By contributor Kristy Inus
KOTA KINABALU: A Sabahan hot sauce brand, Sabasco, which was only officially launched in May 28 this year, already has plans to tap into outside market including the United States.
The homegrown hot sauces incorporating Momporok chillis from Kunak district, will be available in the Singapore and Brunei markets by November.
“As for the American market which we aim to enter next year, we are in the process of sourcing a manufacturing and processing plant there dedicated to bottling Sabasco.
“We are working together with an American company keen to take this product on, market and distribute in their country,” said Datuk Joseph Ambrose Lee, the executive director of Borneo Oil Bhd which is the parent company of Sugarbun that produces Sabasco.
Sold in two flavours – original as well as sweet and spicy – Sabasco sauces at present are available in all SugarBun and Pezzo food and beverage (F&B) outlets nationwide and through their online website.
The idea to create Sabah’s very own hot sauce brand, was due to his own fond memories of eating chilli sauces at coffee shops across the State, said Lee.
During his younger days, the chilli sauces were rich, thick and spicy, usually using the combination of Sabah’s limau kasturi and the Momporok chillies, which are rarely available now as there was a decline of planting the chilli species.
“Realising that if we did not take action and create a demand for them, many iconic agro-product such as this Kunak Momporok Chilli will one day become a tale of a national treasure gone into extinction.
“Hence, our company embarked on a mission to bring back the ‘Original Chilli Sauce of Borneo’, where we are also embarking on growing our own chillis in Kunak, at the same time collaborating with local farmers through long-term initiatives to fulfil the demand consistently.
“We hope to see Kunak become a leader in the chilli farming industry again,” said Lee.
Production-wise at present, the company has existing manufacturing facilities as well as acquired industrial land in Lahad Datu for collecting and processing the Kunak grown Momporok Chillis.
“We will introduce more Sabasco range of flavors by this year-end,” he added.