No pastime is more beloved by Malaysians than going on a food trail. If you’ve missed previous articles, you’ll see we have plenty all around the country, whether you’re enjoying fresh air on the highlands, strolling through the city streets or just wandering around a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s no different in Sabah! With too many dishes and eateries to choose from, here are 10 things to eat in Kota Kinabalu!
1. Tom yam seafood at Kedai Kopi Wan Wan
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Popular for their sea bass tom yam, you’d find the restaurant to have full patronage even at the crack of dawn. Come early, as some dishes can be out of stock as early as 9 AM! Even with a full restaurant, ordering and service are fast, and the flavor is known to be fresh and consistent.
Kedai Kopi Wan Wan
Address: Hsk Industrial Centre, 89500 Penampang, Sabah, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 7.00 am – 2.15 pm
Contact: +60 88-716 698
2. Laksa at Kedai Kopi Yee Fung
Arguably the best and most popular Laksa in Sabah, head on to Kedai Kopi Yee Fung on Gaya Street for an aromatic bowl of the widely sought after, authentic Sarawak Laksa! This should be enjoyed with a frothy cup teh tarik (pulled tea).
Kedai Kopi Yee Fung
Address: 127, Jalan Gaya, Pusat Bandar Kota Kinabalu, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Weekdays 6.30 am – 6.30 pm | Weekends 6.30 am – 4.00 pm
Contact: +60 88-312 042
3. Seafood at Welcome Seafood Restaurant
Besides Laksa, Sabah is mostly known for their fresh, cheap, and delicious seafood! If you survey the locals, you’ll find Welcome Seafood Restaurant is the most famous place to have some delicious and reasonably priced seafood for lunch or dinner. However, the place does get packed at about 5 pm, so it’s recommended you come earlier!
Welcome Seafood Restaurant
Address: GF, G-15 - G-18 , Asia City , Jalan Coastal , Kota Kinabalu , 88000 Kota Kinabalu , Sabah, 88000, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 12 pm – 12 am
Contact: +60 88-447 866
4. Pan mee at Xing Wan Pan Mien
Popularly frequented, you can have your Pan Mee in three different ways — thick, thin, or hand torn — depending on your textural preference for the dish! Each dish comes with a topping of minced pork, wantons, and pork balls, and is served in a hot bowl of anchovy broth with local vegetables.
Xing Wan Pan Mian
Address: Ground Floor, Lot 18, Block F, Damai Plaza Phase IV Luyang, 88839 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 7.00 am – 4.00 pm (Sunday)
Contact: +60 88-233 933
5. Chicken wings at Fatt Kee
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Located below Ang’s Hotel, Fatt Kee is famous for its delicious Chinese food, but even more famous for its sticky sweet honey chicken wings, usually had with a steaming bowl of white rice!
Kedai Kopi Fatt Kee
Address: Jalan Haji Saman, Pusat Bandar Kota Kinabalu, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 8.00 am – 2.00 pm
6. Indian food at Sri Lantha Curry House
If you’re looking for some Indian Food in Sabah, you would find that most locals would recommend the banana leaf rice at Sri Latha Curry House down in Bandaraya Berjaya. Vegetarian-friendly, the basic serving comes with 3 to 4 vegetable side dishes, and crispy, addictive poppadom crackers. You can choose to add on chicken or lamb to complement your meal and also a glass of their famous mango lassi, which will quench your thirst!
Sri Lantha Curry House
Address: No. 28, Jalan Berjaya, Bandat Berjaya, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 6.45 am – 5.00 pm
Contact: +60 88-253 669
7. Beef noodle at Kah Hiong Ngau Chap
Another popular dish in Sabah, ngiu chap (mixed beef soup), can be enjoyed in many ways at Kah Hiong. You could order yours served with vermicelli rice noodles, yellow noodles, or even just with plain white rice. If you’re squeamish about eating other organs/parts offered here, your safest choice is to order the beef balls and the stewed meat!
Kah Hiong Ngau Chap
Address: Block B, Lot 14, Kedai Plaza Grand Millenium, Jalan Pintas, Donggongon, Penampang, 88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 7.00 am – 3.00 pm
Contact: +60 88-731 646
8. Bak kut teh at Yu Kee Restaurant
Bak kut teh is a well loved Malaysian dish of succulent pork ribs stewed for hours with garlic, onion, herbs, and spices to yield the most flavourful and aromatic broth. You can find the most popular version of this dish at Yu Kee Restaurant!
Yu Kee Restaurant
Address: 74, Jalan GayaKota Kinabalu, 88000, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 88000, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 2.00 am – 10.00 pm
Contact: +60 88-221 192
9. Pineapple bun at Keng Wah Hing
Keng Wah Hing is a restaurant that sells a variety of noodles and desserts along Jalan Gaya. You’ll see that most people are only queuing up for one thing here, which is the pineapple bun (aka. polo bun), which is baked golden fresh every day!
Keng Wah Hing
Address: 70, Jalan Gaya, Pusat Bandar Kota Kinabalu, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
10. ABC (shaved ice) at Tun Fuad Stephen’s Park
A bowl of ABC — meaning ais batu campur (mixed crushed ice) — is sought after by all Malaysians to beat the Malaysian heat. In Sabah, Ah Yap’s ABC at Tun Fuad Stephen’s Park is one of the more popular joints to get this cooling dessert (often enjoyed after a tiring jogging session)!
Tun Fuad Stephen’s Park
Address: Bukit Padang car park
Opening Hours: 4.30 pm – 6.30 pm
Tip of the trail
As Sabah is huge, these are only 10 of probably hundreds of eateries where you can get good local Sabahan dishes! Assuming you’re a first time visitor, these should definitely put your palette on the right track!
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