One of the things I loved about Kota Kinabalu is that the food was very affordable. On the average, the meals we ordred cost us around RM 8 each, and that’s with drinks. We splurged a bit at Kedai Kopi Lotus and Upperstar, but it was still well within a reasonable range. The servings are also good, so we didn’t feel shortchanged. We forgo eating at fast foods, the only time we did was when i ordered a Zinger from KFC to get rid of the quesy stomach I had after drinking teh tarik one time. In my opinion, skip the fast food and go eat local.
Kedai Kopi Lotus
I was beginning to think that most food places around Kota Kinabalu are called “kedai kopi”, so long as they have coffee and tea to go with the other stuff.
This place was outside of the KK City Center. I wouldn’t have gone if our friends didn’t bring us here. It’s a restaurant, but stalls owned by other cooks are stationed outside. One offers dumplings, another sells grilled seafood and chicken wings. Order food from any of them, and once it’s delivered, you pay on the spot. It’s a popular place for the people who live nearby, and many of them drop by to buy food rather than cook.
I never got the name of the dishes we ate. We had an almond pudding, a noodle dish with some chicken and veggies, dimsum, chicken wings, and grilled fish with shrimp paste and kang kong.
We also had dinner at a similar place a day later. It had a fascinating story, because it was located in a place in KK where the houses were on stilts.
We had a free day, so we decided to strike out on our own for lunch. We decided to try Kedai Kopi Yee Fung along Gaya Street. Luckily, it wasn’t crowded. I wanted to try the claypot chicken, but it was out of stock so I decided to try their yee fung ngau chap. Had a glass of kitchai ping go to along with it. The noodle serving was smaller than Nountoun’s, but the drink was in a tall glass and I was happy.
Roti in KK
Certainly, after a busy day we would be having some supper. While Shabby and I weren’t hungry, the boys certainly were. We met some new friends, and we went to have some supper at Azlina Sulawesi along Gaya Street. Well, at least I think that’s the place. I didn’t quite get the name.
We had hot teh tarik, and the guys ordered a dish of naan and some dip. It was quite good, and I managed to finish one order by myself. The pièce de résistance was this lovely tower of crispy, plan naan, with a “healthy” pouring of condensed milk over it.
It’s an edible Sorting Hat! Or what looks like one. Hehe.
Amazing that I managed to get some sleep with all the sugar in my bloodstream.
I also got to try some egg tarts, also purchased along Gaya Street. Yummy. Wish I bought more.
Gaya Street Christmas Carnival
Due to our flight being cancelled, we managed to catch the opening of the Gaya Street Christmas Carnival. The whole street was closed to vehicular traffic, and the entire stretch up to the fountain had stalls set up. It reminded me of our own tiangges, where various items like dry goods (clothes, toys, craft stuff, souvenirs, etc.) and food were on sale. We tried some of the food there. I got an herb egg just for kicks, while Shabby got her avocado shake. We did get some cake to try, a slice each of cheese cake and blueberry cheese cake.
While there’s the presence of brand named coffee shops in Kota Kinabalu like Starbucks and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, it’s easy enough to get a cup of coffee at any of the kedai kopi places around town. However, for some artisan twist to coffee, you should try Inch Coldbrew. It’s located inside a former garage, next to the Center for Arts & Design at Jalan Pelabuhan. Inch is very hip, and we tried their Honeybee cold brew. It’s pretty strong, but a dash of the liquid sugar helps balance it out. I liked the bottle, and it looked like those old medicine bottles. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take it home. The place is pretty cool, so check it out when you visit Kota Kinabalu.
Our hotel offers free breakfast. Nothing heavy, just toast, fruit, and coffee. It may not seem like much, but it’s actually filling. We only got to eat breakfast on our last day, because we usually wake up past 10 AM, when breakfast is no longer served.
Before leaving KK, we had our farewell meal at Kedai Kopi Wah Juan, located near the airport. This place is well known for chu chap, a dish of noodles served with some pork innards. It opens around 8 AM, and everything is usually sold out long before noon. Since we arrived early, we only had to wait a little bit to get a seat and our food.
The noodles are freshly made, and was most likely cooked in stock water because of its flavor. The pork dish was cooked for a few hours, we were told, and it’s very tasty and not difficult to chew. I ate slowly because I wanted to savor everything. Locals call it “pork mix”. I think it can be easily replicated here, but probably will be a rice topping dish than noodle.
I know we barely scratched the surface of the food that KK has to offer. As I mentioned, the food here is quite affordable, and as someone who had a very small budget during our stay, it worked out quite well for me. We had mostly noodles during our stay, even though rice meals are available. KK is a nice place to expand your taste buds. Don’t be afraid to try something new or unfamiliar. After all, we try to make our visitors eat balut, and we have isaw. That isn’t much of a stretch for most.
I’m looking forward to going back to KK and trying out more delicious dishes.