Today we headed off to Donggongon town in Penampang to visit the Tamu, the weekly open market which began in the 1800′s. The market traditionally operates on Thursday and Friday, other markets from other areas open other days. John showed us many fruits and vegetables that we have never seen before such as Tarap fruit (unique to sabah) which is second to the durian in smell and very popular with the sabahans. Also the Saba bananas (unique to Sabah) are only eaten cooked or to add flavour to other dishes. The green bananas are used to makes chips like our potato chips with either sugar or salt.
After our look around the market we head off to Hinampuka restaurant which serves local Kadzandusan traditional dishes to its visitors. Before lunch we were offered a taste of Tarap fruit, the fruit is very strange looking the size of a large coconut with a soft hedgehog like skin inside are small segments of soft sweet tasting fruit worth trying if you ever get to Sabah. Along with the owner we prepared a local dish called Hinava which is barracuda that is soaked in lime juice for about 15 minutes before adding chilli, lime and local veggies. It was very refreshing as it was a little like a lemon and chilli fish salad!
Our hosts were very generous offering us drinks to cool down and preparing other dishes for our lunch. Lunch consisted of our fish salad, rice in leaves, a chicken soup and various other dishes.
We transferred to the Monsopiad Cultural Village where upon arrival we were treated to an exhibition of local dancing. The people in this area are descendants of head hunters and the staff were dressed appropriately and I had to wonder if they dressed as Scotsmen under their loincloths.
More than just being a cultural Museum, the aim is to conserve the culture of the area. For example, Monsopiad was a famous headhunter of about 300 years ago and his house still stands. His descendants guard his trophies (there are about 42 heads) faithfully adhering to the old customs!
We were also treated to an exhibition of the old way of building a fire but the highlight of the day was watching Scott eating a sago worm. This worm is a little like a withetty grub and it is enjoyed by some of the locals but not so much by tourists.
As it was a very hot humid day we decided to head back to the hotel early where we ran into Fiona the Hotel Manager who joined us for a drink and a chat about the local area.
Tomorrow we are off to an island so stay tuned.