The origin name of district’s area in Sabah Borneo

The origin name of district’s area in Sabah Borneo

The origin name of district’s area

in Sabah Borneo

14
February, 2018
Sabah Borneo Tour Package
zipline and white water rafting adventure

Lupa Masa Jungle Trekking

Sabah Borneo is a unique place to visit, not only is it known to have many tribes living here, its diverse culture and tradition, but also the beauty of the places in Sabah Borneo as there are still many natural forests that are still left untouched and conserved. Not forgetting, the food in Sabah Borneo is to die for! It is so delicious that any travelers will certainly miss the unique taste of Sabah’s delicacy when they are back to their hometown.

When visiting Sabah Borneo for Borneo Holidays, there will be several districts that we either pass through or encounter. We may find that the name of each district in Sabah Borneo is unique and special. Therefore, this article will explain to any travelers (and locals too!) the origin of the districts’ name in Sabah Borneo.

First off, let us get to know Kota Kinabalu.

Kota Kinabalu City view from Signal Hill Observation Tower

Kota Kinabalu is the capital city of Sabah Borneo, which is located on the northwest coast of Sabah Borneo facing South China Sea. Formerly known as Jesselton during the British Colonization in 1800, it is a major gateway to explore the wildlife and nature in the northern region of Borneo Island. Kota Kinabalu is named after Mount Kinabalu (the highest mountain in Malaysia) and “Kota” which in the Malay language means fort, town, or city. Read our article on Traveler’s Guide to Kota Kinabalu.

Next, we’ll go to the outskirts part of Kota Kinabalu City, which is Penampang.

The origin name of district's area in Sabah Borneo
Sigah (headgear worn by Kadazan Men) Roundabout in Penampang, to symbolizes the Kadazan tribe.

Home to one of the major tribes in Sabah Borneo – Kadazan, and is considered as part of Kota Kinabalu area. Penampang is derived from an old village that is within the district itself, the village name is “Pampang” derived from Kadazan dialect, meaning big rock. There were many big rocks found in the village a long time ago. Eventually, the term “Pampang” was changed into Penampang.

Next, let’s ride down to the agricultural town of Papar, which is about 45 minutes drive from Penampang.

The origin name of district's area in Sabah Borneo
Papar Town. Photo by David Lim

Papar was originally ruled by the Brunei Sultanate. Thus, the name Papar comes from Brunei dialect which means a flat or open land. It is no wonder that Papar is known as an agricultural town due to many flatlands that are used for the purpose of growing rice and fruit orchards. In addition, if you’re feeling slightly adventurous, you can go on the North Borneo Railway Train to reach Papar, passing through the lush landscape of the coastal and rural regions of Sabah Borneo. Moreover, travelers can enjoy a typical ‘tiffin’ colonial lunch that will be served on the trip.

Afterwards, let’s head to a small rustic town of Menggatal, located on the west coast side of Sabah Borneo and is under the jurisdiction of Kota Kinabalu City Hall.

The origin name of district's area in Sabah Borneo
An old colonial building in Menggatal Town. 

Some locals might find Menggatal name is very funny and unusual, because the word Menggatal means flirtatious or provocative in Malay language. However, the people in Menggatal are not like that. The name Menggatal actually derived from a mango tree grown in the area, which is Mangga meaning mango, and Gatal meaning itchy in Malay language. So, whoever consumed the mango fruit, they will feel itchy as its side effect. Therefore, the locals there named the area as “Mangga Gatal”, but after awhile, the name somehow was shortened and became Menggatal.

Next, let’s venture further up to Tuaran, which is about an hour drive from Menggatal.

The origin name of district's area in Sabah Borneo
Drone view of Tuaran Town by Shariff Putra.

The name Tuaran is believed to be derived from the Malay language, “Tawaran”. Tawaran has two meanings; the first meaning is freshwater, which refers to the abundance of freshwater in the area. Apart from that, another meaning is to bargain, as it is fact that trading activities had been taking place within Tuaran area before the British Colonization commenced in 1884. Locals from interior parts of rural villages will come to Tuaran Town to sell their jungle produce to the local communities that live in the coastal part.

After that, let us get to know the land of the cowboys in Sabah Borneo, which is Kota Belud.

The origin name of district's area in Sabah Borneo
Kota Belud Horsemen. Photo by Adam Lai

Kota Belud is home to one of the tribes of Sabah Borneo, which is Bajau tribe. Its name is derived from a combination of one Malay word and one Bajau (dialect) word, Kota meaning fort, or city, and Belud meaning hill. There is actually a story behind Kota Belud’s name, in the past, there was hostility among the races of different villages in the area. Therefore, in order to defend themselves and to avoid enemy attacks, they decided to choose a hill as their fortress. Thus, the name of Kota Belud referred to as “Defense Fortress on the Hill”.

Afterwards, let’s go uphill through the mountainous region of Crocker Range, where we will reach Ranau district, home to almost entirely Dusun tribe community.

The origin name of district's area in Sabah Borneo
Panorama view of Ranau Town. Photo by Steve Benedict

Ranau name is actually from the word “Ranahon”, which means rice fields in Dusun dialect. Most Dusun people who live in Ranau mostly cultivate rice paddy fields either on the hilly terrain or on the flatlands (for the interior part of Ranau). Sooner or later, the term “Ranahon” was shortened to become “Ranau”. In addition, to visit Ranau, a traveler should do these interesting activities in Ranau that should not be missed out!

In a nutshell, getting to know the history of each district area in Sabah Borneo can be very interesting. However, it would be much more interesting and fun if travelers can get to spend their Borneo Holidays in these district areas of Sabah Borneo.

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People of Sabah Borneo – Kadazan Tribe

People of Sabah Borneo – Kadazan Tribe

People of Sabah Borneo –

Kadazan Tribe

24

November, 2017

Borneo Tour Packages

Taste of Borneo Cooking Class

Mari Mari Cultural Village

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

A group of Kadazan tribe. Photo by: Willbord Sikodol

Kadazan is one of the biggest indigenous ethnic group in Sabah Borneo. They are predominant in West Coast of Sabah Borneo; Penampang, Kota Kinabalu, Papar, Tuaran, and Ranau.

What is the meaning of “KADAZAN”?

As a Kadazan myself, I never knew the history of the word “Kadazan”. After reading several articles on the internet, I found out there are many theories on the origins of the word “Kadazan”. A former principal of SMK Majakir Papar in 1979, Mr. Richard F. Tunggolou, stated that the word “Kadazan” comes from :

1)  “Kakadazan”, which means “town”, in Tangaa’ dialect due to the reason that Kadazan people mostly live in towns. We need to know that there are several Kadazan dialects predominant to different districts.

2)  Kadazan term was adapted from the word “Kedayan”, which is an ethnic group from Brunei and Labuan. However, there is no valid explanation and it was just an assumption which is in a linguistic way that the word “Kedayan” sounds similar to “Kadazan”.

3)  According to a high priestess or Bobohizan, the true meaning of the term “Kadazan” means ‘the people of the land”.

In short, the Kadazan term means “the people”. Thus, I will be sharing some of the values that are practiced among the Kadazan people.

Paddy Rice as their source of income

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

The tapai will be put in a jar to preserve the taste of the alcohol

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

Tapai drinking session

The Kadazan people, originally Borneo headhunters, are the first Borneo people that uses the plow for farming rice and it became as their main source of income. Prior to that, they are known as agriculturalists, where almost all the rice cultivated in Sabah Borneo is grown by them. As a result, they can create the rice into various delicacies and alcoholic drinks through home-brewed fermentation processes. Tapai and Lihing are an example of Kadazan alcoholic drinks that are made from rice.  Therefore, these alcoholic drinks are usually served during any festive season (Kaamatan or Harvest festival), social gatherings and wedding ceremonies.

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

Performing ritual by a group of Bobohizan( priestess of Sabah Borneo) during the Kaamatan celebration

Kaamatan or Harvest Festival is the main festival for Kadazan people, making it one of the main highlight of annual celebrations done here in Sabah Borneo. This festival is not only to honor Bambaazon, which is the spirit of rice paddy for the beginning of harvest, but it is also as a thanksgiving to Huminodun, the daughter of Kinoingan (which means God) for sacrificing her life to save her people from famine. Read here to know more about Kaamatan story.

Today, Tadau Kaamatan festival is celebrated with a lot of interesting and fun activities, such as exhibitions of Borneo culture, sports competitions, traditional handmade crafts, food and beverage exhibition, performances by local artists and traditional musical group, as well as the Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant.

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

One of the important ritual during the Kadazan wedding, Miohon Pinisi, as a symbol of a reunion of two people

A long time ago, Kadazan culture believed in arranged marriages, as the children in the olden days did not have money or dowry required to get married like today, making them highly dependent towards their parents for choosing a lifetime partner for them. Initially, the parents from the young man side will go visit the family of a prospective bride and discuss to wed their son to the future bride. The parents of the bride will be left to consider the proposition, sometimes they will ask for a picture of their future son-in-law. Most importantly, they will want to know if the young man’s family will be able to come up with the required nopung (which means dowry).

Once the parents of the bride agrees, there will be a second visit in order to arrange the date for engagement and the discussion of the dowry. Some parents of the future bride may ask for a higher price on dowry and bargaining will be expected until reaching to both side’s agreement. I was told by my grandmother that Kadazan women from Penampang are known to have the most expensive dowries! (How lucky I am! Hahaha…)

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

The gongs are beaten by some of the local Kadazan women

When there is a wedding ceremony or any festive seasons, you will have the privilege to witness the Kadazan tribe’s own traditional dance. We called it “Sumazau”, and usually, we will dance with the sound produced by “Magagung” (gong beating), “Bungkau”, “Sompoton” and “Suling” (Flute). The dance consist of a couple of males and females, dressed in beautiful traditional attire, accompanied with the rhythm from the traditional music instruments. However, different districts in Sabah Borneo will have different ways of beating the gong and dance style.

Want to learn the Sumazau dance in Sabah Borneo? Participate in any Harvest Festival or get invited to a Kadazan wedding ceremony!

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

Kadazan delicious delicacies. Photo by: Tourism Malaysia

For Kadazan people, the food is basically cooked in a healthy way. Either we boil or grill using a little bit of cooking oil, and use some of the locally available ingredients, such as bamboo shoots, sago, and freshwater fish. One of the famous traditional dishes would be “Hinava”, a raw fish salad that is freshly cut fish into small slices, mix, and marinate with diced red onion, ginger, red chilli, bitter gourd, grated Bambangan seeds and lime juice. Apart from that, there are also Tuhau (wild ginger), Pinasakan ( Braised fish mixed with wild fruit, takob akob, turmeric, and salt), and more. Read here to know more other traditional dishes in Sabah Borneo.

Wherever we travel, understanding one’s culture is what makes the travel worth it. So, when traveling to Sabah Borneo, don’t be surprised to meet few other cultures in Sabah Borneo, as there are about 32 recognizable ethnic groups in Sabah Borneo that you need to discover, and Kadazan is one of it. Isn’t this interesting to know some of the Sabah Borneo cultures? Kadazan culture is definitely the biggest representative culture of Sabah Borneo, the land below the wind.

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Raise Your Glass to The Sunset in Borneo!

Raise Your Glass to The Sunset in Borneo!

Raise Your Glass to Sunset in Borneo!

12

September, 2017
Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

The Beautiful Panoramic view of the Sunset Bar

When it comes to watching the sunset, Kota Kinabalu is one of the best places to experience it. If you happened to be in Kota Kinabalu, and if you’re looking for a good place to chill, lay back, enjoy the breeze and have a couple of drinks with your friends and family, why not stop by at the Shangri-La Sunset Bar in Tanjung Aru. It’ll be a completely different experience that you will get there if compared to any other places in Kota Kinabalu.

Yes, you can watch the sunset almost anywhere in Kota Kinabalu but why not do it the classy way at the Sunset bar. The setup of the place is quite unique too as it is in something like a small island that’ll give you that private island feel to it. The Sunset Bar is also a good place to take some good photos for your Instagram, facebook, and other social medias, so boys and gals whip out your phone get in angle and time to snap some good memorable photos.

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Whip out that phone and get that Perfecto shot!

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Bartender is ready to serve you your drinks

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Amazing view of Sunset can be seen

Not only the Sunset Bar has a wide variety of drinks that they serve, but there are also a variety of mouth watering food for you to choose. From satay to burgers, and all sorts of tidbits for you to try, so let your appetite go wild and pick one or maybe two or three hihi. The highlights of the Sunset Bar is definitely the drinks that they serve there (apart from the Sunset of course). You can choose all sorts of cocktails and mocktails at the bar and they have a few signature drinks too. Indulge yourself with the Royal Mojito, Pepperita, or some of the Borneo-Inspired cocktails like the Lepa-Lepa and the Kota Kinabalu Fruit Punch.

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Satisfy your thirst with some cold Cocktails and Fresh Fruit Punch!

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

A big grilled Beef Burger

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Enjoy some super appetizing Satay together with that superb view of the Sunset

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Chilling at the sofa facing the sea 

The Sunset Bar can easily accommodate up to 100 person so don’t worry much about the space and they also provide a selections of seats for you to choose from. You can just chill down at the sofa facing the sea or just relax at the bar. The Sunset Bar offers two different happy hour time duration which is from 4-5pm and continuing on from 8-11pm. So more drinks anyone? hehe..-

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Chilling at the sofa facing the sea 

If you’re lucky they might also have some local performers for your entertainment. A little smooth and soft jazzy tunes won’t hurt right? It’ll add up to that relaxing vibe and experience. Enjoy the sunset with some cocktails and some relaxing music, now that’s first class!.-

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

That fantastic view of the Sunset only at the Sunset Bar! An experience that you must not miss in Kota Kinabalu

So now you know about the Shangri-La Sunset Bar, here’s what you have to do. Why don’t you grab some friends and family or maybe a date hehe… And hit the bar, order some drinks, some finger foods, and just chill. That’ll be great for you to de-stress yourself. –

Are you looking for leisure activities in your Sabah Borneo Holiday trip? Here are our Top 5 leisure activities in Sabah that you should do while traveling to Sabah Borneo. 

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RELEASE THE TURTLES!

RELEASE THE TURTLES!

RELEASE THE TURTLES!

10

September, 2017
Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

Baby turtle released into the sea!

I had the privilege of experiencing a very awakening moment just a few weeks ago. We headed down to Kudat, north of Kinabalu, and also home to the Tip of Borneo where the Sulu Sea meets South China Sea to be a part of a hundred Green Turtle Hatchlings being released into the wild.

It was organized by Kudat Turtle Conservation Society (KTCS), a small society with big dreams to help save and create awareness amongst local and tourist alike in regards to conserving and improving Sea Turtles population in Marine Parks at Kudat Area. At a glimpse, it all looked like a huge success done overnight, but as I got to talk to one of its Co-Founder, Mr. Roland Agansai, what seemed like a day’s work, is actually months and months of hard work preparation and determination on not giving.

Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

Turtle Eggs

I say hard work and determination on not giving up is because most of us take these little creatures for granted. Sea Turtles used to be abundant in Sabah waters. When I was a little girl, my parents and I would always do road trips around Sabah, and they would be natives selling their workmanship or farming goods at the side of the roads. You’ll be able to encounter all sorts of local/exotic delicacies! They will be selling wild boar meat, deer meat, snake meat, live pigeons, dead bats, even turtle eggs! Back then, Sea Turtles were not endangered, and locals do eat its eggs for protein.

Nowadays, selling or even consuming these delicacies are not allowed and against the law because Sea Turtles are in the brink of survival currently, like many other wild animals. Back date to ten years ago, Adult sized Sea Turtles would come to the shores of Kudat Beaches to lay their eggs every night. Each night, you’ll be able to find 3-5 Sea Turtles laying their eggs. Each Sea Turtle would lay around 100 eggs on average. That’s around 500 eggs a night!! But that was ten years ago. Now, to get one Sea Turtle come to shore to lay its eggs in a month is considered as great work for KTCS and the Wildlife Wardens who watches over the beach lines every night.

Out of the hundred percent hatches, only ten percent will survive and have the chance to grow up to be an adult. It takes ten to fifty years after hatching to reach maturity (depending on what species), will they then be able to mate. Within that time, they will be able to mate every two to four years over the course of their adulthood. Female Sea Turtles will come ashore to lay their eggs, and they always return to the place where they were born. How cool is that knowing that those baby Green Turtles that was released recently has a ten percent chance of coming back to the same beach I stood just a few weeks ago. Ten percent, that’s one Sea Turtle returning after a decade at Sea.

Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

Turtle Eggs

The reason why chances of them surviving in the wild is extremely and alarmingly low is because of humans;-

  • Destruction and degradation of their nesting and feeding grounds
  • Fisheries by-catch
  • Poaching of turtles and their eggs both by locals and offshore poachers
  • Entangled and killed by marine debris that is mistaken for food
  • Killed by boat propeller 

-Retrieved from KTCSBorneo

Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

Awareness presentation

Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

Sunset View from the Kudat Beach

Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

More spectators, local and visitors came to witness the released of the baby turtles to the sea

Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

Go..GO..GO..free to the sea baby turtles

At such a low rate, it broke my heart learning that our future generations will not have a chance to even know what a Sea Turtle is unless they read it somewhere or saw a picture. But to see it in person, to view its majestic beauty with their own eyes… I doubt that can ever materialize for them if we do not do something about it.

As of now, KTCS welcomes more organizations and individuals to be part of their family and spread the love about Sea Turtles. These gentle giants, though with a sturdy shell, are very fragile creatures that need our help for a chance at surviving our ever growing era.

If you readers are interested in learning more on how you can help, do not hesitate to contact us or KTCS directly. You can read also our experience on Turtle Island Adventure in Sandakan Borneo too!

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Caving Adventure in Malaysian Borneo

Caving Adventure in Malaysian Borneo

Caving Adventure in Malaysian Borneo

08

September, 2017
Caving adventure in Sabah Borneo

Apart from going for a Wildlife and jungle trekking adventure in Malaysian Borneo, did you know that you can spend your Borneo trip by going for caving adventure? Malaysian Borneo offers some unique characteristics and stories of the caves for you to discover. Caving adventures are rated easy, intermediate, and a day tour expeditions. We can assure you that you won’t get bored to visit one of the caves in your Borneo trip!

Here’s a list of caves that you should be going for an adventure in Malaysian Borneo:

1) Fairy Cave, Bau, Sarawak Borneo

Fairy Cave took its name from the stalagmite structure that can be seen from the entrance. Fairy Cave was once a gold mining settlement of Bau, which was located about 40 km from Kuching, Sarawak.

Before reaching the entrance, get ready to exercise your feet as you will need to walk up a series of flight of stairs (about 4-storey high concrete staircase). When you go inside, you will be amazed to see the humongous size of the caves and the green moss inside it, due to the light entering the cave.

Fret not, when you enter the cave, you can manage without using a torch because it is slightly dark inside and you will be reaching into one place with a huge opening that allows the light to flood in. Unusual stalactites and stalagmites were formed over thousands of years ago.

Some said the entrance of the cave resembles like a Chinese deity, which made many Buddhist and Taoist coming there to burn joss sticks and pray for their future fortune and destiny before returning to the city. Fortunately, there is no admission to enter the cave and it is open daily from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

4-storey high staircase to reach the entrance of the cave

Light enter the cave and displays the green moss inside the cave 

2) Wind Cave, Bau, Sarawak Borneo

Entrance of the Wind Cave

Easy walkway to reach the entrance

Wind Cave is named from the cooling breeze that blows continuously throughout the cave. It is located about 48 km away from Kuching City, and only about 25 minutes drive. Wind cave is considered as an easy access to reach from Kuching and it is also a popular destination for day trips, as well as picnic excursions.

Wind Cave is not much physically demanding compared to Fairy Cave because you can just walk along at the wooden walkways to access through the Wind Caves. You can see there are many swiftlets and bats inside the Wind Cave and also you can catch a glimpse of a subterranean stream, where you can relax and picnic beside it.

Note: Make sure to bring a torch as you will be experiencing caving into pitch black tunnels (to avoid bats disturbance).

Wind Cave is part of the Nature Reserve in Sarawak Borneo. Thus, there is a nominal fee that visitors need to pay prior to entering the cave and it is open daily from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.

River beside the cave

3) Deer Cave, Mulu, Sarawak Borneo

Deer Cave

Deer Cave is the largest and spectacular caves found in Borneo Island. It is home to millions of bats from various species. To reach the Deer Cave, you will need to go through a 3 km plank-walk which you can see the beauty of the Sarawak Borneo rainforest, jungle streams, and an ancient Penan tribe’s burial cave. The Deer Cave was named by the local (Penan tribe) because of few deer usually spotted in the cave for shelter. Using a torch is recommended to see the cave, examine the guano-covered-path and maybe to spot some interesting insects while walking the path. Going through the path, you will reach “Garden of Eden” ;- richer green vegetation grows there due to a hole in the cave roof that allows the light to enter.

Formation of Abraham Lincoln face near cave entrance

Apart from that, an interesting formation near the cave entrance which resembles the face of Abraham Lincoln.

Don’t miss out to visit Deer cave around 5-7pm and experience the bat exodus outside the cave.

Bats Exodus around 5-7pm outside the cave 

4) Clearwater Cave, Mulu, Sarawak Borneo

Clearwater cave inside

Using Longboat to reach the cave

Cruising on a longboat to reach the Clearwater Cave is always a good kick start of your Borneo Caving Adventure trip. The Clearwater Cave is accessed by a boardwalk which is suspended from the limestone cliff. It is also home to some of the unique species of plant which can only be found in Mulu. After going through inside the cave, you can see there is actually a clear river flowing through the cave and it will make you want to jump in for a swim. If time permitted, you can have a nice lunch picnic break by the swimming area which is shaded by huge rainforest trees outside the cave!

Clearwater river outside the cave

Clearwater cave showing the green moss

5) Gomantong Cave, Kinabatangan, Sandakan, Sabah Borneo

Gomantong cave inside

The light coming shines from the hole in the cave

Unfortunately, in Sabah Borneo, there is only one cave that is known to many, which is the Gomantong Cave. It is the largest limestone outcrop in Kinabatangan area and it is a protected area under the Sabah Forestry Department. There are two primary chamber parts of the cave system, which are Simud Hitam (Black Cave) and Simud Putih (White Cave). In the White Cave is where there are more valuable bird nests found, while the Black Cave is the only small cave that can only cover about a 5-minute walk from the registration center. Don’t worry, there is a well-maintained boardwalk for visitors to have an easy access exploring Gomantong Caves. Despite it’s home to millions of bats, there are also a number of cockroaches living inside the cave’s guano deposits which made it somehow like in a scene from the movie of The Mummy!

After reading this, are you up for the challenge to go for Caving Adventures in Malaysian Borneo? Check out our Borneo Caving Adventures Tour or you can just contact us for a once in a lifetime Caving Adventure in Malaysian Borneo!

Want to know how to backpacking in Sabah Borneo in a budget? Check out our blog post entry, hope it can help you to give some ideas for your Borneo travel itinerary.

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Go Vintage With Biru-Biru Cafe!

Go Vintage With Biru-Biru Cafe!

Go Vintage With Biru-Biru Cafe!

06

September, 2017
Biru-Biru Cafe | Food in Kota Kinabalu

The stunning vintage setup of Biru-Biru Cafe

If you’re looking for a good place to have your dinner or just to chill with a couple of cold beers in Kota Kinabalu City, I highly suggest that you check out the Biru-Biru Cafe in Jalan Dewan, Gaya Street. 

The Biru-Biru cafe is really something and their vintage style setup is really different from any other cafes that you will find here in Kota Kinabalu. Not only the interiors will amaze you but the foods that they serve there is also super amazing.

Biru-Biru Cafe | Food in Kota Kinabalu

The super cool Vintage Setup!

Biru-Biru Cafe | Food in Kota Kinabalu

The walls of the Cafe is well decorated with Vintage Posters and even the tables and chairs has a very vintage touch to it

Biru-Biru Cafe | Food in Kota Kinabalu

This cafe might look different and to some people it may look too simple for their taste but let me tell you a little history about this cafe and why it is out of the ordinary. This cafe has a history in Kota Kinabalu as this building has been there since the second World War. Back in 1945, the building is called ‘Biru-Biru” and today it is called Biru-Biru Cafe. During the second World War, on the very same spot where the Biru-Biru Cafe stands is a campsite for the Alliance. This building is actually used for printing press back in the days and later adapted to other functions. The name of Biru-Biru cafe is also inspired by a famous local song called “Sayang Kinabalu’ which uses the Line ‘Biru-Biru’.

Biru-Biru Cafe | Food in Kota Kinabalu
Biru-Biru Cafe | Food in Kota Kinabalu

The Entertaining Local and International performers

Biru-Biru Cafe also holds a monthly open mic session where local performers can show their talents and sing their hearts out to the guests. Not only locals but also international performers will get the chance to perform for the good people of Kota Kinabalu and tourists. Biru-Biru Cafe sure is a place to chill and enjoy some music with friends and family.

Biru-Biru Cafe | Food in Kota Kinabalu

Biru-Biru Cafe serves a wide variety of food for you to try, and not only food, but they also serve a good selection of cocktails, and beers, so pick your poison. Top it up with local ‘Pusas’ a local name for tidbits to be eaten while drinking alcoholic beverages. Usually deep fried fish called ‘Basung’, a famous dish amongst the locals here and at Biru Biru Cafe. Deep fried and add a squeeze of lemons to add the flavours to it. You can eat the whole fish without the worry to debone it because it is fried to perfection and the bones will be crispy for safe consumption.

Biru-Biru Cafe | Food in Kota Kinabalu

The Fried Basung with Slices of Lemons, a match made in heaven. Top it up with a couple of cold beers, Terbaik! (Local term meaning, “The Best!”)

Have a look at the menu, and you will find that they have a lot of variety of infused local flavours and recipes. An ingredient that stands out is ‘Tuhau’ or in English stands for Wild Ginger– fascinatingly featured in some of their dishes.Tuhau is a type of Wild Ginger, diced and mixed with other ingredients and left to ferment. It has a rather distinctive smell and flavor and truth be told, it takes some getting used to! Biru Biru stays true to its local specialty and is featured in their battered fish or spicy beef taco, topped with tomato, cheddar and tuhau salsa. If you are into Pasta, Biru-Biru Cafe has their own signature dish where Italian meets Sabahan in their Tomato Tuhau Pasta with chicken – easily one of their bestsellers. An all-time favourite is their Nasi Lemak with Fried Chicken as well as the Corned Beef Ikan Masin Fried Rice (Ikan Masin is salted fish – another must-have in local kitchens). Also noteworthy is the Grilled Chicken and Pumpkin Sandwich, served with a side of fries and the Coconut Pasta with Grilled Prawns.

Biru-Biru Cafe | Food in Kota Kinabalu

Some of the mouth watering dishes that Biru-Biru Cafe serves. Feeling hungry yet? Hehe..

One of their signature drink is also a must-try, it’s a local infused cocktail called the Fee-Lihing-Good which is a local rice wine infused cocktail and the taste is just like the name.

Next time if you’re looking for a good place to have your dinner, remember that Biru-Biru Cafe is just around the corner (well, more like at the back of Kota Kinabalu City area). Grab a bunch of friends and family together with you and enjoy!

Or maybe… you are looking for a taste of traditional food in Sabah, then head out to D’Place Kinabalu to taste the local traditional food in Sabah Borneo. Read our blog entry on our experience having local traditional food in D’Place Kinabalu!

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