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
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
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
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.
Like many of us, I was first introduced to the whole concept of coleslaw while having fried chicken at KFC. This must have been some 30 years ago, back in the days when KFC in Malaysia used to serve beer (now you know!). There wasn’t another place for coleslaw for me until after I went to the States for college.
Well, now there’s a brand new option for coleslaw fans – with Naylors.
Naylors Coleslaw launch with Her Excellency Vicky Treadell
I was invited to the launch of Naylors Coleslaw launch at Ben’s Independent Grocer at The LINC KL last week to check out what it is about.
Naylor Farms over 100 years of history in the UK and has their own farms growing cabbages in which their coleslaw uses. This is how the company ensures quality of the main ingredients used in their product.
There are total of 5 different products introduced to the Malaysian market, with four coleslaw and a potato salad, all properly sealed, chilled, and ready to eat.
The launch was officiated by none other than the British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell, with Naylors product manager Maria Chistol providing explanation to the different products offered by Naylors.
Naylors Coleslaw, my favorite was the cheese variant
For Naylors Coleslaw, there are four different flavors – original, cheese, reduced fat, and chipotle.
I tried them in turns. Every flavor comes with chunky cabbage that tasted rather fresh, there’s of course also carrots, onions, and a bit of chives.
Four types of Naylors Coleslaw – original, cheese, reduced fat, chipotle
Original version was creamy, crunchy, and with an underlying sweetness from the produce.
Reduced fat version comes with 30% less fat while still manage to taste like how a proper coleslaw should.
If you like it with a bit of Mexican kick, the Chipotle version comes with chili jam made from slowly cooking chopped tomato, garlic, ginger and chili.
My personal favorite though has got to be the Cheese flavor, with the addition of mature cheddar giving it a really rich, creamy taste that I really enjoyed.
Naylors Potato SaladNaylors Potato Salad
For fans of potato, Naylors also carry ready to eat Potato Salad that you can eat straight out of the fridge. Made with steamed Maris Piper potato that is then cooled and mixed with creamy dressing, this would go well with any poultry or meat dishes.
You can find these products from Naylors now at Jaya Aeon, B.I.G, Village Grocer, Cold Storage and Jason’s Food Hall and Mercatto. The retail sales price for Naylors products for Christmas is RM 8.99 at all outlets.
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.
Sarawak Laksa seems like the flavor of the year, so before the end of 2017 I decided to give yet another highly recommended Sarawak Laksa place a try – SALTed at Mutiara Damansara.
SALTed, Mutiara Damansara
As it turns out SALTed does stand for something – Sarawak Authentic Local Taste Extra Delicious!
The restaurant is located quite deep within Mutiara Damansara, and while it is perhaps only 5 minutes away from IKEA and Curve, you can’t really get there by walking from the big furniture shop.
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.