Traditional Sabahan Foods That Will
Make You Drool
Your mom will always be the best cook in the universe. We know that. However, if one day you feel like to try a different kind of food which (would never be better of course) would be different from your usual then this article is for you.
When you are out of travelling, especially in Sabah you might need some hints to not get lost in the variety of tastes and flavors. Thus, we will give you a list of information’s regarding Sabahan foods to have a better understanding what is on your plate. What are the must-eats and must-drinks, and what to avoid in order not to get into any awkward situation.
The following are more beautiful illustrations of traditional Sabahan foods in drawn by Tan Sheauling (陈俏绫), a talented Sabah artist. Let’s start! Don’t get overexcited though, and bear in mind that this list is not a rating- it’s just a collection of delicious Sabahan Foods!
Bambangan flesh is sweet and sour in taste with pungent flavor, and more fibrous than ordinary mango. Bambangan pickle is made by mixing its flesh and finely grated seeds with salt. Leave the mixture pickled for a week and you will get a white and yellow appetizer called NoonsomBambangan (Jeruk Bambangan). Noonsom means marinated in Kadazan language.
Butod (Sago Warm)
You need extra courage to swallow a wiggling Butod (sago worm). At the first bite, it tastes like a capsule, and then the magic happens as it bursts and fills your mouth with protein fluid that is as creamy as cod liver oil.
Simply cut the fish (fresh caught is preferred) into small slices, mix and marinate them with diced red onion, young ginger, red chili, bitter gourd, grated Bambangan seeds (for its sterilizing property and to make meat springier) and lime juice. Before serving, add cilantro as a final touch for this sour salad.
The traditional way of making this crispy little snack of Sabah’s Bajau people is by pouring rice milk into a coconut shells punctured with many small holes, gyrating the shell and drop the liquid on a wok of hot oil. Once it turns golden brown, scoop it out and fold it into fan or roll shape while it’s hot. It is a sweet and crispy snack perfect for high-tea.
Sayur Campuran (Mixed Vegetables) is commonly sold in small packs at tamu (open air market/local). Just take them home, fry it with dried anchovy, salty fish and meat and you will have a yummy dish ready in minutes!
Tapai is an iconic Sabah wine made by traditional method with fermented tapioca, white rice or glutinous rice. Though Tapai is sweet and sour in taste, it’s high in alcohol. Tapai is a necessity during festivals, celebrations and banquet, where it is shared in a big porcelain jar for guests to take turn drinking it from a straw.
Tuhau is a traditional appetizer made from wild ginger. It’s very simple to make. Just mince it, then mix and stir it with a pinch of salt, lime juice, chili and scallion. Tuhau is sour and spicy with tangy flavor. You either love it or hate it due to its distinctive smell.
Ikan Basung(Basung Fish)
Basung fish is a cheap but palatable seafood of Sabah. Pan-broil the fishes until they are crunchy. Dip into chili and lime juice and you can have the whole fish including the bones.
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien