Quiet Beluran beckons visitors
Published on: Sunday, February 23, 2020
By: Lorena Binisol
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Still a popular passage for fishermen. Melvin pointing at the estuary (inset).
SINCE its development as a new town, Beluran is steadily getting more visitors.

It is strategically placed in an estuary near the river mouth to the open sea, a luring sight for those who enjoy natural waterways.

Culinary-wise, it is the fresh sumptuous seafood priced reasonably that attracts food enthusiasts.

Rose Tangil, a Sino-Kadazan, hosted a group of visitors from Kota Kinabalu with a spread of seafood that was well prepared and tasty to the palate. The visitors could not help commenting that it surpassed five-star hotel standard.

“What an uplifting compliment. We thank you for enjoying the fresh seafood,” said Kitty Pamela Jiungin, Rose’s daughter-in-law.

The group of NGO led by Datuk Zainie Aucasa spent the night at the one and only hotel in town, Subrosa Hotel owned by Rose, which started operations in May 2018.

Kitty said the town is quiet as young adults usually work outside the district for better earnings.

Kitty expressed admiration for her mother-in-law, being a homemaker but could think of opening a hotel with 13 rooms, to start with.

She has other businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores, phone and souvenir shops.

“Nothing is impossible, everything starts from one small step and my mother-in-law has been quite determined to change life for the better by taking up the challenge to own a hotel, restaurant and grocery shop,” she said, adding that these were not things that most people dared to take up.

 

Nasi Kuning is a popular dish among Beluran community.



They are also planning to open a homestay there.

Kitty and her team served fried fish with sweet and sour sauce, clams, prawns, native vegetables, wild fern with special sauce and mango salad, among others.

All the dishes were single-handedly prepared by their cook, Anrica Tony @ Mong. 

At the far end of the town is the district’s wet market, being the little hub for seafood, one can walk into the wet area and fresh fish, lobster, crabs and all kinds of clams.

According to the locals, it seems the catch was only distributed in the district.

“Before, the scenario of this wet market was totally different. It was livelier with many boatmen coming back from the sea with their catch and immediately sold to the waiting customers.

“But over a period of time, they (fishmongers) were complaining that their catch was too much but customers were not many, so they felt a waste of energy and not economical.  So, the activity dwindled,” Kitty said.

About 50m away from the hotel, there is a stretch of eatery shops, one of them called, “Legend Corner” selling the ever-popular Nasi Kuning, yellow rice comes with variety of condiments.

Believed to originate somewhere in Tawau or Lahad Datu, one vendor took the idea and tried his luck promoting Nasi Kuning in Beluran.  It works well as everyone appreciates it very much.

One of the visitors, Audrey Koh, who usually avoids rice during meals, was tempted and indulged.

“One of the best Nasi Kuning I have ever tasted,” said Audrey.

 

Fresh seafood. 



However, another visitor from Sandakan was quick to express her “anguish” and said the chilli paste was too hot.

Melvin Ong, originally from Sandakan, said Beluran is a good place for sight-seeing due to its calm waters and scenic view.

Although it is located in the rural area, people from outside the district drop by to enjoy its natural beauty.

Kitty, who sometimes cooks in the restaurant in the absence of her staff, said it is a family business, therefore, she needs to be on standby if her cook is not available.

She expressed her appreciation to the NGOs for their visit. She added that due to lack of promotion, the area seems “lifeless”.

She hoped more visitors would drop by in the near future.

 





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