You are currently viewing 10 best food in Kota Kinabalu!

10 best food in Kota Kinabalu!

Having hard time looking for the best food in Kota Kinabalu? In this article we share some best local dishes you must ry! Not only that, we also listed some variety of prices and location for you and your loved ones to enjoy Malaysian food as well.


Sabah like its neighbors, Malaysian food is known for its diversity and bold flavors so if you enjoy a lot of pep in your food, then you’re going to love Kota Kinabalu cuisine!


Sabah, located in Malaysian Borneo, boasts a diverse culinary scene that is both unique and delectable. The state’s proximity to the sea ensures an abundance of fresh seafood, which forms a significant part of its traditional dishes. Sabah’s culinary offerings, influenced by various indigenous groups such as the Kadazan-Dusun, Bajau, and Murut, present a delightful blend of flavors, textures, and cooking techniques.




1. Banana Leaf Rice





Rice is very important in Malaysian food. Most people eat rice, then noodles, and sometimes bread. They often eat seafood, and also chicken, beef, and mutton.

In Sabah, a place in Malaysia, many people like Banana Leaf Rice. They serve white rice on a banana leaf with some vegetables, pickles, papadum, and other things.

People usually eat Banana Leaf Rice with their hands. They use only the tips of their fingers.



No. 28, Jalan Berjaya, Bandat Berjaya, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah


Operated Hour

Daily from 6.45 am – 5.00 pm
Contact: +60 88-253 669


Price Range


RM10-RM15 per set




How should one consume?

Begin by mixing the white rice with some of the curry or gravy that’s been served alongside. This helps the rice absorb the flavors.

Alongside the rice, you’ll typically find a variety of dishes and condiments like vegetables, pickles, papadum (a type of crispy flatbread), and chutneys. Use your fingers to pick up small portions of these sides and place them on your rice or on a separate section of the leaf.

Banana Leaf Rice is traditionally eaten using your hands. Use your right hand (or your left if you’re left-handed) to mix the rice and sides together, forming small rice balls or morsels. Use your fingers to scoop up these bites and enjoy them.

Often accompanied by various curries. Pour a little onto your rice or dip your morsels into the curry for added flavor.

As you go along, feel free to try different combinations of rice, sides, and curries.


2. Laksa




The exact ingredients and proportions can vary based on the specific regional variant of laksa, as there are several different types across Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, each with its unique twist on this beloved dish.

Laksa is a spicy soup with chicken, noodles, and beans. Some places make it with coconut curry, making it a bit sweet and spicy. It comes from the early Chinese Peranakan tribe. In Kota Kinabalu, many people, both locals and tourists, love this dish. Sometimes, you might have to wait for a table at the restaurant because it’s very popular.



Yee Fung Coffee Shop


Operated Hour

( open from 7 AM to 4 PM)


Price Range

RM 8= USD 1.93 to RM 8.5= USD 2.05




Laksa is prepared using a blend of ingredients that come together to create its iconic spicy and flavorful broth. Here’s a basic overview of how laksa is typically prepared with broth Base spices include lemongrass, galangal, and turmeric, Chili Paste, Coconut Milk, sliced chicken, prawns, fish cakes, or tofu puffs. proteins are typically added to the simmering broth to cook and absorb the flavors. They also add Noodles, and garnishes



The cooked noodles are placed in a bowl, followed by the desired proteins and garnishes. The hot laksa broth is then ladled over the top, creating a steaming bowl of flavorful soup.

3. Pan Mee




Pan Mee is a local form of Hakka noodles which is quite famous in the Sabah state of Malaysia. The dish is prepared with noodles made of wheat which are hand torn in bite-sized pieces. The soup for this dish is made with anchovy broth, pieces of ground pork and vegetables. The dish is considered to be a Hakka comfort food and it has become a popular street food in Kota Kinabalu. An alternative preparation known as Chilli Pan Mee is also quite famous.



Wing Xan Pan Mee


Operated Hour

( 7 AM to 3:30 PM)


Price Range

RM 7= USD 1.69 to RM 12= USD 2.9





Pan Mee noodles is typically made from wheat flour, water, and sometimes a bit of salt . Along with clear broth made from anchovies (ikan bilis) or sometimes any beef bones. The broth is simmered with ingredients like dried anchovies, garlic, and sometimes dried shiitake mushrooms to infuse it with flavor.

Commonly served with minced meat (often beef or chicken), dried anchovies, mushrooms, and sometimes vegetables like spinach or choy sum. The minced meat is typically seasoned with soy sauce, white pepper, and other spices.

A spicy chili paste, often made with dried chilies, garlic, and sometimes belacan (shrimp paste), is a popular accompaniment to Pan Mee. Diners can add this paste according to their preferred level of spiciness.



The freshly made Pan Mee noodles are cooked in boiling water until they are tender but still retain a slight chewiness. They are then placed in a bowl and topped with the hot broth.

The minced meat, dried anchovies, and other toppings are added on top of the noodles and broth. Some variations might also include a boiled egg or crispy fried anchovies as additional garnishes.
Condiments and Sauces:

How to consume?

Diners can customize their Pan Mee by adding condiments and sauces like soy sauce, white pepper, and the aforementioned chili paste. Some places might also offer additional garnishes like chopped green onions or cilantro.

Its best enjoyed with hot, allowing the flavors of the broth and toppings to meld together. It is typically served with a pair of chopsticks and a spoon for slurping up the noodles and sipping the flavorful broth.


4. Beef Satay




It is a popular street food in Kota Kinabalu. The skewered beef is smoked on charcoal and coated with a spicy peanut sauce. This lip-smacking delicious dish is definitely worth a try. You can also enjoy chicken, lamb, rabbit or even pork satay in most of the places.


Kedai Kopi Yuit Chang and Brunei Satay House


Operated Hour

Opens daily 6am-5pm


Price Range

RM 1 to RM 6





The beef strips are marinated in the spice mixture, allowing them to absorb the flavors. Marination time can vary but typically ranges from a few hours to overnight for optimal flavor infusion.

Once marinated, the beef strips are threaded onto skewers, ensuring they are spread out evenly to ensure even cooking.

The beef skewers are grilled over charcoal or on a grill pan until they are cooked through and develop a slightly charred, smoky exterior. Basting with any remaining marinade or a mixture of coconut milk and spices during grilling can enhance flavor and moisture.

Beef Satay is traditionally served with a rich and creamy peanut sauce. The sauce is made by combining ground roasted peanuts with tamarind paste, soy sauce, coconut milk, palm sugar, and a mixture of chili and garlic, creating a balance of sweetness, tanginess, and spiciness.


How to consume?

Once the Beef Satay skewers are grilled to perfection, they are typically served hot alongside the peanut sauce. You can dip the beef skewers into the sauce, ensuring they get a generous coating of the flavorful peanut mixture.

Its often accompanied with sliced cucumbers, onions, and sometimes a compressed rice cake known as “ketupat.” These accompaniments help balance the rich flavors of the satay and peanut sauce, offering a refreshing contrast!

You can pick up a skewer, dip it into the peanut sauce, and enjoy the harmonious blend of tender, flavorful beef and creamy, spicy peanut sauce in every bite.

Beef Satay pairs wonderfully with light, refreshing beverages like iced tea or a cold beer, offering a delightful contrast to the rich flavors of the dish.

5. Ais Kacang




Popularly known as ABC (short form for Air Batu Campur, this literally means ice mix). It is a crushed ice dessert, which is a speciality of Malaysia and Singapore. It is prepared by mixing shaved ice with beans and jelly and sweet syrup, they top it off with condensed milk. The excessively hot conditions in Malaysia make this food in Kota Kinabalu the perfect thing to snack on to cool off.



Luyang Commercial Centre, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah


Operated Hour

Opens daily 10am-1opm


Price Range

RM 5


6 . Coconut Pudding






In the Borneo humidity and heat, an ice cold Coconut Pudding is a welcomed relief. Pandan coconuts are normally used for their fragrance and sweet coconut juice. Usually paired with Satays(grilled skewered meats) and Lukan (saltwater shellfish) to complete a quick meal during a roadtrip towards Kudat, Pitas and Kota Marudu(the east coast of Sabah).



Coconut Pudding Stall Nabil, 89200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

014-653 8014


Operated Hour

Daily 9am-5pm

Price Range





Grated coconut flesh is soaked in water, and then the mixture is squeezed to extract thick coconut milk. This creamy milk serves as the base for the pudding, providing a rich and tropical flavor. Agar-agar (a type of seaweed-derived gelatin) or conventional gelatin is added.

The coconut milk is heated, and agar-agar or gelatin is added to the mixture. This ingredient helps in setting the pudding, giving it a firm yet silky texture.

Sugar is added to the coconut milk mixture to sweeten the pudding. The amount can be adjusted based on personal preference.

These flavorings can be added to the mixture to impart additional layers of taste and aroma.

Once all the ingredients are combined, the mixture is poured into molds or serving dishes. It’s then refrigerated until set, typically taking a few hours.


How to consume?

Coconut pudding is best enjoyed cold. The chilling enhances its creamy texture and refreshing taste, making it a perfect dessert for hot days.

Using a spoon, diners can scoop up layers of the creamy pudding, ensuring they get a blend of the silky texture and the rich coconut flavor in each bite.




7. Hinava






Hinava is a famous traditional dish of Kadazan-Dusun, the ethnic people of Sabah. Hinava is the local version of Japanese Shashimi and it is served as an appetizer. There are a few types of fresh fish to be used to make a tasty Hinava however the most popular is Ikan Tenggiri (Mackerel) as this fish has firm meat and less bone.

Hinava dish is made from fresh raw fish, therefore it is important to marinate it with plenty of freshly squeezed lime juice. The acid in lime juices will ‘cook’ the fish without heating like ordinary cooking. As it is not a main dish, Hinava is not easily available. However you can surely get to taste this unique dish at D’Place Restaurant everyday as they are specialized in Kadazan-Dusun food. beside eateries , a must to go Tamu market every wednesday, thursday at Donggongong township where all the melting pot culture and food , vege of the natives on display.



Donggongong Market Township

D’place Restaurant
Lot 2.01&2.02, 2nd floor, Plaza Shell

Contact: +60 16-833 2381


Operated Hour

Daily from 11am to 10.00pm

Price Range

RM8 – RM15 per plate



Freshness is Key: Ensure that the fish used for Hinava is fresh. Traditionally, mackerel or skipjack tuna is used. The fish should be firm to the touch and have a fresh, oceanic scent.



The fish is thinly sliced and mixed with lime juice, sliced shallots, grated ginger, sliced red chilies, and grated bambangan seed (a type of local wild mango). The acidity of the lime “cooks” the fish slightly, similar to ceviche.



Hinava is typically served chilled. It’s often garnished with thinly sliced bitter gourd (if desired) and sometimes sprinkled with toasted grated rice.

How should one consume?

Use a fork or spoon to take some Hinava and put it on your plate or eat it directly. Hinava has a mix of flavors: it’s sour from the lime, spicy from the chilies, and has a nice smell from the ginger and bambangan seed. These flavors go well with the fresh fish taste.

People in Sabah like to eat Hinava with rice and other local dishes. Some also drink it with a cold local wine called lihing.

Hinava is loved for its simple taste and fresh ingredients. Enjoy it and taste the special flavors it has!



8.Roti Cobra





Roti, a kind of bread pretty common in southeast Asia, is generally eaten along with lentil soup, curry or gravy. This delicious preparation combines all these elements into one. The base or the bottom layer is made up of roti which is then topped with lentil soup, fried beans and vegetables and pork or chicken and they top it off with eggs sunny side up. Most of the shops also provide you with chicken curry which makes this dish even more delectable. This is a considerably filling dish which is generally available at very low prices.



Kedai Makan Islamic Restoran

Basement, S40, S41, Lorong Centre Point, Kota Kinabalu, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah


Operated Hour



Price Range

RM 6.5

9. Ambuyat





Ambuyat is a starchy dish from the sago palm tree trunk served with various side dishes such as fish or vegetable stews. Eating ambuyat does require some practice and technique due to its sticky texture. We used the chandas (the long bamboo stick) to scoop it up, then twirled and wrapped the strand of ambuyat around the stick.

With regards to the taste of Ambuyat dish, honestly it has a bland taste. And it is the reason why this dish is served with Cacah or an Ambuyat’s dip and some other side dishes. If you will also try Ambuyat for the very first time, I recommend that you eat it with a good dip


My Native Sabah
LOT 48, 1ST FLOOR, BLK F, LRG 333-5 PLAZA 333, JLN BYPASS PENAMPANG PENAMPANG, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

016-833 2381


Operated Hour

11:30AM- 8:30PM

( Sunday Closed )


Price Range



Sago starch is mixed with water in a special container called a “tanduk” or “chandas.” The mixture is stirred continuously over heat until it reaches a smooth, thick, and gelatinous consistency. It’s essential to keep stirring to prevent lumps from forming and to achieve the desired texture.

Traditionally served with various dipping sauces that complement its neutral taste. These sauces can range from spicy sambal belacan (a chili shrimp paste), to sour fruits like calamansi or lime, and sometimes a savory anchovy-based sauce.



How to consume?

To consume Ambuyat, you dip the tip of the chandas or tanduk into the gelatinous sago starch, twist and roll it around to gather a portion of the sticky substance.

Once you have a small portion rolled around the tip, you dip it into your preferred sauce before placing it into your mouth. The dipping sauces add flavor and help in swallowing the sticky Ambuyat.

Ambuyat is often served with other dishes, such as grilled or boiled seafood (like prawns or fish) and various local vegetables. These accompaniments provide additional textures and flavors to the meal, making it more diverse and satisfying.





10. Laici Kang




To wash down your sang nyuk min and end it on a sweet note, you should order Jia Siang’s Laici Kang

It’s a refreshing concoction of fresh milk, black jelly stripes, crushed ice, and lychee. The milk gives the drink a pleasant creaminess, while the lychee fruits add a tinge of sweetness to the entire dish.



Lot 1-0, Lintas Plaza, Lorong 3, Lintas Plaza Ring Road, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
013-830 2435


Operated Hour

24 hours, Daily


Price Range






A mixture of herbs, seeds, jelly, and beans. This can include ingredients like grass jelly (cincau), red beans, agar-agar strips, palm seeds, and sometimes even fruits like lychees.

The sugar syrup is prepared by boiling water with sugar and the pandan leaves until it forms a fragrant and slightly thickened syrup.

The dessert is typically served cold, so crushed ice is added to the serving bowl along with a bit of water to create a refreshing and chilled base for the ingredients.

The various ingredients, including the grass jelly, red beans, agar-agar strips, palm seeds, and lychees (if used), are layered on top of the crushed ice and water mixture.

A drizzle of sweetened condensed milk is often added on top of the ingredients to give the dessert an extra touch of sweetness and creaminess.

How to consume?

Before consuming, it’s customary to mix all the ingredients thoroughly. This ensures that the flavors, textures, and sweetness are evenly distributed throughout the dessert.

Using a spoon, diners can scoop up a combination of the various ingredients, ensuring they get a bit of everything in each bite. The mixture of textures, from the jelly-like agar-agar to the creamy palm seeds and the soft beans, creates a delightful eating experience.


These Sabah dishes is best to consume with your loved ones ! A comforting and hearty dish that showcases the simplicity and versatility of handmade food. Its popularity has led to various regional and modern variations, but the essence of this dish remains rooted in its traditional preparation and comforting flavors.

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