Sun, 10 Dec 2023



Kelantanese loves Sabah cuisine, especially ambuyat
Published on: Saturday, September 09, 2023
By: Bernama
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Faisaa with his Sabahan wife.
Kuala Lumpur: Kelantan, the state once ruled by the legendary Queen, Cik Siti Wan Kembang, is synonymous with ‘budu’, ‘nasi kerabu’ and ‘singgang’.

But former air steward, Kelantanese Faisaa Fashrin Abd Halim Chua, whose wife hails from Sabah, now loves Sabah cuisine and its various ethnic dishes, even the traditional ‘ambuyat’, the starchy inside of the sago palm eaten with side platters of fish, curry and vegetables. 

Kota Bharu-born Faisaa Fashrin, 35, said he started liking Sabah food five years ago when he met his wife Nursitih Bayak, 35, from Tenom. They were married in March this year.

“I did not even know about Sabah’s traditional dishes. I only knew they were famous for their fresh seafood, so whenever I went there that is what I had,” he told Bernama here recently. 

Faisaa Fashrin said his wife, who is the owner of the Monsoi Onsoi restaurant in Taman Maluri, Cheras, is the one responsible for introducing ethnic Sabah dishes to him. 

“My favourite dish is ‘ambuyat’ which is made by stirring sago flour in hot water until it is sticky and clear, served with boiled sardines, ‘latok’ (type of seaweed) and white pepper. 

“I feel that Sabah cuisine has its own uniqueness and is hard to come by in the peninsula,” said Faisaa, who runs the restaurant with his wife, serving various Sabahan dishes.

Meanwhile, Nursitih said she opened the restaurant, which offers a menu of almost 30 ethnic Kadazan, Dusun and Murut dishes, in 2019 due to the unavailability of such food in the city.

She said she wants to share the tastes of her native state which is also famed for numerous unique cultures and form a bridge to strengthen ties among Malaysia’s multi-racial communities.  

Her love for Sabahan food is the inspiration for the restaurant’s name Monsoi Onsoi which translates to ‘Bagus Bagus’ (Good Good) in the Murut language.

“Indirectly, it will help to promote these dishes which have been passed down from generations to young people, so we do not lose them,” she said, adding that the restaurant cook is from Sabah. 

She said the restaurant not only draws Sabahans living in Peninsular Malaysia but also attracts locals.  

“For those who enjoy special dishes such as ‘ambuyat’, ‘tuhau’ (wild ginger), ‘hinava’ (type of fish dish) and ‘latok’, they are available here, you do not have to cross South China Sea to savour them.

“To preserve the authentic flavours we get our ingredients from suppliers in Sabah,” said Nursitih, who plans to open a branch of the restaurant in Puchong, Selangor soon. 

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