After spending a whole day at Banghuris Homestay, playing kampung girl and checking out interesting places and playing traditional games with the kampung boys, it’s finally time for the main event that everyone has been anticipating, the Nasi Ambeng Festival 2015. The event was held at night, at about 8.30 pm after the Maghrib prayers. Everyone, both locals, tourists and media representatives alike gathers at the event place, the Banghuris Homestay Community Hall.
Part of the crowd at the Nasi Ambeng Festival 2015 organized by JKKN that night, awaiting the event to be officiated before enjoying the Nasi Ambeng served.
The festival kicks off with some Javanese dance performance.
Interesting dance. This dance is known as Tarian Kuda Kepang or in Javanese, it is called the Tarian Kuda Lumping. It is a traditional Javanese warrior dance
depicting a group of horsemen. Dancers “ride” horses made from woven bamboo and decorated with colorful paints and cloth. Generally, the dance portrays troops riding horses, but another type of Kuda Lumping performance also incorporates trances and magic tricks. When the “possessed” dancer is performing the dance in trance conditions, he can display unusual abilities, such as eating glass and resistance to the effects of whipping or hot coals. Although the dance is native to Java, Indonesia, it also performed by Javanese communities in Suriname, Malaysia and Singapore. It was indeed an experience to be able to watch this dance performance. To me, it is almost a forgotten art and something you don’t see often.
After the dance and the officiating ceremony, it was time to tuck in. Sorry no photo of the officiating ceremony for the festival. The crowd was super crazy and I couldn’t get through) Here’s a photo of the Javanese dancers with a tray of Nasi Ambeng, though. Taken after the officiating ceremony for Nasi Ambeng Festival 2015.
Nasi Ambeng is a fragrant rice dish consisting plain white rice prepared with chicken curry or chicken cooked in soy sauce, vegetables, fried noodles, some salted fish, fried coconut flesh, and so on. It is a popular Javanese cuisine, especially in every Javanese-Malay communities in Malaysian states of Selangor and Johor and also in Java, Indonesia. It is served during the festivities or weddings and served in a tray and enjoyed together in a tray by four to five people.
And guess what? I feasted on the Nasi Ambeng the way it was meant to be; with my husband and four more people sharing with us. Here’s Ms. Natasha and Ms.Razimah from Tourism Malaysia Selangor, enjoying our tray of Nasi Ambeng. Living in the city, we have our own dining etiquette where we are usually expected to use the cutleries whenever we dig in to our food, and therefore, everyone was feeling a little apprehensive and shy to have our food the traditional way, which was use our fingers to eat, but half way eating, we decided to just go for it, and believe me, the food tasted much better when we used our fingers to eat our share of Nasi Ambeng.
It was indeed an unforgettable experience. I missed the festival last year but I’m glad to be able to experience it this year, and here’s hoping to be able to make a trip to Banghuris Homestay for Nasi Ambeng Festival every year as an annual family event. Cultures like this should be introduced and taught to the younger generations so that it will not be lost in the unstoppably rapid modernization.