Fish noodle is one of my favorite noodle dishes ever, and being situated by the coast with access to great ocean haul and a knack for making the best out of these sea bounty, it’s not secret that Kota Kinabalu offers some of the best seafood noodle restaurants.
jewel garupa soup, with kanlau mian on the side
A few weeks ago, during one of my now almost routine visit to this East Malaysian city, we got the opportunity to check out one of the more “hidden” fish noodle restaurants by the name of Notung Kusan Cafe, sometimes also known as Seafood Ah Huat.
The restaurant has just recently moved from a household set up to a proper shop lot situated at Dongongan, just a stone’s throw away from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Do check to make sure you’re not routing to their old location if you decided to visit this place (use the GPS info below).
Notung Kusan Cafe Mihun Soup, Kota Kinabalu
There are a few options to choose from when it comes to noodle, we picked kon lou mee (dry noodle), to go with fresh fish slices, jewel garupa was available so we went for that. There’s also fish stomach, fish egg, and fish head if that’s what you crave.
The portion for two pax (RM 35) was huge and came with loads of thick cut super fresh fish fillet that’s cooked so the texture was just right – soft, almost crumpling on first bite but not in an “unfresh” sort of way. I really love it.
The tomato soup base was quite subtle, but takes on the sweetness of seafood itself, a plus point if you ask me. The dry noodle too was properly seasoned and I thought compliment the seafood quite well.
super fresh chunky fish fillet, awesome fish skin too
I think this has just became my favorite fish noodle place in KK right now, they open from morning till around lunch time, and I’ve heard that they may close whenever there’s no fresh fish or when owner goes out fishing. Do try to call in to avoid disappointment.
For availability, Fatt Kee is the one to go, they’re pretty good and open all the time.
In North Borneo, the most often talked about hawker dish by visitors is undoubtedly fish noodle, and justifiably so due to the abundance of great seafood here. However, for the locals, often times a good plate of Tuaran Mee is where it’s at.
Tuaran Mee Restoran, Inanam, Kota Kinabalu
For those who’re not familiar, Tuaran Mee is a type of noodle originally hailed from Tuaran, the district just north of Kota Kinabalu. The noodle carries a texture that’s unique to its own, which I can only describe as having a springy texture almost but not entirely alike a mixture between yee mee and kolo mee.
I really like it, and think it’s about time someone introduce this to the West Malaysia scene.
Without driving up to Tuaran, one restaurant that offers a unique take on this dish is none other than the aptly named Tuaran Mee Restoran at Inanam, located some 15 minutes away from the city center.
The menu is found hung on the wall and giving diners a choice of noodle that are fried, in soup, or even in claypot. You then pick the different ingredients of choice – seafood, beef, or pork.
seafood Tuaran mee with lehing, love it!
Most interestingly though, you get to add Lehing, the locally produced alcohol.
For obvious reasons, I had my Tuaran mee with seafood and Lehing, resulting in a dish that had that extra sweetness from the extra dash of forbidden condiment. The seafood was competent, and I thought I really enjoyed the accompanying chili sauce as well. I’d recommend this to anyone.
seafood meehun soup
My lunch partner had meehun soup with seafood that came with plenty of those fresh vegetable that Sabah is known for and reportedly happy with her decision as well. It was a good meal, and I think I’d be back there again hopefully in not too distant future.
Address: Tuaran Mee Restoran mile 6, Jalan Tuaran, Inanam, 88450 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.993625, 116.129537
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
Following my only dive trip at Pulau Kapas back in 2017, I actually managed another underwater excursion in October 2018 while on a work trip to Kota Kinabalu that involved staying over the weekends.
Since this is still a blog documenting my travel & food adventures, here’s the short entry to serve as sort of an online dive-log of mine. Do check out the short video I made using the Olympus TG-Trekker, which since died after that trip for reasons unknown (I gotta call the service center, been weeks!)
Anyway, back to the trip.
Kota Kinabalu is a great city to live in if you love to go underwater. The jetty heading out to the islands is conveniently located just a few minute’s drive from the city center. In fact, you can realistically walk there.
a lousy day out diving is better than any day at the office!
The dive trip itself was arranged by Yann May with the local guide (Johny), and during this trip we were the only two divers, which made for a relaxing trip that doesn’t involved being hurried or having to wait for others.
You can get a 3-dive package for RM 250-300 or so around here, usually with a meal thrown in.
While visibility wasn’t the best during our dives, they were relaxing, and we did see a few eagle rays (first minute of first dive!), some clown fish, cleaning shrimps, starfish, pencil fish, lion fish, puffer fish, and more, mostly documented in the video.
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.