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 Lihing - Sabah's Very Own Rice Wine Cliquez ici pour la version française

Like most cultures in this world, the local people of Borneo have found ways of transforming their staple-food into alcohol, and none of the worst!

In the making of lihing (Kadazan-Penampang for Rice Wine), nothing but ‘pulut’, glutinous rice rich in sugar, and natural yeast, called ‘sasad’ and also made from rice, enter the preparations. Sometimes, lihing is referred to as hiing (certain Dusun languages), and others call it kinomol, segantang, kinarung, kinopi, linahas, and even tapai. They are all different (but always fermented, rice-based) beverages. Tapai proper is actually wine made from the tuber of the cassava plant, the preferred party drink of the Murut. To add to the confusion, the Iban of Sarawak call their rice wine tuak, which must not be confused with Sabahan talak, which is rice-alcohol (and arak in Malay just means 'alcohol'...).

Rice wine accompanies all Kadazandusun celebrations and rites, and at a Murut party there will be rows upon rows of jars with fermented cassava tapai. It is an integral part of the lives of Sabah's ethnic groups, and depending on where you are there are various ways of enjoying this drink: from bamboo or, more contemporary, plastic cups, or through a bamboo straw - and even that one comes in a modern version: a thin plastic hose...

If you visit a local home you will most probably get a taste of rice wine. Refusing the first cup is not polite, but subsequent rounds can be skipped. Simply enjoy the round with the locals, sit back and let yourself be entertained...

The Flying Dusun's exclusive Headhunters' Lihing is sold in a select few boutiques in Sabah, such as the Borneo Trading Post and in some major hotels. Take a "Taste of Sabah" home with you!

Read our full feature on rice wine here.

If you have any comments please contact us!



New Flying Dusun bottle format

Ka'amatan 2007 promotions (cf: feature)

"Kampung bottle"... aramai-tii!

Flying Dusun's exclusive Headhunters' Lihing

drinking from 'suki' - bamboo cups