Part of my responsibilities at work involves traveling to Kota Kinabalu at Sabah. That’s mighty fine by me since it is probably my top 3 cities in Malaysia, the other two being Penang and KL.
Kota Kinabalu has it all, crystal clear ocean minutes away from the city, Mount Kinabalu, rich local culture, and just maybe too many Chinese and Korean tourists these days.
Ah Chee Tom Yam, at Kota Kinabalu
Anyway, since I happen to be at KK more often these days, I make it a point to explore the local food offerings. On my last trip, as I was looking for lunch options upon checking in the hotel, I found Ah Chee Tom Yam by chance.
Ah Chee Tom Yam is located just a few doors’ down from the famous Wiya Chicken Rice, the restaurant offers a rather simple menu with a choice of tomyam prawn meehun, Sarawak laksa with prawn, Prawn mee with rice wine, and Thai style chicken feet.
Ah Chee Tom Yam – meehun with fresh prawns
For obvious reasons, I tried the Tomyam meehun, which comes with 5 pieces of fresh tasting saltwater prawns properly peeled and cooked just right. Most importantly, the tomyam soup was rich and fragrant by without being overly spicy. The star of the bowl though was the prawns, they were sweet and definitely worth the RM 11 or so asking price for a bowl.
If you find yourself in KK town, this is one worthy place for a quick meal, oh, it’s completely pork free too.
Address: Ah Chee Tom Yam Lorong Segama, Pusat Bandar Kota Kinabalu, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.983448, 116.075227
Being from a somewhat typical family in Penang, I’m no stranger to Nyonya style cooking, this is mostly due to the fact that Baba-Nyonya cuisine shares many similar recipes to Penang Hokkien dishes.
So when we were at Baba Nyonya Restaurant in Avenue K, I had certain expectations on what they should be able to cook up.
Baba Nyonya, Avenue K, with my dining partners
The restaurant is located at the same level with the LRT station, with an interior decor that is pretty tastefully done, catering to mostly 2-4 people per table, though larger crowd can be arranged, to a certain extend.
The menu offers quite a variety of dishes, with selections from individual noodle or “daily plates”, as well as ala-carte entries to be eaten with steamed rice with a group of your favorite buddies, which was what we mainly did when I find myself with a few colleagues at Baba Nyonya a couple weeks ago.
proper meal for three, with poultry, fish, and vegetable
We sampled one single dish in the form of Ayam Masak Merah, and three shared lauk of terung belado (RM 16.90), chicken pongteh (RM 26.90), and asam fish pedas claypot (RM 35.90) over dinner.
The ayam masak merah is a dish you can enjoy over lunch and comes with loads of those sauce that has a good balance of sweet and spicy taste to it, there’s also a spring role to get you started.
terung belado, chicken pongteh, ayam masak merah, asam fish pedas claypot
Asam fish pedas claypot was our favorite among the three shared dishes. The fish retains some crunchiness while not overly fried, with the asam pedas broth brings forth a good kick, perfect when mixed with steamed rice.
The terung too was proper, soft, tender, and packed with flavor. However, we did agree that the chicken pongteh was pretty average, or perhaps just overshadowed by other offerings from Baba Nyonya during this session.
The experience at Baba Nyonya Avenue was certainly a positive one, I think I’ll be heading over for lunch one of these days to check out more of their individual dishes.
The Sarawak laksa comes in three different versions, basic (RM 6) comes with chicken stripes but no prawns, original (RM 9) comes with normal prawns, and special (RM 15) gets you some cuttlefish as well as three pretty large size sea caught “meng har” (明虾) prawns.
Special version of Sarawak Laksa with extra prawns & cuttlefish
I went for the “special” and happy to report that the dish definitely did not disappoint. The broth was thick and flavorful, and the seafood perfectly compliments the meehun and all other ingredients. I also enjoyed the pretty hot sambal as well. Will definitely put this in place in my list of recommendations (which I need to create, I think)
simple menu at SALTed
Other than laksa Sarawak, the restaurant also offers kolo mee, belacan meehun, and mee Jawa Sarawak. .My mission was only for the laksa, so no I did not try any of these dishes.
The name Isetan The Japan Store is often associated with very high end products as well as rather expensive price tags, but thankfully when it comes to their lower ground floor food offerings, the quality is still there, minus the overly crazy price tags.
The other day I took a detour and check out one of their many food stalls house within the departmental store’s grocery area and checked out Shoya Sushi Bar.
Shoya Sushi bar, at Isetan the Japan Store, Lot 10 KL
Shoya Sushi Bar takes up only maybe some 100 sq. foot of area and offers a relatively small menu consists mainly of sushi platter, hand rolls, and sushi don. A sushi don is priced from around RM 26.50 (Special Bara Chirashi Don) all the way to RM 90 (Omakase Shoya Kaisen Don), with nothing exceeding 3 digit price point.
We tried the Salmon and Salmon Ten-Don (RM 35) which came with four pieces of raw salmon as well as another four pieces of tempura salmon on a bowl of sushi rice. The salmon tempura required a little getting used to (slightly soggy texture), but the raw seafood was pretty fresh and tastes rather good.
Salmon and Salmon Ten-Don
I also decided to try one of their more expensive options on the menu – Chef’s selected sushi (special) priced at RM 85.
What came was a collection of sushi that really is right up there with some of the more expensive Japanese restaurants in terms of quality. There’s fatty tuna, tuna, squid, ikura, amaebi, salmon, yellowtail, mackerel, and tuna belly roll. I felt that this offers quite a good value despite its asking price.
Chef’s selected sushi (special)
If you find yourself in Bukit Bintang craving for some good sushi, this place should be in your short list.
Address: Shoya Sushi Bar Lower Ground Floor ISETAN The Japan Store KL Lot 10 Shopping Mall Jalan Bukit Bintang GPS:3.146462, 101.711758 Tel: 03-2141 7777
The cendol is operated from one of those original food truck that’s been around for decades (one where the operator stands by the side instead of INSIDE the truck). Thankfully, they also prepared a number of tables and chairs complete with giant umbrellas for your convenience.
cendol is always perfect for hot weather
Pak Akob offers basic cendol (RM 1.50) with a few additions:
Cendol Pulut (RM 2.50)
Cendol Tapai (RM 2.50)
Cendol Jagung (RM 2.00)
Cendol Pulut Jagung or Tapai Jagung (RM 2.50)
love my cendol with pulut or tapai
Of course, you can also mix & match from the above “extra” ingredients as you wish. My favorite is tapai, the fermented glutinous rice that carries a slightly sourish taste that matches really well with the sweet nature of cendol.
On a hot day just after you have a good meal of bak kut teh in Klang, this is definitely a place worth checking out.