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.
Ever have cravings for meat dumplings and ikan bakar at the same time? Well, Kota Kinabalu apparently has enough people who have this unique combo from time to time to warrant a few of these gyoza + grilled fish restaurants.
Today let’s look at one of the most popular of them – Kedai Kopi New Mui Vui.
Restoran New Mui Vui, Kota Kinabalu
New Mui Vui restaurant is located at Hilltop, some 10 minutes away from the heart of Kota Kinabalu, and a stone’s throw from one of the most popular tomato soup fish noodle in town – Fatt Kee (it’s good, check it out!)
Like many local eateries in this part of the country, service isn’t looked at as an area of emphasis, so don’t take anything personally. Overall however, the restaurant is comfortable enough, and hygiene is passable.
gyoza, seafood fried rice
The restaurant serves gyoza, grilled fish/squid/lamb/beef, fried chicken wings/quails, as well as a fried rice and a selection of different noodle. Do note that your dishes may not come all at the same time. Menu is linked below.
We ordered those dumplings to go with a plate of seafood fried rice, as well as grilled stingray and squid for dinner.
ikan pari bakar, sotong bakar
Those grilled fish and squid were actually pretty good, even though the chili sauce it came with wasn’t much to shout about. Fried rice too was rather delicious, as most seafood ingredients from KK are of rather good quality. The gyoza however, was pretty subpar if you ask me, but if you’re in KK and long for gyoza, this is one of the few places you can get some, so I guess it’s… OK-ish?
Next time I may just have chicken wings instead of gyoza.
Before we start, I have a confession. I must admit that of the various ASEAN countries I’ve visited (all except Laos & Cambodia), Filipino food is ranked pretty low on the index of cuisine that gets me excited.
That being said, it is always important to keep an open mind, so when my Kota Kinabalu makan buddy suggested that we try Tambayan at Kainang Filipino for dinner, I thought, why not? Maybe 5th time is the charm.
After that initial time, I’ve since returned to the place twice, I’m sort of a convert.
Tortang Talong, Pinakbet, Pork Adobo
Tambayan at Kainang Filipino is located at Api Api Centre, a commercial area at the capital city of Sabah just a short walk away from Marriott & Prominade hotel. The restaurant itself isn’t particularly fancy and usually not overly crowded.
The menu (check the pics below) is pretty extensive for a restaurant this size, there are set meals, noodle, pasta, single rice dish, as well as various cook-to-order dishes separated into different categories of pork, soup, beef, vegetable, seafood, and so on.
dinner for two on different visits
Over the different visits, I’ve tried their pork adobo (RM 12.80), sinigang shrimp (a sour soup, RM 12.80), lechon kawali (crispy pork loin RM 10.80), pinakbet (mixed vege, RM 8.80), ampalaya con carne (stirfry bitter gourd, RM 8.80), and tortang talong (eggplant omelette RM 8.80).
The adobo were quite flavorful, with the sauce carrying a bit of sourish taste that was also rather savory, vege dishes comes with a strong dose of fish sauce and are generally quite well cooked, I enjoyed them quite a bit.
As for crispy pork, I do feel that this is less crunchy and perhaps does not carry that sodium goodness compared to our Chinese siu yok.
However, the dish that I ended up always ordering is that awesome eggplant omelette. It is basically just your basic purple colored eggplant sliced open and have a fried egg engulfing the whole thing, wouldn’t have expected it to taste so good!
with my KK makan buddy
So if you’re at KK and have an open mind to trying out food that’s of lesser popularity in Malaysia, head to Tambayan at Kainang Filipino. You may like it, you may not, but it’ll be a different gastronomical journey nonetheless.
Address: Tambayan At Kainang Filipino Block 3, Ground Floor, Api-api Centre, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.975185, 116.070327 Tel: 016-818 2008 Hours: 12.00 pm – 12.00 am