On the third day, we visit two places in KK of cultural significance. First up is the Monsopiad Cultural Village in Penampang. Similar to Sarawak's Cultural Village in Damai albeit smaller, the village aims to introduce tourists and modern locals alike to the way of life and traditions of Sabah's various tribes.
There are many activities to be done here. Besides watching a collection of tribal dances put together by their dances and percussionists, and walking through replicas of bamboo and wooden structures of their everyday society, one can also take part in darting using those long bamboo sticks, walking on bamboo stilts, and sampling a very special local delicacy. More on that later ;)
There is also this "a bit spooky" HOUSE OF SKULLS!
Anyways, back to the delicacy; its served with either tomato salsa, guacamole, or sour cream.. Yea right, dream on!.. You hold it!.. You bite it!.. You chew it!.. All while you can feel it wiggling and squirming on your tongue!
These sago worms or locally known as "butod" is a delicacy among the indigenous and its best eaten while its alive. I know I know, its Fear Factor all over again for those faint at heart. But I told myself before I boarded the flight to KK, if I ever crossed paths with one of these, its going to end up in my stomach! That dare was just what I needed to get over the initial hesitation.
Be mindful these things pack quite a bit of muscle. They can bite your fingers. But its more like a very sharp pinch :) All you need to do is hold it firmly by its neck and bite if from behind, and the rest is history. Surprisingly, there wasn't anything disgusting to mention about its taste. It was fairly neutral with the juicy interior mirroring a mixture of oil and coconut water :)
Now your turn!
Whats a snack if you don't down it with some alcohol. Rice wine is as popular in Sabah as it is in Sarawak and many other Southeast Asian countries. Made from glutinous rice, its variations depends on yeast and added ingredients used. The first distillation produces Lihing; the sweeter and generally accepted version of Sabah's rice wine. Its alcohol content varies between 15 and 20 percent. The second distillation produces Talak; a clearly stronger and neutral tasting liquor with up to 40 percent in alcohol. A type of tree bark is then added to make Sikat; a more flavorful version of Talak.
Without getting ourselves too drunk, we head to the nearest "pasar tamu" in town. Tamu is a bit different from your typical market as the products sold here are directly from the fishermen, farmers, and forest gatherers of places possibly far away inland. They showcase their products here on the Thursday and Friday of every week. Items here tends to be fresher and cheaper, and certain items like "butod" can't be found anywhere else but here :)