Eat Like a Local: 5 Delicious Things You Need to Try in Sabah
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Eat Like a Local: 5 Delicious Things You Need to Try in Sabah

Mount Kinabalu isn’t the only thing that makes travelers go crazy over in the ‘Land Below the Wind’. They are also blown away by its delicious local food.

In the culinary world, Sabah food is just one of Malaysia’s best, and if you’re wondering which local food is the reason why people are addicted to Sabah delights, these 5 “culprits” are the ones you should check out first.

1. Fresh seafood

Apart from being recognised as home to Southeast Asia’s highest mountain, Sabah is also well known for its fresh seafood. It’s a little like the Penang of East Malaysia. Some of the local dishes you should not miss are Tomyam Fish Noodle at Kedai Kopi Dat Seng, Tomato Soup Fish Noodle at Fatt Kei Fish Noodle, Tenom Noodle at How Lee Restaurant and Prawn Noodle at Foh Sang.

Sabah locals also enjoy going to the Filipino Market, a night market, where they can take grilled seafood back home with them. Some prefer to dine outside with their friends and families. Welcome Seafood Restaurant is one of the locals’ favorites when it comes to fresh and tasty seafood. Kota Kinabalu has plenty of seafood restaurants and almost all of them serve very good, fresh seafood.

2. Bak Kut Teh (non-halal)

In Sabah, Bah Kut Teh is loved by Sabah’s non-muslims. It’s a delicacy that consists of pork meat, organs and bones, cooked in a rich herbal broth. It is usually served with mushrooms (button mushrooms are typically used), other vegetables of your choice, rice and Chinese doughnuts (you cha kueh).

Although it can also be found in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabahans take pride in their own version. The one served at Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh is known as one of the best in Kota Kinabalu. There are of course plenty of good ones around town, but this one stands out in the crowd due to the restaurant’s strategic location.

3. Pan Fried Dumplings

Dumplings are also a must-try dish in Sabah. I tried them for the first time in Sandakan when a local friend of mine recommended them to me. They were delicious!

They’re available at local coffee shops and are usually served as an appetiser. The skin of the dumplings are freshly made upon order. Bite into them while they’re hot, and the second their juices flow out into your mouth, your gastronomic experience begins. Yes, they’re that good.

4. Roti Kahwin

Roti Kahwin literally means Marriage Bread in Malay. It was given that name because it takes two slices of breads to make Roti Kahwin, with cold butter, kaya or peanut butter spread on each slice. It is best accompanied by a cup of hot coffee or tea. That’s how the locals do it!

Hard-boiled or soft-boiled eggs are usually served with it; optional and upon request only. Typically served in kopitiams, Roti Kahwin was what Dad and I used to have for breakfast during my childhood days. It is also popular in other states all around Malaysia.

5. Hinava

Hinava is a dish by the Kadazan-Dusun community that features raw ‘Tenggiri’ or mackerel fish as its main protein (optionally you can use other types of fish too), which is freshly sliced and cooked with other ingredients like lime juice, sliced chili, ginger, red onions, and more. It is popularly served during Tadau Kaamatan, the Kadazan-Dusun’s harvest festival, or special occasions like weddings and engagements.

Now that you know about these delicious Sabah food, do you want to get a cheap flight ticket soon and fly to Sabah? You can at Traveloka! Boleh bah kalau kau! 😉