Introducing Lihing - Sabah's Very Own Rice Wine
Like most cultures in this world, the local people of Borneo have found ways of transforming their staple-food into alcohol, and none of the worst!
In the making of lihing (Kadazan-Penampang for Rice Wine), nothing but ‘pulut’, glutinous rice rich in sugar, and natural yeast, called ‘sasad’ and also made from rice, enter the preparations. Sometimes, lihing is referred to as hiing (certain Dusun languages), and others call it kinomol, segantang, kinarung, kinopi, linahas, and even tapai. They are all different (but always fermented, rice-based) beverages. Tapai proper is actually wine made from the tuber of the cassava plant, the preferred party drink of the Murut. To add to the confusion, the Iban of Sarawak call their rice wine tuak, which must not be confused with Sabahan talak, which is rice-alcohol (and arak in Malay just means 'alcohol'...).
Rice wine accompanies all Kadazandusun celebrations and rites, and at a Murut party there will be rows upon rows of jars with fermented cassava tapai. It is an integral part of the lives of Sabah's ethnic groups, and depending on where you are there are various ways of enjoying this drink: from bamboo or, more contemporary, plastic cups, or through a bamboo straw - and even that one comes in a modern version: a thin plastic hose...
If you visit a local home you will most probably get a taste of rice wine. Refusing the first cup is not polite, but subsequent rounds can be skipped. Simply enjoy the round with the locals, sit back and let yourself be entertained. ( source : flyingdusun.com )
Lihing is served as a drink in most local's celebration such as marriages, birthdays, even death and of course don't forget the Harvest Festival celebration. It also use widely in cooking. The famous recipe using this method is the Drunken Chicken Soup (Sup Ayam Lihing). Check out this recipe page for more recipes.
And seriously, I just read that Lihing also can be use to make cocktails! hehehe...They name it Headhunter's Cocktail, Sumandak Cocktail and Estate Party Punch. Want to know how they mix it? Just read here
Lihing maybe made by the local, but please take note that the alcohol content is higher than wine and beer. Lihing/Wine Rice (13-21%), Wine (10-20%) and beer (3-8%). Meaning that you can easily drunk if you drink it excessively and you have to pay for the price in the morning where you will have a bad hangover (in Dusun's language, we name it kogutan). hahahaha...
For the ladies, if you want original blush on your cheek, drink a half glass of lihing. Believe me, your cheek will blush in 30 seconds. hahahahaha....okay I was just kidding.
More information on wine rice, read here