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Dining like the locals in Kota Kinabalu

March 6, 2012 - Travel Wire Asia

IF you are in Sabah, Malaysia, there is no shortage of delicious local dishes. The trick is to know where to go. Sabah is often referred to as the ‘Land Below The Wind’, because of its location just south of the typhoon-prone region around the Philippines. It’s capital Koka Kinabalu is a stopping off point for most visitors to Sabah, and one of the best places to sample the local dishes. Here are 5 great places to sample the local fare.

Gayang Seafood

Kota Kinabalu food

Seafood is a must-try in Sabah as it’s fresh and cheap, and it’s served by the kilo. In Sabah, I would recommend Gayang Seafood, definitely one of the best places in Kota Kinabalu to enjoy the bounty of the sea. Prawns, squid, crab and more are served up fresh of the boat.
Address: Gayang Seafood Restaurant, Kg Baharu, Jln Sulaiman, Tuaran, P.O Box 12629, 88300 Kota Kinabalu. Te: +60 16 810 2395

Shen Loong 

Kota Kinabalu Food, Crocodile

Crocodile meat and the Bak Kut Teh are a must-try for the adventurous diner. The shop by the name of Shen Loong is famous for these specialties. The Bak Kut Teh here is slightly different from KL as they use a lot of black pepper and serve it with seafood instead of pork. They serve many styles of crocodile meat which is said to be good for the health.
Address: Shen Loong, C604A-C605A, Lower Ground Floor, 1 Borneo Hyper mall (near SenQ), Kota Kinabalu. Tel: +6088 485621. Open Daily: 10am-10pm


Another dish worth checking out is the chicken rice, which is one of the more popular item here in Kota Kinabalu. The shop by the name of Wiya serves a special style of the chicken rice as the rice is served in pyramid style and the chicken meat is also very tender and delicious.
Address: Wiya Nasi Ayam Dan Kedai Kopi, 4 Blok F, Segama Complex, Kota Kinabalu.

Buah Tarap

Kota Kinabalu Food, BuahTarap

Buah Tarap is one fruit you’ve got to try in Sabah. It is closely related to the Jackfruit, Cempedak, and Breadfruit trees. The fruit has a strong scent, and is considered superior in flavour to both Jackfruit and Cempedak. It weighs about 1kg. The thick rind is covered with soft, broad spines. They become hard and brittle as the fruit matures. You can get them in any markets in Sabah.
Address: Markets in Sabah.

Kah Soh Pan Mee
Pan Mee is another famous Kota Kinabalu specialty. Kah Soh Pan Mee serves the nicest pan mee of all.  The pan mee is said to be home made and it is served with the usual ingredients of Sabah Pan mee as well as ikan bilis and mushroom.
Address: Kah Soh Pan Mee, Along Gaya Street (Opposite Singer), Kota Kinabalu.

Dotts Egg Tart

Egg tarts

Egg tarts. Pic: Pamela Yeoh.

Egg Tarts are also famous in Sabah. The egg tart is served hot from oven and it is fluffy and creamy to taste. The egg tart melts in mouth and the taste is simply magnificent. It has a crispy crust and delicious warm soft egg custard.
Address: Dotts Egg Tart, C-707, 1 Borneo Shopping Mall, Jalan UMS, 77100 Kota Kinabalu. 

If you like this, you may also be interest in our Top 6 budget eats in Penang, Malaysia and Top 6 budget eats in Kuala Lumpur.

Article by Pamela Yeoh

Dining like the locals in Kota Kinabalu
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