Unique Food in Sabah – East Malaysia
Sago Grub (Butod) fusion food offered at D’Place Kinabalu restaurant in Sabah.

As shocking as it looks to the uninitiated, the Sago Grub (Worm) is not unique to Sabah.  It is called Butod by the Sabah-ans. The worm is the larval stage of a beetle called the Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus Ferrugineus).  It is a delicacy, enjoyed by (certain) people in South East Asia, such as the Thais, Vietnamese, Kadazan Dusun people of Sabah, New Guineans and also by the Aborigines of Australia.  

It is traditionally eaten raw or roasted. A restaurant in Sabah however, had gone fusion by offering Sushi Butod and Pizza Butod.

I’ll pass! Thank You.     

Kadazan-Dusun food: Ambuyat eaten with Gulai Ikan, Hinava (raw fish salad much like Hawaiian Poke), Ikan Sada, Steamed Tapioca Shoots, Tuhau and Noonsom.

There are much more to grubs in the cuisine of the indigenous people of Sabah. We managed to sample them at the D’Place Kinabalu Restaurant.

Address (correct at time of this blog):
Lot 2.01 & 2.02, 2nd floor, Plaza Shell, 
Kota Kinabalu 88000

The main carbo is a glue like starch made from Sago called the Ambuyat. Ambuyat is typically eaten with Gulai Ikan (a sour turmeric fish soup), Hinava (raw fish salad much like Hawaiian Poke), Ikan Sada (pickled fish), Steamed Tapioca Shoots, Tuhau (Wild Ginger Relish) and Noonsom (Pickles).

We were out looking for the Red -fleshed Wild Durian (called Sukang): First, at the weekend market near the Kota Kinabalu waterfront and then tried driving southwards towards Kuala Penyu.  However, I was told by the locals that it is not in season yet.

We do get more than a consolation as we did find other unique finds at the Fruit Market near the Kota Kinabalu central market.

The Tarap (aka Marang) fruit is a close relative of the Jackfruit and Cempedak. However, it is smaller in size and roundish (bigger than a softball but smaller than a bowling ball).  Its husk is covered with soft bristles. Its flesh tastes like Cempedak+Buah Mentega (Butter Fruit) but with a stronger floral scent.

The Bambangan fruit is the size of the Tarap, but it is bald, brown and ugly.  It is a type of wild mango with a more fibrous flesh.

We plan to return to Sabah: Looking forward to more unique finds and food experiences.

The ripe and fragrant flesh of the Tarap fruit.

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