SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

April 7, 2011

Sambal belacan is a super spicy dip

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 12:37 am

Is been almost 3 months I did not make a post on my blog. Not that anyone would really care though…LOL. I’ve been busy on working some projects for clients and did not find the time to travel as much as I would like. I’m still in the Philippines and hope to get back into making more posts.

So here is a post on how to make “Sambal Belacan”. Is a kind of spicy dip similar to Thai’s version of spicy dip call “Namprik”. Sambal Belacan is mostly popular in Singapore and Malaysia among the Malays. The Malays usually eat Sambal Belacan with fried chicken, fish, seafood and raw vegetables.


  • One small piece of belacan ( refer to picture below )
  • One pack of bird’s eye chili ( cili padi )
  • 6 pieces of bell pepper ( no big red chili in the Philippines )
  • one onion roasted lightly
  • salt ( one teaspoon )
  • sugar ( one teaspoon )
  • 6 kalamansi
  • fish sauce ( patis ) – 1 teaspoon


  • chopped bell pepper to blending size ( throw seeds away )
  • remove stem from bird’s eye chili
  • cut kalamansi into halves and squeezed juice and set aside
  • shred kalamansi skin to smaller bits
  • roast belacan till dry and fragrant
  • roast onion lightly
  • put everything into blender and add little bit of water together with the kalamansi juice that was set aside ( too much water will affect the taste of sambal belacan )
  • press start and blend ingredients till paste like
  • done!

The Ingredients for Sambal Belacan

Roasting the belacan with low fire

Roasting the onion

My favorite part - ready to grind

Everything blended

Glorious sambal belacan

For those who are not used to eating spicy food, Sambal Belacan might look like food for crazy people. In Malaysia and Singapore, this dip is almost like a must have. When I was in the midst of preparing this dip, I can’t help but to imagine who actually invented it. It really amazes me that the person whom invented this dip had the idea to mix all these ingredients. I am sure a lot of trial and error were involved to whip out the best tasting sambal belacan.

It has all the flavors that a human tongue can taste. Sourish from the kalamansi, spiciness from the chili, salt, sugar and belacan taste I can’t even really describe. In my own words, belacan smells like CRAP but taste like heaven. I have no idea why such food is loved by most Asian. In honesty, it does smell like socks that has been worn for 14 straight days.

Despite my description of how scary the smell of belacan, this dip is really a favorite among many Asians who are into spicy food. Is always good to have sambal belacan stored in the fridge. Comes in handy when you are just too lazy to cook or dunno what to eat. Just fry an omelet and serve it together with sliced cucumber or lettuce. I can bet you it will turn that simple meal into a really good one. Fried chicken and fish with turmeric  is also a good with sambal belacan. Basically you can eat it with almost anything. It sure makes eating Chow King’s blend pancit and fried rice a whole lot better.


6 responses to “Sambal belacan is a super spicy dip”

  1. Jenny says:

    Hi Alex, I love belachan. Making it with sambal is even better. I encountered this ingredient on a trip to Malaysia this year. I learned to make belachan fried chicken in my Penang cooking class. My teacher also roasted the belachan in an open fire before mixing it with the chicken, chilies and other ingredients. We paired the chicken with pineapple curry and yellow rice. Heaven. I stumbled on your site while researching for a food story I’m writing and to find out if belachan is available in the Philippines. Too bad it ain’t. How much of the stuff do you hoard before you run out of it? 🙂

  2. Alex says:

    Thank you for the comment Jenny. Am glad you like belacan as well. I constantly have friends coming over to visit me from Singapore and Malaysia. So my stock of belacan will never run out I guess….lol

  3. Zach says:

    Belacan is that nam prik kapi tasting (or resembling) stuff right?

  4. daniel says:

    Yeah, no meal is complete without a good side serving of sambal. 🙂

    I recently learnt to make sambal belacan from my Indonesian maid. Her version is very similar to yours, except that she didn’t use kalamansi, and added some tomatoes in the mix.

  5. docgelo says:

    i’m not into spicy food, not that much really; but the way you present this post makes me think twice to try the dip whenever possible, haha!

    hello, alex! how are you? we met in a restaurant opening event where bloggers were invited, king chef to be exact in banaue, manila. i and my family are now (for the time being) based in penang.

    • Alex says:

      You should try it Doc…..dip it with fried chicken with turmeric…! It will surely turn you into spicy food fan!

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