D’ Place Kepayan Perdana is a place I’ve wanted to try ever since I heard they serve authentic Kadazan-Dusun food. Ironically enough, despite being in Sabah for more than a year now, I haven’t really had proper traditional local food.
The thing about this kind of meal is you tend to get very mixed reviews cause the food is different from what most of us “Semenanjung-ites”(West Malaysians) are used to. Though almost everyone agrees it is something you should, at the very least try once.
The restaraunt is located at a corner lot, on the 1st floor at Kepayan Perdana, which is basically in Cybercity and approximately 10 minutes away from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.
There are three different sets to choose from and we went with the Ambuyat-Nantung set. It came with Ambuyat-Nantung (Sago), Nangka Masak Lemak (Jackfruit), Sup Pinasakan Basungan (a super delicious fish soup), Basung goreng (fried fish), Hinava (raw mackerel with lime), Tuhau(pickled ginger with chili and scallions), Sambal Terung (Eggplant sambal) and both Sambal Belacan and Lada Belacan.
Ambuyat is interesting and the texture is something I need some time to get used to. It’s made from the sago plant,and is essentially starchy and doesn’t really taste of very much. It became a staple during the Japanese occupation as it was so rich in carbohydrates. Having said that, you really need to eat it with the soup or the condiments on the side to give it some flavour.
Then of course there is the main event – Butod aka Ulat Sagu- more specifically worms. You can have them deep fried or alive and wriggling, so we got a mixed platter and tried both. To be honest, it did not taste of anything really and had a creamy texture, but the skin is really tough and chewy. However, I am still not 100% convinced on how I should go about eating the live ones cause a friend told me that we are supposed to bite the heads off first and chew it before eating the rest of the body, while we were told that you hold it by it’s head (it’s got these large pincers) and just bite off the body without consuming the head. Would anyone care to clarify?
My favourite dish of the night, was the Hinava. It is a raw fish salad, made with raw mackerel, lime juice, onions, ginger and plenty of chili. Part of the reason I loved it so much was because I could not wrap my head around the fact that it was raw and I honestly did not think I would like it – so I was pleasantly surprised by how good it tasted.
I am pretty sure I will make my way back to this restaraunt again cause the food was really good and while different from what I am used to, it was a good kind of different.Though I am probably going to pass on the Butod the next time.