We also have a similar tradition: we gather and sit on the floor with the family as well as eat the meal with our hands.
Karangasem, Bali (ANTARA) - Two Qatari chefs joined in the megibung or meal-sharing tradition at a historical tourism attraction, Soekasada Ujung Park, Karangasem District, Bali Province, as part of the Cultural Journey program of the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture.

"I can learn from each other and share experiences about Balinese culinary traditions," one of the chefs, Hassan Al Ibrahim, said here on Wednesday.

Along with another chef from Qatar, Noof Al Marri, Ibrahim and a number of local residents sat on the floor of Bale Kambang — a place used by former Karangasem kings to welcome guests and hold feasts -- to taste some traditional Balinese food.

The dishes included rice, sweet potatoes, ayam betutu (a whole chicken roasted with special Balinese spices), sate lilit (a kind of satay made by wrapping meat around a skewer), and pepes ayam (seasoned chicken grilled or steamed in banana leaves).

They also got to try lawar (a mix of vegetables, coconut, and minced meat cooked with rich herbs and spices) as well as jukut ares (a soup made from young banana tree trunks).

Ibrahim observed that the megibung tradition is similar to the one conducted in his own country.

"We also have a similar tradition: we gather and sit on the floor with the family as well as eat the meal with our hands. Thus, it (the megibung tradition) is more or less the same," he explained.

However, the megibung tradition involves not only family members, but also other people, such as neighbors.

Ibrahim said that both Balinese and Qatari cuisines are spicy. However, he pointed out that spices are used fresh in Bali, while in Qatar, they are processed into seasonings, such as chili powder, first.

Meanwhile, Marri said that Balinese food tastes delicious and is different compared to cuisines from other regions of Indonesia, for instance, Jakarta.

"Because Balinese food uses a lot of spices," she noted.

An elder at Puri Agung Karangasem, Anak Agung Bagus Partha Wijaya, said that the tradition was first introduced around the 1650s to strengthen relations between the king and his troops as well as give moral encouragement to the troops.

The Culinary Journey program of the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture, an international cultural exchange event initiated by Qatar Museums, was earlier held in Jayapura City, Papua Province (June 19–24, 2023) and Medan City, North Sumatra Province (June 24–26).

In Bali, the program is being held from June 27 to July 2.

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Translator: Dewa Wiguna, Uyu Liman
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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