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Our eating holiday in Sabah

So during our trip back to Sabah over the Christmas holidays, apart from all the playing, the other major activity on our agenda was simply: EAT.

Pretty much every day, my folks were stuffing generous helpings of love in the form of food into us. Though my mum and dad have different versions of this: mum cooked all manner of yummy eats and treats in her kitchen for us, while dad took us to all his favourite food haunts around town.

There are simply too many to specify them all. But here are some of the main food related highlights from our trip…

Tuaran noodles ~ These local specialty egg noodles are freshly made and stir fried to piping hot perfection. This is my hubby’s absolute number one favourite food in my hometown.

Tuaran mien (“Tuaran” noodles)

Fish-paste ball noodles ~ The fish paste is freshly made, rolled into balls, poached and served in a steaming hot fish broth. I love eating these with some tasty noodles on the side.

Yee wat mien (fish-paste ball noodles)

Sabah ‘dry’ noodles ~ The owner of this local coffee shop used to be a chef at a top local beach resort. I just love the roast pork with the crispy crackling skin and the soft silky noodles.

Kon lou mien (Sabah style ‘dry’ noodles)
Teh tarik ~ Literally translated as “pulled tea” and in my opinion is the best way in the world to mix tea – the light and frothy texture as a result of the signature ‘pulling’ technique is impossible to derive any other way. I find it best enjoyed with a few slices of toast generously slathered with kaya – a creamy caramel-like coconut-egg jam.
Teh tarik (“pulled” tea) and kaya (coconut jam) toast

Roti canai ~ The crispy and buttery texture of this Indian flatbread is one of my greatest food pleasures whenever I’m back in Malaysia. This one of Nathan’s favourite Malaysian foods as well. I believe the secret to the bread’s crispy texture lies in the way they flip and toss the dough.

Roti canai (crispy Indian flatbread)

One of the big highlight dinners we had was at Kampung Nelayan or ‘Fisherman Village’ restaurant. They had rows of tanks filled with fish, crabs, lobsters, clams, mussels, prawns and all manner live sea creatures for patrons to choose from.

Selection of live seafood to choose from

Then they would ‘catch’ your selection on the spot, cook it up and serve it any way you like. It doesn’t get any fresher than this, unless you catch your own fish straight from the ocean itself.

From the fish tank, to the kitchen, to the table

Sabah is well known for it’s seafood and there are many restaurants like this which have a ‘live’ menu display. We opted for Kampung Nelayan restaurant (even though it was on the pricier end) so we could enjoy their cultural performance of various traditional local dances.

Dinner and a show

Mum showered us with love in the form of her home-cooked food – often way better than going to a restaurant to eat.

Mum cooking a batch of her yummy butter prawns

We also let Nathan try drinking coconut water straight out of the fruit itself. I have awesome memories drinking coconut water like this at one of the many street vendors by Tanjung Aru beach.

Drinking coconut water straight from the source

No matter how far I roam, there’s no food that tastes as good as the food of my home. Despite the many flaws of the country of my birth, yet I always find myself following my nose and tastebuds back home once again…

“What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?”
–Lin Yutang

What are some of your favourite foods from your home or childhood?
All photos taken from my Instagram. You can follow my daily snaps under @livingserenely


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  1. Oh I bet you were SOOO excited to eat some of your favourite dishes, did the kids enjoy them as much as you?? My favourite food from NZ is roast lamb, with mum's trimmings and crayfish, freshly caught and cooked! x

    1. Ooohhh... freshly caught crayfish cooked on the spot sounds amazing. I would definitely go for that!

  2. Oh wow, I learnt so much through this post and I really feel like I have been on a culinary journey with you! My mouth is watering over the thought of that roast pork! I have just finished reading 'Like Water for Chocolate' and your post reminded me of this novel in the way you've linked food and family and culture together. I really like that quote by Lin Yutang too. At Christmas, my oldest sister always makes the coconut ice and rocky road sweets that my grandmother used to make and that makes me feel like she's still here with us to celebrate, tasting those tastes from my childhood. I'd really love to try some teh tarik one day!

    1. How wonderful that your family has kept that recipe going through the generations. Hope it continues to pass on. It's really special to have something special like that to remember the sweet memories of loved ones who gone before us.

      Some Malaysian restaurants in Australia serve teh tarik too, so you can look out for it in the menu if you happen to stop by in one for a bite.

  3. That all looks so delicious! Nothing is better than home cooking. I have wonderful memories of family food, one I love is my mums empanada.

    1. It's amazing how food can bring back so many memories of loved ones or of our childhood. Does your mum make the dough from scratch? It must taste awesome, coupled with the TLC that goes into it :)

  4. I'm feeling peckish! As i kid i use to love toast with condensed milk. Have a trip planned for KL this year and looking forward to some good food!

    1. Me too! I love toast and condensed milk! Sometimes I sprinkled milo powder over it as well. I'm sure you'll go nuts over the food when you head back to KL. There's nothing in the world like Malaysian food.

  5. Oh that all looks superb! Now I'm hungry...

    1. heehee... thanks, Bree. Hope it didn't make you too hungry!

  6. Wo wow wow. Beautiful food I am in noodle heaven. What a wonderful time you had at home and for Nathan to experience all those culinary delight. I want to visit Sabah. Thanks for sharing .


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