Tag Archives: fruit

Pisang Goreng Cheese (Fried Banana with Cheese)

Pisang Goreng Cheese

Pisang Goreng (literally means Fried Banana, the correct translation is Banana Fritter) is the most popular snack for tea break in Malaysia. This sweet, crispy and golden dessert is made of banana that is battered and then deep fried, and you can find it everywhere in Sabah too, like coffee shops and street stalls. Last month I came across another (better) variation of Pisang Goreng, which is called Pisang Goreng Cheese (Banana Fritter with sprinkled cheese on top), in Semporna town.

Pisang Goreng Cheese
Pic: Pisang Goreng Cheese (Fried Banana with Cheese)

Pisang Goreng
Pic: photo of “common” Pisang Goreng

You can compare the last two photos to see the difference between Pisang Goreng Cheese and “common” Pisang Goreng. Pisang Goreng Cheese has shredded cheese on it.

Fried Banana with Cheese

The common Pisang Goreng is sold about RM1 (≈USD0.30) for 6 pieces, and Pisang Goreng Cheese is RM2 (≈USD0.60). Though Pisang Goreng Cheese is more expensive, it is worthy.

close-up of Pisang Goreng Cheese
The crispy surface of Pisang Goreng Cheese is sprinkled with shredded cheese and brownish Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar).

Fried Banana with Cheese
The taste is similar to ordinary Pisang Goreng, but I really love the coarse palm sugar, which has fruit-like sweetness and give this banana fritter two types of sweet tastes. I can’t taste any cheese, hope they can add more. Anyway, I presume the shredded cheese gives banana a creamy flavor.

Semporna market
You can find Pisang Goreng Cheese in open market of Semporna.

Other Locations

Besides Semporna, Indo Cafe in Tawau city also sells one of the best Pisang Goreng Cheese in Sabah. They are also famous for their Pisang Penyet (hammered banana fritters) and Mango Sago (a sweet dessert). Below is their contact:

Indo Cafe

Address (see Location Map): TB4604, Ground Floor , Block B, Bandaran Baru, 91000, Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 14-3764752
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 10pm, opens daily (off day once in 2 weeks)

Indo Cafe II

Address (see Location Map): Lorong Pusat Komersial Uni Jaya, Tawau, 91000 Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 8am – 11:30pm daily

You also can find Pisang Goreng Cheese in Kota Kinabalu city. In Anjung Senja (Waterfront Esplanade), there is a shop named “M&N Corner” that sells Pisang Goreng Cheese for RM4 (≈USD1.20). However, despite higher price, it is not as good as the one in Semporna.

Pisang Goreng Cheese of Kota Kinabalu
Pic: Pisang Goreng Cheese of Kota Kinabalu

Have you tried Pisang Goreng Cheese?

Photos taken in Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

You might also like:

The Vibrant Tamu Market of Kota Belud

Tamu of Kota Belud

To know the culture and lifetstyle of locals, the best way is to visit their market. Tamu (means “Meeting”) is a traditional open-air market of Sabah. In the old days, there was no supermarket and shopping malls, so farmers, fishermen and hawkers would gather weekly at tamu to exchange their goods by bartering. Tamu is also a social gathering place where villagers exchange news and gossip. The tamu of Kota Belud town is the biggest and the most famous native market among tourists.

Mount Kinabalu in Kota Belud
Kota Belud is 75 KM north of Kota Kinabalu city. To go to Tamu of Kota Belud, which is open on every Sunday from 6am to 2pm, you only need to drive about 1 hour on the sealed road. Along the way, you would see lush paddy fields and Mt. Kinabalu, the highest mountain of Malaysia and Borneo.

entrance to Tamu Market of Kota Belud
Pic: the entrance of Kota Belud Tamu (See Location Map)

The tamu becomes the busiest spot of Kota Belud in Sunday morning, so it is a bit hard to find parking space. Tamu trade is carried out under the tree shade, so you will see some big trees around.

vegetables for sale in pasar tamu
Once you walk into tamu, you will smell a mixture of different scents like wet market. I love to experience the atmosphere here. Though it is a busy market, everyone is really relax. You can mingle with the friendly locals, and soon you will feel that you are part of tamu. That’s why my late grandmother always hanged around in tamu every week. The people here are very used to tourists.

tropical fruits for sale

The Tamu is more than an open market, besides local produces such as fruits & vegetables and fishes, you can find all sorts of local and imported goods, from clothing, handbags, baskets, handicraft, tobacco, traditional herb, food, snacks, wild honey, electronics, toy, and more. I saw many interesting and weird stuffs for sale too.

Food & Snacks

If you plan to tour around Tamu, I advise you not to take heavy breakfast. There are rich variety of local food and snacks for you to shop and try.

Tapai rice attracts honey bees
Pic: this wrapped food attracts a lot of honey bees. Out of curiosity, I bought one for only RM0.50 (≈USD0.16).

Tapai rice
Pic: It is Tapai Rice, a sweet rice with strong aroma of local rice wine.

Pic: Pinjaram (a.k.a. UFO Cake), a local sweet dessert with chewy texture, best served with hot coffee. Pinjaram comes with two flavors, i.e., Palm Sugar (brown) and Pandan spice (green).

Kuih Cincin
Pic: this is Kuih Cincin (means “Ring Biscuit”), a famous snack that has crunchy coating, with soft and sweet content inside (taste like chocolate). Only RM2.00 (≈USD0.67) per pack.

Kuih Cincin
Pic: you can wear the biscuit if you don’t want to eat it LOL.

huge cracker
Pic: Check out this huge Tapioca Cracker (Keropok Ubi Kayu)! A pack of two costs RM2.50 (≈USD0.83). It has 2 flavors, the dark one is spicy.

eating cracker
This big cracker is too fragile to bring home overseas, so you have to try it in Sabah.

Bajau food and snacks
There are 20 or 30 more food items and I can’t introduce them all here. But you can see them in my 4-min video below:

Colorful Handicraft

Bajau people of Kota Belud are famous for their colorful culture. They love bright colors such as red, yellow and green, and this is reflected in their handicraft.

colorful handicraft
You will be impressed by a lot of big and small handicraft items in Tamu. I saw most tourists were not empty-handed after a visit to Tamu. Shopping for traditional handicraft in this traditional market is more fun than buying it from souvenir shops in city. Don’t forget to bargain though.

handmade baskets of Bajau
Pic: colorful handmade baskets of Bajau

machetes of Bajau
Another great item to check out is hand-crafted Bajau machete (Parang in local language), which is created by traditional method.

parang in Tamu
Good parang can cost over RM100 (≈USD33) each. Anyway, you can negotiate for lower price with the sellers. They expect you to ask for discount too.

magic sticks
Then I saw a booth selling “magic sticks” (Kayu Thas and Petunduk). The seller claimed that these sticks have spiritual power, just to list a few:

  • Chase away aggressive animals and bad spirit.
  • Prevent thief to break into your house.
  • Turning naughty kid into nice kid.
  • Bring prosperity to your business.
  • Cure various sickness.
  • Keep a small piece in your bag and the snatch thief won’t target you.

Wow, it can do almost everything. For only RM7 (≈USD2.33), this “magic wand” is really cheap, haha. He said you couldn’t use it as a fishing rod, or you would catch no fish.


There are plenty of fresh and dried seafood too. This tamu is quite well-organized, as stalls that sell similar items are grouped together.

fresh seafood

horse shoe crabs
Pic: Horse shoe crab, yes, it’s edible.

seaweed in tamu
Pic: seaweed from clean sea water. It’s rich in collagen. You can add some lime juice and eat it raw.

dried seafood
Pic: Dried seafood (anchovy fish and shrimp) and salty fishes are popular buy of Asian tourists.

fishes seasoned with Buah Keluak fruit paste
Pic: At first I thought these fishes were covered in soil. Actually they are seasoned with a fruit paste made of Buah Keluak (note the fruit at bottom).

Bajau and Tamu Besar Festival

Majority of population in Kota Belud is Bajau, who is also known as Cowboy of the East, due to their excellent horse-riding skill. The best time to appreciate their rich culture is in annual Tamu Besar (Big Tamu Festival).

Bajau, Cowboy of the East
Bajau is also good at riding buffalo, which is more challenging.

traditional costumes of Bajau girls
Pic: Bajau girls in traditional costumes

During the festival, you will see Bajau people dressed in bright-colored costumes. Some interesting activities in Tamu Besar include Beauty Pageant, Buffalo & Horse Racing, Cultural Performance and the highlight is Bajau Horsemen Parade.

Bajau Horsemen
They even dress up their horses and ponies in this yearly event. Tourists can take a short ride on these ponies for a fee (about RM10≈USD3.33).

The Tamu Besar will be tentatively held on 26 and 27 October this year (2013). You may check out the calendar of Sabah Tourism website for latest update.

More Photos of Tamu

Created with flickr badge.

Photos taken in Kota Belud, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

You might also like: