Senamo': Traditional Fermented Meat of the Dayak People

The appearance of Sinamo', a result of fermented meat among the Lengilo Dayak community, is considered extreme by outsiders.

Every country indeed boasts a unique culinary charm with distinctive flavors and traditions. Below are some examples from the mentioned countries:

  • Italy is renowned for its pasta, pizza, cheese, and olives. They also have highly acclaimed dishes like risotto, lasagna, and tiramisu.
  • America offers a diverse array of foods reflecting its cultural diversity. Examples include burgers, hot dogs, steak, BBQ, pancakes, donuts, and many more.
  • Chinese cuisine is known for its diverse flavors, textures, and cooking techniques. Some famous Chinese dishes include dim sum, kung pao chicken, Peking duck, and mapo tofu.
  • Japan is known for its elegant and balanced cuisine, featuring sushi, sashimi, ramen, tempura, and teriyaki. Their tea culture also gave rise to green tea and wagashi (beautiful Japanese confectionery).
  • Korean cuisine is renowned for its bold flavors and distinctive seasonings. Examples include kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage), bulgogi (grilled meat with sweet sauce), bibimbap (rice with assorted toppings), and samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly).

Each country has a rich and unique culinary heritage that reflects their history, geography, and culture.

Dayak: fermented meat as extreme cuisine

"The Dayak ethnic group, found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei Darussalam, also has its own unique cuisine. This includes fermented meat (both fish and animal), which goes by different names in different places on the island of Borneo."

Fermentation of fish and animal meat among the Dayak ethnic group has been practiced since ancient times, back when refrigeration was not yet discovered. 

The method of preserving meat in the Dayak tradition is a form of "tacit knowledge", but its flavor is distinctive, and perhaps outsiders may not fully appreciate it.

The Lengilo Dayak people refer to it as Sinamo' 

Sinamo' is a traditional dish in the cultural heritage of the Lengilo Dayak community in North Kalimantan.

The preservation process involves placing wild boar meat and fat into bamboo tubes called "TELO'", which are then tightly sealed with leaves. 

After a sufficient period, around one month, the SENAMO' stored inside the TELO' can be opened and cooked for the family to enjoy, with a deliciously sour taste.

Senamo' is Dayak-style fermented meat. Therefore, it's a big mistake to refer to it as "rotten meat". The purpose and process of fermentation versus rotting are vastly different!

Senamo' serves as evidence of the Dayak culture's skill and resilience in creating solutions for their everyday needs. 

This culinary practice demonstrates the shared customs and culture. However, its name varies among different Dayak communities, yet the concept remains the same.

Other Names for Sinamo' Outside of the Lengilo Dayak Community

Among the Lengilo Dayak in West Kalimantan, Senamo' is called pekasam. Meanwhile, the Dayak in Central Kalimantan refers to it as wadik. As for the Jangkang people from the Bidayuh ethnic group, they call it jikot.

Despite the differences in names, the process and purpose of preserving meat in the Dayak tradition remain consistent. It illustrates the cultural similarities and local wisdom passed down from generation to generation.

- Rangkaya Bada

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