Gihaal was a dried fishmeal mixture, its name drawn simply from the word for "fishmeal" in the Mandalorian language of Mando'a. Prepared from raw, freshly gutted fish, the meat was smoked and dried before being packaged into sealed containers for preservation. Richly nourishing, gihaal provided a combination of fat and protein, and could remain edible for years without the need for refrigeration. Because of these traits, gihaal became a staple in Mandalorian field rations, though its pungently unpleasant odor was off-putting to many Mandalorian soldiers.
The Mandalorian Jun Hokan enjoyed gihaal, and during a mission to the planet Mes Cavoli in 72 BBY, Hokan ate gihaal shavings he carved from a larger chunk with a vibroblade, in the same manner in which many other individuals ate fruit. After his dealings with the Kaminoan cloners of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Cuy'val Dar clone commando training sergeant Kal Skirata took to pejoratively referring to the ancestrally aquatic Kaminoans as gihaal. This habit spread among a number of other Mandalorian Cuy'val Dar sergeants, as well as their commando trainees.
Following the rise of the Galactic Empire in 19 BBY, and in celebration of the arrival of spring in the north of Mandalore—the cultural homeworld of the Mandalorian people, located in the galaxy's Outer Rim—the members of Clan Skirata prepared a large meal that included portions of preserved gihaal.
Behind the scenesEdit
- "Gihaal is a dried fishmeal mixture, like pemmican..."
- ―The Mandalorians: People and Culture
Gihaal first entered Star Wars canon with a mention in the 2006 novel, Republic Commando: Triple Zero by author Karen Traviss. It was further featured as an insult in Traviss' short-story Odds, and the sequel to Triple Zero in the Republic and Imperial Commando series, True Colors. With the release of the series' fourth novel, Order 66, gihaal finally made its first true appearance, before appearing again in the following novel, Imperial Commando: 501st.
In the Star Wars Insider article, The Mandalorians: People and Culture, published in February of 2006 as part of the magazine's eighty-sixth issue, gihaal was discussed in relation to its place in traditional Mandalorian cuisine. The dish's creator, Karen Traviss, likens gihaal to real-world pemmican, a food traditionally created by a number of Native American peoples.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (Mentioned only)
- Republic Commando: Triple Zero (First mentioned)
- Odds (Mentioned only)
- Republic Commando: True Colors (Mentioned only)
- Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel (First appearance)
- Imperial Commando: 501st