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 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 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.
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.
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
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
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
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”
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.
I’m blessed with many friends who know I love to explore different foods, and it is also from suggestions of these friends that I manage to experience all these different places documented in this spot on the interweb.
But even better than suggestions though, is when friends brought me to the source of food – like during my last work trip to Kota Kinabalu, May picked me up and took me to this place by the name of Sabah Keratang.
Restoran Sabah Keratang, Kota Kinabalu
Keratang is the local name for Giant Garupa – the largest bony fish that offshore Sabah. While there’s a misconception that giant garupa is just normal garupa that grew old and huge, it is actually an entirely separate species of garupa that can grow to half a tonne and has distinctively thicker skin.
Unlike full fledged seafood restaurants like Welcome Seafood, Salut Seafood, New Gaya, or fish noodle places like Fatt Kee, Taukefish, Sabah Keratang wedged itself pretty much right in the middle, offering fish noodle soup, fried rice or noodle with garupa, and a selection of seafood and other dishes to go with rice.
three dishes for two hungry souls
Over the dinner for two, we ordered a garupa soup (RM 30 for small), 3-in-1 seafood (RM 29.50 for small), and vegetable (RM 10) with a couple plates of steamed rice.
The garupa soup was as good as any seafood noodle places, with tomato and salted vegetable tofu soup base that compliments the fatty nature of the garupa meat with its thick skin. Portion was rather healthy as well even though this was a supposed to be a “small” one.
the giant garupa skin, check it out!
The 3-in-1 seafood came with prawns, squid, and of course, giant garupa slices. This turned out to be our favorite dish, the seafood was fresh and super tasty, and while it was slightly on the saltier side, with steamed rice it was perfect. I love it.
As for the vege, it wasn’t anything to shout about, not anywhere near the Kundasang sort of vegetable I enjoy.
Overall though, I thought Sabah Keratang is definitely a worthy place for a meal if you find yourself at Kota Kinabalu.
The one food that you absolutely must try when in Sabah is of course, their seafood. Situated by South China Sea, Kota Kinabalu is blessed with some of the best the ocean has to offer.
And when it comes to KK seafood, the locals definitely have their own list of restaurants they prefer – Welcome Seafood at Penampang is one of those places.
Welcome Seafood, at Penampang, Sabah
The restaurant is situated some 10 KM away from the city at this place called Fu Guan Industrial Centre. Parking can be a bit of a challenge especially on weekends as the place is almost always packed with locals looking for a good meal.
Modus operandi here isn’t too different from many other seafood restaurants – pick your fresh catch or live seafood, weigh them, and get the restaurant to prepare them in the cooking method of your choice.
clams, fresh shrimps, and steamed jewel garupa
Since it was just Ben and myself, we were pretty modest on our visit. We had live clams with leek and onion, steamed live prawns, and a portion of steamed deep sea jewel garupa with soya sauce.
When the seafood is of good quality, you want the preparation method to be as simple as possible to bring out the natural sweetness.
the coconut jelly is a must order too
True to Welcome Seafood and Sabah’s reputation, the meal was absolutely top notch. The seafood was fresh, and the value offered was very very hard to beat, all those for RM 124.00.
If you’re there, be sure to leave some stomach space for their coconut jelly too!
A dozen of so years ago when I went to KK for the first time for work, the one dish that left the biggest impression on me was fish noodle. Specifically, this one place which offers additions like fish skin, lips, and such, it was awesome.
Well, I don’t remember where that was, and this post isn’t about that place.
Update: 2018/11/16 This place has since closed down
Jong Fa Pai kopitiam at Hilltop, Kota Kinabalu
This instead, is Jong Fa Pai kopitiam, one of the popular outfit from Tawau that’s opened up several branches in and around Kota Kinabalu, offering mostly fish head & fish noodle since 2008.
We ended up here for our first meal in KK right after touching down at KKIA and picked up our rental car. It was suggested by my friend Ben as an alternative to Fatt Kee, arguably the most popular fish noodle place, also located at Hilltop.
slices of garupa meat in milk & tomato broth
The menu is simple, choose between fish head, fish slice, prawn ball, and have them either boiled or deep fried to go with milk based broth and meehon. We had the basic with slices of garupa at RM 10 per bowl, and it was actually pretty good. May not take B & Best out as my current favorite, but they were definitely pretty delicious. The broth is similar to Woo Pin at Taman Desa, but the quality of seafood is definitely better.
no regular coke or pepsi here but there’s EST Cola
In addition to fish noodle dishes, they also carry a few types of side dishes for sharing. We tried the beancurd skin prawn (RM 9) and found it complimenting the noodle dish pretty well. Crunchy & packed with fresh prawn meet in, it was pretty good especially after dipping into the sweet chili sauce.
Now is this place between than Fatt Kee? Well I guess I’ll have to find out the next trip!