What is the “must eat” in Sabah? I got asked this question a lot and many local Sabahan seems to be at lost what food to recommend their visiting friends. My answer to this question is, eat the food that is unique to Sabah. Why bother to visit Sabah for western food since you can get this food anywhere else in the world (not that out western food is bad). I always recommend some local food which is easily accessible to the tourist and at not too touristy.
I work out a list of foods you “must” try if you are visiting Sabah for the first time and hope you do find our food unique and spread the words to let others that Sabah does offer great food.
1Sang Nyuk Mian (pork noodle)
Originated from Tawau Sabah, Sang Nyuk Mian (生肉面) literally mean ” Raw pork noodle”. Every pork is thinly sliced and served on top of the noodle with a tasty pork booth. Sang Nyuk Mian usually serves with soup or Kon lau mian (dry stir noodle). Best eaten with a dip on Hot Chili Paste.
One of the most popular place for Sang Nyuk Mee is at Lintas Plaza where you can find Jia Siang Sang Nyuk Mee, Sinsuran Sang Nyuk Mee and Melanian Sang Nyuk mian at the same commercial center.
check out our guide to Sang Nyuk Mian at https://www.sabaheats.com/guide-sang-nyuk-mian-生肉面-kota-kinabalu/
Tuaran Mee originated from Tuaran Town is one of the most popular noodles in Sabah. Tuaran Mee is usually fried and serve with Chun Kien slice (Sabah Hakka Spring roll), Char siu and Vegetable.
A good plate of fried Tuaran mee should be fragrant, springy and leaves an “eggy” aftertaste. If you in drop by Kota Kinabalu and thinking which noodle to eat, Tuaran Mee should be 1st in the list of food you must taste when visiting Sabah.
Check out our guide to Tuaran Mee at https://www.sabaheats.com/tuaran-mee-sabahan-favourite-noodle/
Sabah is surrounded by sea and seafood is one of the common diets in Sabah. A visit to Sabah will not be completed without trying some kinds of seafood at the restaurants. If you do visit Sandakan, you will find a guide: an abundance of cheap and fresh seafood ( Sandakan guide: https://www.sabaheats.com/guide-food-hunting-sandakan/ )
If you visiting Kota Kinabalu, you can easily find seafood restaurants scattered around the city center. One of the most popular seafood restaurants is Welcome seafood at Asia City.
With the abundance of fish, its no wonder that local serve it with their favorite noodle. Both Apiwon and Fatt Kee serve similar tomato-based fish noodle soup. But head on over to Fatt Kee if you like a creamy taste to your dish as they offer the option to add milk into your soup.
Eat it at:
- Apiwon, Luyang
- Fatt Kee Mixed Fish, Hilltop
5Oxtail Assam Pedas
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, the oldest International Hotel in Sabah is famous for it’s Tanjung Ria Kitchen serving some of the best Malaysian Cuisine at one place. The restaurant’s signature dish, Oxtail Assam Pedas is widely acclaimed as one of the best in the country. You can have it ala-carte or it is usually served as part of the buffet menu. The sumptuous oxtail assam pedas, cooked to a tender texture in hot and sour spices, best served with white rice, papadum, and pickled vegetables.
6Local Kadazandusun foods.
Didn’t I say “must eat” food should include foods that you can’t find anywhere else? Kadazan-Dusun being one of the biggest ethnic group in Sabah enjoy their local foods which unique to their culture. Fancy trying some Hinava (pickled raw river fish), butod (sago worm), Tuhau (traditional appetizer made from wild ginger), busou (freshwater fish after fermented will taste like cheesy and the taste is provided by the pangi fruits which are readily available around Sabah) and Linopot (Rice or mashed yam wrapped in leaves)?
Finding a place which serves local Kadazan-Dusun foods is not easy and good to know that some restaurants in Sabah start serving the selection of Kadazan-Dusun foods.
You can try local Kadazan-Dusun foods at Plaza Shell
More information at https://www.sabaheats.com/d-place-plazashell-sabah-local-kadazan-dusun-cuisine/
In order to produce its unique flavor, the noodles are stir-fried to achieve a slightly charred wok taste which blends beautifully with thinly sliced pork, sau nyuk (roasted pork belly), char siew (barbecued pork), and an abundance of choy sum in a bath of thick, savory gravy. A seafood variation is available served with fish slices and prawns.
Eat it at:
- Beaufort mee restaurant, Penampang
- Yu Hing, Hilltop
8 Ngiu Chap Noodle (Beef Noodle)
Ngiu Chap (beef mix) typically consists of mee hoon (rice vermicelli noodles) in a beef broth soup accompanied by a generous amount of beef parts. Kedai Kopi Loi Kee serves excellent Ngiu Chap which never disappoints.
For those craving something spicy, head on over to Kedai Kopi Yii Siang and try their Hainan Laksa Ngiu Chap. The combined flavors of beef and laksa soup create a very distinctive taste.
More information about Beef noodle at https://www.sabaheats.com/kota-kinabalu-beef-noodle-guide/
Eat it at:
- Kah Hiong Ngiu Chap, Hilltop
- Kedai Kopi Yii Siang, Inanam
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