Chicken Wing @ Melvic
The Chicken wings are marinated in secret recipe, then BBQ’ed over slow fire. Available only at food stalls. The chef are fully trained to cook these wings to perfection. This humble stall grew from 1 stall, to 7 stalls all around Kota Kinabalu food courts within years.
You can find these stalls at these locations – Lido food court, Taman Dah Yeh, Damai food court, Bundusan – Jin Shi Lou restaurant
Direction (Lotus Restaurant) | Available from dinner time until sold out | Price: RM1.80 ea.
Ikan Bakar @ Lotus Restaurant
Normally, typical grilled stingray is seasoned with curry paste and seasoning. But this stall, the owner adds a layer of flour and pan-fry until the fish until it has a layer of crunchy flour, which adds a dimension to the texture. Then, the owner added secret sauce to complete the cooking.
To finish it up, he added more toppings on top – fried onions and extra vegetables to complete the dish. Ah, puuuurrrction! it’s so good!
Direction (Lotus Restaurant) | Available during dinner time only |Price: RM20? (depends on size of fish)
ZenQ My Signature @ ZenQ Desserts
3 scoops of ice cold grass jelly ice cream hidden under layers of smooth glass jelly. If you love your ‘cincau’ or ‘leong fun’, you’ll love this dessert. Besides the triple flavoured Q Yuan (freshly made daily), it’s topped with pearls and crystal noodle, then you shower it with a layer of condensed milk cream. Yumm.
Direction (ZenQ Desserts) | Price: RM7.90 per bowl | Available from 11:30am to 11:30pm daily.
Bak Kut Teh @ Yu Kee Restaurant
Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh is known as one of the best BKT restaurant in Kota Kinabalu. Albeit too over-rated sometimes.
Pork cooked with Chinese herbs. Once you start devouring the different cuts of pork with their heavy aromatic soup… you can’t stop. Many tourists stopped by because of the heavy smell that you won’t forget once you smell it.
Direction (Yu Kee Restaurant) | Available during dinner time only. 4pm – 11pm | ~RM20 per head
Seafood Claypot @ Yu Hing Restaurant
My favourite seafood claypot. This dish originates from another town called Beaufort. You can find it in almost every restaurants that serves Beaufort food.
Every restaurant has it’s version of ingredients, but they taste similar. The claypot usually contains fresh prawns, cuttlefish, fish slices, carrots, baby corn and fried tofu. The sauce is thick and flavourful. Usually served in pipping hot claypot where the it sizzles all the way to your table.
Direction (Yu Hing Restaurant) | Available during lunch time and dinner time only | RM35 per dish
Fish Noodle @ Yung Hwa Restaurant
This restaurant serves one of the most special noodle in KK, and it sold out quickly – I am only able to taste this noodle on my 3rd visit because it sold off so quickly! (TRUTH: I can’t wake up before 8am..)
What is so special about this restaurant? The fish noodle is actually fish paste. The soup is clear but flavorful. You’ll drink one spoon after another.
Direction (Yung Hwa Restaurant) | Available from early morning until afternoon only. | RM6.00 per bowl
Steamed Prawns @ Salut Seafood Restaurant
Seafood is one of the biggest attraction in Sabah. Whoever came Sabah without tasting any of Sabah’s seafood… is (fill in the blank with bad bad words)..
One of all time local favorite seafood restaurant, Salut Seafood Restaurant, is located about 30 minutes drive from city center. Like any other seafood restaurants, you have many types of seafood to choose from, prepared in any choice of yours. My favorite dish is simply boiled prawns.
Direction (Salut Seafood Restaurant) | Afternoon until late | Price depending on season and availability
Soup Noodle @ New Towering Restaurant
This noodle is not widely known by local. The noodle was first to stir fried then cooked into soup. Thus, the name 炒煮面 (Chau Zu Mian; directly translated as stir-fry-cook noodle).
The stall owner started the business at a small hut near Kepayan, then in the later date, he moved to the current restaurant with proper water supply and electric (yup he started off with almost nothing but a wok). It has been more than 15 years since I had the first bowl. And fell in love with it. I’ve visited this restaurant at least a 100 times.
Direction (New Towering Restaurant) | Available from dinner time until late. | Price: RM6.00
Yong Tau Fu @ Waterfront
There isn’t many shop here that specialise on Yong Tau Fu here in Kota Kinabalu. While majority of the Yong Tau Fu served in KK are stewed in tasty broth, this particular restaurant deep fried their Yong Tau Fu instead of stewing it like other places else. Who doesn’t like deep fried food? Especially after a good night out?
My favourite choice would be deep fried lotus slices with fish paste. Goes well with beer.
Direction (opposite The BED) | Available during dinner time until late | Price: RM16 for 12 pcs.
Grill Fish @ Philippine Night Market
The Philippine market serves great grilled seafood. This market also sells fresh vegetables, dry market and wet market, and even fresh sea produce. This market is now filled with tourists, you’ll be fascinated with the size of the seafood, as well as choices to choose from.
It’s a rowdy market when the sun sets. A must-visit place for KK first timers. Tip: try negotiate price with the hawker in different languages ;)
Direction (opposite Le’ Meridien hotel) | Available after sunset | Price: varies
ABC @ Tun Fuad Stephens Park
This is probably the biggest reason why you see many fat people at Kota Kinabalu (some even gained fat after doing sports). This ABC stall is located conveniently at the center of jogging track at Bukit Padang. It’s soooo convenient that most people get a bowl of ABC as ‘reward’ as after sport.
“I’ve run a few rounds – now I deserve to eat this dessert!”
Besides the famous ABC there, you can also try their deep-fried yaw char kuay and banana fritters. A satisfying meal for RM3-RM5 per person.
Direction | Available during 4:30pm to 6:30pm (close at Monday?) | Price: RM4
Fish Sauce Fried Mee Hoon @ Kopi Ping Cafe
Love this fish sauce mee hoon. Every time I drove past Kopi Ping cafe, I see crowds. My guts tell me that there must be something good.
I had another meal prior this meal (also for this KK Food Guide). Definitely, affect my ratings when I am full. But – behold! The taste exceeded my expectation, and squeeze its way to one of tastiest fish sauce noodle in KK.
Direction (Kopi Ping) | Available during normal business hour |Price RM7.00
Char Siew Fan @ Kedai Kopi Gunung Emas
The owner of this stall only sell limited amount of roasted pork per day. You can try their famous roast pork too. Only available during noon time and it won’t last longer than 1-2pm daily. Remember to “ka liao” (means bigger portion) if you have big appetite. I usually order two plates when I go with my bigger size friends ;)
Direction (Kedai Kopi Gunung Emas) | Available during lunch time only | Price: RM5
Custard Bun @ Kedai Kopi Jeong Hin
Who can resist fresh hot buns?
This kopitiam also serves cold coffee in bottle, called “lang kopi” instead of usual iced coffee. They pour the coffee into soda bottles and put in refrigerator. It sounds simple but you should definitely experience one when you’re here.
Direction (Kedai Kopi Jeong Hin) | Available from morning until late afternoon | Price: RM1-2.00 per bun
Zhu Chap @ Kah Hiong Zhu Chap
Any food that contains pork lard tastes better, do you agree?Why are the most unhealthy food always so delicious?
At Kah Hiong Zhu Chap restaurant, they serve pork intestines noodles. The taste of stewed pork and intestines are most often on par with some of the oldest restaurants that serves pork intestines. If you are not a big fan of pork intestines, you can go for normal meat cuts – but I encourage you to taste the different part of pig. And never ask what is it!
Direction (Kah Hiong Zhu Chap) | Available from breakfast until 2pm | Price: RM6.50
Custard Bread @ Kedai Kopi Mee Ngar
This melted butter and condense milk mix has captured my heart since high school.
The bun is soft, moisture due to the juiciness of the melted butter. One requires big mouth to consume this bread with 100% satisfaction experience. If you like to try something new during your afternoon tea session… go Kedai Kopi Mee Ngar to experience more bread choices.
Direction (Kedai Kopi Mee Ngar) | Available from 7am to 6.30pm | RM2.00 ea
Coffee @ Santola Cafe
Santola bar is located at a coffee bean processing factory, main beans are Borneo Liberica beans originating from Tawau and Ranau, incorporate together with Brazilian / Colombian Arabica & Indonesian Robusta beans. They have a coffee school too. I visit many coffee shops around KK, such as Starbucks, Coffee Bean, cafes.. but this, Santola bar, is one of my favourite.
Direction (Santola)| Mon to Sat 8am – 6pm, Sun closed, public holidays closed | RM7.00 ea
Fish Paste Noodle @ Kuo Man Restaurant
Kuo Man restaurant has been serving home made noodles for a long long time. Their noodle has been featured on local food show, Axian @ Astro.
I especially like their fish paste noodle and chicken noodle, some are big fans of their beef, whichever that is – they have already perfected the taste and no more complaints. They have been serving the same noodle for so many years after all.
Direction (Kuo Man Restaurant) | Available from morning until 3pm | Price: RM8
Fish Noodle @ Houng Kee Restaurant
Houng Kee restaurant, one of my all time favourite fish noodle restaurant! The main attraction for me is definitely the konlo mee and the soup. Their chili is also one huge reason I keep visiting them in first place.
Direction (Houng Kee Restaurant 鴻記茶餐室) | Available from 6:30am until late afternoon | RM6.00 per bowl
Pork Buns @ Sen Chong Wah
Sen Chong Wah is like a mini museum of Gaya Street.
Besides the usual food served in kopi tiam (steamed pork buns and coffees etc), you can enjoy the history of Gaya Street and entire KK. The old photos and pictures are arranged chronically, and every single photo has it’s own story. Even THE Legendary Boxer – Muhammad Ali, came yum cha here before! (Got photo as proof).
He ordered a bottle of Coca-Cola. Meh, he still doesn’t know sugar is bad for health during that era.Try spend an afternoon there and chat with the old uncle and old aunty there. They love to share stories.
Direction (Sen Chong Wah) | Available from 6am until 4pm | Price: RM1.60
Hot Buns @ Keng Wan Hing
Fresh buns are baked daily (hourly during peak). Keng Wan Hing has been serving many types of classic buns in Gaya street for years. Most of the customers take-aways when the shop is crowded during 4pm-5pm. You can start tasting their fresh hot buns from 6am onwards.
You can find classic baked buns like black bean fillings (tau sa), peanut fillings, coconut fillings, butter milk fillings and pineapple fillings.
Direction (Kedai Kopi Keng Wan Hing) | Available from 5:30am to 5:30pm | Price: RM1.60 ea.
Tom Yam Noodle @ Kedai Kopi Janggut
This restaurant is called “Janggut” because the owner has some beard. I have thicker beard than him though.
Taste wise, the thick creamy and sour soup is still as good as it can be. Definitely a great meal to kick start your day. The only let down is the price, depends on what fish you like to add in your soup. I had a bowl of tom yam that costs RM35. Normally it’s RM7-RM9 per bowl.
Direction (Kedai Kopi Janggut)| Available during morning until late lunch. | Price RM7-RM10
Tuaran Noodle @ Tuaran Mee Restaurant
This photo is for reference only.
This is something you will never find at other places else besides Sabah. Tuaran noodle is our local specialty – and we are proud. The noodle is made mostly of eggs, you can taste the difference with normal yellow noodles.
Many Sabahans make the effort to have at least one plate of Tuaran noodle whenever they come back from overseas. Their trip won’t be complete without a plate of Tuaran noodle.
Direction (Tuaran Mee Restaurant) | Normal business hours | Price: dunno
Claypot Noodle @ Xing Wan Pan Mian
My personal favourite is the claypot noodle “yee mian”. I think they have the best soup base for yee mian in town! Extra egg, minced meat and extra vegetables are permanent on my order list.
I always complete every bite with minced garlic + soy sauce + cili padi. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Direction (Xing Wan Pan Mian) | Available from 7am until 3.30pm. Rest on Sunday | RM5.00
Laksa Noodle @ Yee Fung Laksa
What can be better to have a thick, creamy, mild spicy curry-laksa noodle early in the morning? Squeeze some fresh lime juice to enhance the taste! It comes with a small plate of sambal belacan (shrimp paste) to complete the perfect breakfast.
You can also try their specialty drink too. I won’t reveal what’s their drink here :P
Direction (Yee Fung Laksa) | Available: 6am until 4pm daily | Price RM7
Fried Pork Noodle @ Kedai Kopi Hui Chow
Hui Chow restaurant has been evolving in all these years. From a simple restaurant, until they start serving pastry, then branch out in different businesses along these years. Now they even serve seafood at night! But one thing that stayed constant is the Fried Meat noodle. The taste remains awesome.
The noodle soup made it to the list mainly because of 2 ingredients. 1) fried meat and 2) soup base. I like the extra slices of yaw char kuay that’s added to the soup, extra element of texture and enjoyment.
Direction (Kedai Kopi Hui Chow) | Available from morning until late afternoon | RM6.00
Tenom Noodle @ How Lee Restaurant
Tenom noodle is a local dish that originates from Tenom. Many like this noodle for it’s simple yet flavorful taste. You can consume it on its own, or eat with other dishes on the menu.
You can choose different toppings for the noodle, and I always go with simple pork slices.
Direction (How Lee Restaurant) | Available from 6pm until 3am | RM5.50
Fish Noodle @ Wan Wan Restaurant
Wan Wan Restaurant serves a rather unique fish noodle, where minced chicken were used instead of mince pork. (No pork lards.. Nooooo).
The restaurant owner has recently moved to even bigger restaurant to accommodate the customers’ demand. If I am not mistaken, they have moved 3 times in short 10 years, each time to bigger property. From this, you know they serve really tasty fish noodle.
I personally prefer tom yam based soup, but the non-spicy version (clear soup) is not bad either. That’s why I always visit this restaurant with my mum, so we can order each soup base and enjoy best of both world.
Direction (Wan Wan Restaurant) | Breakfast until late lunch | RM7.50
Tomato Soup Fish Noodle @ Fatt Kei Fish Noodle
Fatt Kei Fish Noodle have caught many attention from food lovers past few years.
Lots of positive reviews for their savory tomato based soup. On some occasion, you can see tourist bus stopped at road side and let foreign tourist to experience this fish noodle too.
The ingredients are fresh, plenty of choices to choose from. The price is slowly rising to the higher price range. but that’s pretty common in KK food scene past 2-3 years.
Direction (Jin Jin Seafood Restaurant) | Early morning until 3pm | RM10
Roti Kahwin @ Kedai Kopi Fu Yuan
Fu Yuan is where my “food guide” inspiration originate from.
It was during high school when I had my first bite of Fu Yuan’s signature bread – roti kahwin. OMG why this is so heavenly?! Then I ordered another glass of teh c ping (milk tea)… OMGBBQWTF what is this?! How come a normal milk tea can taste so good?! WHERE ELSE CAN I FIND SUCH FOOD IN KK?!
Of course from that point onwards, I started paying attention to delicious food in KK. And until I graduate from university – I started the first version of KK food guide.
Direction (Kedai Kopi Fu Yuan) | Tuesday – Sunday (7.30am- 1am) | Price: RM1.50
Tom Yam Fish Noodle @ Kedai Kopi Dat Seng
Remembering the first time I ordered this tom yam fish noodle, I was intrigue by the red-spicy look of the fish noodle. “Wah! this must be very spicy!” First bite, hmm taste good – Second bite, hmmm wasn’t so spicy – Third bite, OUH THIS IS GOOD – Forth bite, I am enjoying the entire bowl of noodle.
I always make the effort to have fried fish fillets because anything that’s fried, it’s good. Heheehe.
Direction (Kedai Kopi Dat Seng) | Available from breakfast until lunch | RM7.50
Roast Pork Noodle @ Restaurant Kin Hwa
Two things I like about the food at Kin Hwa restaurant. 1) roast duck 2) konlo noodles. Their noodle seasoning stands out from the typical konlo noodle here in KK. Also the duck is always roasted to perfection. Many dropped by during lunch time for take away.
Roast duck is their specialty.. And it’s really good. I am using roast pork in the photo because I did not take the photo of roasted duck that day. Bummer!
Direction (Restaurant Kin Hwa) | Available from morning until late afternoon | RM6.00
Pork Steamed Bun @ Kedai Kopi Hing Seng
A rather old kopitiam hidden within Kolombong industrial area.
Kedai Kopi Hing Sing serves their first customer from 6am in the morning until 5pm, daily. They serve many kind of buns and breads but one of crowds favourite is the steamed pork bun. Steamed buns only available after 8:30am.
Direction (Kedai Kopi Hing Seng) | Available from 6am until 5pm daily | RM1.60
Sang Nyuk Mian @ Melanian Sheng Rou Mian
Any Sabahan that comes back to Sabah, this noodle is definitely on their must-eat list. The noodle is mixed with pork lards, and more pork lards.
You definitely have to go through heart surgery if you eat this every meal for entire month – but it’s worth the surgery ;) Order a soup based noodle to skip the pork lards if you’re afraid of dying early but wanted to taste the noodle that capture many of Sabahan’s heart.
Direction (Melanian Sheng Rou Mian) | Available from morning until lunch time | RM6.00
I have to give full credit to the person who created coconut pudding. It’s such a simple dessert yet tastes so refreshing and wonderful.
The method of making this coconut is pretty simple. You take out the coconut juice, cook it with gelatin and condense milk, pour it back in. Then serve chilled. We used to drive to Sepanggar (30 min. drive from CBD) to have these humble dessert. Now, you can find them in certain restaurants within city area.
Direction (Restaurant Makanan Sedap 蝦中蝦) | Dinner time (depends on availability | RM10.00
Kuih Muih @ Lido Square Market
There’s nothing better to do than seeing energetic people selling food 3am in the morning! I always make the effort to buy ‘nasi lemak’ from one of the stall (not pictured above).
You will notice a long queue for fresh hot nasi lemak, and the portion is huge too. Great source of energy for the rest of the day. If you’re not into nasi lemak, you will be entertained by the vast varieties of kuih-muih, cakes and colorful delicacies you can find here.
Direction (Lido Square Market) | 5am onwards until afternoon
Duck Noodle @ Kedai Kopi Kong Dung Chai
Kedai Kopi Kong Dung Chai used to serve very tasty roast ducks 13 years ago. They still serve roasted duck every day but I think the “kick” is not there any more.
Probably there are more better roasted ducks around but I still consider them tasty and deserve to be in my top food list.Kong Dung Chai has many outlets around KK, but I am not sure if the ducks are roasted from same oven or not.
Direction (Kedai Kopi Kong Dung Chai) | Morning until late after 3pm | RM7.00
Hainan Noodle @ Kedai Kopi Sincere
This family-run business has been around forever. I remember me visiting this restaurant since I was 6, and witness the owner(s) from young turn old. I want to introduce Hainan Noodle, which is rare in Kota Kinabalu. It tastes savoury and little sour, very appetizing as the first meal of your day.
Direction (Kedai Kopi Sincere) | 6am until late afternoon | RM7
Seafood @ Welcome Seafood Restaurant
Welcome Seafood Restaurant is one of the local’s favourite seafood restaurant.
Located within city, this seafood restaurant is serves fresh and great tasting seafood. Their main selling point is FRESH seafood. Nothing is slaughtered before order.. me thinks.
However I think the food quality is not consistent; famous restaurant tends to have these phenomenon especially during peak period.
Direction (Welcome Seafood restaurant) | Lunch time and dinner time | ~RM30 per head
Kolo Mee @ Kedai Kopi Kai Shun
Kolo mee, originates from Sarawak. A simple yet delicious plate of noodle topped with different kinds of ingredients, such as mince meat, char siew and pork rolls.
Some times, the most simple ingredients makes up the tastiest food. One plate of kolo mee can fill up your tummy very quickly, but I always get 1.5 portions because my mum always say…
“Ah zai I cannot finish! Here, take mine.”
Direction (Kedai Kopi Kai Shun) | 6am until 1am | RM7.00 (normal) RM10.00 (big)
Braised Fish @ Tung Fong Seafood Restaurant
Tung Fong Seafood Restaurant is rather secluded in a hidden shop lots, only locals know how to navigate there. I get lost twice before I found this restaurant.
They recently renovated their restaurant to accommodate more customers. I came here purposely to do food review after getting many strong recommendations from readers. I asked a few customers there, “what are the crowds’ favourite?”. And all of them gave me different answers. This means all the food offered are very high standard.
Braised Fish is the dish that I strongly recommend in this restaurant. It goes soooo well with rice/noodle. Be careful not to fall into trance while enjoying this dish. It happened to me.
Direction (Tung Fong Seafood Restaurant) | 7:30am to 2:30pm Daily | RM20
Roast Pork @ Restaurant Lim Kee
I don’t know about you but when I stepped into the restaurant, I was amazed at the amount of roast porks, roasted ducks and chickens at the stall.
Normally stalls only fit in one stall… but this stall need TWO stalls to accommodate the amount. I ordered a small plate to taste what they have to offer. Many friends recommended me this place.. and they are right!
Especially the roasted pork, the outer skin is so crunchy, almost like eating a crackers (insert: addictive)
Direction (Restaurant Lim Kee) | 7am to 4:30am | RM6.00
Hainan Ngiu Chap @ Fei Lou Hainan Ngiu Chap
“Ah moi, gimme one bowl of ngiu chap!” I pointed at the menu. I choose a table, sit down. The restaurant was still empty when I arrived. The stall is packed full of fresh beef, awaiting for incoming customers for the rest of the day.
3 minutes later, my beef noodle arrived. “Ah moi, I order normal size. This bowl of noodle is HUGE!” “This is normal size.” IT’S SO FREAKING HUGEEEEEEEE. The meat is tender and every slice of beef is cooked to perfection. Dip in chili sauce – whoa it’s so delicious. Every part of the beef taste different in terms of flavours and textures.
Direction (Kedai Kopi Yii Siang) | Business hour – N/A | RM7.00
Laksa Pan Mian @ Kedai Kopi Laksa Dan Makanan
The laksa pan mian served in this restaurant tastes more creamier than other laksa noodle I’ve tasted.
Wait – creamier? That’s right bebeh.. calling this as “laksa” is not technically correct. It’s more like cross-fusion between curry and laksa. Normally, curry laksa taste mild spicy with cream in it. This laksa is opposite – you taste the cream first, then follow by mild spiciness. If you consume the soup non-stop, you cannot actually taste the spiciness. lol.
Direction (Kedai Kopi Laksa) | Morning until noon | RM5.50
Prawn Noodle @ Foh Sang
In Sabah, this is know as prawn noodle. In Penang, this is known as Hokkien Mee. There’s always confusion when my Penang friends came over for visit.
There’s always a debate if this is one of the best prawn noodle in Foh Sang – which rivals the prawn noodle served at Golden Eagle Restaurant. Both serves at same time, at the same crowds too.
Direction (Kedai Kopi Helang Emas) | 5pm to 5am daily | RM5.00
Beaufort Fried Noodle @ Yu Hing Restaurant
Beaufort noodle is my first Beaufort dish I’ve ever tried. It’s different from what I normally tasted.. and I love it!
Thinly sliced pork meat, charsiew, lots of vegetables and thick sauce are the usual attributes of Beaufort noodle. They also uses yellow spring noodle instead of yellow noodle (油面). This noodle has brought more variations to local noodle scenes. The typical noodles you can find at Chinese restaurants, such as fried mee, watan hor, Singapore fried noodles etc.
Direction (Yu Hing Restaurant) | 9am to 2:30pm, 6pm to 9:30pm | RM7.50
Tom Yam Noodle @ Seng Hing Sinsuran
One of the oldest tom yam restaurant in the city area. I gave my “tom yam” virginity to this restaurant when I was 7 years old. vaguely remember the old times when my mum brought me here and say “tom yam”.. I puzzled the first time I hear this word.
The sour and mildly spicy taste keeps the customer coming back for more (I am salivating while writing this). You can find big and juicy prawns in the noodle, no other sizes. It’s an indulgence.
Direction (Seng Hing Coffee Shop) | 7am – 4pm daily | RM9.00
Didn’t find your favourite food here?
Tell me what food can squeeze into Top 50 must eat food of KK! email me at firstname.lastname@example.org