Did you know that Malaysia is the largest cocoa producer in Asia, and the fifth largest in the world?
Within the country, Sabah has the biggest plantation and therefore is the biggest producer, followed by Sarawak.
If you happen to be on the east coast of Sabah, drop by the town of Tawau to visit the one and only cocoa museum in the country – Teck Guan Cocoa Museum.
Why you should go
The museum has a lot of information about the history of cocoa in Malaysia, particularly in Sabah. The Teck Guan plantation, located on a rich and fertile volcanic land called Quoin Hill, is where the first batch of Amelonado cocoa species was brought in from England by British officials in 1957.
The plantation – as well as the company – was established by Datuk Seri Panglima Hong Teck Guan. Today, the Teck Guan Group is one of a few companies in the world that processes cocoa from start (cultivation) to finish (marketing).
The museum itself is managed by Majulah Koko Tawau, which makes and distributes cocoa products under the brand name Hoko.
This brand is available not only in Malaysia but in other countries in the Asia Pacific region, too.
What to do
There’s a 20-minute video presentation, available in English, Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin, that you can watch at the comfortable mini theatre. The video mostly talks about the history of cocoa, and the company too. Tawau-born model and actress Amber Chia makes an appearance in the video …
Your guide will then take you to the first floor to see the cocoa processing plant and manufacturing factory, which is on the ground floor. As hygiene is very important in any food manufacturing plant, visitors are not allowed on the actual premises.
Later, head to the test kitchen where you will be given a short cooking demonstration using Hoko cocoa. Food and drink samples will also be laid out at the kitchen for you to try. And if you like the products, you can buy them from the adjacent souvenir gallery.
Who will like it
The museum is an easy place to visit for kids and adults so if you have some spare time in Tawau, you can check it out. Those who have more time can actually go to the Teck Guan Cocoa Village, located further away.
The village is next to the plantation, and you can learn about how the trees are cultivated here. There’s also a hiking trail, which leads to a refreshing waterfall. If you’re lucky, you can also see a columnar basalt formation!
Teck Guan Cocoa Museum is about a 15-minute drive away from Tawau town, or 45 minutes away from the airport. You can hop on a Grab or taxi to get there, or join a tour.
Teck Guan Cocoa Museum
Mile 2, Tanjung Batu Laut, Teck Guan Factory,
Tel: 089-775 566
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Opening hours: 8am to 5pm (Monday to Friday); 8am to 1pm (Saturday); closed on Sundays and public holidays
Facebook page: teckguancocoavillage