Foodie travels all over Sabah to explore iconic foods

KOTA KINABALU (Feb 17): Accomplishing the extraordinary Sabah Foodie Tour 2023, the longest thus far, was no mean feat for social media influencer Leo Liew whose stage name is Abang Leo or Biao Ge Leo (Brother Leo in Chinese).

The 33-year-old intrepid foodie had travelled 4,300 km by road over a duration of 40 days (from December 12, 2023 to January 19, 2024) covering 22 districts and towns throughout the state to explore the iconic foods offered by each district and town.

All in all, he had sampled over 260 delectable dishes, local delicacies, pastries and other culinary delights in 73 restaurants/eateries, to be exact.

The districts are Tuaran, Kota Belud, Kudat, Ranau, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Semporna, Tawau, Kunak, Keningau, Tenom, Sipitang, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu, Papar, and Tambunan, while the towns are Tamparuli, Weston, Kundasang and Sukau, not forgetting the Danum Valley Conservation Area and Maliau Basin Conservation Area.

His food adventure was in partnership with DEC-Cover Sabah 2023, organised by Maestro Event & Marketing with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment.

When interviewed on his achievement, Leo, who is also the Founder cum Director of 616 Media Sdn Bhd, said: “Personally, my food exploratory tour has enriched my knowledge of Sabah’s diverse range of food cultures. My appreciation goes to my four-member team who was with me all the way until our endeavour came to fruition.

“We had tried all Sabah noodles … just name it, Tuaran mee, Tamparuli mee, Kota Belud mee soup, Tenom mee, Beaufort mee, Sang Nyuk mee and so on. While in Sandakan, we had seafood and salted fish. And we enjoyed the ethnic cuisine (or traditional food) of the Kadazandusun community in Tambunan, such as bambangan (wild mango), tuhau (wild ginger), butod (sago worm) and tapai (rice-wine).

“On top of it, we soaked up the beautiful view of some 52 man-made and natural attractions (examples, Mount Kinabalu, Crocker Range, tropical forests, rivers, waterfalls) while traversing the length and breadth of Sabah.”

To recognise Leo’s successful completion of the inaugural non-stop 40-day Sabah Foodie Tour (in conjunction with DEC-Cover Sabah 2023), Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew presented him with a certificate of recognition at the recent Chinese New Year Segama Night Market event.

“Leo is aptly a self-made food ambassador for Sabah. We salute him for his unprecedented effort and contribution to Sabah’s tourism industry. We wish him all the best in his bid to enter the Malaysia Book of Records,” she remarked.

According to Liew, 32 videos featuring food adventurer Leo’s experiences are being released, with each episode covering a particular district’s distinctive food and places of attraction.

“These videos are targeted at locals, Peninsular Malaysians and foreign tourists,” she said.