Have questions? We're here.
Borneo has great beaches for sipping straight from a coconut

Borneo Cuisine

Talk with an expert
Customize any aspect of your Borneo trip. 1.800.344.6118
Help Me Plan My Trip
Talk with an expert
Borneo Cuisine

The Malaysian part of Borneo is an ethnic melting pot of Chinese, Malaysian, and indigenous peoples who have coexisted on the island for centuries. The result is a spectacular variety of spices and flavors that influence the local cuisine. Borneo cuisine staples include grilled fish, barbecued prawns, fried rice, noodles, and local vegetables seasoned with garlic, ginger, and rich sauces. The rainforest provides many of the locals' favorite treats, including bambagan (a giant, mango-like fruit) and the rambatan (a juicy, sweet fruit similar to a lychee). Fish and chicken based soups with noodles cooked in a hot clay pot are very traditional. One of our favorites is the jaruk, a mouth-watering dish made from wild boar or fresh river fish that is put into a bamboo tube together with rice and salt. After a few weeks of fermentation, this savory Bornean delicacy is ready to be enjoyed!
 
Make sure not to miss Kota Kinabalu’s nightly fish market, held on the waterfront near Jesselton Point.  Fishermen bring in their daily catch and you can choose your fish (or prawns, crab, or fresh vegetables), your side and your sauce and the chef will prepare your dinner just how you like it.  Join locals at a shared table and feast on the fish of the day!  This is a truly authentic Bornean experience.  Practice saying, "Lazat!", which means "Delicious!" in Malay.
 
Here are a few popular Sabah dishes that are sure to get your taste buds tingling:

Hinava -  the most popular dish in Sabah. Perfected by the Kadazandusun community, Hinava is made of fresh tenggiri (mackerel), which is filleted, mixed with sliced chili, ginger, diced red onions, grated Bambangan seed, salt and set with a few teaspoons of lime juice.
Sometimes, slices of raw bittergourd are also added. Have it with white rice or on its own as a salad.

Pinasakan sada - known by locals as Pinasakan, is a traditional Kadazandusun (the largest indigenous group in Sabah) dish of grilled basung fish and takob akob (a wild fruit prized for its tangy skin), fresh turmeric, and salt.  You can find Pinasakan at most local restaurants.

Clay Pot Soup - ingredients vary from fresh prawns, cuttlefish, squid, thinly sliced whitefish, vegetables, tofu, noodles…..but whatever makes it into the pot, you can be assured it will be delicious!  The clay pot soup is baked at high temperature, creating a thick, savory sauce with enticing aromas that waft out onto the street.  The clay pot will be served to you straight from the oven, usually sizzling all the way to your table!

Char Siew Fan - Sweet and tangy slow-roasted pork served over a bed of fresh white rice.  This dish is immensely popular with locals and tourists alike, so it’s a good idea to get your order in before 1PM.  Remember the phrase “ka liao,” which means “big portion,” because this is a delicacy that will leave you wanting seconds!

Sources:
http://www.sabahguide.com/foods/only-at-sabah-6-famous-traditional-food-you-must-try-recipe-included/
http://www.eatbah.com/50-kota-kinabalu-must-eat-foods/

Want to Go?

country
Masjid Silet
Malaysia
continent
Two young monks read on the steps of a temple
Asia
region
Borneo Orangutans
Borneo

Why Travel With Adventure Life

More Reasons
Us with our Maasai guide Dennis
Tailored to You
Tell us your travel interests, dreams and desires, then let our experts tailor the perfect trip for you!
Monks conversing in a Buddist temple
Peace of Mind
You can have confidence in our experts' dedication to traveler safety, comfort, & providing a seamless trip.
A pair of friendly sea lions
Responsible Travel
We are fully committed to low impact travel that not only preserves but gives back to the amazing places we visit.
A man photographs a King Penguin at only a few feet away.
Insider Access
Our personal expertise & experience, local partners in our destinations, & access to over 150 small ships are all invaluable to designing your unique journey.

Awards and Accolades

All News