At the time of writing, Welcome Seafood Restaurant is reckoned by many as one of the best seafood restaurants in downtown Kota Kinabalu in term of freshness of sea produces and value for money.
Cool. Honest. Unpretentious. Bornean. Grill
Chub's Grill is a modern and swanky restaurant that serves delicious western food on a huge platter. A steak house it is not. Hence one will not find special sauces here. That means BBQ sauce, black pepper mint sauce or mushroom sauce are a no go at this place. To get that special taste, the meats are well marinated with special imported ingredients and spices, then these meats are nicely grilled until the juices inside the meat started to flow. Next the meats are served with a few side dishes which include buttered corn, garlic toast, and freshest garden salad. On top of these clients will get to make a choice, whether they prefer French fry or canju red bean rice to go with the rest of the food. First timers at Chub's Grill are often, if not always, surprised by the big basket platter that comes will all the food, which eventually brings a big smile on their face.
Dim Sum is originally a Cantonese dish. This wonderful food is linked to the traditional Chinese tea house in Canton, where many of the Chinese people come to drink tea or “yam cha”. Today around the world where one finds a large population of Chinese, it is a sure sign that one will find a dim sum restaurant. Kota Kinabalu has a sizable Chinese population and this city has not just one but a few dim sum restaurants to boast about. These restaurants range from the budget type to the more classy type. In Kota Kinabalu dim sum is mainly a breakfast menu where restaurants serve this delicacy from the early morning until noon. It is very hard to find a good dim sum at night time here.
The Balsam Buffet Restaurant was built in the early 1970s. This beautiful rock structure building and restaurant has been visited by many travellers to the Kinabalu Park, as for many years it is the only eatery in the Kinabalu Park Headquarters. Located about 40 feet below the administration office, the restaurant lies at a forest area which has a perfect view of the mountain under a clear sky. Many of the older folks will remember this restaurant with a kopitiam setting and had a very cozy fire place surrounded by sofas. Visitors often hanged around at the fire place for comfort at night, when temperature was much colder in the 70s, when there were plenty of trees around. After the taking over by Sutera Harbour Management group, around 2000, this place has been transformed into a high class restaurant. Today the interior of the building receives a much better detail in design and setting.
Fatt Kee Kopitiam is one of the best places in downtown Kota Kinabalu to enjoy a good tasty budget Chinese cuisine. Since the kopitiam is located at the ground floor of Ang’s Hotel at Beach street, many of the locals like to called this eatery Ang’s hotel too. Fatt Kee Kopitiam has been cooking their wonderful Chinese cuisine for the last three decades. This eatery is a family run business, from the parents to the siblings everyone is involved. During lunch time many people, especially office workers, are seen lining up for the take away economy rice. For as little as RM 5 customers can choose three dishes in small portion from a wide variety of dishes. These dishes vary from day to day and the chicken drum stick with honey is very much sought after. Customers can dine at the shop too.
The Hakka Clan is a resilient and hard working group. Many of them were invited by the missionary during the late 19th century to come and open plantations in North Borneo, present day Sabah. Today the Hakka forms one of the largest clans in Sabah Chinese community. Like the rest of the Chinese community wherever they go, they will bring along their culinary skills. The Hakka is well known for some of their dishes like yam pork, stuffed tofu, and fried rice, to name but a few. Located at mile four and a half North Road Sandakan, Taste is a restaurant that specialises in Hakka Clan style of preparing mouth watering Chinese dishes.
The Taste Chinese Restaurant is a well planned and well organised restaurant. Let’s start with the ordering system. Self-ordering is preferred here and it can be done on a simple piece of paper where all the dishes and drinks served here are listed. The main dishes are also divided into large and small portions. Just tick on the items that you want and pass it on to the waiters. Highly recommended dishes are the dark vinegar pork leg, steamed pork with salted fish, duck with sour plum sauce, pineapple with chicken and yam pork. Many vegetables dishes are also available.
Of late Kota Kinabalu (KK) not only attracts thousands of travellers to its shore daily for its natural wonders, but many of these visitors also find the local foods very tempting. Today it is not uncommon to see tourists with a map on hand to look for these popular eateries in downtown KK, some of them even go hopping from one eatery to another, in search of that perfect taste. Most of these eateries only concentrate at one or two particular hawker style foods. And these are not the big restaurants that specialise in certain cuisine. The food pricing here is from budget to moderate, surely every one can afford to try some of them if not all. These popular eateries are in downtown KK, will be introduced street by street (below).
Let’s start with the oldest street in KK, the famous Gaya Street which was known as Bond Street during the colonial era. Every Sunday this street will be closed for traffic where the Gaya Street Sunday Market will be held. Here many of the local traders will come and sell their produces and products.
Kedai Kopi Yee Fung
A good place to experience good tasty Chinese cuisine, yet keeping the wallet friendly is Diamond Restaurant. Popular dishes for Diamond Restaurant include the lemon chicken, steamed fish, pork chop Chinese style, ginger beef, and sweet & sour prawn, just to name a few here. Actually they have many more dishes for customers to choose from which consist of vegetables, soups, and meats. For seafood, clients can choose from prawn, crab, and cuttlefish. Apart from these dishes, Diamond fried noodles dry or wet which are also very popular, whether one chooses to dine in or take away. Like most other Chinese restaurants vermicelli and flat rice noodle (kui teoy) are also available. Diamond Restaurant was established in the early 70s, and KK Lites have been coming here for decades, while some of the local residents at the suburb of Luyang even grow up with this eatery. The older folks would have remembered that the restaurant was called Red Lantern, before changing to the present name in 1979.
For the last few decades Kota Kinabalu or KK in short has gradually developed into a seafood destination. With the high numbers of seafood restaurants in the city and suburbs, Kota Kinabalu is surely the best place for seafood on Borneo Island. While in town most tourists would take this opportunity to dine at a few seafood restaurants. Kampung Seri Selera, which is located right in the city and within walking distance from most parts of KK, is a convenient place for tourists and locals to enjoy a good seafood dinner. As many as four seafood restaurants are found here, so customers can expect to have some good bargain as well as a wide variety of seafood to choose from. Situated at a corner lot Suang Tain Seafood Restaurant which is also popularly known as Twinsky has been in business at the same location for almost three decades now. Here customers can choose from a large variety of sea produces which are kept at the rows of aquariums.
The choice for a good dining experience in Kudat town can be quite limited especially at night, since most of the shoplots would have closed for business by 6 pm and all the petrol stations in town will be closed by 8pm. Night life at Kudat is almost none existent. But if you do happen to end up at Kudat for an overnight trip do not be despaired, the Sungai Wang Seafood Restaurant at the New Tomborungus Township is a worth while restaurant to enjoy some really tasty seafood. The seafood in Kudat is of good quality as fishermen do bring in their daily catch. Sungai Wang Restaurant is also the main place for the Chinese Community to hold events like anniversary, baby shower, birthday and wedding.
The Sungai Wang Restaurant serves mostly Chinese cuisine with seafood as the main selection. Beef, chicken and pork are also available in the menu. Popular prawn dishes like steamed fresh prawn, dry and wet butter prawn, and spicy tiger prawn are favourites among the customers. Live ocean fishes are available too, normally these fishes are the most pricey items on the menu. The cost for seafood here is considered moderate if compared with those in Kota Kinabalu.