2nd floor, Plaza Shell, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Monday to Sunday | 11AM to 10.30AM
It really doesn’t get more authentic than D’Place Kinabalu. With an ambition to make Sabahan food accessible to all, this restaurant is known for its traditional Kadazan-Dusun cuisine. Kadazan and Dusun are two ethnic groups who are indigenous to the state of Sabah, so if you’re looking for a local dining experience, this is it.
Ordering the Ambuyat Set is a good start. Ambuyat is a starchy dish made from the interior trunk of the sago palm. It is a local delicacy and is usually eaten by rolling it with a special chopstick-like utensil known as cantas and dipping it in various sauces.
It comes with a selection of tasty condiments and dishes which complement the ambuyat, including pickled vegetables, sambal, chopped wild ginger, curried fish, raw fish “cooked” in lime juice and deep fried fish. If you like bold flavours, then the Ambuyat Set is perfect for you as the dishes are predominantly spicy and sour.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, however, you might want to try butod, also known as the sago worm. This Bornean delicacy is the fat larva of the Red Palm Beetle and it’s not for the faint hearted. Traditionally eaten alive, it is said to be very nutritious and rich in protein. The indigenous people of Borneo have been eating them forever and locals believe they prevent asthma and help lower cholesterol. When it comes to taste, sago worms are described as creamy and slightly sweet, somewhat like coconut milk.
To make this delicacy more palatable to tourists, it can be served fried, on a pizza or even dipped in soy sauce with lime and chilli. However you choose to eat it, you’re not going to forget you did it.