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Category / East Malaysia

I think I’ve just found my favorite restaurant at Kota Kinabalu for dinner, and yes, it does have seafood like any other “tai chao” places in Sabah, but no, it’s not one of your typical big seafood restaurants in North Borneo.

Of course, we’re talking about Tung Fong Seafood at Inanam.

steamed garupa, fish lips, paku pakis with sambal
steamed garupa, fish lips, paku pakis with sambal

For those who aren’t familiar with this area, Inanam is located about 10 km away from KK city center, and you’ll be right to say that this area is mostly frequented by only by locals, Chinese or Korean tourists can’t be found here.

One of my favorite Tuaran mee is also found at this suburb – Tuaran Mee Restaurant.

The restaurant is pork free, and they have their menu hooked up on the wall ala billboard style for your convenience (see below). While carrying a variety of typical Chinese taichao dishes, the claim of fame for Tung Fong is their fish dishes.

You basically pick the type of fish/seafood you want – from garupa, green wrasse, giant garupa, sea carp, to fish lips, innards, and sea cucumber; then pair it with the preparation method of  your choice – braised, onion ginger, scallion oil, rice wine, or black bean.

braised, steamed, or lips?
braised, steamed, or lips?

I’ve already been to this place three times on the past three trips to the city.

Had two different types of garupa as well as the rather interesting fish lips. The fish here are so, so, so good! Fresh, flavorful, and prepared with seasoning that doesn’t take away the natural flavor of these seafood. They’re simply addictive.

the other accompanying dishes were good too
the other accompanying dishes were good too

The vegetable dish here are typical of Sabah standard, sweet, crunchy, and fresh. They also serve a side of tomato soup as standard, and these tasted pretty much like Fatt Kee’s fish noodle soup.

If you’re at Sabah, do yourself a favor and check this place out. Expect to spend some RM 30-40 per pax for some good seafood.

Tung Fong Seafood Restaurant map, Kota Kinabalu

menu at tung fong seafood restaurant, KK

Address:
Tung Fong Seafood Restaurant
Mile 6, Jalan Tuaran, Inanam,
88400 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.991707, 116.132074
Tel: 012-801 1336

In North Borneo, the most often talked about hawker dish by visitors is undoubtedly fish noodle, and justifiably so due to the abundance of great seafood here. However, for the locals, often times a good plate of Tuaran Mee is where it’s at.

Tuaran Mee Restoran, Inanam, Kota Kinabalu
Tuaran Mee Restoran, Inanam, Kota Kinabalu

For those who’re not familiar, Tuaran Mee is a type of noodle originally hailed from Tuaran, the district just north of Kota Kinabalu. The noodle carries a texture that’s unique to its own, which I can only describe as having a springy texture almost but not entirely alike a mixture between yee mee and kolo mee.

I really like it, and think it’s about time someone introduce this to the West Malaysia scene.

Without driving up to Tuaran, one restaurant that offers a unique take on this dish is none other than the aptly named Tuaran Mee Restoran at Inanam, located some 15 minutes away from the city center.

The menu is found hung on the wall and giving diners a choice of noodle that are fried, in soup, or even in claypot. You then pick the different ingredients of choice – seafood, beef, or pork.

seafood Tuaran mee with lehing, love it!
seafood Tuaran mee with lehing, love it!

Most interestingly though, you get to add Lehing, the locally produced alcohol.

For obvious reasons, I had my Tuaran mee with seafood and Lehing, resulting in a dish that had that extra sweetness from the extra dash of forbidden condiment. The seafood was competent, and I thought I really enjoyed the accompanying chili sauce as well. I’d recommend this to anyone.

seafood meehun soup
seafood meehun soup

My lunch partner had meehun soup with seafood that came with plenty of those fresh vegetable that Sabah is known for and reportedly happy with her decision as well. It was a good meal, and I think I’d be back there again hopefully in not too distant future.

tuaran mee restoran map

Address:
Tuaran Mee Restoran
mile 6, Jalan Tuaran, Inanam,
88450 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.993625, 116.129537

When it comes to hawker dishes in Sabah, the most famous of them all is none other than north Borneo’s very own version of pork noodle – Sang Nyuk Mian (生肉面), or raw pork noodle in Hakka, the most spoken Chinese dialect this part of Malaysia.

Melanian Sang Yuk Mian, Kota Kinabalu
Melanian Sang Nyuk Mian, Kota Kinabalu

To be honest, the difference between this and the KL version isn’t particularly huge. While pork noodle usually comes with kuih teow, yellow noodle, meehun, or mee suah, sang nyuk mian usually has their own version of noodle that is slightly more refined and perhaps a little closer in texture to Japanese soba.

The other reason this being called the equivalent of “raw pork noodle” is the method in which it’s prepared, usually with raw pork slices and offal made to order, thus ensuring freshness and to retain the soft texture.

There are usually two versions to choose from – “kon lou”, or dry version comes with noodle being mixed in dark sauce and the porky goodness in soup, or soup version having the noodle and porky bits all in the same bowl.

Sang Yuk Mian with extra pork kidney
Sang Nyuk Mian with extra pork kidney

If you find yourself at KK town, one of the places to try out his famous local dish would be at Melanian 3 kopitiam, a short walk away from the city center.

Over here you can get a bowl of Sang Nyuk Mian anywhere from RM 7.50 to RM 11 based on the ingredients – pork slices, kidney, tendon, liver, pork ball, intestine, and even heart.

pork kidney, liver, intestine, pork ball, meat slices
pork kidney, liver, intestine, pork ball, meat slices

I had mine with extra pork kidney but otherwise a standard dry version with inclusion of liver, intestine, pork slices, and pork ball.

The soup was more subtle but still sweet and flavorful, and true to its intention, the meat & offal were fresh and soft, but above all, I really like the texture of the noodle used in this version compared to KL’s. Definitely something to try when you find yourself in KK.

map to Melanian Sang Nyuk Mian, Kota Kinabalu

 

Address:
Melanian Sang Nyuk Mian
21, Lorong Lintas Square, Lintas Plaza,
88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.984318, 116.076363
Hours: 6:30 am to 4:30 pm daily

While Sarawakian street food has been making its way to Klang Valley, Sabah hawker fair is still largely confined to Northern Borneo. So if you find yourself at Sabah, one of the dishes you should definitely try is Tuaran Mee.

Kentin Bakut, Sabah
Kentin Bakut, Sabah 

Tuaran mee is a type of noodle originated from Tuaran, located some 30 kilometers away from Kota Kinabalu. While the original version that comes with chicken, meat, or seafood is plenty good, my favorite has got to be the version served up at Kentin Bakut – specifically their Fried Tomyam Tuaran Mee.

Kentin Bakut is some 25 or so kilometers from town, but conveniently it is situated along Jalan Tuaran Bypass, the road that you would take going from KK town to Kundasang, and if you’re going to KK, you should visit Kundasang anyway, so this place makes a good natural food/rest stop.

Fried Tomyam Tuaran Mee
fried tomyam Tuaran mee

Kentin Bakut actually serves quite a number of different dishes, they have fried rice, hor fun, mee hun soup, kon lou mee, and even bitter gourd soup with fish fillet.

But if you have only space for one meal, make it the fried tomyam tuaran mee. Yeap, it is as you would expect, the unique springy texture and flavor of tuaran mee packed with  spicy tomyam paste, expertly fried with charred bits plus those prawns and deep fried fish filet makes for a plate of rather unique goodness I’ve never had from anywhere else. Remember to squeeze the lime for that extra kick as well, it’s good! So good I would drive that distance just to have it.

seafood tomyam meehun
seafood tomyam meehun

I also tried their seafood tomyam meehun, which did not disappoint either. Spicy tomyam with fresh Sabah seafood, you can’t really go wrong here.

The dishes cost RM 7.50 and RM 8 each, and yes, I’m going to go over again when I have a chance. This place is pork free and you fit for Muslim friends.

map to kentin bakut, Sabah

Address:
Kentin Bakut
KM28.7, Jalan Tuaran,
Kampung Bakut,
89208 Tuaran, Sabah
GPS: 6.133141, 116.215213
Tel088-788 593
Hours: 6:30 am – 3 pm

Kota Kinabalu has always been known for their seafood, undoubtedly due to its location as well as the local’s preference in how they get their protein. Since I’m a fan of fish noodle in general, I do make it a mission to try the various offerings they have on this North Borneo town.

One of the latest places I got a chance to check out was Mdm Ing Fish Noodle at Jalan Penampang.

Madam Ing fish noodle, Kota Kinabalu
Madam Ing fish noodle, Kota Kinabalu

The restaurant is located about 15 minutes away from town by car, so you would definitely need a ride to get there. Parking isn’t an overly complex exercise at the area, much like most places at KK. However, on weekends, there’s usually a crowd so locating a table may require a bit of patience.

Mdm Ing offers quite a variety of ingredients and choices revolving around fish, you can have it with fish slice, fish innards, fish stomach, roe, skin, fish head, fish tail, fish face, mouth, and more.. yes, fish face! The prices range from RM 10 to RM 26 and up, if you go crazy with it.

They serve garupa, red snapper, tabong, and kakap fish. As for soup base, you get to choose between tomato with salted vege and tofu, bitter gourd, with milk, or clear soup. Then of course there’s yur choice of mee, meehun, mee suah, or kuih teow.

mdm Ing fish noodle with salted vege and tofu soup
mdm Ing fish noodle with salted vege and tofu soup

I had mine with fish slices in salted vegetable and tofu soup. The bowl comes with quite a generous amount of fish and a couple slices of fish cake soaked in the soup base that reminds me of salted vege/tofu soup that mom used to make.

The seafood was fresh, but the thing that stood out from other such outlets in KK was the sambal at Mdm Ing. It carries quite a bit more kick, and with a squeeze of limau kasturi it was also very refreshing.

garupa fish fillet, and their "sambal"
garupa fish fillet, and their “sambal”

I think I do owe it to myself to try some of the more exotic ingredients when this place has to offer on my next visit.

Thanks Yann May for being my ride there!

You can also check out Fatt Kee and TaukeFish if you’re into fish noodle at Kota Kinabalu.

map to Madam Ing fish noodle

Address:
Madam Ing Fish Noodle
29-34, Jalan Penampang,
Towering Industry Centre,
88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS5.930958, 116.085221
Tel016-831 8726