Twice I’ve been in this city and every time, I loved how it welcomed me like a long lost friend. Sabah’s capital city, Kota Kinabalu is like an extension of the Philippines, there are lots of Filipinos here, locals like the Malays, Sabahans and even the Chinese community seem to know the language so you never have to worry about communicating with them.
What we really loved about being in the city is that you have plenty of options when it comes to places to eat and cuisines to suit your cravings. The first time I visited here, we consumed only Malaysian foodies – from satay, goreng and nasi lemak. On my return, we explored more and sampled different fares from the restos and shops that dotted the city. Here’s a list of some places to sit and dine in the bustling city of Kota Kinabalu.
1. Seri Selera (Seafood Complex) Kampung Air, Jalan Kampung Air 4
Considered to be the Largest Seafood Complex in the city of Kota Kinabalu, you can expect to see live and fresh seafoods in there. Lots and lots of it! Baba would have wanted to try out some of those king lobsters but there were only two of us and I have some seafood allergy to boot so we settled for prawns and some chicken. This massive food joint is recommended for large groups to share the large servings of food.
2. Fook Yuen (Kopitam, Serve No Pork) – Komplex Asia City and Jalan Gaya
I think there are several Fook Yuen in Kota Kinabalu, and we have dined in two of them – one located in Asia City Complex and the one in Jalan Gaya. This kopitam seem to be a favorite among the locals and the foreigners. The service is quick, the food is good and the price is very affordable. We have dined in here for brekkie and we love the set meals of baked beans, bread and sausage. Also loved their kopi susu, its rich, thick and very flavorful. If there is one thing that will draw me back here over and over, it will be their coffee concoctions.
3. Little Italy (Italian Food) – Ground Floor Capital Hotel Bldg. Jalan Haji Saman
One lunch time, Baba and I were looking for other places to eat in Kota Kinabalu and found ourselves peering into the al fresco setting of Little Italy, an Italian restaurant near Suria Sabah. Though we stayed in Jesselton Hotel, we were not drawn to Bella, the Italian restaurant downstairs because the restaurant looked pricey. On the other hand, Little Italy looked laid back and a lot of locals and expats are dining. We sampled the Salmon Pizza and some delicious pasta. The place is a great alternative if you find yourself looking for something eat other than Malay food while in Kota Kinabalu.
4. Peppermint (Vietnamese) – Jalan Gaya, Kota Kinabalu
Just a block away from where we stayed, and just downstairs Le Borneo Spa, is the small and cozy food nook. The Peppermint serves Hainanese chicken, Spicy chicken and soo yummy Vietnamese coffee. Dined here twice because we really loved the spicy chicken (which wasn’t really that spicy) and the coffee and the affordable prices too!
5. Old Town White Coffee – Jalan Gaya, Kota Kinabalu
I have first tasted instant coffee products brought by an office mate when she traveled to KL last year. In KK, we found Old Town White Coffee Shop just a stone throw away from our hotel. We bought several packs of Hazelnut Coffee here on our first visit and decided to sample the famed Ipoh fare on our last day in KK. I am not a fan of noodles but I totally loved the Ipoh rice noodles that they serve here but the rice meals were just okay. Drinks and desserts looked mouth-watering from the menu but the prices prevented us from ordering anything else.