If you’re at Sabah traveling from Kota Kinabalu to the Kinabalu Park or Kundasang, the only sane ground road to get there involves driving a long stretch of winding hilly road that is a dream to any motorcyclist (especially those who’re stuck driving a beat up rental Perodua Viva).
Sinalau Bakas along AH 150 Highway in Sabah
On this road you’ll come across a few road side stalls that is really, really smokey, and that’s where you’ll find one of the must-try indigenous Dusun food for those who consume non-halal food – Sinalau Bakas.
In the local language, Sinalau Bakas translate to smoked wild boar, and the dish is simple as it sounds – slabs of marinated wild boar meat smoked on an open BBQ pit, with the operator usually flipping those glorious meat while squinting or seated on a small “bangku” fanning the wood fire below.
smoked wild boar sure is done with plenty of smoke
The meat is usually only transferred to direct heat for cooking once you make your order, which means you’ll get it freshly prepared, and that usually involves some wait time of 10-15 minutes or longer.
As some say – if you wait for the food, it’s gonna be great, if the food waits for you, well…
this was our ten Ringgit’s worth of wild boar meat
The meat is very spicy in a traditional herbal way while not overly tough like you’d expect from wild boar. Get chunks with a fattier cut if you like it more tender. Sinalau Bakas is also served with traditional chili sauce that gives it a bit more kick. I actually found it overall to be rather tasty and we finished everything despite having a slightly leaner cut.
KY & Haze enjoying some wholesome wild boar meat
There’s no actual address for this place, but the GPS location below should help. You’re in better luck than me when I was asking Elfie the Sabahan girl where I could find these stalls!
P/S: and yes, I will be writing the long overdue Kinabalu Mountain Climbing post soon.
Address: Sinalau Bakas stalls Along AH 150 Highway,
about half way from Tuaran to Kinabalu Park GPS: 6.107336, 116.367638 Hours: late morning to after lunch, not regular
Heading East from Klang Valley via the Karak Highway towards the direction of the East Coast, there exists quite a number of restaurants that offers “proper” food just a few kilometers away from the exit that brings you up to the mountain top wonderland that is Genting highland or Berjaya Bukit Tinggi (if visiting a Japanese garden is your thing.)
Late last year, we did just that with a couple Singaporean friends of Haze’s.
Garden View restaurant at Bukit Tinggi, there’s actually a vegetable garden
Our stop-over for late lunch was at Garden View restaurant, a pretty big zinc-roofed restaurant over viewing a vegetable garden. Looking at the size of the little farm though, I can’t be sure if it is sufficient for the crowd that this restaurant gets. Doesn’t bother me anyway.
The menu is quite extensive. They offer a variety of river fish, kampung chicken, pork, seafood, and a selection of “wild” meat such as wild boar, frog, ostrich, soft-shell turtle, and deer.
river patin, this is the expensive bit
We ordered a river patin (RM 90, 1.2kg of RM 7.50 per 100 gram) prepared in its purest form – steam with soya sauce. The portion was perhaps a little too big for just the four of us but it was delightfully prepared and certainly very fresh, smooth, and absolutely packed with seafood fatty texture which I really like.
You can also have the fish prepared by steam with ginger, with assam sauce, teo chew style, with chili sauce, in clay pot, or even deep fried. There’s also quite a variety of fish to choose from, with tilapia (RM 3.50/100gram) being cheapest, all the way to kelah (RM 40/100 gram)
steamed kampung chicken, wild boar curry, four kingdom vege dish
In addition to the fish, we also ordered steamed kampung chicken with ginger (RM 15), wild boar curry (RM 15), and “4 kingdom vegetable” (RM 15). These are very reasonably priced and tasted more than decent.
The chicken is my favorite and a speciality of sort of Bukit Tinggi. You can get pretty good ginger steamed chicken just about at any restaurants around the area, the key being the Bentong ginger they use, which is really spicy and extra fragrant.
Singaporeans, same as Malaysians, are trigger happy
Over all it was a very satisfying late lunch for us. The river fish is pricey but expectedly so, if you stay away from having river fish, the prices at Garden View restaurant is very competitive. So if you’re around the area looking for a good meal especially with a group, this place won’t be a bad choice.
Address: Garden View Restaurant Lot 19326 Pesona Heights,
Kg Bukit Tinggi, 28750 Bentong, Pahang GPS: 3.353010, 101.826982 Tel: 09-233 0282
Every once in a while, it is good to take a little half day road trip to get away from the city and explore what some of the smaller towns has to offer. A few weekends ago, when the city is again covered with haze and heat, we decided to head to Bentong for a mini food trail and to bask ourselves in the surrounding with slower pace of life.
Bentong is located on the West side of Pahang, and only about 33 kilometers from the exit to Genting on the Karak highway. From KL, the journey will take about an hour.
The entire district has a population of about 100 thousand, but on weekends, there are also visitors on big bikes and city dwellers looking to buy the famous Bentong ginger. In between those group, there’s yours truly looking to fill up his stomach.
Hooi Kee wantan mee at Yuen Kee kopitiam
Our first stop was Yuen Kee kopitiam, we chose this as it was the busiest breakfast outlet among the few we walked by around the wet market.
Without knowing what to eat, we again used the golden rule of “picking the busiest stall” and ordered a couple bowls of wantan mee (RM 4.50) from Hooi Kee. As it turned out, this is actually the most famous hawker stall in Bentong.
sauce not overly sweet, and the wantan was delicious
The texture of noodle was pretty springy but not chewy, and I particularly liked their wantan that is packed with pork. The dark sauce carries a slight bitter taste which I find myself enjoying, but the charsiu (bbq pork) was rather average compared to some of the places in KL.
Be prepared to share table and wait for at least 10-15 minutes before food arrives.
After the wantan mee, we decided to try something that is a bit more special – wild boar curry.
Wild boar isn’t something that is easily attainable in Klang Valley. The meat is usually slightly tougher and more gamey, so the most poplar method of preparation is usually curry. The stronger flavour of spices and longer cooking masks the stronger pork taste while tenderises the meat.
wild boar curry with chee cheong fun and yong tau foo
We ordered a piece of chee cheong fun and two pieces yong tau foo to go with the wild boar curry (RM 4). There’s generous amount of sesame and sweet sauce covering the yong tau foo, and best of all, there’s even sambal belacan on the side.
I enjoyed this dish a lot, and discovered that wild boar curry really does go very well with chee cheong fun.
Address: Choy Kee Restaurant, Jalan Pasar & Jalan Chang Seng, 28700, Bentong, Pahang GPS:3.522082, 101.906792 Hours: breakfast and brunch
kedai kopi kow po, more ice cream than coffee
After two main dishes, it was natural to get some desserts in the system. For this purpose, Bentong has an old school home-made ice cream parlour by the name of Kedai Kopi Kow Po.
We shared an ice kacang with asingle scoup of home-made pandan ice cream, the shaved ice had all the traditional ingredients going for it – the black jelly, cendol, red bean, corn, and even pineapple. The ice cream was creamy and rather delicious too. I can see why this place has been in business for decades.
ice kacang with home made ice cream, delicious
Address: Kow Po Ice Cream, No. 2, Bentong Heights, 28700 Bentong, Pahang GPS: 3.522107, 101.910755 Tel: 09-222 1258 Hours: 10 am to 7 pm daily
If you find yourself near Bukit Tinggi, perhaps for a little vacation up at the hill admiring those faux French architectures, or like us, after a pretty awesome trip the the Perting Fall waterfall excursion, one of the places you should stop by for a well deserved stomach refuel session would be Restoran Makanan Laut Loong Sing.
Loong Sing at Bukit Tinggi
To be honest, this place is should adopt the name makanan hutan (jungle food) or makanan sungai (river food) instead of makanan laut (seafood), seeing that it is some 100km away from the ocean.
Indeed, for those with a bigger wallet, they offer “soon hock” (RM 11/100g), river patin (RM 6/100g), sultan fish (RM 38/100g) and so forth. The only actual seafood on the menu that is from the ocean would be prawns.
seafood tofu, wild boar, vegetable
We didn’t order those tho, but we had one of their signature dishes – clay pot wild boar. Wild boar has a rather gamey taste to it but with generous amount of ginger and green onion, it actually tasted pretty awesome, it’s like almost a mix of normal pork and deer meat.
Seafood tofu came with bits of mushroom, imitation crab, sea cucumber, and squid. This is a dish I can have on my own as a full meal by itself, rather tasty!
kampung chicken with ginger
Another must-order here is the steamed kampung chicken with ginger. Execution is flawless with the minced ginger covering every piece of chicken that’s cut into convenient bite size. If you have a blocked nose, this would clear it up nicely.
Oh, we also had vegetable, but I guess that isn’t something overly interesting.
Meal came to be about RM 14 per pax, pretty cheap and very satisfying. Definitely a place worth revisiting.
Restoran Makanan Laut Loong Sing
97, Bukit Tinggi,
Bentong, Pahang GPS: 3.350188, 101.821627 Tel: 016-960-8270/016-276-6876.