As the golden sands of Terengganu meet the azure waters of the South China Sea, a rich and flavorful tradition is on display at Muzium Negeri Terengganu. From October 16th, 2023, to March 31st, 2024, this coastal haven becomes the stage for an exhibition that takes us on a journey through time, one that invokes the memories of older generations and their culinary artistry. The Terengganu of yesteryears, where the hands of the elderly worked tirelessly to prepare traditional Malay foods and sweets, is brought back to life in a unique and innovative manner – through the Display of Fake Food, an artful representation of over 60 beloved dishes. This exhibition is a loving tribute to the age-old recipes and techniques that are slowly vanishing, ensuring that the essence of Malay traditional food culture remains vivid and cherished.
Timbalan Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pelancongan, Kebudayaan Alam Sekitar Dan Perubahan Iklim negeri, Sulaiman Sulong
Exploring Terengganu’s Culinary Tapestry
As we wander through the rich tapestry of Terengganu’s culinary heritage at the Muzium Negeri Terengganu’s exhibition, we encounter a diverse array of dishes that tell the story of generations past. While it’s impossible to cover every delicacy, let’s delve into a selection of key dishes, each weaving its own tale of tradition and flavor.
Savoring Terengganu’s Savory Treasures
Transitioning from sweetness to savory, our gaze falls upon Nasi Dagang, a Terengganu favorite. This dish, made from glutinous rice and paired with a flavorful fish curry, embodies the heartiness and complexity of Terengganu’s traditional fare. The lifelike display draws us into the world of kitchens past, where the aroma of spices and the warmth of communal gatherings filled the air.
Among the savory delights, Laksam Laksa stands out as a testament to Terengganu’s love affair with coconut-based gravies. The intricately crafted fake food provides a visual feast, transporting us to a time when families gathered to savor the comfort of a bowl filled with chewy rice noodles and aromatic coconut broth.
Top 20 Malay Traditional Foods at the Muzium Negeri Terengganu’s Exhibition
- Nasi Dagang: Glutinous rice paired with a flavorful fish curry, a staple in Terengganu households.
- Laksam Laksa: Chewy rice noodles bathed in aromatic coconut broth, a comforting Terengganu classic.
- Tepung Pelita: Vibrant steamed desserts in banana leaf cups, capturing the sweet spirit of celebrations.
- Tepung Pasung: Terengganu’s rice flour and coconut milk delicacy, a taste of tradition.
- Tapai Pulut: Fermented glutinous rice, a slightly alcoholic delight once central to festive occasions.
- Putu Kacang: Steamed dessert with ground peanuts and rice flour, a favorite with grated coconut and palm sugar.
- Pulut Panggang: Grilled or roasted sticky rice filled with savory or sweet ingredients like coconut and shrimp.
- Pulut Lepa: Glutinous rice and coconut milk wrapped in banana leaves, a symbol of Terengganu’s culinary craftsmanship.
- Pauh Goreng: Fried fish, showcasing Terengganu’s love for seafood delights.
- Nasi Kunyit: Fragrant yellow rice, a ceremonial dish for important occasions.
- Nasi Himpit: Compressed rice cake, often cut into cubes and served with peanut sauce, a delightful snack.
- Nasi Himpit Sambal: Nasi Himpit served with a spicy sambal sauce, adding an extra kick to the dish.
- Kuih Menganang: A traditional rice cake flavored with coconut and palm sugar, a sweet and nostalgic treat.
- Mas Sejemput: Crispy and sweet dessert, a festive delicacy enjoyed during special occasions.
- Lompat Tikam: A visually stunning layered dessert made from coconut milk and rice flour, evoking the colors of celebration.
- Kuih Koci atau Bait: Steamed dumplings filled with sweet coconut and palm sugar, a symbol of Terengganu’s dessert culture.
- Kuih Cara Berlauk: Fried dumplings often filled with a savory mixture, a delightful snack or appetizer.
- Kuih Akok: A sweet, custard-like dessert, a Terengganu favorite known for its rich and creamy texture.
- Kuah Singgang: A sour fish stew often served with rice, providing a burst of flavors.
- Koleh Kacang: A sweet dessert made from mung beans, blended with coconut and palm sugar, offering a harmonious combination of textures.
Preserving the Legacy
As we navigate this culinary journey, it’s clear that the Muzium Negeri Terengganu’s initiative to showcase over 60 lifelike replicas serves a larger purpose. It goes beyond mere visual delight; it’s a concerted effort to preserve the legacy of hands that once toiled in the name of tradition. In focusing on key dishes that tell stories of celebrations, daily life, and cultural practices, the exhibition becomes a living testament to the resilience of Terengganu’s food culture.
This curated selection provides a taste of Terengganu’s diverse culinary landscape, reminding us of the importance of preserving these traditions for future generations. The next time you savor a traditional Terengganu dish, may you find yourself not just indulging in flavors but also relishing the rich history and culture woven into each bite.
As the calendar turns and the exhibition at Muzium Negeri Terengganu draws to a close on March 31st, 2024, we are left with more than just vivid memories of tantalizing dishes and colorful sweets. The display of fake food has given us a tangible connection to the past, a reminder of the dedication and expertise of the elders who once filled our homes with these delightful flavors. While we may not savor the actual dishes, we carry with us a deep appreciation for the Malay traditional food culture, safeguarded and celebrated within the walls of this museum. This remarkable showcase has bridged generations, honoring the past while inspiring the future. Let us continue to savor the heritage of Terengganu, ensuring that the treasures of Malay traditional food culture remain alive for generations to come.