendol tapai, and nasi linopot (rice wrapped in leaves).
The participating districts are Ranau, Kota Belud, and Tawau.