Maintaining a cultural heritage through 7 Tribal Culinary Theater

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7 Tribal Culinary Theater is a performance and dinner with a special menu of West Halmahera, famous for its rich spices,” he said. (photo: Pramitha Hendra)

IO – Exploring any of the regions in the Indonesian archipelago is incomplete without experiencing its local wisdom. Opening up to understand local wisdom will increase our insight and tolerance.

As in the 7 Tribal Culinary Theater, West Halmahera, North Maluku, an event clad in cultural arts from the 7 tribes in West Halmahera, namely Tabaru, Loloda, Gamkonora, Sahu, Wayoli, Pagu, and Jailolo, where visitors and tourists are invited to enjoy the riches of West Halmahera in terms of their nature, culture, and culinary wealth.

According to the Head of the West Halmahera Regency Tourism Office, Fenny Kiat, the 7 Tribal Culinary Theater is different from the 2019 Jailolo Bay Festival.

“The Jailolo Bay Festival is a cultural event, while the 7 Tribal Culinary Theater is a performance and dinner with a special menu of West Halmahera, famous for its rich spices,” he said.

West Halmahera’s cultural riches are evident in the first dish. The attraction shown is the play “Kolano Jailolo”, a fictional story demonstrating culinary riches as well as exotic arts and culture of the 7 tribes that are full of noble messages that the natural riches in West Halmahera must be communally preserved.

The Idamdehe Gamsungi Spice Garden was deliberately chosen as the location of the 7 Tribal Culinary Theater, because it is a bridge to build a creative economic area that carries the theme of Spices. The Garden aims to maintain local culture and food traditions, as well as to manage them creatively to be able to compete globally.

Next, culinary items are presented to guests. Snacks like Santan Banana and Boko-Boko Gula Merah are brought out first.

Heavy food is brought out afterward. There is Bamboo-Cooked Chicken, Yellow Fish Soup, Tuna Gohu, and several other menus. Do not miss two traditional drinks, Air Guraka and Saguer.

This activity is also set in natural beauty. The main attraction is an extraordinary sunset. There is also a view of Gorngofa Island, a small island that with no beach. This island is also a symbol of the riches of spices in Iwadehe Tourism Village.

Traditional banquet of Sahu Tribe

If you are on vacation in Jailolo, West Halmahera, do not forget to visit one of the tribes there. It is called the Sahu Tribe. According to the story circulating, the Sultan of Ternate gave it this name because this tribe often met with him at dawn.

Formerly, most members of the Sahu Tribe were farmers. As an expression of gratitude to God, the Sahu Tribe held a ritual called Horom Toma Sasadu which means eating at a local traditional house.

They also dance and sing, in a ceremony which used to last for nine days nonstop; today it is only one day long.

Horom Toma Sasadu is open to guests from anywhere. Guests who want to visit this traditional ceremony must dress modestly and the men wear a head covering like a cap or a skullcap to respect the owner of the house. Interestingly all the villagers are obliged to taste Saguer, a kind of wine. Saguer tastes very sour and could be mind-opening, it says. Both men and women are required to drink Saguer at this event.

The cuisine presented by the Sahu Tribe is no less interesting. They provide Cala or Twin Rice. The rice is cooked and rolled in a banana leaf, then put in bamboo that is burned to make this rice taste fragrant and savory. Usually, Cala is served with Rica-Rica fish.

In addition to its culinary selections, the Sahu tribe is also famous for the Legu Sasalai dance. This dance used to be performed to welcome guests from the Kesultanan, the capital of the former kingdom. Usually, it is accompanied with Tifa punch. The first stage is called Kore-Kore, which marks the start of the dance. Then Ado-Ado, where Tifa punch changed and was marked by dancers who twisted around and threw off their robes. At this stage the Tifa rhythm sped up, and so did the dance. (Pramitha Hendra)