DINING IN SABAH
Sabah, as part of Malaysia hosts an wide variety of food. When in Sabah, do not worry about not being able to find your favourite food to pamper your palate. There are wide varieties of restaurants to be found in Sabah to tempt your taste buds. From local favourites and Sabah snacks, modern and fine dining to seafood experiences.
While a few dishes like the Chinese, Indians, Indonesians, Phillipines and Thailand has been slowly intergrated into the local mainstream dishes, they still retain their international values because most of the localized dishes has found new names like Bak Kut Teh, Tom Yam and Laksa for example.
Local main dishes are usually served with rice or noodles with rice being a staple food. Most noodles dishes served are of Chinese or Indonesian origins. There are a few local made noodles named from the districts from where they are originated like Tuaran and Beaufort noodles. Common Malaysian signature dishes like Satay, Bak Kut Teh, Roti Canai, Nasi Lemak are widely and easily available.
Invigorate your taste buds with a bowl of Thai Tom Yam. Seafood, chicken or both in one bowl infused with a stock of lemongrass, karrif lime, fish sauce, chili peppers to name a few. It’s definitely the best remedy for fighting those monsoon rainy days.
Stewed for hours in coconut milk and an array of aromatic spices, the meat is tender, flavorful and packs a hot punch. Varying from just a tad bit spicy to full blown heat, be sure to know what you’re getting yourself into before taking that first bite.
BAK KUT TEH
Literally translated as “pork bone tea”, Bak Kut Teh is a bowl of herbal goodness. Comprising of a handful of herb and spices, a hearty bowl of this is said to be cleansing, and full of nourishment. Rumors have it, that it’s also a quick cure for hangovers!
SANG NYUK MEE
For breakfast or lunch, Sabahans love their Pork Noodles. Sliced meat, pork meatballs, intestines or no internal organs at all, have it any way you want. Served with a bowl of pork broth, ask for some tofu with minced pork to perfect your meal.
Marinated in a hefty amount of lime, the raw fish of this traditional Kadazan Dusun raw fish salad is cooked through its acidity. Sure to tantalize your appetite, it’s fresh and sharp in flavors.
Traditional dishes are most often treated as a rarity and unique among visitors outside Sabah. Among the well known local dishes are bambangan, bamboo shoots, sago porridge, hinava, sayur manis and wild boar dishes. Traditional dishes are often not common in major restaurants. These sort of food are usually served in traditional occasions like weddings and events. Top hotels usually have these array palates but are limited to the availability of raw ingredients.
Sabahans have depended on rice as one of their natural staple. Not only it is part of their daily’s supplements, it is also used to produce many of Sabah’s traditional food such as Lihing (a mixture of rice with ‘sasad’, a form of fermentation agent), Tinapung (a mixture of rice and bananas wrapped in ‘irik’ leaves), Sinamazan (combination of rice and sweet potatoes with ‘wongian leaves’), Kelupis (a mixture of rice and coconut milk wrapped in ‘irik’ leaves), Nasi Kombos (glutinous rice, young coconut milk, grated young coconut flesh, salt; served in coconut shells) and many more.
The bamboo shoots and paku pakis are the few known examples of raw jungle products which are not culitvated. Wild boar meat on the other hand are not widely available due to the prohibition by muslims, you will however need a little extra info and traveling to experience these exotic dishes.
You can find an abundance of seafood in Sabah to whet your big seafood appetite. The few famous and well-known seafood restaurants can be found within the city limits. If you are looking for al-fresco dining with various choices of seafood to choose from in an open-air environment, then head down to Seri Selera Kampung Air. Situated within Sedco Complex, you will find several seafood restaurants to choose from depending on your choice.
A few other seafood restaurants that are KK’s popular favourites will be the Port View Seafood Village and Ocean Seafood Restaurant. You can have a different dining experience altogether by heading to Kampung Nelayan. The restaurant is situated 15 minutes away from the city provides you with a “floating” experience as the restaurant is built over the water. Apart from that, be entertained with the nightly cultural performance while you savour your seafood feast.
Being part of Malaysia, Malay food is of abundance and naturally imported from West Peninsula itself. There are plenty of choices here to pick with. Restaurants serving Malay food are easy to find.
Chinese delicacies never fall short as around the world. For Chinese food lovers, just walk into any Chinese coffee shops or restaurants and find yourself faced with various delicious Chinese dishes. You are guaranteed to be surprised on what there is on offer.
If you are a curry lover or just plainly love Indian food, you can find a few good Indian coffee shops and restaurants around town to satisfy your craving for authentic Indian specialities. Many of this Indians stalls are notorious for being open nearly 24 hours a day.
The Filipinos are familar faces in Sabah, long before they came in huge influxes since the late 70’s. Sabah, being part of the neighbouring Asean country, has some Filipino dishes served by this foreigners but not all their signature dishes are available here. They are very few places serving authentic Filipino dishes but do ask around.
Most Indonesians here hailed from Kalimantan, the largest section of Borneo. Indonesians are no strangers to Sabahans and their food are more often associate with charms and superb tastes due to their over popularity among locals. Many of their dishes are often mistakenly identified as Malay cuisiness or dishes but they are not.
It is one of the most loved international cuisine by Sabahans. Just mention the word pasta, cheese and wine, we Sabahans will go, ‘Yummy!’ The Italian restaurants here also serve a few Europian dishes mainly as an introduction.
The Koreans has somewhat gain international attention worldwide in the early 21st millenium. Sabah is in no exception accepting its viral attention, they are a number of Korean restaurants in the capital city.