Was in Kota Kinabalu a few weeks back and had a great time eating the local street food. We stayed in the Gaya area and there was absolutely the best food around. We went with the flow and ate mostly at the crowded shops although we did dine at some of the not so crowded and we immediately knew why they were not crowded!
Our first stop was dinner at this Bak Kut Teh place. The place was absolutely swamped with people from the minute it opened in the afternoon till it close at night.
This is the typical Malaysia style bak kut teh and comes with all sort of side dishes like pork ball, intestines, livers, stomach etc
Next up was breakfast at this place just across the road from the Bak Ku Teh store. There were 2 stalls inside the coffee shop, one selling Sarawak kolo mee and the other Sarawak style laksa. The kolo mee was the more popular stall. But I thought the laksa was not too bad too.
On the way back from race pack collection, we had lunch at this place that one of the guys recommended. The place was crowded and hot. There were many people ordering the noodles from one of the stall within but we went for the fried noodle stall and sadly the food were so so. Dinner was zhi char food at a shop next to our hotel but it was just passable and so all these shall not get a mention here.
Breakfast on Sunday was at a dim sum shop. We had dim sum and noodle but these were normal and nothing to rave about.
The only reason the dim sum shop get a mention and a picture here is that they used those 3-in-1 packet for the teh tarik that we ordered! Either they must be darned proud of their Sabah produced 3-in-1 tea or that is the way tea and coffee are made in the country but I don’t really fancy those commercially produce tea.
For lunch we went to what must be the most famous Western food outlet in town, Little Italy! See we are kinda weird, we do our carbo loading after the race and not before! Our party had pizza, pasta, salad the usual Italian stuff. Was the food really that good? I guess if there is a scarcity of such food in the country, it will be considered good and of course we wolfed down the food but frankly I think there are better pizza and pasta back home.
Dinner was the highlight for us of course. For both Saturday and Sunday night, we went to this place which we also went during our last visit to KK. The Seri Selera Seafood centre at Kampung Air, a sprawling semi-open place with a few seafood stalls together much like the carpark seafood place, Top Spot Food Court in Sarawak.
Both nights we were there, we had fish, crab, tofu, prawn, vegetables, beer etc and the food cost us about RM$190 for our first night 3 of us; and around RM450 for 8 of us on the 2nd night. Of course we went to different stall but I believe the prices are thereabout.
The food was not really that great but it was great value for money and when I come back again next year, I will be back eating seafood here.
We did went to the waterfront where there are another lot of seafood stalls but managed by the Malays. There were barbecue galore but I was disappointed that the seafood were pre-barbecue and left in the open and reheated when somebody ordered them. So in the end I didn’t eat them although our group did ordered a few items to try.
Our last meal in Gaya before we flew home was at another “famous” stall.
This one specialises in a type of kiam chye soup with dry ee-noodles. Sort of like our zhu-zhar tang or pig intestine soup with noodles but without the kiam chye! But this was good or rather, unusual which makes it good and apparently the whole of Sabah seems to agree because it was packed like hell!
So the next time you are in Sabah – go try these few stalls. No regrets!