12 East Malaysian Culinary Delights That Pack A Punch

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When it comes to culinary treasures, East Malaysia boasts an array of underrated food brands that often remain unnoticed on the national stage. From fiery chilli sauces to decadent chocolates and traditional beverages, these brands offer a glimpse into the rich gastronomic heritage of Sabah and Sarawak.

Let’s delve into these lesser-known but delightful offerings:


Nestled amidst the lush landscapes of Sabah, Sabasco stands as a testament to the region’s vibrant chili culture. Leveraging the allure of Tabasco’s branding, Sabasco has embarked on a mission to champion Sabahan chilis.

Crafted with precision and passion, their range of chili sauces tease the taste buds with a variety of flavours, from the subtly sweet to the fiercely fiery. Each bottle encapsulates the essence of Sabah’s rich culinary heritage, offering a spicy adventure for adventurous palates.

Available in Peninsular Malaysia: Yes, on Facebook, Shopee and Lazada


Beyond the realm of chocolate confectionery, HOKO’s premium cocoa products find their way into the creations of industry giants like Nestle. From velvety chocolate bars to indulgent beverages, syrups, and even unconventional offerings like shower gel and soap, HOKO’s dedication to quality and innovation knows no bounds.

With a commitment to sustainability and taste, HOKO is a  name to remember in the world of chocolate craftsmanship!

Available in Peninsular Malaysia: Yes, on Lazada and Shopee


source: Eat Drink KL

You probably saw this one coming.

While not necessarily underrated, SugarBun stands out as more than just your average Sarawakian fast-food joint. With a focus on serving wholesome Asian dishes, heavily influenced by Borneo-style cuisine, it offers a simple yet classic menu perfect for indulging cravings.

From burgers and chicken sandwiches to their renowned broasted chicken and assam fish, SugarBun provides a diverse range of options to satisfy every palate. Visitors can expect a delightful blend of flavours that showcases the best of Asian cuisine in a fast-food setting!

Outlet(s) in Peninsular Malaysia: Yes!


Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P. Ramlee, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

390, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Chow Kit, 50100 Kuala Lumpur (Located in East Riverine Boutique Hotel)

01 & 02, Ground Floor, Unit, 48, Jalan Kemuja, Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur

Sabah Tea


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A post shared by Sabah Tea Resort (@sabahtearesort)

While Sabah Tea’s origins lie deep in the heart of Sabah, its influence extends far beyond East Malaysia, gracing the shelves of supermarkets across Peninsular Malaysia. Renowned for its distinct flavour and enticing aroma, Sabah Tea invites consumers on a sensory journey through the pristine tea plantations of Borneo.

While it may not seem as underappreciated as other items on this list, we believe it deserves greater recognition on a global scale.

With every sip, tea enthusiasts are transported to the misty highlands where lush tea bushes flourish, offering a moment of tranquility amidst the hectic pace of modern life.

Available in Peninsular Malaysia: Yes, on their website and in stores

Aunty Christina’s Sarawak Laksa

source: Modest Pie

For over 20 years, Aunty Christina’s Sarawak Laksa has been delighting diners in Seapark, Petaling Jaya. Formerly located in Lucky Garden Bangsar, this iconic eatery has been serving up delicious Sarawak laksa that keeps customers coming back for more.

Alongside their famous laksa, they offer other favourites like Kacangma, Black Pepper Pork Stomach Soup, Black Pepper Chicken Soup, and Herbal Chicken Soup. With just five main items, they manage to draw a crowd from breakfast until lunchtime, making it a must-visit spot for those craving authentic Sarawakian flavours.

Outlet in Peninsular Malaysia: Yes!

Address: 23, Jalan 21/1, Sea Park, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor


Ah, Uinah – a purveyor of traditional beverages that has become a staple on North Borneo cruises. Offering a range of refreshing concoctions and time-honoured classics, Uinah’s beverages capture the diverse flavours of East Malaysia.

From the soothing sweetness of coconut water to the invigorating kick of local herbs, every sip embodies a taste of Borneo’s rich cultural heritage, inviting travellers to savour the essence of the region.

Available in Peninsular Malaysia: Yes, on Shopee and Lazada

Naga Tapai

In the realm of fermentation, Naga Tapai emerges as a hidden gem among East Malaysian delicacies. Crafted with meticulous care and steeped in tradition, Naga Tapai’s offerings span from tangy tapai to an array of fermented delights.

Each product pays homage to the intricate artistry of fermentation, encapsulating the diverse flavours and textures that characterise Borneo’s culinary panorama.

Available in Peninsular Malaysia: Yes, on Facebook

Singapore Chicken Rice/ SCR

source: Everyday Food I Love 

Despite its misleading moniker, it’s believed that Singapore Chicken Rice (SCR) traces its roots back to a Sarawakian chain that first flourished in Kuching.

Renowned for its tender poached chicken, fragrant rice, and aromatic chilli sauce, SCR embodies the essence of Sarawakian cuisine, and is known as a well-loved haunt among the locals.

Outlet in Peninsular Malaysia: No

Lihing (Rice Wine)

source: Mysabah.com

Sabah boasts expertise in the ancient art of rice wine with Lihing, another delicacy steeped in tradition. Made from glutinous rice mixed with yeast and left to ferment for at least one month, this artisanal rice wine embodies the spirit of celebration and community.

With its subtle sweetness and earthy undertones, Lihing is where time-honoured techniques meet modern sensibilities.

Available in Peninsular Malaysia: Yes, on Lazada, Shopee and in stores

Borenos Fried Chicken

source: Boreno’s Fried Chicken

Dubbed as the “KFC of East Malaysia,” Borenos Fried Chicken has carved its niche in the hearts and stomachs of locals. With a secret blend of spices and a commitment to crispy perfection, their fried chicken delights patrons with every crunchy bite.

From bustling city streets to remote villages, the aroma of Borenos’ golden-brown chicken beckons food enthusiasts far and wide, promising a savoury indulgence that rivals its international counterparts.

Outlet in Peninsular Malaysia: No

7th Mile Restaurant

source: KY Speaks

7th Mile Restaurant may resemble more of a single stall kopitiam than a traditional restaurant, lacking air conditioning or elaborate decor. However, what it lacks in ambiance, it more than makes up for with its authentic Sarawakian dishes prepared by Sarawakian chefs at incredibly reasonable prices.

Patrons rave about the laksa Sarawak, with its thick, flavourful broth and generous toppings. Equally impressive is the kolo mee, featuring springy noodles topped with charsiu and minced pork. In addition to noodles, the restaurant offers a selection of beverages, including traditional coffee and Sarawak teh-c peng.

Despite its unassuming appearance, 7th Mile Restaurant is a hidden gem for those seeking genuine Sarawakian cuisine without breaking the bank.

Outlet in Peninsular Malaysia: Yes!

Address: RG 24, Pangsapuri Kelana Sentral, Kelana Jaya, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Tenom Asam Boi

Quench your thirst with Tenom Asam Boi, a refreshing elixir crafted from locally grown organic calamansi lime, sour plum, and brown sugar. Versatile and flavourful, this tangy concoction can be mixed with water or sparkling water for a revitalising beverage experience. Alternatively, it can be used to add a sweet and sour flair to culinary creations, transforming ordinary dishes into culinary delights.

Available in Peninsular Malaysia: Yes, on Shopee and Lazada

Photo by emy on Unsplash

That’s it from us!

Culinary trends come and go, but these are among the few East Malaysian food brands that seem to stand the test of time. Next time you jalan-jalan cari makan, why not veer off the beaten path and savour the flavours of Sabah and Sarawak?