Food in Kota Kinabalu

Choices are never few when it comes to food in Kota Kinabalu. An interesting mix of Malaysian, Chinese, Brunei and European food can be relished. The city offers some of the most delectable food to its guests through different mediums. These could vary from the world-class cuisine prepared by expert chefs in the fine dining restaurants to some of the most mouth-watering not-so-expensive foodstuff found at the stalls and streets of KK. Vacationers can relish a whole of stuff ranging from the hardcore traditional food to the interesting modern fusion cuisine.

Kota Kinabalu - Waterfront

Though vegetarian food is also available conveniently in many of the food joints but because of its close location to the sea, KK is nothing less than a heaven for non-vegetarians, sea-food lovers to be precise. Everything from processed sea food to live sea-food kitchens can be seen at every nook and corner of the city. Sea-side restaurants and hotels is also a common-sight here.

Sea Food in Kota Kinabalu

Some of the must try traditional cuisine of Kota Kinabalu are:

  • Hinava– One of the most renowned Sabahan traditional preparation, it is made with fresh mackerel fish. Had as a salad or as an accompaniment to rice, it is included in the menu of most restaurants in KK.
  • Bambangan– It a variety of wild mango. Unique factor of this fruit is its acute smell. A pickle made out of this mango is a specialty of KK.
  • Pinasakan– Also called by the name Pinasakan Sada, is a type of preserved food item and belongs to tradition of Kadazandusun. White rice or ambuyat with sambal best complement the taste of Pinasakan.
  • Tuhau- Tuhau another classical Sabah cuisine which can go well with literally any food. Those trying it for the first time might resist eating it due to its pinquant smell but owing to its taste, the dish is definitely worth a shot.
  • Ambuyat– Though belonging to the culture of Bruneians, Ambuyat is quite a popular and loved food item in KK too. It is a kind of thick starchy blob which tastes best when had with Bambangan or Pinasakan. Starch powder of sago is boiled in water in order to prepare this delicacy.

Well apart from the time-honored recipes of KK that must be tried while on a vacation here, having some information about popular and good restaurants is also essential. So here are some eating out options in KK that one can go for:

Luxury dining

  • Nagisa
  • Ferdinand’s Italian Restaurant
  • Kudos
  • Sunset Bar, Shangri-La


  • Kohinoor
  • Tavern Kitchen and Bar
  • Little Italy
  • Chilli Vanilla


  • Man-Tai Restaurant
  • Sabah Restoran
  • Yu Kee’s Bak Kut The
  • Fook Yuen

Sea-Food Only

  • Welcome Seafood
  • Portview Seafood restaurant
  • New Gaya Seafood restaurant
  • Kampung Nelayan Floating Seafood Market restaurant

Breakfast & Snacks Eating Joints

  • Ang Kim Lam Coffee Shop
  • Sri Latha Curry House
  • Yee Fung Coffee Shop
  • Kim Hing Lee Coffee Shop