One of many things I learned, off my travelling passion, is the idiotic urge to try local delicacies - as much as the ones I could consume. I have been in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah for many years and still I often feel like I am here for vacation - when it comes to food hunting. Sabah and Sarawak are known for the uniqueness due to the hundreds aborigines who have been living for as long as anyone could remember; unlike the West Malaysia (aka Malaysian Peninsular) that sees the majority of Malay, Chinese and Indian residing.
KK is a big city. So, it is natural to easily find known Malaysian and international dishes. Out of all side dishes' outlets I have tried, there is one located in Lintas called "Luk Luk", that I particularly kinda like the ambiance. This small shop sells fried finger food - excellent for night snacks. Every piece sold in the shop is RM1 and you can select as much as your stomach could take, while enjoying the snacks with your friends.
I love trying new dishes or food. Ever since I walked the land of Borneo, I have always wanted to taste the 'sago worms'. I knew all along that the worms are a good source of protein and fairly famous among the aborigines in Sarawak and Sabah. So, for many years I scouted highs and lows and noticed that, unlike Sarawak, it is not easy to find a place who sell dish with sago worms here in Kota Kinabalu. However, the raw and living worms are sold in the fresh market.
My crazy urge of the sago worms has finally caught the attention of my housemate. Her father had bought the sago worms for me yesterday. So, this evening for the first time, I googled for recipe - can't help it because all the worms were pretty much squeamish and full of live in the plastic bag. Using a simple recipe from someone in Sarawak, I cleaned up the worms and tossed them into a frying pan.
The end result - a nicely done dish to be served with rice. Me and my housemate had a unique and fulfilling dinner. She always said to me that when she was small, her grandmother used to cook it for the family. I can understand why the sago worms can be one staple dish for the locals here. It tasted somewhere between chicken and prawn. I will definitely give it another go in the future especially if I can eat the dish the way it is originally made.
Either it is made from the factory or comes directly from the bark of a tree, it is an honour for me to have a piece of the local culture. Now I can proudly say to others, "I have eaten and tasted worms, have you ever tried it?"
*Fun fact: Sago worms are also known as Mulong worms; they lived in the sago trees' bark.