BBITES in Kota Kinabalu

1HI EVERYONE! I’m finally back with my Malaysia holiday update. If you’re new to the site, yes this is a Hong Kong food blog (most of the time) – but I also love to blog about my travels and exotic overseas food every now and then, as well! 🙂

So, without further ado… let’s get ready to makan! (that means eat in Malaysian.)2Kota Kinabalu, affectionately referred to as “KK” is the capital city of Sabah, a geographically diverse area of Eastern Borneo. And when I say geographically diverse, I’m not kidding: in the space of one day, you can go from the beach all the way to freezing cold at over 4000m altitude!3After arriving at the ghostly quiet KK Intl. Airport, we picked up some much-needed tourist info and set out to buy supplies for our upcoming climb up Mount Kinabalu.4After this strenuous exercise, my companions and I left the supermarket/shopping mall in dire need of some exciting local sights and flavours…5Located on the main coastal strip, KK’s fish market is bustling with locals, tourists, vendors and flanked all the while by restaurants that serve up the fresh catch in a variety of styles, very much like Sai Kung in Hong Kong.6To accompany our megalodon – I mean snapper – we naturally ordered classic Malaysian sides: nasi goreng (fried rice) and kang kung belacan (water spinach). 7PRO TIP: eat everything with generous amouts of Malaysian chili sauce: sambal.8In Malaysia, it is custom to eat with your right hand (left hand is rude) so each table has some form of wash basin so that patrons can clean up before digging in.

And now, presenting the massive snapper that had so much meat we couldn’t even finish the leftovers for breakfast…AAKKGrilled with a spicy marinade, this snapper (and all the fresh seafood caught off of Borneo) was full of flavour with an almost chicken-like robust texture.1011The following day we woke early to begin the climb to Mount Kinabalu peak – the non-culinary highlight of our trip to Malaysia.12While the markets, hotels and city centre of KK are on the coast, it takes a few hours drive to reach the start of Mount Kinabalu’s trail head.1314

This was by far the longest and most challenging hike I’ve ever done, but porters and local guides (who must accompany climbers by law) can sprint up and down like it’s a piece of cake – sometimes carrying over 40kg!!!!!!!15As you go and up down the mountain, porters pass you all the time – since the inn sitting on the mountainside before the final summit has no access roads, and everything must be carried up manually. Truly impressive.16Although Laban Rata has no running hot water or heating system, I was the happiest camper imaginable to snuggle into my creaking bunk bed to restore my energy before the 3AM final ascent!17Breakfast ^ before climbing to the summit in time for sunrise 🙂 1819What an amazing feeling being at the top (apart from freezing my butt off!). The climb down after the sun meant that we could now see the gorgeous yet desolate rock formations at the summit – which earlier were covered in darkness.20After returning to Laban Rata to celebrate with some bubbly apple juice (bringing up real champagne didn’t strike me as a good idea), we began the long journey back to KK and our final market/food experience.21For our last night in KK, we browsed the central market (separate from fish market) and decided on more grilled seafood after trying snacks like satay ayam and kerupuk.22Among the highlights were mud crab and squid. Warning: delicious photos ahead.2323bFatty, tender yet crisp with a melty explosion of flavour, the grilled squid rocked my world with a lightly sweet tomato/chili sauce.

After dinner, a “quick” stop to the local bar, and the rest is history!24Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next post, which will be a 100% certified Hong Kong food story 🙂


Bakker x


5 responses to “BBITES in Kota Kinabalu

  1. Ferdinand de Bakker

    what does NOM mean? Ferdinand (‘Ferry’) de BakkerManaging Director La Croisette Business Consulting Pte. Ltd. 81 Cavenagh Road #01-16 Cavenagh Lodge Singapore 229626 T+65-65201286 M+65-97546250 Skype fdebakker


  2. Your troll friend

    Great write-up and great memories :)….. the pictures had me salivating too! Was in such a funk with work ….. wish I drank more and just passed out on some street corner

  3. Oh man. You just made me want to go back to Asia for dat street-food! If you go to Singapore you should try the garlic-fried-stingray, really good 😀

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