4 Sabahan Local Dishes to Whet the Adventurer’s Appetite

Sabah, one of the two Malaysian states in the island of Borneo, is every wildlife adventurer’s dream destination.  If you need to escape from the city and loosen up some tensed muscles on your backs and legs, taking a trip to Sabah may just be the experience you need.


When visiting the place, do not miss out on local delicacies that visitors from all around the world are raving about.  The different ethnic groups have unique recipes that are sure to tickle every traveler’s taste bud.  It would be a shame to leave the island without sampling the distinctive flavor of Sabah local food.

Take your pick from this list on the heartiest dishes prepared uniquely by the different communities that make up this quaint, idyllic Malaysian state:

  1. The Hinavi Tongii or Pickled Mackerel from the Kadazan-dusun community.


This is a type of seafood salad that is sure to get your appetite going for the day.  The tongii or mackerel meat is marinated in lime juice and spices such as ginger, chilies, and sliced shallots. The fresh spices release a zing that makes you want to have more after each bite.

  1. The Sagol Pari or Boiled Stingray from the Bajau community.


Sagol means to mix.  It being from the seafaring Bajau tribe, the sagol pari’s main ingredient are types of fishes that can only be caught from the deeper ends of the sea such as stingrays, sharks, and puffer fish.  The fish meat is finely chopped and cooked with turmeric and saffron.  It is then drizzled with the fish’s liver oil giving it that unique texture and distinct aromatic taste.

  1. The Jaruk dish from the Murut community.


This is a meat dish of either fresh boar or river fish meat that is fermented with rice and salt in a bamboo tube.  Fermenting takes weeks and the wait time makes it more special.  It is good as a side or main dish and a must-try when visiting the place for the first time.

  1. Ambuyat from the Brunei community.


A jelly-like dish made from sago powder and served along with other main dishes.  It may look and taste boring but it actually helps bring out the taste in other food eaten with it.

Take home the unique island experience by trying out every item in the gastronomic feast that only the tribes in Sabah can offer. Coincidentally, there also a well-rated restaurant in KK specializing in Sabah local food to eat to your heart’s content. Enjoy your trip!

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