Thanks to the her eclectic melting pot of culture, Sabah is as much a food haven as it is a nature haven! If this is your first time coming to Sabah, check out this list of some of the food to try out while you’re here!

Ngiu Chap

Be sure to try the famous ngiu chap, which means ‘mixed beef’. Consisting a combination of minced beef balls, beef slices, tripe, tendon, tongue and other parts of the cow (or buffalo), this signature Sabah dish is usually served with noodles in a delicious beef broth.


Soto is a Javanese / Indonesian-style beef soup served with noodles. Like ngiu chap, the beef broth is strong and flavourful and you can have your noodles with a combination of chicken, beef, tripe or tendon. To truly enjoy the tender and juicy meat of this Javanese dish, try Sup Tulang (which literally means ‘bone soup’) or Sup Ekor (oxtail soup). Some say this is the perfect hangover cure!


Rojak is a noodle dish served with hearty peanut sauce, beef slices and boiled egg. Like soto, this is a popular Javanese / Indonesian dish eaten by all communities in Sabah. In Peninsular Malaysia, Rojak is a vegetable and fruit salad served with peanut sauce. Soto and Rojak are available at most Malay coffee shops – see ‘Malay Food’ section below.

Beaufort Mee

Beaufort mee is Chinese-style fried home-made local yellow noodles from the district of Beaufort, served with your choice of meat or seafood and a generous amount of crunchy and fresh choy-sim (Chinese greens).


A real Malaysian favourite and great snack or a hearty meal. Popular choices are beef and chicken, and they are enjoyed fresh off the flame and dipped in a delicious peanut sauce. For a more fulfilling meal, ask for a serving of ketupat (pulut rice cooked with coconut milk) to go with it.

Nasi Campur

Available at most Malay / Muslim coffee shops or food stalls, nasi campur (mixed rice) is a favourite Malaysian lunch that is cheap, fast and convenient. Diners pick and choose from a variety of dishes – anything from ikan assam pedas (sour and spicy fish), stir-fried pakis (local ferns) with dried shrimps, soya sauce beef to hinava – to go with their steamed white rice.

A typical meal with three different types of dishes usually costs around RM5.00-7.00 but prices vary according to the type (of meat or vegetable) and amount of food taken. To be sure, ask the restaurant staff before making your dish selection. Useful tip: Turn up around 11-11.30 am to avoid the lunchtime crowd and to enjoy steaming hot freshly-cooked food!

Traditional Kadazandusun Delights – Seen above are three different kinds of popular Kadazandusun pickled dishes which are normally eaten as a side dish or accompaniment in a main meal:

Hinava – raw fish dressed in lime juice, shallots and ginger;

Tuhau – young shoots of a kind of ginger, mixed with lime juice, onions and chillies &

Bambangan – sour, mango-like fruit served together with its seed called badu.


To sample all these and more in a day, sign up for our KK City Food Tour!

You may also like: