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.
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!
Kota Kinabalu, and many parts of East Malaysia for that matter, is famous for its seafood, and there are many restaurants to choose from. For a visitor, this can get pretty tricky as there are always those TSH (tourist slaughtering house) that one should avoid.
So on my trip to KK last year, I got the help from locals to suggest a good seafood meal. When both Joyce and Ben agreed that New Gaya Seafood is the destination fit for purpose, it surely can’t go wrong.
New Gaya Seafood at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Unlike some of the fancier seafood restaurants in the city, New Gaya is relatively plain. There’s no cultural dance or elaborate interior decorations, but there’s plenty of live seafood to choose from, with simple dining area that’s complete with plastic chairs and relatively tired looking tablecloths.
We’re here for the food though, and so long it’s relatively clean, who cares?
Sabah vegetable, ostrich meat, tofu in hotplate
To start with, we have something green in the form of Sabah vegetable (RM 12). While seafood is the main topic, if you’re in Sabah, you gotta order this. The vegetable has a very distinct sweetness that is absent in those you find in Peninsular, I highly recommend this.
Then there’s ostrich meat (RM 20) and tofu in hot plate (RM 20) to complete our non-seafood trio. All these dishes were very good and go along well with the garlic rice (RM 10 for 5pax) we ordered.
fresh prawns and clams
Then came the seafood.
We started out with 1 kg of live prawns (RM 48). To enjoy the freshness of these prawns in its most unadulterated form, we have them steamed. It was so succulent and full of seafood sweetness, it really is the best way to enjoy these prawns.
Then we had those thick shelled clams (RM 26/kg) prepared with minimal fuss – garlic and chives. Sweet and juicy.
steamed garoupa, more clams, soft shell crab, mud crab
Our most expensive dish of the night was the 1 kg steamed garoupa with superior soya sauce (RM 90), as with everything else, freshness is key and this fish was alive prior to us ordering. I think that garoupa at this weight is pretty much perfect when it comes to the texture of the meat.
We also had the shellfish (RM 22 per kg) that you eat by twisting out the meat with a pick. This was steamed and went really well with the supplied condiment.
these were not all the dishes we shared at New Gaya
No seafood dinner is complete without crabs, and for this purpose we had 1 kg of deep fried soft shell crab (RM 78) and another kg of mud crab (RM 38) prepared with salted egg yolk. These dishes did not disappoint either, though I probably like the mud crab to be prepared a little less dry or perhaps have them baked or steamed instead.
Joyce, KY, Maha, Raj, Ben, Choo, Michelle, Vicky
Overall it was a great dinner with very good company to boot, we ended up splitting the bill at just over RM 50 per person. If you happen to go to KK, eat where the locals choose to eat and you won’t be disappointed. New Gaya seafood is definitely one of those destinations.
Address: New Gaya Seafood Restaurant Lot A & B, Wisma Lucky Centre, Jalan Kianson, 88450 Inanam, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.988415, 116.138549 Tel: 088-385 020 Hours: 11:30am – 2pm; 5pm – 10pm
A week or so ago I went to KK for a short working trip. Of the many places my career brought me, KK has always been one of my favorite spots, so I was glad that I had the chance to visit the city again after some 7-8 years since I last stepped foot on it.
I was incredibly blessed to have awesome friends from KK for brought me to lunches and dinners while I was there the entire time. After all, you can’t get any better than having local food guides who knows the city in and out.
Wiya Nasi Ayam dan Kedai Kopi, Kota Kinabalu
On the second day, Nelson, whom I got to know through some weird circumstances revolving a possible purchase of Aprilia motorcycle suspension (you can meet people from all sorts of settings kan?), came to my office and took me to the best chicken rice stall in KK for for lunch at Wiya Nasi Ayam dan Kedai Kopi.
steamed chicken, charsiu, and the unique pyramid shaped rice
Since there were only two of us, we ordered the steamed chicken and chasiu (bbq pork) with a side of vegetable to go with some rice.
The chicken rice here is served in a distinctive pyramid shape, which was kinda cute though it doesn’t contribute to the way it tastes, obviously. The steamed chicken though, was smooth and quite delicious, with the chasiu tasting pretty decent as well.
As for the often neglected vitamin C entry, this vegetable dish was rather good. In fact, over my stay at KK I’ve found that the vegetable here tasted so much fresher, crunchier, and juicier than their peninsular counterpart.
For those who complains about the lack of good hawker food in KK, this is one place to check out. Thank you Nelson!
Address: Wiya Nasi Ayam dan Kedai Kopi Block F, Lot 4, Jalan Padas, 88000, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.983967, 116.074422 Tel: 088-214 378