6 traditional Malaysian dishes you may never have heard of

  • Food News
  • Friday, 24 Jul 2020

Kebebe is traditionally made using 13 local fruits and wild berries. Photos: Malaysia's Culinary Heritage

In their seminal cookbook, Malaysia’s Culinary Heritage, authors Datin Kalsom Taib and Datin Hamidah Abdul Hamid outline all 213 of Malaysia’s gazetted traditional dishes (as designated by Jabatan Warisan Negara). Here are six you may be unfamiliar with:


Often served at feasts and weddings, kebebe (pictured above) is popular in the Hulu Perak district. It is traditionally made of 13 local fruits and wild berries like Malay gooseberries (cermai), banana blossoms and young jackfruit, which are pounded with chillies, shrimp paste, salt and sugar.


This biscuit snack associated with the Melanau people of Sarawak is fashioned out of sago flour, grated coconut, sugar and eggs. It is then shaped into thin squares and is typically eaten for breakfast or tea, dipped in a hot drink.

Sambal rong

A Pahang condiment, sambal rong was once made from the pounded flesh of the buah perah fruit, which typically grows in thick jungle areas. These days, it has been replaced with the flesh of rubber seeds, which are normally more easily found.


In Sabah, the Kadazandusun people use bambangan, a seasonal wild mango, to make nonsoom, which means ‘pickled’ or ‘marinated’ and this is typically done with half ripe fruits, seeds and salt.

Ganti tandan jagung

Unique to Pahang, this mixture is made up of corn kernels, grated coconut and palm sugar stuffed into the husks of corn cobs and steamed. It is usually eaten for breakfast.

Bubur pedas Sarawak

Popular among Sarawak Muslims, this is a perennial favourite especially during Ramadan when mosques in Kuching serve this porridge to congregants for the breaking of fast. The soup is made from a specially prepared paste (bumbu pedas Sarawak) and various vegetables and coconut milk. Chinese influence can be seen through the addition of glass noodles, black mushrooms, bean curd and lily buds.

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