Pinasakan is a preserved fish dish. Before refrigerators, the Kadazan-Dusun had to find a way to preserve food. Ikan basung (mackerel scad) is used because it is naturally oily and doesn’t dry out even after cooking. It can be kept for two weeks.

For those interested to recreate this dish for your next meal with friends and family, we’ve prepared a recipe you can follow:

3-5 Eviscerated Ikan Basung (mackerel scad)
8 Cloves of Garlic, sliced
20 Shallots, sliced
2cm Fresh Turmeric, sliced
16 Pieces of dry chili (cut to 1 inch slices)
¼ Bambangan Fruit (Mangifera pajang) / 5 Belimbing buluh (Bilimbi)
1 Tablespoon Asam Jawa (Tamarind Paste)
5 Slices Asam keping (Tamarind Slice)
5 Cups water


  • Prepare a pot and combine all ingredients except for the fish.
  • Cook on medium heat until it’s boiling.
  • Add in salt according to how much you want, just enough to bring out the flavors.
  • Continue cooking for another 30 minutes.
  • Lastly, put in the fish and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Once done, it is ready to serve hot.

You can enjoy Pinasakan with some rice, or with another local delicacy called Ambuyat (a dish made from sago). They say it tastes even better the next day! But please refrigerate if you want to keep it for tomorrow.