Places to Eat in Tioman Island
Reflecting Tioman’s demographics, Malay food dominates the culinary scene of the island, with a healthy mixture of Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Thai and Western influences thrown in for good measure.
The pear-shaped island boasts a rustic and still somewhat remote village that is surrounded by plentiful bounty from the sea. This makes seafood a firm favourite and a dietary staple here on Tioman.
What to eat
Tioman’s famous dishes include, but are by no means limited to, Malaysian-style seafood barbeque, nasi goreng (fried rice), char kway teow (Malaysian flat, wide rice noodles stir-fried in soy), popiah (fried or fresh spring rolls), sambal (chili-tomato sauce) and roti canai (Indian-influenced flatbread). While food prices are definitely “island-prices” and are more expensive than on the mainland, visitors will be spoiled for choice in deciding what food to sample next.
For travellers looking for affordable meals and snacks, be sure to head over to Tekek Village close to the jetty. There is an abundance of Malay food stalls in the village selling affordable and tasty local dishes.
Another highly recommended spot in Tekek is Tioman Cabana Beach Bistro and we really cannot sing their praises enough. Meals are mostly seafood, Asian and vegetarian but include pancakes, omelets, burgers, rice, noodles, pizza and wraps as well as an extensive juice and beverage menu. While the food is undoubtedly excellent, the service and friendliness of the owner and staff are what you’ll remember long after you have left the island.
Salang Village on Tioman boasts the fact that they have the cheapest Chinese fare on the island in a little eatery called Chinese Salang Restaurant and for those in the mood for Chinese this spot is unmissable.
For those wanting to dine like a local, head over to Salang Complex around lunch time. Ticking all the backpacker boxes of affordability, authenticity and tastiness; the food here does not disappoint. Order a plate of nasi campur from one of the food stalls and select your own toppings.
Right next door to the jetty in Salang is one of the island’s most popular eateries, Salang Dreams Restaurant is always filled with a lively, buzzing crowd of hungry locals and visitors. They are most famous for their barbequed chicken and seafood with generous portions of potato, salad and sweet-corn but also whip up scrumptious Asian specialties, pastas and steaks. Something for everyone!
The restaurants in Air Batang are slightly further apart than on other parts of the island as a result of the size of the bay, but this is in no means a discouraging factor as it’ll give you just the right amount of time to work up an appetite. An excellent spot to try on Air Batang is Sunset Bar located right on the beach in a beautifully scenic location. Famous for its warm hospitality and well-priced international food, this is a lovely way to wrap up a day spent diving below the waves or spent in the sun. Famous for its mojitos, sandwiches, chicken wings and cheesy pizzas, this is a great hangout to meet other travellers or simply to enjoy an icy beer and a pleasant view.
Cheap and cheerful! East of the Air Batang jetty lies South Pacific Restaurant which is at the centre of the village and serves up delicious local food and snacks from a colourful eatery housed in the main building of the resort. Most famous for their sweet and sour seafood, sambal, curries and fried rice, this simple restaurant is the ideal way to fill up on nutritious fare without breaking the bank. Keep your eyes peeled for the small beachside café with several hawker stands selling delicious, traditional Tioman pastries and snacks.
For those in Jurara Village on Tioman Island, make your way to Santai Bistro for a truly satisfying meal, friendly staff and a delightful atmosphere. This bistro comes highly recommended and serves up meals with Malaysian and Asia influences. Famous for their delicious omelettes and breakfast menu, the beautiful sea view in combination with a hot coffee is the ideal way to start any day here in Tioman.