Sabah holiday 2015. Food, of course!

When traveling, it’s always fun to make a food post. No need to mention laksa, nasi goreng, beef rendang and char kway teow, all of which are well-known Malaysian dishes.

I’m not an intrepid foodie, but my husband Mike is always asking people, “Where is the best place to eat XYZ?”  

He is not looking for upmarket food, just authentic tastes. Most of the older, original eateries are not listed anywhere, have no menus when you get there, and you only learn about where they are, and what to order, by word of mouth.

So I get to eat food I would never have known existed, let alone know how to find or order it, if I was on my own.

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This is fish soup with salted vegetables.

Kedai Kopi Houng Kee (“kedai kopi” means coffee shop) is in Damai, a township in Kota Kinabalu.

You get a lot of options. There are 3 types of soup, plain, with salted vegetables (tangy) or a slightly milky soup.

Then there’s the kind of fish you want in the soup. Mike and I always choose “not fried”, so we get all the soft gooey pieces: skin, lips, bladder, belly, as well as normal pieces of fish. I suppose the fried fish is, well, fried!

I’m sure you don’t have to eat the exotic bits. You could simply choose fish fillets.

When I lived here, I had this for breakfast once a week. For a treat I would have fish heads, which have loads of soft goobey bits (cheeks, lips, eyeballs). Only to be eaten with someone who loves you, because your face is a big sticky mess afterwards, covered in collagen. I’m sure it must be great for my skin though.

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This is called chu chap, and it’s soy braised pork offal. Sometimes it’s served with hard boiled eggs. It comes with noodles on the side. I have no idea which parts of the animal are used, but we can have a good guess! Anyway, nose-to-tail is the thing now, and rightly so. If you have to kill it, show it respect by eating all of it.)

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Mike likes Indonesian food, and he went looking for Warung Padang Jawa, in Alamesra township. This is Ayam Penyet (fried chicken with a special chilli sauce) and Gado Gado, a cold salad with a peanut satay sauce. This is a common Indonesian dish. We ordered extra sambal penyet (penyet sauce) since it tasted great!

I was in Everrise supermarket in IMAGO, which is the latest shopping mall to go up on the KK waterfront. This is the kind of upmarket food store with  imported goods for expats, and locals who like foreign food.

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So, Aussie lamb, frozen then unfrozen, in the chilled meat section. Slaughtered in Sept 2015. Exchange rate is 1 ringgit = 0.32 aud.

That comes to AUD $70 to make a simple lamb roast. I can probably do it for about AUD $15 at Pattons Underwood. Not your every day meal here.

Yen Ai is a Chinese dessert chain. Here is a bit of history about their business.

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I love eating here, and I could probably manage to do this myself! Even though it was hot and humid, I wanted their hot soup desserts.

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Yes, it’s a sweet, green bean soup!

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This is a sweet, black glutinous rice with coconut cream soup. I can’t tell you how comforting these are! Oh yes I can. Think along the lines of rice pudding, and creamy sweet porridge. Not so different.

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Mike wanted something cold. Durian “snow ice” dessert, with durian fruit, shaved ice, sweet corn, and sweet condensed milk. You need to get your head around having vegetables in your dessert, often sweet corn and kidney beans. It’s wonderful. Trust me!

I should order glutinous rice balls in sweet, hot syrup next time. My mother loved that and I always think of her when I have it.

One for another post!

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10 Comments

    1. Joanna

      Thanks for reading Brendon! I’ll try and continue the food log, it’s only the first week. Your kids will be learning to play soon, then Aline will have plenty of serenades in the morning 🙂 Pls send my regards

  1. Adger Funk

    Great post bout our Sabahan food… I really miss it… where ever I go, I never let go the taste of the Sabahan food from my mind… they are the best, trust me!!!

    1. Joanna

      Wow A.J., I’m so happy you like the post, you being a chef in the Middle East now! I worry that my posts are so ordinary to Sabahans. I will try and add detail and do them justice. TQ Xoxo

  2. travelwithnick

    Great post! The food is making me hungry :0 Sweet bean soup looks amazing! And your husband is right, authentic tastes are always the nicest. Often the super upmarket places aren’t always the nicest anyway 🙂

      1. travelwithnick

        Thank you! I don’t travel as much as I’d like haha but yes- why get something you’re used to when there’s a new cultural experience around the corner served in a traditional way 🙂

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