Smoked Wild Boar Meat: Sinalau Bakas of Sabah

Recognised as the largest ethnic group in North Borneo, the Dusun community weaves vibrant threads of culture into the tapestry of the region. Their traditions, rich in shared history and shared plates, are passed down with a profound love and pride. No gustatory repertoire from their annals sings louder than their culinary traditions, especially the crowning glory - Sinalau Bakas.

This delicacy is more than just wild boar meat cooked to smoky perfection. It's a memento of countless Dusun festivities and borrowings from time-honoured cooking techniques. One taste of this succulent tribute to tradition, and it is said, one's senses are instantly transported to the bustling heart of a Dusun jubilee. As Sinalau Bakas unfurls its irresistible invitation, gastronomes are set for a journey into North Borneo's deep-seated and profound gastronomic folklore.

This smoked sensation is no ordinary dish. It pirouettes on the tongue with a graceful jumble of smoky, succulent flavours, holding within its sizzling depths a cherished legacy of the Dusun people's culinary brilliance.

Table of Content

Sinalau bakas Smoked Wild Boar in Sabah
Exploring the smoked wild boar meat or Sinalau Bakas in Sabah

Smoked Wild Boar Meat: Sinalau Bakas of Sabah

What is Sinalau Bakas

Travel along the gastronomic highroads of Sabah, where a local favourite rules supreme - a romantically smoked delicacy known as Sinalau Bakas. Earnestly beloved and the crème de la crème of local cuisine, it proudly lays claim to Sabahan hearts and appetites. The names 'Sinalau' and 'Bakas' melodiously tie together- the former, a local term for 'grill', and 'Bakas', which is vernacular for wild boar (or 'Babi Salai' in Bahasa Melayu). The result? An intoxicatingly delicious grilling concoction that imparts an irresistible smoky goodness to every single bite.

The best part about this culinary adventure lies not just in the tasting, but also in the discovery. Savour the local way of life as these enticing morsels can be found sizzling on roadside stalls dotting the picturesque route from Tamparuli to Kundasang, en route to the mighty Mount Kinabalu.

While 'exotic' might be the adjective of choice for some when discussing wild boar meat, in Sabah, it's simply tradition. An enduring local favourite, Sinalau Bakas holds an esteemed place in the culinary chronicles of the Sabahans, bearing testament to the region's vibrant gastronomic heritage.

Sinalau Bakas
Sinalau Bakas at Ranau, Sabah
Sinalau Bakas
Houses of the Dusun tribes in the highlands of Ranau.
Sinalau Bakas
The kitchen is simple yet thorough in terms of necessities.
Sinalau Bakas
Sinalau Bakas sold at Ranau, Sabah

Wild Boar Meat in Sabah

Here in Sabah, there's a culinary norm shaping the days and delighting the palates of the Dusun, or Kadazan folk: savouring the tantalising wild boar meat. The consumption of this sublime local delicacy intertwines seamlessly with their Christian faith, creating a shared culinary experience that has become nothing short of ordinary in their vibrant everyday lives.

The thrill of discovering Sabah, however, offers its unexpected twists and turns. A treasure hunt of sorts awaits those seeking to sample the local gem of Sinalau Bakas. You may not spot flashy signs or neon lights guiding the way, rather, look for inconspicuous banners playfully hand-scribbled with the words 'Sinalau Bakas'.

It's as if the banners are whispering their sizzling secrets only to the true explorers. Yet, this very element of surprise has led to unfortunate mix-ups for unsuspecting Muslim travellers from West Malaysia, who ended up savouring the flavour without fully grasping what they were digging into. Take it from your fellow travellers at Rolling Grace, a little caution and a keen eye go a long way in ensuring an enriching, yet culturally mindful gastronomic journey.

Sinalau Bakas
It was love at first sight (and scent). Nothing beats the sweet, sweet smell given out by chunky, fat-laden meat on the roast.
Sinalau Bakas
Sinalau Bakas can be found across Kota Kinabalu, Kundasang and Ranau in Sabah
Sinalau Bakas
The meat can last up to a month when frozen.

Sinalau Bakas Recipe & Ingredients

Picture this: exotic, wild boar meat marinated with love in a blend of traditional herbs and spices. Aromas that swoop down on your senses and play enchanting symphonies. Flavours that keenly jostle to tell tales of customs, culture, and convivial Dusun gatherings.

As per the traditional Sinalau Bakas recipe, first-time cooks must spare no effort to source the freshest wild boar meat to begin their cooking quest. Next, embark upon a gastronomical painting exercise, crafting a marinade palette of local ingredients like garlic, lemongrass, ginger, and turmeric. The Dusun secret? A dash of 'tuhau,' a type of ginger indigenous to Sabah that bestows upon the meat an unforgettably enticing kick!

Once marinated to perfection, the meat begins its transformative journey on the hot grills. Low flames, good company, and patient anticipation—that's the Sabahan way! As the meat chars just right, a smoky aroma wafts stealthily in the air, hinting at the sumptuous feast ahead. Sinalau Bakas isn't merely food - it's a narrative infused into a local dish, stirring up charismatic tales with every single bite! Dig in, relish, and be privy to Sabah's resonant culinary whispers.

The wild boar meat, impeccably tender and succulent, sends waves of pleasure through your senses. However, it's the intricate dance of the marinade that adds the finishing charm—the flavours are captivating, yet not overpowering. It respects the original essence of the meat, creating a harmonious balance in every bite. Interestingly, the culinary journey of Sinalau Bakas can take diverging, but equally tantalising, paths. Consume it in its barbecued glory straight off the grill or transform this grilled marvel into a spicy curry or tangy stir-fry, each iteration as alluring as the other.

Sinalau Bakas sabah
Sinalau Bakas is not halal - it is a wild boar dish.
Sinalau Bakas
Grilled wild boat meat in Sabah

As the embers die down and the alluring smell of smoked spices lingers in the air, we come to the end of our delectable journey with Sinalau Bakas. Every bite you've savoured, every roadside stall you've visited, every nuanced flavour you've encountered, has spun a tale of the people of Sabah, their traditions, and a shared love for this quintessential culinary tapestry.

Sinalau Bakas isn't just wild boar meat grilled to smoky perfection, it's a testament to the spirit of Sabah. In Sabah, every passing cloud, every towering mountain, every smiling local, and every mouthful of Sinalau Bakas is a new chapter of this grand adventure that you are on!


Popular Posts