If you visit Sandakan, just ask any local there, “Hi! I want to eat cow dung. Where to get one?” and they will recommend you to try Cow Dung Tart, the most famous dessert of Sandakan (or even Sabah). Cow Dung Tart is also known as UFO Tart because of its flying saucer shape. To sound more appetizing, the name UFO Tart is preferred on media.
However, the local Chinese has been calling it Cow Dung Tart (牛屎挞) since day one and don’t want to change this, as they think the original name is cute and amusing. Personally I nickname UFO Tart as “Bull Shit Tart” lol.
You can find UFO Tart easily in Sandakan. Many coffee shops (kopitiam), restaurants, even night market, are selling UFO tarts. Now you can buy this tart at a few shops in Kota Kinabalu City too.
UFO Tart has a soft and butter-flavored cake base topped with sweet custard and fluffy meringue. You can gulp the whole tart in only two or three bites. For me, it tastes like an eggy cookie with rich aroma of vanilla. UFO Tart goes well with a cup of hot coffee. If you ask me, I enjoy UFO Tart more than egg tart.
The born of UFO Tart is simply an accident happened over 60 years ago. No, it’s not a dessert introduced by the aliens from the outer space. In 1955, a Hainanese cake baker named Fu Ah On (符和安) was baking tarts as usual one day. While busy mingling, he over-baked his tarts. Surprisingly, the scorched tarts tasted good. Then he introduced this new tart and people loved it, hence it became a traditional cake unique to Sandakan until today.
Today UFO Tart has become an iconic food of Sabah. To commemorate this popular Sandakan delicacy, 5 May is declared as the “UFO Tart Day” of Sabah.
Where to Buy UFO Tart?
UFO tart costs about RM2.50 (≈USD0.60) each. It is not cheap because it takes many tedious steps to create this tart. Someone said the original recipe of UFO Tart is lost, so every bakers have their own formula to recreate the original flavours, then the tastes would be inconsistent. Anyway, the following are the shops that sell delicious UFO tarts, highly recommended by the local foodies.
- Syn Ming Hing Cafe & Cake (新民兴): Jalan Lebuh Dua, Sandakan City Centre
- San Da Gen Kopitiam (三大羹): next to NAK Hotel
Kota Kinabalu City
- Kedai Kopi Mee Ngar (味雅面包茶餐室): HQ in Sandakan and have branches in Kota Kinabalu (Iramanis, Damai, Telipok, etc.)
- Syn Syn Biscuits (新新): Damai Plaza in Luyang
Do you like UFO too? Please recommend other places where you can find excellent UFO Tarts.
Photos taken in Sabah, Malaysia Borneo