In addition to the annual prayer ritual and Chinese art performances, Semarang's Chinese community will celebrate Chinese New Year with the aptly titled "Pork Festival". Pork has long been known as a popular food ingredient of the Chinese community in Semarang.
The culinary festival, arranged by the Semarang Culinary Community, will be held from Feb. 4 to Feb. 8 at the Sri Ratu Mall indoor parking lot on JL Pemuda in Semarang, Central Java.
A total of 20 booths, with tables and chairs that can accommodate 100 visitors, will sell an array of pork-based foods. "Aside from celebrating Chinese New Year, the festival is also held to introduce the public to various kinds of local Semarang dishes because many are still unknown among the general public," said Semarang Culinary Community Co-Founder Firdaus Adinegoro on Thursday as quoted by tempo.co.
A wide variety of more widely known pork-based dishes will be available at the festival including pork noodles, meatballs, porridge, fried rice, satay (char-grilled pork skewers), rarely found dishes such as bakmoy, pihie (bamboo sprout mixed with pork lungs), sop kaki babi (pork leg soup) and sio bak will also be available to try.
One rare pork-based delicacy that will be sold at the festival is the Nyukpiang salty vegetable steamed pork rice. The dish features pork meat with salty vegetables steam cooked in an aluminium foil molding plate.
According to Firdaus, many of the dishes that will be sold at the festival are rarely found nowadays because they are only cooked at home or by request. "We have long been living side by side with people of Chinese descent. I think it's time for us to begin to learn about their cuisine," said Firdaus as quoted by tempo.co.
One Pork Festival visitor, Monic, said that she found the event interesting. "It turns out that there are various different pork-based cuisines which are unique, delicious and cheap too," said Monic. The festival's organizers recorded 1,500 visitors on the first day of the festival, from morning until 9pm.