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.
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 are those bivalves molluscs living in the mud of the mangrove forest.
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.
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.
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.
Oh boy, oh boy… the smell of seafood and sizzling noise really stimulate my appetite.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Above: different way to enjoy coconut
I have no idea why they have such an idea of “BBQ” a coconut.
Basically, they just grill the coconut over the firewood until its skin turns black.
Above: preparing Grilled Coconut. The coconut is steaming hot, so he has to be very careful.
Above: what a skill to remove coconut crust without breaking the meat layer. Probably he is a part-time brain surgeon too, haha!
The coconut juice is very hot. You can see its steaming in 30-sec video below:
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:
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
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.
Is this the 1Malaysia restaurant initiated by our Prime Minister?
This stall is going enterprise and international, haha..
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.
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