THE The largest non-indigenous group in Sabah is the Chinese, many of whom were there long before the British arrived in North Borneo, with the earliest documentation of Chinese settlements in Sabah dating back to the 7th century. The three main subgroups are the Hakka, Cantonese, and Hokkien, with the Hakka making up the majority of ethnic Chinese in Sabah, and it shows in the type of Chinese food found there.
After more than a hundred years, many dishes imported from mainland China have been located, making each dish unique in each of Sabah’s 27 districts.
Over time, people from every district moved to the capital Kota Kinabalu in the hope of better opportunities. As a bonus, people living and working in Kota Kinabalu were able to taste authentic Chinese Sabah cuisine from different neighborhoods, without having to travel.
Beaufort is a town almost 100 km from Kota Kinabalu, and a beloved specialty of the town of Beaufort is Beaufort mee, which consists of hand-cooked noodles with heavenly wok hei (wok blast), combined with slices of char siu, marinated pork and lots of bok choy in a delicious thick viscous sauce. One of my favorite and underrated dishes of all time, Beaufort mee is a dish loved by many locals. Unlike the egg sauce typically found in wat tan hor (flat noodles in egg sauce), Beaufort mee sauce is more like a flavorful soup that you can’t get enough of. Beaufort Taman Kepayan Ridge restaurant is where I always go, but if you get a little hungry after your flight, head to Api Beaufort Restoran, which is just five minutes from Kita Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) .
An emblematic dish of Sabahan, the ngiu chap means “mixed beef” in Hakka. Sabah Beef Noodles have many variations, but they are basically beef broth noodles served with beef slices, meatballs, cooked beef brisket, tendons, liver and various parts. offal. For a ngiu chap with a little kick, head to Yii Siang Hainan Ngiu Chap in Lorong Perindustrian for a laksa ngiu chap, braised to perfection.
Sabah yee mee
Everyone in Kuala Lumpur probably has a bunch of yee mee in their kitchen for a quick and easy meal, but have you ever heard of fresh fried yee mee? In Sabah, yee mee is usually eaten in a clay pot and the noodles are fried so that they swell. When eaten as a soup, the noodles absorb all the flavor, giving the noodles additional texture and taste. If you want to try Sabah yee mee, go to Tasty Place in Towering, Penampang.
Spring noodles Sandakan
Formerly known as Elopura, Sandakan is the second largest city in Sabah and was known to be considered “little Hong Kong” due to its history of being populated by migrants from Hong Kong. Acclaimed for its wide range of seafood and wildlife rehabilitation centers, Sandakan is also known for its spring noodles, fried pork, and century-old egg balls, which are said to have originated in Sandakan in the 1980s. Spring are elastic, handmade noodles usually paired with marinated crispy fried pork. Besides spring noodles, Sandakan fried pork is also usually paired with kuey teow in a tasty anchovy soup with youtiao (fried dough sticks) and chopped spring onions. For springtime Sandakan noodles in Kota Kinabalu, head to Sandakan Kopitiam at Arena Hartamas, 88 Market Place.
Sang Nyuk Mian
The dish is originally from Tawau and is a must-try noodle dish when visiting Sabah. “Sang nyuk mian” in Hakka literally means “raw pork noodles”. Despite the name, it is not raw pork. Instead, it’s a hearty pork intestinal broth served with thinly sliced pork strips, crispy bok choy, meatballs, and pork intestines, although you can order it without the intestines. The first cafe that served nyuk mian chant in Kota Kinabalu was the Kedai Kopi Kim Hing Lee located at the Sinsuran complex. Over the years, more and more people have started to prepare their own nyuk mian blood, so every dish tastes different in every store. Every Sabahan has their own preference when it comes to their favorite shop and personally mine is Kedai Kopi Melanian at Lintas Plaza.
Tenom chun kien
One of Tenom’s signature dishes is pork spring rolls (chun kien), a traditional favorite dish of the Hakkas in the old towns of Tenom and Kudat. The egg roll is made from ground pork rolled with a thin slice of egg skin, which gives it its characteristic yellow color. Compared to the chun kien found in Tuaran mee, the Tenom chun kiens are larger in size and taste a little different depending on the marinade of the ground pork. The larger ones are more circular, while the smaller Tuaran chun kiens are oval in shape. For Tenom’s big spring rolls, meet at Ho Yuan restaurant in Jalan Penampang Lama, Taman Hiburan.
A specialty of the town of Tuaran, a town about 30 km from the city center, the dish consists of noodles sautéed in a wok in pork fat with egg, char siew and chun kien. In neighboring Tamparuli, a similar dish called Tamparuli mee can also be found. If you ever find yourself in Tuaran, head to Restoran Lok Kyun, the OG Tuaran mee stand in a wooden shop, and after that go to the nearby Tuaran market to get some barbecue chicken tail for a tender and smoky satay. with a delicious spicy sauce! If you are in Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran Mee Restoran in Inanam is only 15 minutes away. Order a plate of Tuaran mee with Lihing for more sweetness, making the dish even more aromatic and tasty. If you’re coming down from Kundasang after visiting Mount Kinabalu, head to Restoran Wun Chiap in Tamparuli to try the fried lard noodles.