Bosou: A Traditional Delicacy of Sabah’s Kadazan-Dusun Tribe

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Bosou, also known as noonsom or tonsom, is a traditional dish deeply rooted in the culinary heritage of the Kadazan-Dusun tribe in Malaysia. This tribe, one of the indigenous groups of Sabah, has preserved the art of making bosou for generations, passing down the intricate techniques and knowledge from one generation to the next.

Source: carousell

Key Ingredients and Preparation

The primary ingredient in bosou is tangy fermented meat. This meat is combined with smoked and pulverised buah keluak, a nut from the Kepayang tree (Pangium edule) which grows abundantly in Malaysia’s mangrove swamplands. This nut, also known as pangi, plays a crucial role as it acts as a preservative. The mixture is further enriched with rice, salt, and fresh meat or fish. Once all the ingredients are combined, they are placed into a sealed jar or container to undergo the fermentation process. Over time, contemporary versions of bosou have seen the addition of fruits like bananas and pineapples to the mixture. Another variant, called Pinongian, omits rice, resulting in a product that’s less tangy in taste. However, unlike bosou, Pinongian must be cooked before serving.

Source: borneobonita

The Cultural Significance of Bosou

Bosou is more than just a dish; it’s a testament to the rich cultural tapestry of Sabah’s indigenous communities. It reflects their deep connection with the land, their resourcefulness, and their commitment to preserving age-old traditions in the face of modernity.




Article curated by Suwaytha Gopal