Don’t have time or money to travel to Sabah or Sarawak in Borneo? Well, there are Borneo Markets located in Kuala Lumpur to explore and learn about the people, the food and the culture of East Malaysia.
For those who love Sabah and Sarawak cuisine, or who are homesick for that comforting flavours of home, there are two places in KL worth checking out.
Pasar Borneo located in Seri Kembangan will surely interest you especially if you enjoy visiting or shopping at morning farmer markets to watch the lively banter of the buyer-seller, and to pickup some unusual vegetables, herbs, spices and sauces.
Pasar Borneo is not really a ‘farmers’ market but stalls setup by Sabahan and Sarawakians to sell goods and produce mainly imported from Borneo. The market is open every Saturday of the week from 7am to 11am, at the end of Jalan Jinma 7.
Bosou, made famous by the Kadazan/Dusun tribe. There are various types of bosou such as bosou Sada (preserved fish), bosou nangko (preserved jack fruit), mix vegetables bosou (preserved mix vege) and many more. The smell is strong, yet the taste is uniquely delicious!
Bambangan is a seasonal wild mango fruit, spherically-shaped, orange in color, covered with brown skin. When ripe, it can be peeled and eaten similarly to how you would a mango fruit. Bambangan is usually pickled or cooked with fish. The unripe bambangans are usually made into “Pinasakkan” (steamed) with fish and the ripe ones are fried with salted fish. The bambangan seed is usually grated, mixed into the flesh, and eaten just like that. It has a strong smell.. Sabah’s answer to the Durian perhaps?
Stalls selling produce offer a variety of rare borneo vegetables, herbs, nuts, fruits and spices. You can find wild ginger, Sabah Tenom coffee powder, variety of wild ferns (including midin), bamboo shoots, Umbut Sawit, Upa Lalis /Umbut Rotan (young rattan shoots), dabai (fruit), tarap (fruit), bambangan (Mangifera pajang), chili sauces, sambals and so much more. There is even wild boar meat but the variety found here are wild ones caught in the peninsular which lends a tougher texture and gamier taste.
Hinava – tastes like Peruvian Ceviche!
Deep fried tofu .. stuffed with veggies – super delicious!
Wild boar – gamy and tough, these were cured with salt. Super salty – be warned!
A popular appetizer – sour, spicy, tons of kick, is the Tuhau..
Originating from Tambunan, Keningau and Ranau in the interior parts of Sabah, Tuhau is a Sabahan Kadazan dusun delicacy made from wild ginger. Prepared from the shoots of ginger, the tuhau is diced into tiny pieces, and mixed with equally tiny bits of diced chili and diced scallion, and pickled using salt and vinegar.
At the food stalls, you will find Sarawak Kolo mee (Mee Kolok), Dayak dishes such as Umai, Mee Sabung, Hinava (Sabah raw fish salad), Tuhau (Sabah salad/chutney), Wild boar Pansoh, Sarawak Lakso, Nipah palm sugar, Tuak rice wine, and a variety of Penjaram (snacks).
Look out for home baked cakes too, if you have a sweet tooth – we found the steamed cakes pretty delicious.
You will also spot handicraft items such as clothes, textiles, Dayak beaded necklaces for ladies, woven grass baskets, and other interesting artifacts of Borneo.
If you are wondering as we were why the market was situated in such a far off destination like Seri Kembangan and in a particularly quiet area of that township, we asked a Sabahan and they replied there are many Sabahans and Sarawakians living in the area.
Seri Kembangan township has its roots as ‘New Villages’ created by the British colonialists during the communist insurgency after World War II. Today, the expanding township is a sprawling area with several shopping malls, a large university, busy industrial areas and with an increasing number of residents.
Pasar Borneo started its stalls in May this year. We visited the place several times and already it seems the popularity is waning. Go visit it soon and support the small traders!
never waste a chance to get dressed up! 🙂
Borneo Street is not exactly a street but rather stalls set up in the lower ground floor on an obscure Mall in Ampang called Galaxy Ampang Mall. Borneo Street is tied in with Indian stalls which we guess is to bolster the event with more attractions. The street market is held Saturday and Sunday only.
This shopping mall that has never seen better days except in the weekends because of Borneo Street. There are only occupants on lower ground, ground floor and highest floor. The mall is more frequented for their affordable hair salons, massages and nail parlors, supermarket and the cinema. It does have a rather well stocked Korean supermarket.
“buli cuba bah” – can try! (rice wine)
more professionally packaged rice wine!
Here, you will find a lot of traditional products, foods, jewelries and craft from Sabah & Sarawak. Vendors and cooks also offer Sabah and Sarawak noodles such as the kolo mee, wild boar curry etc and there’s opportunity to dine and have lunch here. Most of the food stalls are managed by Muslims so one can expect pork free kolo mee and other East Malaysian delicacies.
Gerunong (chili), Bintulu Belacan and Kasam Ikan Patin (Fermented patin)!
Wild boar soup, and mixed rice … a good selection of Sabah veggies to choose from
Halal Sarawak Kolo mee
A lot of choices Lihing/Tuak/Rice wine from different vendors