10 Best Noodle Dishes In Sabah
Sabah’s rich culture is something to shout about, especially when it birthed a unique cuisine brilliantly invented by its locals. Hidden within its scenic spots are restaurants offering delicious and unique Sabahan noodles that may sound obscure to those who’re not familiar with East Malaysia. Nonetheless, here are 10 dishes in Sabah that’ll prove Penang has a competitor when it comes to noodles.
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Tuaran Mee is to Sabah what Char Kuey Teow is to Penang and Kai Si Hor Fun to Ipoh. Originating from Tuaran Town, this popular noodle dish is usually stir-fried and served with slices of chun kien (Hakka egg rolls), char siew and vegetables.
Heads up egg fans: The yellow noodles are traditionally handmade with egg yolk and has a springy texture, and the dish is sometimes even stir-fried with eggs. Tuaran Mee Restoran also serves variations of the dish for different tastebuds such as Tuaran Mee Lihing (added with Sabah’s unique rice wine).
Beaufort Town features soft yellow noodles in thick sauce with thinly sliced pork and plenty of choy sum (leafy vegetable used in Chinese cuisine) called Beaufort Mee. To obtain that wok stir-fry flavour, the noodles alone are stir-fried first to slight crispiness before introducing the thick gravy base.
What makes Restoran Beaufort great for this dish is that they use organic vegetables and their pork is tender and sweet!
Ngiu chap, which translates literally into ‘beef mix’, is a noodle dish starring an array of beef cutlets including beef balls, beef brisket, beef tripe, beef tendons and other parts served in thick beef broth.
Kah Hiong boils their beef cutlets and daikon radish for hours with their secret blend of herbs and spices, infusing their broth with beefy flavours. But if the beef broth is slightly overwhelming for you, there’s always the kon lou (soy sauce) version, which is ‘dry’ and broth-less.
Turn up the heat by dipping your protein in their homemade Kah Hiong chilli sauce, sold in bottles in the shop — great for people travelling outstation and want a taste of home or visitors who’d like to relive Sabah’s good food back home.
Sang Nyuk Mee
The next meat-packed noodle dish brings us to Tawau where Sang Nyuk Mee originated. Hing Lee has been serving this iconic Sabahan dish, which features marinated pork on noodles, for 37 years now!
We recommend trying the standard kon lou base because the combination of dark soy sauce with soft and tender pork slices tastes heavenly. If you’re a sinful eater like us, request for more pork lard! But be warned, it’s an oily dish. Like the ngiu chap, this dish is also served with other parts like internal organs.
Tenom Mee is a Hakka dish from Tenom and its distinct taste lies in its delicious Hakka noodles. While this dish look simple, it’s in fact very flavourful — making it versatile enough for any topping and even to have it on its own.
We’re bringing our night owls to How Lee Coffee Shop because they open from dinner time all the way to 3 am in the morning! Alongside their Tenom Mee, How Lee offers toppings such as siew yoke (roasted pork belly), roasted chicken, fish balls and more. Psst, we heard they also serve the best porridge in town!
Often mistaken for Tuaran Mee, Tamparuli Mee is also known for its handmade noodles and chun kien but compared to the former, Tamparuli Mee has a springier texture. Siew yoke and scrambled eggs are also key ingredients that make the Tamparuli Mee different from its noodle cousins. Some suggest having it with tomato sauce because it pairs well with the egg – we’ll let you be the judge of that.
The best and well-known eatery for Tamparuli Mee has to be family-run Restoran Wun Chiap, where the dish got invented back in 1978. To be able to enjoy a dish in its origins is rare so we’re glad the restaurant is still in operation till today.
Seafood will not be left out from this mix, especially in KK (Kota Kinabalu), where the seafood is fresh from the docks! We’re bringing you to the Hilltop area of KK where Fatt Kee Seafood Restaurant serves one of the tastiest fish noodles in town.
You can add fish fillet, fish skin, fish head and other fish parts that you fancy with your noodles. If you’re not a huge fan of the smell of seafood, have it in tomato soup base (or milky tomato soup) to neutralise that fishy scent. And of course they have kon lou, tomyam and clear soup to cater to all preferences!
Mee Sup Kota Belud
Kota Belud too has its own noodles. Chicken broth is key in making this a flavourful dish and an unnamed gem of a restaurant behind the UMNO Kota Belud building does it best. Plenty of chicken is used to prepare the broth and noodles are homemade. Being a Chinese establishment, you can’t go wrong with having a little char siew along with chicken cutlets on your noodles.
This dish is always served with some fried shallots on the side. Our take for the perfect serving in every bite is to have some noodles, some broth, some chicken meat and some of that crispy fried shallot in one spoon!
For the halal version, you’ll find noodle stalls in Pasar Tani Kota Belud operated by Muslims.
Mee Sup Pipin
Originally known as Mee Sup Inobong, later Mee Sup Pipin, named after the founder’s surname, this dish can be found in Kampung Inobong in all its authenticity. Served with fresh chu chap (pork mix) in clear soup, this is one of the lighter noodle dishes on this list. But if you can’t resist the oily stuff, they have fried pork lard!
The stall is on Jalan Tomposik by the main road, which is the owner’s shophouse. There’s another Mee Sup Pipin at Jalan Khidmat, operated by the family. They both serve Mee Sup Pipin with variating sides – in the latter, you’ll find stuffed tofu, braised chicken feet, wild boar meat, Hakka steamed pork with yam, sup tulang and even Hinava.
Mee Tauhu is a popular breakfast food in Tawau and we recommend trying Kedai Kopi Mee Tauhu Tawau. It’s similar to the yong tau fu in Peninsular Malaysia except their ingredients such as tofu, chili, brinjal and bitter gourd are stuffed with fish paste instead of pork so it’s halal in many places.
The noodles are simple – plain stir-fried with a sunny side up – because the attraction is tofu in bean paste gravy that you can dip in sweet sambal sauce. They also serve nasi kuning (tumeric rice) with their tofu and sambal, for those who relish in the go-to traditional rice, tofu and sambal combination.
A recipe has no soul. As a cook you must bring soul to the recipe – Thomas Keller
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