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Taste of Borneo cooking class

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One of the very few disappointing things about a visit to Sabah is the lack of opportunity to eat genuine Sabahan cuisine. It includes many delicious dishes and one way to ignite your tastebuds is to get into the kitchen at a "Taste of Borneo” cooking class.

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The best home cooking is made with fresh local produce, so the class begins with an informative shopping tour to the Donggongon tamu (local market). Here our guides and cooks, Marianna and Rosalyn, led us on a discovery of the wonderfully bizarre oddities of the fruit and vegetable world that are unique to the jungles of Borneo: bambangan, a local wild mango that is an unappealing brown colour yet deliciously sour, and a type of wild banana flower that looks like a giant asparagus, to name but two.

The beginnings of something good. Photo taken in or around Taste of Borneo cooking class, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

The beginnings of something good. Photo: Sally Arnold

They happily answered all sorts of questions and offered us tastes along the way. After a short drive to “Momma’s” (Mariana’s) house in the suburbs of Kota Kinabalu, it was time to roll up our sleeves. The class is held in a pleasant open-air location — under the converted carport of the family home surrounded by the somewhat overgrown garden.

Morning tea with local cakes was served before we began the chopping, grinding and stirring — this is a very hands-on class, not one where you sit back and just observe. The most interesting dish we prepared (can’t say cooked, as there was no heating involved) was tuhau — a traditional appetiser made from a long thin type of wild ginger, minced and mixed with chilli, lime and salt. We can see that this tangy, sour, pungent and rather smelly dish may not be to everyone’s taste be we found it rather appealing. It was the only dish we made that can’t be replicated at home with substitute ingredients. As we cooked, Rosalyn and Mariana suggested alternative methods to achieve similar tastes. The pinasakan bosungan, simmered mackerel with bambangan fruit, can be reproduced with alternatives to bambangan like young starfruit, tamarind or unripe regular mango. Obviously not exactly the same, but we have since cooked it ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Taste of Borneo cooking class
Lot 1 Jalan Lembaga Air, Kasigui
T: (088) 251 254
Admission: 165 ringgit, includeing return transport to your hotel.

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