Tapai and Lihing are the most famous local rice wine in Sabah that is served and consumed in Kadazan populated areas. Rice wines are a staple of the Kadazan social gatherings and ceremonies.

Tapai and Lihing have similar brewing methods; for Lihing, glutinous rice (sticky rice) is used whereas normal and brown rice is used for Tapai. Both drinks are fermented for at least 2 or more months. The only key difference between the 2 drinks is Lihing is more refined and has a beautiful amber colour (Turns darker as it ages). Tapai will look cloudy due to its residues.

photo by Naga Tapai

If you’re keen on trying this, we recommend “Naga Tapai by Kennedy John. Their drinks are made by expert brewers of the Keningau community. To order, contact 012-517 2957 / 012-828 2957 or email tapai.naga@gmail.com.