Category / East Malaysia
The one food that you absolutely must try when in Sabah is of course, their seafood. Situated by South China Sea, Kota Kinabalu is blessed with some of the best the ocean has to offer.
And when it comes to KK seafood, the locals definitely have their own list of restaurants they prefer – Welcome Seafood at Penampang is one of those places.
Welcome Seafood, at Penampang, Sabah
The restaurant is situated some 10 KM away from the city at this place called Fu Guan Industrial Centre. Parking can be a bit of a challenge especially on weekends as the place is almost always packed with locals looking for a good meal.
Modus operandi here isn’t too different from many other seafood restaurants – pick your fresh catch or live seafood, weigh them, and get the restaurant to prepare them in the cooking method of your choice.
clams, fresh shrimps, and steamed jewel garupa
Since it was just Ben and myself, we were pretty modest on our visit. We had live clams with leek and onion, steamed live prawns, and a portion of steamed deep sea jewel garupa with soya sauce.
When the seafood is of good quality, you want the preparation method to be as simple as possible to bring out the natural sweetness.
the coconut jelly is a must order too
True to Welcome Seafood and Sabah’s reputation, the meal was absolutely top notch. The seafood was fresh, and the value offered was very very hard to beat, all those for RM 124.00.
If you’re there, be sure to leave some stomach space for their coconut jelly too!
Welcome Seafood Restaurant
652, Jalan Penampang Lama,
Fu Guan Industrial Centre,
88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.926457, 116.094067
Tel: 016-623 2388
On my very first trip to Kota Kinabalu more than a dozen years ago on a business trip in my previous-previous job, my friend Ben, who is from KK, brought me to this one specific seafood noodle place that left a rather deep impression, and it’s been on my mind since.
Last week, I finally managed to re-visit the place – Fatt Kee Seafood Restaurant, for the second time in my life, also thanks to the same Ben.
Fatt Kee Seafood Noodle, Kota Kinabalu
I’m a fan of fish noodle of all sort, and have tried many versions over the years. At Klang Valley, some of you may know that I always visit B & Best, which offers a lot of different types of fishes and other fresh seafood to choose from, but in terms of uniqueness, I think Fatt Kee will have to take the cake, cos they offer one ingredient I can’t find anywhere else.
And the magic ingredient is – FISH SKIN.
Yes, at Fatt Kee, you can have fish skin with your fish noodle, in addition to fish ball, fish cake, fish fillets, fish head, and other goodies.
glorious seafood noodle, with fish skin!
Fish skin is this wonderful seafood that many may not have before without being attached to fish fillet, or the whole fish. The texture is soft, smooth, and about 5x tastier than other skin. At this place, they usually have either garupa skin or sharks skin available.
their fish cake is pretty on point too
As for rest of the bowl, I also really enjoy the tomato based soup, those thick meehun (mee available as well), deep fried fish meat/head and their crispy fried fish cake. Their homemade chili sauce is rather spicy in a good way too.
If you’re a fan of fish noodle, or seafood in general, you owe it to yourself to visit Fatt Kee when you find yourself at KK.
Fatt Kee Seafood Noodle
Lorong Hilltop, Taman Far East,
88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.950895, 116.092461
Tel: 016-824 8414
Hours: Breakfast through Supper
On our Mt. Kinabalu Hiking trip, we took the opportunity to dine at perhaps the most popular Kadazan restaurant in town on the last day of our visit. The reason is simple, D’Place is located at Kepayan Perdana, which is just a few minutes away from KK International Airport, most strategic place for dinner prior to flying back since KK traffic can get quite horrific and requires a bit of management at times.
Update 28/11/2016: Moved to 2.01&2.02 2nd floor, Plaza Shell, from 12/12/2016
D’Place Kinabalu, a short drive from KK Air Port
The restaurant itself is easy to miss if you’re not familiar with the area as it is actually located on upper floor and does not have very visible signage from the most common angles. Alas, we found it, and fortunately parking isn’t too big of a hassle.
Haze and I had the pleasure of having my colleagues Kelly & Zureen joined us for dinner, which made the occasion that much better.
part of Kadazan Set A
D’Place serves no pork, and while you can order each dishes separately, most people ended up with their sets.
We ordered Set A, Set B, and Gulu Gulu Set to be shared among the four of us. Each of the sets are priced at RM 20.90 and comes with a free traditional drink.
These are what the sets have:
- Pinasakan Bangusan
- Sayur Kampung
- Bambangan Om Tuhau
- Talur Masin
- Ikan Masin Masak Lada Putih
- Lada Belacan
- Sambal Ikan Masin
Set B is the same thing but with Basungan Guring in replacement of Pinasakan Bangusan
pinasakan basungan, linopot, sayur kampung etc
The Gulu Gulu Set has the following:
- Linopot Rice
- Bambangan, Tuhau
- Sayur Kampung
- Bosou/Nonsom Sada (fermented fish with rice)
- 1 Sup Pinasakan
- Sambal Belacan
- Ikan Masin Asam Limau
- Jantung Pisang Tumis
this is the gulu gulu set
Feel free to google on what these funny words mean and what the ingredients actually are. They mostly tastes slightly salty and sometimes slightly gamey though not in a bad way. The sambal was most excellent, and we did enjoy the various preparation of smallish fishes that went well with the rice served.
It was an certainly an interesting experience but at the same time it’s not difficult to see why the cuisine does not gain wide spread popularity. Personally I prefer Sinalau Bakas anytime.
Zureen, Kelly, KY, Haze
One thing that I do regret not trying is the sago worms (butod). You can have it here either alive or deep fried at RM 12.90 for 8 pieces. Since this is a delicacy in Kadazan cuisine, I’ll make sure I do that the next time!
D’Place Kapayan Perdana
Lot E36-2 Block E,
Kepayan Perdana Commercial Centre,
88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.919138, 116.062750
D’Place Kapayan Perdana
2.01&2.02 2nd floor, Plaza Shell
29, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman,
Pusat Bandar Kota Kinabalu,
88000 Kota Kinabalu
GPS: 5.977140, 116.074755
Tel: 016-833 2381
After getting down from the Mt. Kinabalu climb, we decided that the best course of rehab from all that physical exertion was spending a few nights at Kundasang. The area is close to 2000 meters above sea level with temperature that’s about 10-20 celsius, and a scenery worthy of postcards, so why not?
The only thing left to do then is, where do we go for dinner?
best non-halal meal to have near Kinabalu Park or Kundasang
So we consulted our mountain guide and they came up with the suggestion for 89 Station, which is conveniently located only about a kilometer from Kinabalu Park entrance, and coincidentally, also pretty close to our hotel – Nik Gold (which was an “ok” place to stay.)
89 Station is one of the few places that offers “tai chao” style dishes that features quite a variety of dishes, including wild boar, deer, ostrich, and more.
black pepper ostrich, clay pot beancurd, fish maw soup
The menu came in the form of a giant blackboard on the wall, and the server is pretty well-versed in Mandarin, Cantonese, English, and probably several other languages.
We went there twice for dinner, tried 5 dishes in total, including black pepper ostrich, clay pot beancurd, fish maw soup, wild boar with salted egg yolk, and yau mak vegetable. Prices are pretty reasonable at RM 10-15 per dish and portion is rather big as well (which is why we ordered only two dishes 2nd time around)
wild boar with salted egg, yau mak
Most importantly though, the quality of food is well above average. One thing though, if you haven’t had vegetables from Kundasang, you absolutely have to, they are crunchy, sweet, and really come close to those fancy imported Japanese produce you’d find in up class restaurants in KL.
The restaurant opens from about 9 or 10 am till 8pm (it gets dark much earlier in Sabah), so give it a try if you’re around the area.
89 Station Restaurant
AH 150 Highway
(1 km from Kinabalu Park Entrance)
Kundasang, 89308 Sabah
GPS: 5.999966, 116.546559
Tel: 08-888 1300
If you’re at Sabah traveling from Kota Kinabalu to the Kinabalu Park or Kundasang, the only sane ground road to get there involves driving a long stretch of winding hilly road that is a dream to any motorcyclist (especially those who’re stuck driving a beat up rental Perodua Viva).
On this road you’ll come across a few road side stalls that is really, really smokey, and that’s where you’ll find one of the must-try indigenous Dusun food for those who consume non-halal food – Sinalau Bakas.
Sinalau Bakas along AH 150 Highway in Sabah
In the local language, Sinalau Bakas translate to smoked wild boar, and the dish is simple as it sounds – slabs of marinated wild boar meat smoked on an open BBQ pit, with the operator usually flipping those glorious meat while squinting or seated on a small “bangku” fanning the wood fire below.
smoked wild boar sure is done with plenty of smoke
The meat is usually only transferred to direct heat for cooking once you make your order, which means you’ll get it freshly prepared, and that usually involves some wait time of 10-15 minutes or longer.
As some say – if you wait for the food, it’s gonna be great, if the food waits for you, well…
this was our ten Ringgit’s worth of wild boar meat
The meat is very spicy in a traditional herbal way while not overly tough like you’d expect from wild boar. Get chunks with a fattier cut if you like it more tender. Sinalau Bakas is also served with traditional chili sauce that gives it a bit more kick. I actually found it overall to be rather tasty and we finished everything despite having a slightly leaner cut.
KY & Haze enjoying some wholesome wild boar meat
There’s no actual address for this place, but the GPS location below should help. You’re in better luck than me when I was asking Elfie the Sabahan girl where I could find these stalls!
P/S: and yes, I will be writing the long overdue Kinabalu Mountain Climbing post soon.
Sinalau Bakas stalls
Along AH 150 Highway,
about half way from Tuaran to Kinabalu Park
GPS: 6.107336, 116.367638
Hours: late morning to after lunch, not regular