Grilled Clams

BBQ Clams & Grilled Coconut

The BBQ Clam (Lokan Panggang) & Grilled Coconut (Kelapa Bakar) roadside stalls in Tuaran always caught my attention every time I passed by. “They must be having great stuffs,” I think, when I see so many cars stop there for a meal, though it’s hard to associate 5-star food with such primitive stalls that look more like makeshift structure.

roadside stalls
But if you try their food once, you will want to come back again. You can’t find THIS taste elsewhere.

BBQ Clams (Lokan Panggang)

The “must-try” is their Lokan Panggang (BBQ Clam). The clams (or cockle) are those bivalves molluscs (Species: Polymesoda expansa) living in the mud of the mangrove forest.

BBQ clam booth

clam booth
Above: the clams come in 3 different sizes, i.e. big (besar), medium (sederhana) and small (kecil), and they cost RM12 (?USD3.60), RM10 (?USD3) and RM7 (?USD2.10) for 20 units respectively. If 20 is too much, you can ask for 10 clams only and pay for half price.

grilled clam
There are over 20 stalls along the road. I randomly picked a stall and ordered 10 big BBQ clams (coz big clams look good in photos, haha). The smaller clams have tender and sweeter taste. Anyway, it’s a personal preference. If you are unsure what size to go for, you may order 10 big and 10 small clams.

Tour package to Semporna

lokan panggang
The way they cook the clams is simple, they grill the clams on a zinc plate. They also add a bit of oil, which I believe containing a mixture of onion and ginger to remove the fishy smell of the clams. The smoke is so strong that the cook had to squint his eyes.

grilling clam

BBQ lokan
Oh boy, oh boy… the smell of seafood and sizzling noise really stimulate my appetite.

lokan bakar
As you can see, they use very simple method to BBQ the clams. No fancy stuff. I like it coz that’s the best way to appreciate the original taste of seafood.

BBQ clam close-up
To get better photos, I move my camera very close to the boiling clams. They warn me that the hot meat would “explode” so be careful, LOL.

preparing grilled clam
They will also ask you if you prefer dry (fully-cooked) or wet (half-cooked) style. For me, half-cooked tastes the best! But if you are tourists with sensitive stomach to raw seafood, I strongly advise you go for dry style (fully-cooked).

Clams are from mud. To those European and Japanese tourists who are used to the “germ-free” environment of their countries, they will get sick easily for trying something different. That’s why travel agents will never bring you there for lunch coz the tourists who get ill would suit them. I think I’m also obligated to advise you that you better get Hepatitis B vaccination prior to eating seashell food in Malaysia.

grilled lokan
However, none of our locals (and tourists from South-East Asia) have such problem. A famost host of a TV food programme “Taste with Jason Axian” even came all the way from Kuala Lumpur to feature the BBQ Clams & Grilled Coconut here.

grilled clam ready
Above: the grilled clams are ready to be eaten. It should be 20 clams by standard, but I ordered only 10. See the Sambal sauce in the green plate? You may dip the clam into this sour and spicy sauce which goes very well with seafood.

close-up of grilled clam
For each bite, the half-cooked juicy clam meat “bursts” in my mouth. The meat is tender and creamy! It’s a highly satisfying seafood meal.

Below is a 1-min video of BBQ Clam. Don’t watch if you are hungry!

Grilled Coconut (Kelapa Bakar)

After having BBQ clams, I tried their Grilled Coconut too. It costs only RM3 (?USD1) each.

coconut for sale
Above: different way to enjoy coconut

kelapa bakar
I have no idea why they have such an idea of “BBQ” a coconut.

BBQ coconut

grilled coconut
Basically, they just grill the coconut over the firewood until its skin turns black.

cutting BBQ coconut
Above: preparing Grilled Coconut. The coconut is steaming hot, so he has to be very careful.

preparing grilled coconut
Above: what a skill to remove coconut crust without breaking the meat layer. Probably he is a part-time brain surgeon too, haha!

hot coconut juice
The coconut juice is very hot. You can see its steaming in 30-sec video below:

kelapa bakar panas

coconut meat
You can drink the juice and eat the coconut meat. But to be honest, I like cool coconut juice much much better, and it’s not so enjoyable to sweat profusely while drinking hot coconut juice in hot day. Anyway, you must try their coconut pudding, which is more highly recommended.

How to get there

When you drive from Kota Kinabalu city and head to Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort in Tuaran, after 25 to 30 minutes and 5 KM before the resort, you will reach a roundabout like photo below:
roundabout to the stalls

way to BBQ stalls
Turn left to enter the Sulaman road. You will see the roadside stalls at both sides of the road only 20 Meters away. Most of them open from 9am to 8pm daily.

Below is the location map. Note the boxed area:

View My Sabah Map in a larger map

BBQ clam & coconut stall
There are over 20 roadside stalls along both sides of the road, and each has a name (“Gerai” means stall in English. “Selamat Datang” means Welcome). They welcome locals as well as tourists, so don’t be shy.

1Malaysia Restaurant
Is this the 1Malaysia restaurant initiated by our Prime Minister?

BBQ stalls in Tuaran
This stall is going enterprise and international, haha..

roadside stalls in Jalan Sulaman

coconut & clam stalls
Most of them selling the similar food, i.e. clams, coconut and probably some local snacks. From the number of stalls, they seems to have good business and demand.

gerai lokan dan kelapa bakar
Just take your time and browse around. All stalls look the same too me. Do you have any specific stall that you like? Please share.

Photos taken in Tuaran, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

4 thoughts on “BBQ Clams & Grilled Coconut

  1. Boss! Daniel here from would like to connect with you – what’s the best way? I can’t find any “contact me” or email address in this site! ^^;

    I have some quick questions to ask, hope to get in touch with you.

    My twitter is @ahbing:twitter 

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