Babi Hutan AKA Sinalau Bakas, A Sabah Delicacy

Best. Food. Ever. After the last episode of Derek Eats That! featuring the worst food ever — cockroach — it seems only fitting that this week I indulge in something delicious. And Babi Hutan, also known as Sinalau Bakas, might just be the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Sabah in East Malaysia is known for its seafood, and don’t get me wrong, the seafood here is nothing short of amazing. But I’ve been eating a lot of seafood. And I’m a sucker for pork. It’s my weakness, my kryptonite.

So when I heard about Sabahan roast wild boar, a traditional dish of the Dusun people, my stomach started rumbling.

Fresh babi hutan cooking on the road to Kundasang, Sabah

  What is Babi Hutan?

If you’ve ever been to Bali then you’ve heard of Babi Guling, the famous Balinese Hindu pork dish. Babi Hutan can be considered the Sabahan equivalent. The name translates as “pig of the forest” (much like orangutan aka orang hutan translates to “person of the forest”).

Babi Hutan is the most delicious food in all of Sabah, all of Malaysia, and possibly even the entire world....it's that good
Babi Hutan is the most delicious food in all of Sabah, all of Malaysia, and possibly even the entire world….it’s that good ๐Ÿ˜€

Fresh Sinalau Bakas cooking on the road to Kundasang, Sabah, East Malaysia
Fresh Sinalau Bakas cooking on the road to Kundasang

The boar is cooked fresh on the roadside. Pick your preferred cut of meat then watch it get seasoned and cooked right in front of your eyes. The finishing touch is a mixture of barbecue sauce and chili sauce. The smell alone will drive you crazy. First time I had babi hutan I was forced to speed eat the entire kilo on the roadside because my driver was Muslim and couldn’t even be around the smell of pork. (Time lapse in the video below.)

Babi Hutan is food from the Dusun tribe, the largest tribe in Sabah

  Where to find Sinalau Bakas

As Sinabalu Bakas is a Dusun dish, it can be found in Sabah wherever there is a large Dusun population. However the most well-known location — and easiest to reach from Kota Kinabalu — is the stretch of road from Tamparuli to Kundasang. It’s also conveniently located on the way to Mount Kinabalu, which means most tourists to Sabah are going to drive right past this place anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

There are several different babi hutan vendors on this stretch of road but you want this shop:

The best Babi Hutan (Sinalau Bakas) restaurant in all of Sabah

The lady who runs this restaurant is a top-notch chef and knows how to cook a mean boar. Never in my life have I eaten 500 grams of meat in one setting, let alone a whole kilo in less than 10 minutes. But enough typing. Let’s get down to some eating.

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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel." ย  Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

57 thoughts on “Babi Hutan AKA Sinalau Bakas, A Sabah Delicacy”

  1. ‘Love it Derek!
    A nice bit of pork n’ crackling, made the authentic way. Yum! ‘Shame it wasn’t presented in a leaf!

    I had some of this in the Philippines and in Bali. In Bali, we found a small shop and ate this piece of pork with a bit of spicy sauce & some rice, in a leaf. On the roof of their house!

    My German hubby wasn’t originally convinced, as the surroundings were not Swiss -clean (if you know what I mean), but once he tasted that delicious pork, he changed his mind!

    Reply
    • Was what you had in Bali “babi guling”? That is always served in a banana leaf along with a couple of sides, as opposed to the babi hutan — which is just meat, seasoning and sauce. However, they also make a babi nasi lemak (a popular Malay breakfast with rice, chicken, anchovies, peanuts and sambal) that has pork instead of chicken and this is served on banana leaf ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes, I can totally imagine your husband’s initial skepticism. Have seen that look in many a wary eater before they realize that sometimes the places with questionable hygiene often have unquestionably delicious food ๐Ÿ˜‰ Cheers to him for overcoming his mind though!

      Reply
  2. Yep! It was babi guling. The rice came extra as there were definately no other “sides.” Very spicy though. We were all spluttering!

    Ha! Ha! I had to drag my husband to Asia in the first place as he’s a “if it isn’t Germany, Italy or the UK, then I’m not interested” type of guy. It took me ages to convince him to go to Thailand. And he liked it, but he isn’t in a hurry to go back!

    p.s. I know!!

    Reply
  3. feasting on pork in Malaysia? Holy crap I had no idea!! seriously I would have thought pork would be out everywhere there. i guess its so good it makes up for the lack of bacon in the rest of the country?

    Reply
  4. Hey Derek, you should try Butod, roasted as I like it that way. There are plenty other Sabahan traditional food like pork bosou, tuhau and few more but I recommend those 3 foods. The bosou and tuhau however has unpleasant smell but you should try before judging it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
    • Woo-hoo, thanks brother….food? I like food. Count me in! ๐Ÿ˜€ Just left Malaysia last week (lots of video editing from Sabah and the peninsula to do still) and am in Thailand now hard at work slaving over a laptop, fun fun :/ tp sy kn blk k Sabah segera, jgn khwtr. Appreciate your offer, thanks. Added your email to my contacts but you can also respond directly to this email (or follow the link to post a public comment response). Cheers!

      Reply
    • If you ever visit Sabah, you MUST try the babu hutan. (Unless your diet/religion says otherwise.) Personally, I salivate every time I think about it. Can’t even look at the photos or video. Heading for Malaysia in less than two weeks but still cannot decide if I should fly in to KL or KK……really thinking Sabah just to indulge some more muuuuaaaahahahahaha ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply

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