Being the capital city of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu is a popular tourist site among Malaysians and foreigners. Offering an escape from the busy rural life with its lush greeneries and scenic views, you could enjoy various nature-filled attractions such as a river cruise through the Mangrove Swamp and a relaxing dip in their bubbling hot springs. Although Kota Kinabalu is typically associated with Mount Kinabalu, the food culture there is another attraction of Kota Kinabalu that is too good to be missed as well!
To give you a look at what Kota Kinabalu has got to offer, we have gathered some of the popular delights that will hopefully inspire you to book a flight to Kota Kinabalu!
1. Sang Nyuk Mian
Referred to as Sang Nyuk Mian throughout Sabah, Sabah is famous for having its own variation of Pork Noodle that is difficult to spot in West Malaysia. Although this dish is believed to have originated from another city in Sabah—Tawau, it is also a prominent dish in Kota Kinabalu. Directly translated to raw pork noodle, Sang Nyuk Mian is characterised by its thinly sliced pork that sits atop the noodle. Ask any local for their favourite go-to for this dish, and they will probably point towards Kim Hing Lee Coffee Shop at Sinsuran Complex, where they offer this dish in two styles, namely, soup noodle and Kon Lau (dark sauce dry noodle). To elevate your meal you could ask for extra pork lard too, which is always a plus!
2. Ngiu Chap
If you are from West Malaysia, the name Beef Noodle will probably ring a bell, where it is referred to as Ngiu Chap in Sabah. If you’re looking for the best bowl of beef noodle, stopping by Kota Kinabalu is a must. With a thick beef broth simmered with radish, many would agree that the Ngiu Chap in Kota Kinabalu reigns superior to the standard Beef Noodle you can find in your neighbourhood hawker stall. With so many delectable Ngiu Chap places available in Kota Kinabalu, it would be to name one as the best. Still, you could never go wrong with a bowl at Menggatal Nguk Pau Baru at Lorong Pekan Menggatal, which will have you itching to get your hands on more after one visit.
3. Tuaran Mee
Like the Asam Laksa to Penang, Tuaran Mee is a signature dish of Sabah. Although having originated from the neighbouring town of Tuaran, this noodle dish is also a well-known delight in Kota Kinabalu. A good plate of Tuaran Mee is never complete without stir-fried handmade egg noodle, which is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and a topping of egg roll slices, pork slices, and some greens. One of the most popular pit-stop to get a fix of this flavourful plate of noodle would be Sing Hing Coffee Shop at Lorong Sinsuran 2.
Due to its geography enclosed by the sea, Kota Kinabalu is also known for offering the best and freshest seafood at an economical rate. Even with a short drive around Kota Kinabalu, the sight of numerous Seafood store is sure to enter your vision—almost a representation of how prominent seafood is in the food culture of Kota Kinabalu. Although Kota Kinabalu is never short for a selection of seafood, most locals would agree that one of the best restaurants that serve seafood would be Welcome Seafood Restaurant at Kompleks Jalan Asia City. Due to immense popularity, this restaurant will get packed from 5 pm, so it would be ideal for you to visit them at an earlier time if you are not a fan of waiting.
5. Sarawak Laksa
If you are Malaysian, you would probably not be a stranger to this spicy noodle dish. In Kota Kinabalu, however, another variation of this Malaysian staple is available—Sarawak Laksa. As its name suggests, this noodle dish originated from its neighbouring state, Sarawak, but it has become a popular dish among the locals at Kota Kinabalu as well. Bearing an appearance that is almost indistinguishable from the standard Curry Laksa, a sip of the curry of Sarawak Laksa will sing you a different tale. The secret of this difference is in their laksa paste, which is made of a concoction of sambal belacan, tamarind, lemongrass, herbs and spices, and a little coconut milk. Though individual differences in preference may exist, most locals would agree that one of the best bowls of Sarawak Laksa can be found at Kedai Kopi Yee Fung at Gaya Street.
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