Vintner’s Tale : Wine pairing with Sabah local foods

beringer wine with tuhau and bambangan

We had a request from Joanne from Sabaheats to pair some wines with Tuhau and Bambangan for our local readers. You what?!!! In all my tender years I had never heard of these fruits. Over the Easter holidays, my girls and I were huddled in our tasting room to challenge our taste buds. For some readers who are young enough to remember my previous articles, you can envision this article as a resurrection of the Vintners’ Tale.

My brand ambassador Iuli came with some Tuhau and Bambangan and made everyone try them. Some of the girls had their noses wrinkled and some were reluctant to try them fearing an upset stomach would results.. whimps! Ironically we needed a Romanian (Iuli is married to a truly local from Penampang) to explain what Tuhau and Bambangan was. We discovered Tuhau is a type of wild ginger and is usually thinly diced and mixed with chili then pickled using salt and vinegar. The locals have a love hate relationship with Tuhau due to its distinct pungent smell which is too similar to that of a stink bug.

Bambangan on the other hand is a type of wild mango and comes with a distinct and sharp smell. Unlike the normal mango, Bambangan has a thick brown skin. It is typically harvested raw and then pickled using salt mixed with grated Bambangan seeds and slices of chili.

For those who frequent Tamu, these are apparently easily available! They are eaten with plain rice and deep fried fish. My goal is to pair the perfect wine with these foods. To achieve the best match it is necessary to analyse the basic components in both the wine and the food. The main principal is to try to balance them so that neither the food nor the wine overpowers the other. We narrowed down our selection to Moscato and Zinfandel.

The Yellow Label Moscato is refreshing, crisp and lightly bubbling. It has fresh notes of citrus and it’s slightly sweet. The sweetness of this wine cancels out the high acidity of the food.The Beringer White Zinfandel has fresh red berry, citrus and melon aromas. The sweetness and acidity in this wine is also a good match for the food.

A food rule of thumb, if the food has lemon or other citrus in it, you are going to need some acid to match. We tasted both the wines with the local food provided and although it was a good match, it was an acquired taste. Nevertheless, we all agreed we had a great time challenging our palates and getting to know more about our diverse culture through food and wine.

beringer wine with tuhau and bambangan

by: Meng Tan (


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Joanne Lee

Chief Eater Extraordinaire of Sabaheats
I cook, I eat and I always looking for good food!


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