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Jan 26, 2012 01:57 AM

Kuching and Kota Kinabalu

Selamat tenga hari,

We will be in these cities for 5 and 4 days respectively.

Please let us know your special recommendations on all non-western options.......looking for combo of quality, local flavour, tradition, creativity, etc......
Terrih makasih

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  1. Sorry, CMT, in all my years with Chowhound, I'd never come cross any Sarawak/Sabah-based Hounds, so not sure if anyone will respond to your queries.

    Anyway, some tips:

    For Sarawak, of you happen to visit over the weekend, don't miss the Satok weekend market, where you can also find some native food.

    I liked the Sarawak laksa at Carpenter Street downtown - ask the locals there and they'd inadvertently point you the way.

    For another local favorite noodle dish - Mee Kolok, go to the famous Choon Hui Cafe at 34, Ban Hock Road, but be prepared to brave the crowds!

    For Sabah, check out Hinompuka Cafe which serves Kadazan tribal fare - it's highly recommended by locals:

    Address details
    Hinompuka Cafe
    Lot 7, Block F, SED-O Shophouses
    Buhavan Square
    Donggonon New Township
    Tel: 088-725 996

    One of Kota Kinabalu's oldest eateries is:

    Fatt Kee Coffee Shop
    (Ang's Hotel
    )28, Lorong Bakau
    Jalan Pantai
    Kota Kinabalu

    Photos & details of dishes served here:

    2 Replies
    1. re: klyeoh

      well now you have one. lol. i've only been to kota kinabalu twice so i can't say i'm ultra familiar with the city but then again, it's a very small city... many people go for the seafood in chinese type restaurants in kk, the seafood is live and fresh from the tank but i only find the cooking so so. the surprise is the hand made noodles. i joined a couple of local tours with a private guide and he took us to a few really good noodle places before/after the tours. the quality of the noodles and fish noodles are MUCH better than the best noodle places in hong kong. i don't have the exact address of these places but i can give you my tour guides contact if you want. he's a really nice guy, so i think even if you don't join his tours, he will tell you about the restaurants. i would go back to kk any day just for the noodles and fish noodles.

      1. re: japanesefoodlover

        Headed to KK & other parts of Borneo and would love the contact info for your tour guides--do you think we could get a local food tour?

    2. In all honesty the undisputed best restaurant for Malay food in KK is Kak Nong:
      Only problem is that no alcohol is being served.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tkamp

        Thanks for was both very friendly, clean and helpful.......foodwas OK without being special, and location, abit outside city centre was a bit of a problem, but helpful staff ordered a taxi....I would recommend both night market and fish market south of Meridian/Warisa (sp?)

      2. You might find this rec a little lame, but on a trip to Kuching a couple of years ago, we had the best roti canai at the Hilton Hotel all-day dining restaurant in Kuching.

        I've since eaten a several stand-a-lone Malaysian restaurants, had the same dish at every one of them and the Hilton's has been by far the best. There was also a chickpea dish that we had that was excellent.

        If I were to go back to Kuching, I would most definitely stop by to see if the food was still as good. The other food items on the buffet were excellent. The staff very friendly and helpful.

        Hope you have a good dining experience and trip.

        1. I was just in Kuching for a few days with my aunt & uncle. By far the best meal we had was at MBar & Bistro at the Ranee hotel (, 6 & 7 Main Bazaar, just across from the river). We were staying a few doors down, and the blackboard out front advertizing Dayak food caught my eye. We got two orders of the black pepper chicken (which was silly, since everything's a la carte and served in dishes to share, but on the other hand we finished them both), the chicken cooked in bamboo, and the sour eggplant stew (apparently the menu changes daily depending on what's at the market, but these seemed to be particular specialties). All were phenomenal. Black pepper chicken was a little spicy, obviously lots of black pepper, with some onions as well. My aunt, who's very sensitive to spicy food and doesn't like too much garlic, loved her bamboo chicken (as did I, and I love spicy garlicky foods). It was cooked on the bone with lemongrass, onion, etc. My favorite was the sour eggplant, though it wasn't really sour at all. It was a local variety of eggplant that I'd never seen before, cut into wedges and cooked with a sauce. Sort of reminded me of tomato or a tender peach. In any case, just delicious. The manager comped us each a glass of rice wine at the end, and showed us the rooms upstairs, which were lovely. I'd certainly stay there if I went back. I'm a little worried, since we were the only ones there. Hope they don't close. The attached coffee shop next door was a little pricey, but good teas and pastries (except for a mediocre chocolate macaron).

          Worst meal of the trip was at Little Lebanon just across the street on the riverfront. Chewy lamb kebabs, gluey sauce, hummus that tasted like cider vinegar. Yuck.

          And I have to agree with TxPepper above about the roti canai at the Hilton. We went there for New Years brunch because I'd been living in Indonesia for several months (for my dissertation research) and was dying for a croissant, and the roti with veg curry from their breakfast buffet was actually really good. (The beef sausages were not.) Probably not worth what they charge for it, but the last time I'd had decent bread was in August, so I was willing to splurge.