Category / East Malaysia
Kota Kinabalu, and many parts of East Malaysia for that matter, is famous for its seafood, and there are many restaurants to choose from. For a visitor, this can get pretty tricky as there are always those TSH (tourist slaughtering house) that one should avoid.
So on my trip to KK last year, I got the help from locals to suggest a good seafood meal. When both Joyce and Ben agreed that New Gaya Seafood is the destination fit for purpose, it surely can’t go wrong.
New Gaya Seafood at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Unlike some of the fancier seafood restaurants in the city, New Gaya is relatively plain. There’s no cultural dance or elaborate interior decorations, but there’s plenty of live seafood to choose from, with simple dining area that’s complete with plastic chairs and relatively tired looking tablecloths.
We’re here for the food though, and so long it’s relatively clean, who cares?
Sabah vegetable, ostrich meat, tofu in hotplate
To start with, we have something green in the form of Sabah vegetable (RM 12). While seafood is the main topic, if you’re in Sabah, you gotta order this. The vegetable has a very distinct sweetness that is absent in those you find in Peninsular, I highly recommend this.
Then there’s ostrich meat (RM 20) and tofu in hot plate (RM 20) to complete our non-seafood trio. All these dishes were very good and go along well with the garlic rice (RM 10 for 5pax) we ordered.
fresh prawns and clams
Then came the seafood.
We started out with 1 kg of live prawns (RM 48). To enjoy the freshness of these prawns in its most unadulterated form, we have them steamed. It was so succulent and full of seafood sweetness, it really is the best way to enjoy these prawns.
Then we had those thick shelled clams (RM 26/kg) prepared with minimal fuss – garlic and chives. Sweet and juicy.
steamed garoupa, more clams, soft shell crab, mud crab
Our most expensive dish of the night was the 1 kg steamed garoupa with superior soya sauce (RM 90), as with everything else, freshness is key and this fish was alive prior to us ordering. I think that garoupa at this weight is pretty much perfect when it comes to the texture of the meat.
We also had the shellfish (RM 22 per kg) that you eat by twisting out the meat with a pick. This was steamed and went really well with the supplied condiment.
these were not all the dishes we shared at New Gaya
No seafood dinner is complete without crabs, and for this purpose we had 1 kg of deep fried soft shell crab (RM 78) and another kg of mud crab (RM 38) prepared with salted egg yolk. These dishes did not disappoint either, though I probably like the mud crab to be prepared a little less dry or perhaps have them baked or steamed instead.
Joyce, KY, Maha, Raj, Ben, Choo, Michelle, Vicky
Overall it was a great dinner with very good company to boot, we ended up splitting the bill at just over RM 50 per person. If you happen to go to KK, eat where the locals choose to eat and you won’t be disappointed. New Gaya seafood is definitely one of those destinations.
New Gaya Seafood Restaurant
Lot A & B, Wisma Lucky Centre, Jalan Kianson,
88450 Inanam, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.988415, 116.138549
Tel: 088-385 020
Hours: 11:30am – 2pm; 5pm – 10pm
In my previous work assignment at KK, I was fortunate enough to have awesome friends sending me to dinners every night. On one of the nights, Nelson, my biking buddy whom I never biked together with, brought me to one of the more popular Sang Yuk Mian places in town – Jia Xiang Sang Yuk Mian (家香生肉面)
Jia Xiang Sang Yuk Mian at Lintas, Kota Kinabalu
Jia Xiang is located at Lintas, some 10 minutes away from the heart of Kota Kinabalu. The restaurant is opened pretty much the whole day, with a host of rather efficient Philippine workers preparing the various dishes.
For those who aren’t familiar with Sang Yuk Mian, it is basically Sabah’s version of pork noodle. Sang Yuk directly translate to raw pork, as the slices of raw pork are cooked just before serving.
dry version of sang yuk mian, with mixed innards
Much like pork noodle in other places, there’s dry and soup versions, and both comes with soup that includes pork slices, liver, lard, pork ball, and other types of innards. The dry version also has some minced pork sprinkled on top of the noodle.
The noodle used here (at least at Jia Xiang) is a type that’s quite similar to Japanese soba and thus carry a better texture to it. The dark sauce also gave it a richer flavor.
soup version of sang yuk mian, I love the chilli sauce
Above all though, what I really enjoyed about sang yuk mian is the chili sauce that comes with the noodle soup, I find it very aromatic and packs a punch. In fact, I wish I can buy some of these chili sauce that’s so common in KK but seemingly unavailable in Klang Valley.
If you’re a fan of pork noodle, give this a try when you’re in KK, there aren’t many other better ways to spend RM 7.
I’d like to thank Nelson for introducing me to this place, he also took me to the pyramid chicken rice place, good times!
Jia Xiang Sang Yuk Mian
Lorong Lintas Plaza
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.946552, 116.089308
A week or so ago I went to KK for a short working trip. Of the many places my career brought me, KK has always been one of my favorite spots, so I was glad that I had the chance to visit the city again after some 7-8 years since I last stepped foot on it.
I was incredibly blessed to have awesome friends from KK for brought me to lunches and dinners while I was there the entire time. After all, you can’t get any better than having local food guides who knows the city in and out.
Wiya Nasi Ayam dan Kedai Kopi, Kota Kinabalu
On the second day, Nelson, whom I got to know through some weird circumstances revolving a possible purchase of Aprilia motorcycle suspension (you can meet people from all sorts of settings kan?), came to my office and took me to the best chicken rice stall in KK for for lunch at Wiya Nasi Ayam dan Kedai Kopi.
steamed chicken, charsiu, and the unique pyramid shaped rice
Since there were only two of us, we ordered the steamed chicken and chasiu (bbq pork) with a side of vegetable to go with some rice.
The chicken rice here is served in a distinctive pyramid shape, which was kinda cute though it doesn’t contribute to the way it tastes, obviously. The steamed chicken though, was smooth and quite delicious, with the chasiu tasting pretty decent as well.
As for the often neglected vitamin C entry, this vegetable dish was rather good. In fact, over my stay at KK I’ve found that the vegetable here tasted so much fresher, crunchier, and juicier than their peninsular counterpart.
For those who complains about the lack of good hawker food in KK, this is one place to check out. Thank you Nelson!
Wiya Nasi Ayam dan Kedai Kopi
Block F, Lot 4,
Jalan Padas, 88000,
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.983967, 116.074422
Tel: 088-214 378
Just got back from Redang island for Project AWARE + diving trip. 2010 is now officially a diving year for me since this has turned out to be the 5th diving trip of the year after Sipadan/Mabul, 2 trips to Tenggol, and a previous trip to Redang in June.
Haze, Joel, Wan Czin, Yuki, Horng, Ian, Irene, Vinn, Zess, Gabriel, Terence, KY
Project AWARE is also known by the less glamourous name of International Cleanup Day whereby beach enthusiasts all over the world come together and basically spend a morning clearing up a section of beach from things that shouldn’t be there.
Our group managed to picked up some 500+ cigarette buds from just one small stretch of beach in front of a resort, and there were 5 other teams that picked up similar amount of ciggy buds and other junks too. One other interesting thing we picked up, among ropes/bottle caps/slippers/etc was a piece of soiled underwear :S
Project AWARE is usually partly sponsored by the resort, and hence we also scored 3 dives at a reduced rate. However, the visibility weren’t great, and our instructor too were reluctant to take us to some of the more interesting/challenging sites due to the larger amount of divers on each trip. This was actually my 2nd participation of Project AWARE, with the previous one all the way back in 2004 at Redang, my 2nd dive trip.
After this trip, I now logged 45 dives in total, with 31 of them from this year and 14 from 2004.
Since this is a space is sorta known as a food blog, I shall also introduce the best 3 layer tea from this side of Malaysia – the little kopitiam at Redang Beach Resort manned by an uncle. The blend of evaporated milk, tea, and palm sugar’s perfect! The lor mai kai (steamed glutinous chicken rice) is pretty awesome too!
As for accommodation, we stayed at Pelangi resort, which in my opinion is a bit better than Redang Beach resort. There’s attached toilet on each room instead of communal hostel style arrangement, for example. Food wise they’re both similarly sad though.
There’ll be a bit more on this trip in the coming post(s), but in the mean time, please help complete the survey on Shark’s fin on the side bar on your right. I need the information for an upcoming post, thanks!
I didn’t know I was going on my 3rd diving trip this 2-6 February until about a month ago.
It was Irene who mentioned that she’s going to Mabul/Sipadan with her sisters and 2 other guys, since she sounds like a crazy person who is fun to hang out with, I decided to tag along despite not having met anyone face to face prior to this trip, Irene including.
rather refreshing to be flying a non-budget airline for once
So I logged into both AirAsia and MAS for flights to Tawau and decided to take the non-budget route since the price difference was not more than 10% in this case.
RM 434 paid for the return fare, including 20kg luggage allowance, pretty delicious meal (the nasi lemak is just as good as those served on Air Asia, and comes with Ferrero Roche too).
Tawau to Semporna, at Dragon Inn
When I reached Tawau at 11+ in the morning, Irene, Lynn, Jen, Chan, and Gun had already been waiting there for some three hours after flying from KK. We chartered a van (RM 250 both ways) to our destination for the day – Semporna.
The 90+ km journey from Tawau (nearest airport) to Semporna took just over an hour. Instead of lush pristine Borneo jungle that I had envisioned, it we were greeted with rows upon rows of palm trees with the occasional village houses instead. Not a whole lot of visual treatment going on.
Semporna, at the lion’s lower jaw
Semporna is often the stopover town for divers and travelers alike heading to Mabul/Sipadan islands. Located at the southeastern corner of Sabah (the lion’s lower jaw), Semporna has a population just over 100k, with a rather tiny town center that isn’t even as big as SS2 in PJ. You could walk the whole downtown area in 15 minutes or so.
the view from Dragon Inn Floating Resort
We checked into Dragon Inn Floating Resort to spend the night. Since there were 6 of us, we chose the dormitory style accommodation for the night to give everyone a chance to chill together. At RM 20 per person per night it was really cheap, but unfortunately the lack of air conditioning proved to be a major problem not for being too warm, but for having too many mosquitos making a feast of us.
Speaking of mosquitos, here’s quiz from Lynn (answer at the bottom of the page): What’s the difference between a mosquito and a fly?
Umai – a traditional Sarawakian delight
Irene brought a packet of Umai all the way from Kuching for me (thank you very much!).
Umai is a traditional Sawarakian food that is best described as a sort of raw fish salad. A packet of raw fish (white fish) that is pre-marinated with lime juice and onion that is served by mixing with red chili, fresh lime juice, and probably some salt and pepper.
Give it a few tosses ala yee sang style and you’re ready to roll. It was actually quite refreshing, kinda like the cross of Japanese salad and Chinese yee sang but with a heavy lime juice taste and a hint of spiciness. I liked it and would try a fresh version when I find myself at Sarawak next time.
dinner at the restaurant by the bridge
For dinner, we took a short walk from the resort and settled upon the little restaurant by the bridge that connects town center and the resort. The vegetable was okay, spicy squid rather tasty, and the venison somewhat tough and forgettable.
We sat under the sky with a gentle breeze brushing our hair, waiting for the next day’s diving excursion at Mabul and couldn’t care less if dinner wasn’t exactly impressive. It was less than RM10 per pax anyway.
Next up – Mabul island.
Answer to Lynn’s quiz: A mosquito can fly but a fly cannot mosquito!