King of Karangasem introduced the megibung (communal eating) tradition and Taman Soekasada Ujung tourist attraction to Chef Noof Al Marri, a well-known Qatari Chef specializing in local Middle Eastern cuisines and Chef Hassan Abdullah Al Ibrahim “The Captain Chef” from Qatar who has explored restaurants and hawker dishes in 175 cities worldwide. This Karangasem cultural promotion is in series with the Culinary Journey 2023.
The King of Karangasem, I Gusti Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem, circa 1614 Çaka or 1692 AD ate with his soldiers after completing their expedition in conquering the kings of Lombok. The tradition fostered a sense of togetherness by putting aside social status. The culture of eating together has been continued until now and is usually organized when there are traditional and religious ceremonies. “Tradition is one thing that connects the culture of Qatar and Indonesia,” said Anak Agung Dewandra Djelantik, heir to Taman Soekasada Ujung which is part of the Karangasem Kingdom on the sidelines of Megibung, Thursday (Jun 29).
The Culinary Journey program, part of the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture annual cultural exchange started in Jayapura on June 19-24, 2023 and Medan (June 24-27), and then arrived at its final destination, Bali, taking place on June 28–July 2, 2023. “The Kingdom of Karangasem is proud to be able to show off the megibung tradition that was born from our kingdom to the world through the Culinary Journey, part of the annual Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture cultural exchange,” said Agung Dewandra Djelantik.
Meanwhile, Chef I Wayan Kresna Yasa, a native chef to Nusa Penida, Bali, who has possessed more than a decade of experience working in fine dining restaurants in Uncle Sam’s country this time becomes a companion to Chef Noof Al Marri and Chef Hassan Abdullah Al Ibrahim. “This megibung tradition has difference lying in the etiquette that must be observed, in which the eldest is the one who distributes the food. Sanitation is very important because we have to wash our hands first and we are not allowed to have crumbs fall. We are not allowed to take other people’s food portions and are prohibited from leaving the group until everything is finished,” he explained.
The megibung menu, which is specially prepared, includes Jukut Kelor Me Liklik, Nasi Sele, Urab Paku Kacang Barak, Pelecing Long Beans, Sate Lembat Be Pasih, Be Siap Betutu, Urab Abian, Brengkes Oong and Tempe Manis. “All the foods prepared are the result of Mebat, a way of making and processing traditional Balinese culinary delights that accompanies the megibung tradition, which started processing at 5 o’clock this morning at the Asli Bali Restaurant,” explained Chef Wayan.
Megibung menu options have traditionally included some non-halal food, but have been modified due to the times so that it can also be consumed by those looking for halal food. “In the third city of the Culinary Journey, we are introduced to a tradition of eating together which is almost similar to ours. It is quite appropriate with the backdrop of the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture, culture is one of the most effective tools for bringing people closer together, encouraging dialogue and deepening understanding between nations. Here, we can clearly see the many similarities between Qatar and Indonesia,” said Chef Noof.
The beauty of the Island of Bali also amazed the chefs who would continue to explore understanding between the country and its people, culture, food and culinary experience. The next day the chefs would visit the Bali Mulia Kitchen at Les Village, Tejakula Subdistrict, Buleleng, where the menu depends on the fish caught by the fishermen and the availability of other crops. “The concept of a restaurant whose menu depends on the availability of produce is gaining popularity in the culinary world,” said Chef Hassan.
The chefs continued their Culinary Journey in Bali by participating in several activities at the Ubud Food Festival (UFF) such as cooking demonstrations and panel discussions on July 1–2, 2023. “What’s interesting about the Bali Mulia Kitchen is that the payment system is in the form of a donation. This is very good to be applied in other places to help the local community,” he admitted innocently. (BTN/015)