Borneo Ethnic Cuisine Restaurant Sandakan

Sandakan Borneo Ethnic Cuisine Restaurant

If you love Kadazan traditional food, there is a new place called Borneo Ethnic Cuisine Restaurant in Sandakan that opened in early October 2016.

EDIT: This Kadazan Restaurant has since closed its business.

This Sabah ethnic food restaurant has created hype in the city. There has never been a restaurant serving authentic Kadazan food here before, and now, locals are heading there to try the many different choices of Kadazan cuisine.

Borneo Ethnic Cuisine Restaurant Sandakan

Borneo Ethnic Cuisine, or BEC, is the brainchild of three friends who have made this ethnic restaurant a reality. After months of planning, they opened Sandakan's first Kadazan Restaurant at Mile 4.

Mile 4, or Batu Empat, is also known as Bandar Indah and is one of the developed areas on the outskirts of Sandakan city. To get here from town is only a 15 to 20 minutes drive.

Sandakan Traditional Kadazan Food
Traditional Kadazan Food in Sandakan.

When I visited this place based on a recommendation, they had just opened for a week, and the place was pretty crowded for dinner on a weekday.

Speaking to Rosaline Pinso, one of the partners, she informed me that it was high time the east coast of Sabah had a proper Kadazan restaurant, as it had yet to be available over the years.

In terms of the menu, you will see a lot of ethnic Kadazan dishes being sold, some of which are even fusioned with local flavours. 

Even her son, who is a culinary graduate, is hands-on in the business. He plans to introduce a very local Kadazan Nasi Lemak, among many other dishes, in the near future. Some dishes will also be available for lunch when this article is published.

Sandakan Borneo Ethnic Cuisine
Inside the Borneo Ethnic Cuisine Restaurant at Mile 4 in Sandakan.

Sabah Ikan Patin Masak Terjun
Ikan Patin Masak Terjun is a well-known local dish served at Borneo Ethnic Cuisine for RM8.00.

Nasi Linopot with Ikan Basung Pinasakan

For first-timers trying the Kadazan food in Sandakan, it is highly recommended that you try their local set called Nasi Linopot with Ikan Basung Pinasakan, which comes with Hinava, Bambangan, Sambal Tuhau, salted fish, Sabah vegetables, salted egg, and a traditional drink.

This interesting menu is also priced at RM18.00, which is a very reasonable deal considering that it is a pure ethnic dish and time-consuming to prepare. 

Alternatively, you can also try the other popular Kadazan food set: Nasi Linopot with Ikan Basung Goreng Kacang Hitam or black bean.

This comes with the Linopot rice and the same condiments as the above set and is also priced at RM18.00.

I have been a huge fan of Kadazan food. Over the years, I have tried a number of them, and I have to say that the Kadazan food at Borneo Ethnic Cuisine is probably one of the best I have tried in years.

Linopot Ikan Basung Pinasakan
Nasi Linopot with Ikan Basung Pinasakan set which is RM18.00.

Linopot Ikan Basung
Nasi Linopot with Ikan Basung Goreng Kacang Hitam set is also RM18.00.


For desserts, the Hinompuka is definitely a must-try at RM0.50 per piece. This sticky rice is made from ground hill rice, brown sugar, and some other ingredients, giving it a purple-coloured finish.

At one glance, it looks like pulut (sticky rice) wrapped in a banana leaf, but it is actually very interesting, as it is not too sweet and has a pleasant mild taste.

Another dessert to try here is the Ubi Manis, or Sweet Tapioca, served with Coconut Milk (Santan).

Sabah Hinompuka
Hinompuka, a traditional Kadazan dessert, is sold at the restaurant here.

Where is Borneo Ethnic Cuisine Restaurant?

Previously, this end shop lot in Bandar Indah was known as Taro's Sushi, but the Japanese Restaurant closed, and the new owners took over the very spacious end corner lot.

The restaurant can seat an average of 80 to 100 people, and additional outdoor space is available for special events or parties.

Another landmark is a restaurant next to it called Jom Lepak, or directly opposite it, the famous Kenalanmu Seafood Restaurant in Sandakan.

Sandakan Ubi Manis
Ubi Manis, or Sweet Tapioca, is a popular dessert here.

Kadazandusun Decoration
Kadazan decoration is seen around the restaurant, making the ambience very local.

Mile 4 Borneo Ethnic Cuisine Restaurant
Borneo Ethnic Cuisine Restaurant at Mile 4, Sandakan.

Borneo Ethnic Cuisine Restaurant Review Video

Check out this video by MakanSabah, which was shot when they visited Sandakan for a food hunt. It shows an overview of Borneo Ethnic Cuisine Restaurant, which features the local Kadazan food and desserts at Mile 4, Sandakan.

For more food photos and videos around Sabah, follow MakanSabah on Instagram.

Borneo Ethnic Cuisine Restaurant
Business hours at Borneo Ethnic Cuisine in Sandakan.
Open: Mon, Wed to Sunday
Closed: Every Tuesday
Opening Hours: 10.00 AM to 3.00 PM, 5.00  PM to 10.00 PM
Parking: Available outside
No Pork Served
Borneo Ethnic Cuisine
Corner End of Block 5, 
Jalan Bandar Indah 1, 
Bandar Indah, Mile 4,
Sandakan, Sabah
Rosaline Pinso - +6019 883 3842
Stephanie Rose - +6019 582 0077

The Borneo Ethnic Cuisine sign and decoration inside the shop show some Kadazan attire and items.


There are several must-eat foods in Sandakan, which are found in the mcentralcity area right till Mile 7, and this is one of the unique cuisines that made my food hunt in Sandakan worthwhile.

Overall, Sandakan's seafood is known to be one of the best in Sabah, but when you dig deeper, you will discover many other local types of food.

Anyone heading to the east coast of Sabah should stop at the Borneo Ethnic Cuisine Restaurant in Sandakan to sample some authentic Kadazan food.

Malaysia Asia

Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.

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