Food & Cuisine in Kota Kinabalu
Since Sabah is home to more than 30 ethnic groups, you can expect a kaleidoscope of delicious flavours in Kota Kinabalu. There is such a huge variety of dishes to choose from, you can get a taste of spicy Malay Food, Chinese food, exotic cuisine from north and south of India, as well as Nyonya and western food.
Great cuisine is everywhere in this city - from restaurants that offer gourmet food in elegant surroundings to mouth watering flavours and textures in a bowl of food you buy from a hawker's stall at the night market. And the names of the dishes are as fascinating as their flavours!
Food and cuisine in Kota Kinabalu has a lot to offer and will leave you coming back for more. Whether you are shopping or just getting a quick bite at one of Kota Kinabalu's markets or even enjoying a romantic dinner at one of the city's fine restaurants you will no doubt take time to absorb all that this city has to offer. Our Kota Kinabalu Restaurant Guide will give you a breakdown of the food and cuisine of Kota Kinabalu. The Malaysian Restaurant Guide offers more general information regarding the cuisine in Malaysia.
Food & Cuisine in Kota Kinabalu
Many fine restaurants in Kota Kinabalu have world class chefs who whip up award winning meals, giving you the opportunity to savour the gastronomic wonders of the world. But the stalls in the night market are also worth a try and the pleasures of the palate they offer can take you to food heaven. What else can you expect from this city by the sea with its long fishing tradition? Fresh seafood, of course!
At sun down in Kota Kinabalu, people come out to eat. High end restaurants in Kota Kinabalu are in abundance, especially in the hotels. But why not embark on a gastronomic adventure, and eat out at the places which offer westerners excellent food and a unique experience?
If you are looking for a wholesome, tasty meal, try the outdoor food stalls on the waterfront (Anjung Selera) or the coffee shops that line the streets of Kota Kinabalu. If you would rather play it the old familiar way, head to the fast food outlets in the Centre Point shopping centre or other shopping malls. You will find the expensive restaurants down by the pier, just after the open fish market.
Sabah, which means the 'Land below the Wind', is known for its excellent seafood, and is a major exporter of seafood to Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan. Kota Kinabalu is full of superb seafood outlets that serve a wide variety of dishes, and your experience of this part of the world will only be complete when you have tasted the seafood it offers. You can feast on giant groupers and lobsters, king tiger prawns, shell fish, and more. All the restaurants feature aquariums so that you can pick your seafood. There's bound to be a seafood restaurant just a 10 to 20 minute walk from your hotel.
There are numerous restaurants in Kota Kinabalu that serve local Malaysian cuisine, as well as Chinese and Continental food. Italian restaurants are coming up everywhere, and a good restaurant to eat in is ‘Little Italy'. Dinning out in Kota Kinabalu, the city will also spoil you with a choice of Japanese, Thai, and Korean restaurants, Indian curry houses, and Western restaurants.
For those who can't live without their fast food, there are several fast food restaurants in Kota Kinabalu. Some of these are Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, and McDonald's. 24-hour eateries like 'Mamak shops' offer mostly 'roti canai' and 'teh tarik' on their menus.
Kota Kinabalu has a huge choice of places to eat, and if your stomach is strong, you can safely sample the local dishes without fearing about of diarrhoea. It's important though to make sure that the place you eat in is hygienic. To find out, you can approach the local authorities in the Kota Kinabalu City Hall, and check which places have an ‘A' or ‘B' rating for cleanliness. It is wise to avoid those marked 'C'.
Muslims are forbidden by their religion to drink alcohol, and alcohol is therefore quite expensive in Malaysia. However, alcohol is available in most supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, pubs. Wine in Kota Kinabalu is expensive too, and not a good idea because the tropical heat affects its flavour. Probably the best beverage to try in Malaysia is fresh fruit juice.