Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
I hadn't found any info on KK on this board, so even though this this is not a foodie destination, I thought I'd post about it anyway. I was mainly passing through for a day, but was able to sniff out some good food during that time.
First, I was lucky enough to be visiting during Ramadhan, so the Ramadhan night market yielded a plethora of good street food. Open 2pm-7pm during Ramadhan, located a few blocks inland from Warisan Square. There was a wide selection of Malaysian food, including mee goreng, popiah, grilled stingray, sugar filled glutinous rice balls, nasi campur, nasi kerabu (my favorite), and all kinds of cakes. If you happen to be visiting during the other 11 months of the year, I heard the Philippino night market has good street food. I skipped it because I was headed to Manila the next day.
Second there is a wet market near the water, close to where the boats are all docked. There is a separate seafood section in the back (closest to the water) and I also found fruits, vegetables, spices, and other dried goods in the front (closest to the street). In particular, there are a number of places to get dried shrimp or dried fish. The second floor of the wet market houses about a dozen food stalls, where you can get a good inexpensive meal.
I believe cookbook author, Wendy Hutton - yes, she who wrote the ground-breaking Singapore Food (1979) & more than 20 other cookbooks, currently live in Sabah. You may read about her eating adventures & dining spots in Kota Kinabalu from her blog:
Thanks for the update. My impressions of Kota Kinabalu from 2005 may be a bit obsolete by now, but some great places I tried were:
1. Hinompuka Cafe in Buhavan Square (Lot 7 Blk F, SED-O Shophouses), Penampang. Tel: 088-725996. It's closed on Sundays.Offers Kadazan homecooking like hinava (Polynesian-style lime-cured raw fish) and of course, the hinompuka (sweet black glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves).
2. Fuzhou Restaurant, 28 Jalan Pantai (Ang's Hotel, Ground Flr). Herbal braised pork knuckle is the house speciality. Also, fried chicken wings. The restaurant's been around since the 1970s.
3. A must-not-miss for first-time visitors to KK: Pulau Bayu restaurant at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru breach resort. Tel: 088-225800. Go on Saturday night when indigenous tribal dances are performed. Local Kadazan, Bajau and Malay foods on the buffet table offer a taste of Sabah's diverse culinary heritage.
4. Seri Sempelang restaurant. Jalan Sembulan. Lot 3 & 4 Bangunan SEDCO. Tel: 088-235785. 24-hour restaurant offering staples like Sabah Rojak (yellow Hokkien noodles with chicken, hardboiled egg & a chunky-peanut spicy rojak sauce)
5. Nam Sing restaurant. 30 Jalan Pantai. Opens 5am-9pm. Tel: 088-215284. It's been serving Chinese dim sum to generations of Sabahans. Don't miss their sweet egg pancakes.