Most guesthouses offer full board – almost always tasty local cuisine – but Bario also has several modest eateries. Pasar Bario, the town’s yellow-painted commercial centre, is home to a few basic cafes selling mainly generic fried noodle and rice dishes, though Kelabit food can sometimes be special ordered.
One of Bario's celebrated local ingredients is salt, produced at the main tudtu under an hour’s walk from Pa’ Umor. Mineral-rich saline water is put in giant vats over a roaring fire until all that’s left is high-iodine salt that goes perfectly with local specialities such as deer and wild boar. This traditional production technique is beginning to die out, but in Bario you can still purchase salt made the old way – look for a sausage-shaped 20cm-long leaf (RM20).
Rice & Pineapples
Bario is famous throughout Malaysia for two things: Bario rice, whose grains are smaller and more aromatic than lowland varieties, and sweeter-than-sweet pineapples, which are free of the pucker-inducing acidity of their coastal cousins. Outside the Kelabit Highlands, 1kg of Bario rice can cost RM18, and Bario pineapples are usually unavailable at any price.