Words by Franklin Tan
Photos by Hamza Delbar

So on our last day we, meaning myself, Hamza, Norman, Mad and Tuck, decided to roam around looking for food that we will not be able to get back in Peninsular Malaysia. In comes Norman, again to the rescue, with the Google search engine and  found a place that claims to have authentic Kadazandusun food that is called D’Place Kinabalu. 

DSC_0769_procThe champions after they had completed the challenge

As the signs outside said that it was buffet time, Norman asked “Do you have an ala carte menu?” Now keep in mind that the original idea was to just look at the menu, as this restaurant was in a pretty high-end place. As we were flipping through the menu, Norman came across what looks to be like pizza with a big fat worm on it. As his eyes scrolled upwards, he saw the words “Butod: RM3” and “#butodchallenge”. At this point, it clicked that these worms are called Butod. Turning to both Tuck and Mad he asked if they would want to eat the butod by itself, as it was cheaper, than the pizza dish.

Agreeing to the suggestion, we walked in to the restaurant. Immediately upon entering, a big glass container with the dirt moving around became visible. As we edged closer to it we realize that it was those huge fat grubs, which were called Butod, which are ‘sago grub’. Sitting at the table, the waiter came up to us and Norman requested for Butod. The waiter then asks “Would you like it cooked or live?”. The boys turned to each other, had a quick discussion and sealed their fate. “We’ll have it live.”

Realizing that this could possibly be the highlight of our study trip in Sabah, I quickly took out the GoPro and started to record. Hamza and I were witnesses, the others – victims. As they were happily chatting away about the prospect of eating it live, out of the corner of my eye I saw the gentleman serving us, went to the big glass container at the entrance and gingerly plucked three fat Butods out and went to the kitchen. Less than a minute later, it came on a plate with cucumbers.

Confident laughter turned to nervous giggling as they looked upon these fat grubs, pulsing ever so slowly. At this point, Tuck started hyperventilating, Norman started hysterically laughing and Mad was smiling and grinning. It took some time but Mad volunteered as tribute and went first. Let it be known right now that Mad was the champion among men as he went in, bit into it and pulled, without much of a hesitation. Immediately after, he stuffed one of the cucumbers given, into his mouth. Champion.

Norman was the next up to bat, Norman was much more hesitant, compared to Mad. He put it in, giggled and pulled it out again. As he steeled himself for this, Mad helpfully told Norman to pinch the head to get as much meat as possible. Norman finally bit into it, and gave it a great tug. Out came the head, in came the other cucumber. Upon asking the taste, Norman commented that it was tasteless and it tasted somewhat like sago.

The last and most terrified of the trio, Tuck  was now in the spotlight. GoPro, Facebook Live and WhatsApp Video on him, he was adamant on the fact that he should at least kill it first, before eating it. He attempted to kill it with the last cucumber. He failed. Tuck then attempted to request for utensils, but we vehemently deprived him of this privilege, as the others did not have them. He finally reached a consensus by requesting that one of us fed it to him. Mad picked it up and…

We interrupt this juicy (pun intended) moment to mention that before Mad picked it up Norman suggested that Hamza and I, touch it to see how it feels. Upon touching it gingerly, I noticed that it felt like a nice, chilly marshmallow, something you may like to know. Hamza on the other hand, gave it a quick lightning poke. Safe to say if you ever wonder what a grub would feel like, think refrigerated marshmallow. Alright, back to the grubby part (pun intended..again)

… put it in Tucks mouth. Now Mad claims to have had his hand slip from the Butod’s grasp and now Tuck has clamped down on only half of the grub, with the other half dangling dangerously and hilariously outside. Tuck then expressed his disgust in a Super Saiyan form, that would gain the respect of Goku himself. In fact, the table was surprised Tuck didn’t gain his first Super Saiyan form. At this point, Norman lost it. Norman burst out giggling and laughing. You know how when you laugh until you’re out of breath because your friend was laughing his lungs out too? This was one for those moments.

Using both his hands, Tuck ripped the grub out and it flew onto the plate, the rest of its innards spewing out onto the plate. No, Norman still was not done laughing at this point.

As everything died down, the three stooges toasted to their ‘success’. If this was a competition of how much each person ate, Mad would be winning,  as he ate the most and was the fastest.


unnamedThe toast of champions!

The moral of the story, ladies and gentlemen, is that Norman probably shouldn’t choose where we eat the next time we go out.

For those that would like to see this actually happen, there is a link below to the Facebook Live video that was taken during plight:


Would half want to hibernate at home with Netflix and tea but would also half want to travel the world looking for something/someone/somewhere new.


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