The Ultimate Kota Kinabalu Food Trip

The Ultimate Kota Kinabalu Food Trip

Text by: Joshua Pang / Photograph by Ling Doh Kin - 03 October 2022


The abundance and variety of delicious food in Kota Kinabalu will make you wish you had travelled here sooner.

This is a foodie trip where our objective is to eat like a local. Wandering around Kota Kinabalu, we were guided by the local foodies to discover the best food. From the famous Hong Kong-style restaurant to the unique pork noodles, from amazing seafood to the burnt coconut... a wide variety of food tantalizes our taste buds and fills our stomach.

From the moment we stepped out of Kota Kinabalu International Airport, we were never left hungry! 

Hong Kong-style dim sum 港式点心Roast duck 烤鸭

Authentic Hong Kong-style food of Gam Tong

After getting off the plane, we were taken to the famous Gam Tong restaurant for lunch. After a round of authentic Hong Kong-style dim sum, we were served with roast duck, with its crispy skin and tender meat wrapped with fresh green onions and special sauce. Another way to devour the duck is to eat it with black truffle, which adds a unique flavour.

Flying Noodles with Prawns 大头虾飞天面Steamed Clamss and Garoupa in Superior Soup 高汤沙白蒸七星斑

One has to try the local seafood when visiting Kota Kinabalu, and we were greeted with two mouth-watering dishes, namely the “Flying Noodles with Prawns” and the “Steamed Clamss and Garoupa in Superior Soup”. The latter is especially rich and flavourful, which warmed our belly and recharge our spirit after a long tip. And don’t miss the signature dish of the restaurant, the irresistible char siew rice! 

Sang Nyuk Mee(pork noodles) 生肉面Stuffed Eggplant 酿茄子

The unique pork noodles

One can find pork noodles everywhere in Kota Kinabalu, but upon arriving Jia Siang Sang Nyuk Mee, you know instantly that you have come to the right place. 

First, slurp a mouthful of noodles, which is covered with the fragrance of crispy lard dregs and specially seasoned soy sauce. Then, take sip of the soup, followed by a slice of freshly sliced and cooked pork. Heavenly delicious. And the nicely cleaned offal deserve extra points. The owner suggested us to eat the pork with their homemade chilli sauce. Don’t forget to order the stuffed eggplant, dumpling soup and fried wonton, which were equally delicious. 

Hakka Beef Noodle 客家牛杂粉Sarawak Laksa 砂拉越叻沙

When Hakka-style beef meets Sarawak Laksa

After trying the pork noodles, we had a taste of the equally tender and sumptuous sliced beef the next day. Combining local Hakka beef noodles with Sarawak’s famous laksa broth, this dish was simply amazing! 

Once you’ve had your fill, walk to the nearby Gaya Street to visit the Sunday Market. The market is open every Sunday morning until noon, with a wide range of local products and street performances, making it one of the most popular attractions for foreign tourists.

Don’t miss the local specialties 

The most important part of a foodie trip is to try the local specialties, which may not be the tastiest, but are unique to the region and give travellers from afar a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. The local specialties in Kota Kinabalu may be affordable, but their quality is never compromised.

One day, we went to eat fish head noodles for breakfast. The restaurant does not use the common grouper or carp fish but the giant grouper! The giant grouper has a thick and chewy skin, which is tender and crispy at the same time. Hold it with a pair of chopsticks and it looks like a piece of translucent collagen! 

Fish head noodles 鱼肉米粉Grilled coconut 烧椰子

For example, the kaya butter you tiao at Soya Bin Cakoi might look simple and plain, but you just could not stop eating it. To put it bluntly, these local specialties are handmade with love, prepared with care and usually freshly made.

At the “Grilled Coconut Street” in Tuaran, you can try the unique grilled coconut. The coconut is grilled and has a dark, unappealing appearance, but after opening it, you can slowly sip the warm, fragrant and sweet coconut juice with a straw. It is said that the grilled coconut juice has various health benefits, including relieving cough and fever. Believe it or not, but it does have a unique flavour. 

Enjoy the sunset on a yacht

We may have spent most our time on food on this trip, but there was no way we would miss the sunset in Kota Kinabalu.  

The highlight of the trip was the sunset viewing on board Sunbear Travel & Tours S/B’s Party Boat KK, where passengers are free to swim, snorkel, fish, or enjoy the specially prepared sea slides, inflatable white horse, and glass boat.

On the yacht, you can spend the lovely evening with your family or friends, watching the scenery, taking photos, or enjoy some food and drink prepared by the owner of the yacht. Looking at the dazzling blue sea, and watching the golden sun slowly sinking into the horizon at dusk, and you finally understand why the sunset in Kota Kinabalu is known as one of the most beautiful sunset views in the world. 

Travel Information:
Gam Tong
www.facebook.com/mygamtong

Jia Siang Sang Nyuk Mee
www.facebook.com/JiaSiangSangNyukMee

Kedai Kopi Kinabalu
581, Jalan Kota Kinabalu Lama 2, Pusat Bandar Kota Kinabalu

Soya Bin Cakoi
www.facebook.com/soyacakoi

Sunbear Travel & Tours S/B
https://sunbeartt.com

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