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Traditional Foods of Tambunan



When you look at this starchy glob, words like "appealing" don't automatically come to mind. This gooey starch, also known as ambuyat, is made from sago palm, which is extracted from the trunk of a Rumbia tree. Ambuyat is a Bruneian dish that is traditionally eaten with a pair of pronged bamboo chopsticks known as candas to scoop and roll around it. When eaten on its own, the taste is simply dull, so it's better to pair the ambuyat with a flavorful dipping sauce.


Tuhau is an acquired taste due to its unusually strong pungent scent. It is a kind of wild ginger, but it does not taste like one. Tuhau is usually served thinly sliced and pickled with chilli, salt, and vinegar. It can be consumed as a pickle or with other ingredients. Tuhau can be found in most tamu markets in Sabah.



Bosou or Nomsom

This traditional preserved dish, also known as bosou, is popular among Sabah's Kadazan-Dusun people. It is made from fermented freshwater fish, rice, salt, and pangi, a native herb. The mixture is then marinated for about two weeks in an airtight glass jar or bottle. Best served with white rice.


Latok is a dish made of seaweed. It is especially popular among the Bajau people of Sabah's east coast. It is usually served as a salad or as a side dish with chilli or bird's eye chilli (cili padi), lime, and sambal belacan.




Hinava is especially common among Sabah's Kadazan-Dusun people. It's a popular Sabahan dish made with sliced tenggiri (mackerel), chilli, ginger, onions, and lime juice. It can be served as an appetiser or as a main course, usually with white rice. Other seafood, such as prawns and squid, can be used in place of cod to produce hinava.


Bambangan (wild jungle mango) is a seasonally available wild mango fruit with a thick brown skin. When mature, the flesh on the inside is light yellow, and it can be eaten raw like any other mango. Bambangan has a bitter taste and is usually pickled with a mixture of salt, grated bambangan seed, and chilli. This fruit is best combined with white rice or fish dishes and can be found at tamu markets from July to August.




Another fish dish popularised by Sabah's Kadazan-Dusun residents. Pinasakan, also known as pinasakan sada, is a dish made from braised basung cod, a tangy wild fruit known as takob akob, salt, and fresh turmeric. Occasionally, bambangan is used as an ingredient. It goes well with white rice or ambuyat.


Linopot, another famous dish among the Kadazan-Dusun people, is rice wrapped in a type of leaf called tarap and cooked with yam or sweet potato. Linopot can be found in some restaurants, despite the fact that it is traditionally served during holiday seasons or traditional Sabahan wedding ceremonies.