Home to the country’s most beautiful sceneries, East Malaysia has not only been blessed with amazing nature but also a wide variety of food.
Because of the varied culture of different tribes and communites, the food in East Malaysia is extremely unique. From grape-like seaweed to bugs, there definitely are some weirdly wonderful delicacies from there.
1. Gula Mitai
Sarawak’s very own candy floss. Gula Mitai is made from only one ingredient- sugar. The melted sugar is pulled and folded repeatedly as it cools down. This process has to be done when the sugar is still hot because it is still malleable then.
The technique of making this sweet is similar of that a dragon’s beard. The rope of sugar is folded and pulled repeatedly until it becomes thin strands. Therefore giving it that melt in your mouth texture.
2. Kuih Jala
Not to be mistaken for roti jala, Kuih Jala is a sweet snack made out of rice flour, sugar and water. Once the ingredients are mixed well, the gooey batter is poured into a coconut shell with small holes poked at the botton which makes the batter fall into thin strands.
A special ladle is used to form a net until it is thick enough to be folded into triangular shapes or rolled into a cone. Kuih Jala is a crunchy snack that you can eat while exploring the streets of Sabah and Sarawak.
3. UFO Tart
Or as some like to call ‘cow dung’ or ‘cow pat tart’ because they think it’s funnier. So if the locals ask you if you’d like some cow dung, you know what they mean.
Originating from Sandakan, this dessert got its name because of the spiral of meringue on top that looks like cow dung. The UFO tart is a vanilla cake with custard and a spiral of meringue on top. The tart can be found in restaurants and markets throughout Sabah.
4. Kuih Jelurut
A rice flour cake with coconut milk that is wrapped with young coconut leaves, Kuih Jelurut is a popular traditional sweet snack.
To make it, palm sugar, pandan leaf, salt and water are boiled together then mixed with coconut milk. The batter is then poured into a bowl of rice flour and mixed thoroughly.
The coconut leaf is rolled into a long cone and secured tightly. The thick mixture is poured into the cone then topped off with another mixture of coconut milk, rice flour and salf. Steam the cones for about 15 minutes and it’s ready to be served!
Another famous snack in Sabah, especially Tawau and Sandakan. Amplang is a traditional food for the Bugis people in Sabah.
Amplang is a crispy snack made from fish, that is mixed with corn flour then fried to perfection.
6. Kek Lapis Sarawak
This snack can be considered one of Sarawak’s pride and is especially popular during festivities like Hari Raya, Christmas and Hari Gawai.
The Sarawak Layered Cake has dozens of designs and flavours. In fact, it can be quite pricey as it requires a lot of effort to make this cake.
A traditional snack for the Iban people that’s often eaten during Hari Gawai.
Penganan is made from rice flour, gula apong and sugar. The batter is then fried until golden brown. It has a chewy texture with a sweet taste.