(Before you read further ....I do apologise to all my friends who do not eat pork....this page will contain pictures of pork as you scroll down......)
I was invited by warm and hospitable relatives for a Brunei style Gawai over the weekend.
One of the wives managed to get a pig head for celebration to the delight of the extended family and friends. The head was bbq-ed over an open fire for several hours. Traditionally amongst the Ibans a pig head is symbolic food. But to the urban dwellers it is a very nice part of the animal.
The family is very self sufficient in vegetables like their forefathers in Sarawak and Temburong. Next to their Brunei perumahan (government provided housing) house they have grown lots of native vegetables like taro and young sweet corn to mention a few. They plucked some of the cucumber leaves to cook up a good "iban dinner". Their garden is definitely part of their Iban heritage. The humble wife said that their own garden supplies enough greens every day for their needs.
See for youself here how resourceful Indai Louis is: (The dinner was for 30 people with lots of extras for more people in fact)
A few large ikan sultan steamed together with kechalak and lengkuas. If the father of Louis has time off from his work he can actually catch his own fish in the stream near by. He sometimes goes as far as the Belait River for bigger fish during the spawning season.
Cucumber leaves with sweet young corn and fresh jungle mushhrooms. Some cucumbers are also added. This is a very tasty "indigenous dish" and is absolutely natural.
These are beautiful slices of meat from the pig's head which was slowly bbq-ed over a slow fire.
Mangoes from the garden. Their three trees supply enough mangoes throughout the year.
Guava from the tamu.
The bones of the pig's head are boiled for more than two hours of Chinese salted vegetables and some salted vegetables and sour plums and torch ginger.
This is the brain from the pig's head...steamed with slivers of fresh ginger and some wine.
"We do not waste our food at all and we are careful with our resources. So we plant as many vegetables as we can in both the front and back yards."
This was a nice "ngabang" or visit in Iban. As a meal for people who are away from their own kampongs in Sarawak and Brunei (some of the men are from Temburong while most of the wives are from Kanowit) Indai Louis had indeed shown her Iban hospitality. However she is Oya born but is married to a Brunei born Iban.
It is good to be able to share food both spiritually and physically with friends . It is good to be always thankful for these blessings.