Tuaran Market Restaurant

deep fried cuttlefish

Tuaran is a small town on the northern out skirt of Kota Kinabalu, it will take about 40 minutes to drive from KK to Tuaran. This small town is famous for its weekend tamu, especially on Sundays. On the food side Tuaran is well known for its Tuaran noodle. Many KK Lites would travel up here on weekend and public holidays for a good round of Tuaran noodle. Yet many people do not know that there is a nice little restaurant, located on the first floor of Tuaran Market. This is a well kept secret by the Tuaran people who have been enjoying the good food from this small restaurant for many years.

tuaran fish market

What’s so special that attracts people to this little restaurant and back for more? It is the combination of fresh seafood and the cook’s skill that make this little restaurant a happening place. A wide variety of fresh sea produce can be found from the market below, most of them are just caught by fishermen from the South China Sea and some are from the nearby Mengkabong village. At times one can even find live fish here, while prawns and squids are also plenty. If one wants more choices then one must come early in the morning, from 7 am to 10 am, when a small group of fishermen can be found selling their catch of the day under the trees outside the market area beside the river bank. These fishes are caught using very traditional method, the fishing rod. After bargaining and counter bargain, and choosing the preferred sea produces, just bring them up to the first floor restaurant and look for Fui Lee, the cook.

steamed fresh prawn

From left to righ:

  • Cool lettuce with garlic
  • “Sayur manis” with minced meat
  • Tuaran Market Restaurant (1st Floor)

Cook Fui Lee is well versed with Chinese cuisine. She comes from a family of cooks, in its third generation now. She can create many kinds of taste like sweet & sour, kong poh (Hong Kong style), sour & spicy, “shi chap”, rice wine, and so on. Select the tastes that you like and she will be happy to cook for you. She charges RM 5 to RM 20 for her service. Note: if there are many customers then one would have to wait for a while. If one does not want to wait then one can also call her in advance. She can help you to buy whatever are available at the market below. In this way she can prepare the fish in advance, a real time saver. Let her know the time of your arrival, and she will have all the dishes ready for you to enjoy a very yummy lunch.

“fish skin & fish lam”

“Fish Skin & Fish Lam” is another speciality here and it is a must try dish, price starts from RM 12. The “fish skin & fish lam” can only be made from fresh fish namely “Ikan Putih” and “Ikan Titir” (local fish name). Tuaran location near the sea is a blessing to this restaurant as fresh fish supply is assured. Local vegetables like “Pakis”, “Sayur Manis”, potato leaves and four season beans are well sought after by tourists. About the interior and atmosphere, this place is basic to its core, definitely not a fancy restaurant. Remember people are here for the tasty seafood.

From left to right:

  • Tuaran Tamu (Saturday and Sudnday only)
  • Pagoda Chinese Temple
  • Old wooden shoplots

How to get there? From Kota Kinabalu drive north to Tuaran town, about 33km away. After reaching Tuaran town make your way to the Tuaran Market, which is located at the far end of the town, next to the river bank. If you self-drive here, just stop at any shops and ask for directions.

Tuaran Market Restaurant
1st floor, Tuaran Market, Tuaran.
Tel: +6014 653 36 87 (Fui Lee)

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