It was a span of almost half a year since my last work trip to Kota Kinabalu, and I believe anyone would know that this was due to the Covid-19 lock down (2020, what a year huh?).
I had only two meals to dine out on this stopover, dinner was at one of my favorite restaurants in KK – Tung Fong Seafood, and for next day’s lunch, I met up with Ben and was introduced to this new-ish fish noodle place by the name of GK Fish Soup.
fresh fish head vs fried fish ‘lam’
The operation has only been around for about 7 months, it is located about 10 minutes away from city center and can be slightly tricky to find – but if you thought you end up at light industrial area with lots of car workshops, then you’ve reached the right place.
Menu is a simple one page affair – you get to have fish filet, lam ikan (fish stomach), sirip ikan (tails), mix ikan, or kepala ikan (fish head) either fried, or fresh. Soup base can be either peria (bitter gourd), tomato, hamchoi (salted vege), or tomyam.
Ben had fresh fish head and I ordered fried fish stomach with tomato soup, partly due to us being late in arrival (almost noon) and ran out of other options. The seafood were prepared just right, and of top quality, something that I now came to expect at this part of Malaysia. The soup too was packed with flavor and I especially enjoyed the cili paste that was served alongside. This was a good departure as some of the other places often serve subpar condiment (looking at you, Fatt Kee), or have it ultra limited (hello Madam Ing).
GK fish soup, plenty of social distancing
Priced at RM 10 – 18, it offers rather good value. There’s plenty of seafood in a bowl, but portion of meehun can be a bit on the low side, which suits me but not everyone. I am going to come back here again for sure.
Address: GK Fish Soup 23, Lorong Nosoob Jaya 1, Taman Nosoob Jaya, 88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.931134, 116.075720
Fish noodle is one of my favorite noodle dishes ever, and being situated by the coast with access to great ocean haul and a knack for making the best out of these sea bounty, it’s not secret that Kota Kinabalu offers some of the best seafood noodle restaurants.
jewel garupa soup, with kanlau mian on the side
A few weeks ago, during one of my now almost routine visit to this East Malaysian city, we got the opportunity to check out one of the more “hidden” fish noodle restaurants by the name of Notung Kusan Cafe, sometimes also known as Seafood Ah Huat.
The restaurant has just recently moved from a household set up to a proper shop lot situated at Dongongan, just a stone’s throw away from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Do check to make sure you’re not routing to their old location if you decided to visit this place (use the GPS info below).
Notung Kusan Cafe Mihun Soup, Kota Kinabalu
There are a few options to choose from when it comes to noodle, we picked kon lou mee (dry noodle), to go with fresh fish slices, jewel garupa was available so we went for that. There’s also fish stomach, fish egg, and fish head if that’s what you crave.
The portion for two pax (RM 35) was huge and came with loads of thick cut super fresh fish fillet that’s cooked so the texture was just right – soft, almost crumpling on first bite but not in an “unfresh” sort of way. I really love it.
The tomato soup base was quite subtle, but takes on the sweetness of seafood itself, a plus point if you ask me. The dry noodle too was properly seasoned and I thought compliment the seafood quite well.
super fresh chunky fish fillet, awesome fish skin too
I think this has just became my favorite fish noodle place in KK right now, they open from morning till around lunch time, and I’ve heard that they may close whenever there’s no fresh fish or when owner goes out fishing. Do try to call in to avoid disappointment.
For availability, Fatt Kee is the one to go, they’re pretty good and open all the time.
Most everyone knows that Kota Kinabalu, being located by the crystal clear and beautiful South China Sea, is famous for seafood when it comes to .. well, food. One of the ways to enjoy this sea bounty without having to bring a crowd to a seafood restaurant is by heading to one the few fish noodle restaurants in the city.
Today, we look at one of the more famous shops – Restoran Wan Wan.
Wan Wan fish noodle, Kota Kinabalu
Wan Wan is located at Bundusan, some 15 minutes away from the city center, which coincidentally, is also nearby another one of my favorite seafood restaurants – the original branch of Welcome Seafood.
Parking isn’t an issue in this part of tow, and being only some 12 mins away from airport, it’s not a bad idea for pre-flight meal, which was what I did.
Wan Wan runs a bit of a self-service kinda operations. While you do get to order from the server and have the food served to your table, you do have to get condiments and cutlery DIY style.
home made noodle with chunky fish fillet
For lunch, I chose jewel garupa with extra fish skin to go with their version of dry noodle.
The fish were certainly worthy to be labeled “KK standard”, fresh, succulent, and certainly super fresh tasting. At Wan Wan they do it super thick cuts too, which I thought retains more of the fish’s own juiciness. The “kan lou” noodle was springy and makes for good companion to the seafood for sure. Soup was packed with seafood sweetness, with very minor tomato note, quite different the stronger tasting Fatt Kee, but rather nice in its own way.
For those who likes it spicy, there’s tomyam soup base, and of course there are prawns, and quite a few other choices of fish to choose, there’s even fish paste noodle too.
jewel garupa is always one of my favorites
If you love fish noodle and likes your fish chunky, this is certainly a place to check out.
Address: Wan Wan Fish Noodle Lorong Bundusan, Hsk Industrial Centre, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.924120, 116.092525 Tel: 088-716 698 Hours: 6:30 am to 2:30 pm, close on Tuesdays
On my last work trip to KK, my buddy Yann May suggested that dinner should come in the form of chicken wings. I like chicken skin, and wings has the most skin, so, why not?
And that’s how we got ourselves to Lido Square at Lintas.
Lido Square, Lintas, Kota Kinabalu
Lido Square is this huge food court situated about 15 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu city center. Like most food courts, there are dozens of different stalls offering a wide variety of dishes, many of these are pork free, but some aren’t. If halal food is a must, choose wisely.
We ended up having more than just chicken wings, of course.
The highlight, for me at least, would be those big cockles – RM 10 for half a kilo if you have them boiled, or RM 15 if fried. These cockles are several times larger than those you typically find in Klang Valley – only 9 pieces for half a kilo. They were absolutely on point and delicious! I love it, the lady doesn’t eat cockles, hmph.
May approves of the stingray, but maybe not cockles!
The ikan pari (stingray, RM 25) was properly grilled and rather tasty as well. The fish was fresh, and prepared to a texture that lets you chew down 90% of the cartilage. We enjoyed the fish quite a bit.
melvic chicken wings is the “brand” to go
Then there’s we came for – MELVIC chicken wings. That took quite a wait as the stall is almost always pretty busy.
The wings were nice, sweet with all its honey goodness, and made better with a squeeze of limau on top as well. These are comparable with some of the best wings in KL too.
the popiah is a bit of a disappointment
If you’re a fan of popiah, I can safely say that you may want to skip the version here in KK. Their “Northern style popiah” is almost acceptable, but the Lido style popiah was just a blend of thick popiah skin with not much else to shout about. I’ll avoid.
Other things worth checking out would be the freshly made mochi, and those steamed soup. Plenty of stalls we had no stomach space to try, perhaps next time!
Address: Lido Square Jalan Penampang, Lido Square, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.943246, 116.081579 Hours: 7:30 am to 11:30 pm
Another Kota Kinabalu’s favorite is apparently their beef noodle, and for whatever reasons, it took me quite a while before my first try, I suppose it has to do with beef noodle being quite readily accessible in Klang Valley, unlike some of the other more unique dishes (Tuaran mee, for example)
Kah Hiong Ngiu Chap, Hilltop, Kota Kinabalu
And when it comes to beef noodle in Kota Kinabalu, the name I’ve always hear about is Kah Hiong Ngiu Chap. So I made a stop to give it a try just before heading to airport on one of my many KK trips, and it was worth it.
Kah Hiong is located at Hilltop (and quite a few other locations), a stone’s throw away from the popular Fatt Kee seafood noodle, and just around 10+ minutes away from the city center.
Ngau Chap Mee Kan Lao
There’s quite a selection of different combinations to be had here, mixed beef soup with rice, with noodle, beef stew, beef balls, sliced meat, or you can pick your ingredients of beef heart, liver, beef balls, tripe, tendon, tongue, and so on.
I ordered the Ngau Chap Mee Kan Lao – mixed beef soup with dry noodle (mee + meehun) as recommended by the server.
tendon, beef ball, innards, what’s not to love?
I did find that the soup base was perhaps just a tad saltier than I’d have liked, but the ingredients were cooked to perfection. Innards were soft, meat was tender, and those tendon were fantastic. I’d definitely order mine with extra tendon next time around.
While there are some very good beef noodle here in KL, this KK version stands on its own and offer a pretty unique taste. I like it.