Food from Sabah Malaysia: Lemon Prawn

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ December 15th, 2011. Updated on May 22nd, 2012. Published in: Travel blog » Food around the world » Sabahan food.
Lemon Prawns from Malaysia

Lemon Prawns from Sabah, Malaysia

Lemon Prawns from Sabah, Malaysia, my first and last bite!

Have I saved the best for last? Perhaps I’ve saved the sweetest, and most unusual prawn dish I’ve ever had. This is indeed the last in this series of Food from Sabah Malaysia, which has a nice twist as this was the first meal I had in Sabah.

A strange one too!

Is it me, or is the idea of lemon prawns something like this:

“Fresh prawns sautéed in garlic and served with fresh lemon”

or maybe

“Fresh prawns doused in dribbles of tangy fresh lemon juice”

What was presented to me, more than once, when choosing Lemon Prawns in Sabah was a whole new experience in “Lemon” anything. And, rather strangely fantastic.

Lemon prawns like you’ve never tasted them before

Imagine those fresh from the sea that morning meaty prawns. Now imagine them being covered in a thick sweet lemon curd! Yes, lemon prawns for some fair reason in Sabah seems to bypass lemon chickens delicate flavor. Instead they are dived straight into thick sticky sweetness.

More a desert than a main meal it would seem. The sweetness is akin to lemon cheese cake. And, for some unknown reason it tastes incredibly good! Albeit very rich.

So, if you see lemon prawns in a menu in Sabah Malaysia, keep in mind you might not be wanting desert afterwards!

Last is this series

I hope you’ve enjoyed experiencing some of the real food in Sabah Malaysia along with me over the past few months. It’s a little different in the sense that what you’ve seen here, is what I really got when traveling in Sabah. No fancy lighting, no expensive restaurants, just real everyday food I’ve come across and eaten.

Next week is the start of the holidays, I’ll have a big living in Sabah article followed by a holiday special food post.  Following which I’ve written up some really great topical articles about this journey and the end result. Then in the new year it will be a new country …  more on that in the days ahead.

One other thing …

My seasonal newsletter will be out in a few days. I’ve a special little holiday gift for everyone, a behind the scenes look at the André Brugiroux‘ interview, my private journal updates and lots more insider info you don’t get live here. Signing up today would be a good idea!

Subscribe to the longest way home newsletterSign up to my  members newsletter here. (don’t forget to check your mailbox and confirm!) 

This is an additional post and one of a series highlighting Food in Sabah, Malaysia

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18 Great responses to Food from Sabah Malaysia: Lemon Prawn

  1. hayadith says:

    i never eat that, and i can’t imagine the taste.
    this is a lil bit strange, but hopefully one day, i can go to Sabah and eat all those food u recommended..
    at that time, i know u will stuck in my head..

    • You might heed the advice that this is really very sweet! But, still very good. Glad you’ve enjoyed this series of food posts from Malaysia, I’ll have to do something like make a PDF of them, or mobile app so you can search through them when you visit!

  2. Anna's World says:

    That’s certainly a new twist on the idea of lemon prawn. Glad you liked it. I think prawn is a sweet meat so this might work!

  3. Winston says:

    Wow… That picture really got me salivating!! I’m from KK (in Sabah), actually, so particularly interested in reading your Sabah posts! Also, glad to hear you enjoyed yourself while you were there. I can’t wait to go back and eat all those yummy dishes again. This dish looks absolutely yummy! I love how the plate they used as well. So simple and honest. Thanks for sharing this post!

  4. Although I didn’t see it when I was in KK, it seems like it would be tasty :-d

  5. Michael says:

    I never imagined Malaysians to be into “sweets”.But then, what do I know? I’ve never been to Malaysia

    • It’s a good point Michael. Desserts are not that strong a force in Sabah. In West Malaysia in the big cities cakes and the like are popular. But in Borneo there’s not that much around. I’m guessing it will all change soon!

  6. iamthewitch says:

    That’s something new to me too! I’ve had plenty of lemon chicken before but not lemon prawns.. and the lemon chicken I had usually would have the chicken deep fried first. I guess the way of cooking lemon prawns in Sabah is unique.. would definitely try it out if I see it on the menu next time! :)

  7. ciki says:

    wow.. never tried these.. is it a new concoction?! Sabah prawns should be awesome succulent anyway, so u can’t go wrong, spose!

  8. I have a blank but pending blog post titled, My Food Issues in Malaysia, which kinda gives you an idea of how my eating experience went. But I have this eating tick (aside from being 99% vegetarian with occasional pescatarian flexies) and that is- never mix sweet with something I’d expect to be salty. Never ever. So it either has to be dessert or dinner, but not both.

    Although I do admit, the picture on this post did look mighty tasty & succulent. I’m a big fan of prawns. Wish I found some when I was there– would’ve helped out with starvation.

    • I’ll let you in on a little secret. I started the whole food post thing in The Philippines. Not because I thought the food there was so outstanding, but because I was desperate to find some good eats! I did, eventually, but it continued on from there. Upon arrival in Malaysia I found just about everything good!

      But yes, when I sit down and eat something and expect it to taste one way, and it tastes the opposite, I too take a natural disliking to it at first. But this Lemon prawn, I really kinda liked. I think it’s because prawn is a sweet meat too. Or maybe it just hit my taste buds in all the right places.

      Thanks for teaching me the word “pescatarian” too ;) I’m a carnivore, so we can sit at opposite ends of the table in the Bangkok slums.

  9. SacVoyage says:

    I love lemon, hope someday I will eat it!

  10. Cheoy Lee says:

    I like prawns, and I like sweet things – why not together? I’m sure this is a dish I would like!