15 Sabahan Dishes You Need To Try Before You Die
1. Tuaran mee
One of the most popular noodle dishes in Sabah, Tuaran Mee consists of curly egg noodles fried with Chun Kien slice (Sabahan Hakka egg roll), barbecued pork slices (char siew), egg, and vegetables. Occasionally, beef slices and sweet rice wine (li hing) is also tossed in.
2. Beaufort mee
Noodles are typically smoked before thick gravy is poured over it. Beaufort Mee is served with lots of vegetables as well as pork slices and char siew.
3. Sang nyuk mian, literally meaning "raw pork noodles"
Yep, you read that right! Thinly sliced raw pork is cooked in a hot broth that has been boiled for hours, then served with rice noodles. Pork balls and other parts of the pig such as intestines and liver can also be requested.
Sang nyuk mian is also served dry i.e. kon lau mian (dry noodles in dark sauce) with a bowl of soup on the side.
4. Ngiu chap (mixed beef noodles)
Beef bones are boiled for hours with slices of beef, stewed chuck meat, beef balls, and boiled tripe tendons to make a flavourful broth, poured over bihun, yellow noodles, or koay teow. Ngiu chap is also served "kon lao" style - dry noodles with beef mince with beef broth on the side.
5. Fish sauce fried rice vermicelli (bihun)
A traditional Kadazandusun dish, pinasakan sada (simply known as pinasakan) consists of braised basung fish mixed with takob akob (a tangy wild fruit mainly harvested for its skin), fresh turmeric, salt and if desired, slices of bambangan (#10).
Pinasakan goes well with white rice or ambuyat (#11) and a dash of sambal.
Also a popular dish with the Kadazandusun community, hinava is made of fresh and raw tenggiri (mackerel fish) fillets (thinly sliced) mixed with sliced chilli, ginger, diced red onions, grated Bambangan seed, salt and lime juice. Raw bittergourd slices may also be added.
Eaten with white rice or on its own, the fish can also be substituted with prawns or squids.
Also known as bosou, nonsom is made with raw fresh water fish mixed with rice and then pickled in salt and pangi (a local herb). The mixture is then stored in a glass jar and marinated for two weeks.
Nonsom is eaten with white rice and even fried bihun.
It may smell bad, but one taste might change everything. Tuhau is made of thinly diced wild ginger, diced chilli and scallions, which are then pickled with salt and vinegar.
Bambangan is a type of wild mango that has thick brown skin and comes with a distinct sharp smell. It is normally harvested raw to be pickled with salt mixed with grated bambangan seed and chilli slices.
It is usually eaten with white rice, deep-fried fish, and even on its own.
Ambuyat is simply a bland, starchy blob made from mixing sago starch powder into boiling water. As it starts to coagulate, use a bamboo form or wooden chopsticks to roll the starch around, then dip into an accompanying dish. It goes well with tangy, spicy, or salty dishes such as pinasakan and bambangan.
12. Roti kahwin, literally translated to "marriage bread"
Cold butter slices and kaya on toasted bread may be common in other states too, but there's just something about Sabahan roti kahwin that makes it fluffier and - as our Sabahan co-worker puts it - "like a pillow". It is usually served with half-boiled eggs and coffee.
13. Coconut pudding
Coconut pudding can be found in various stalls and food establishments in Kota Kinabalu and select locations across the state.
14. UFO Tart, also known as cow dung pile because of its, er, shape
15. Pork dumplings
Served pan-fried or boiled, our resident Sabahan swears that pork dumplings from Sabah are much, much better than the ones you'll find anywhere else. These pork dumplings are filled with minced pork and onions wrapped in handmade flour-made wrappers. Best enjoyed with black vinegar sauce and shredded ginger.
What is your favourite Sabahan dish and where is your favourite place to have it? Let us know in the comments below!