Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Kota Kinabalu Bah !!

Continuing from previous posts of the climb to Kinabalu summit, we spent 2 days in the state capital before flying back to KL. It's already past 12 midnight by the time we finished dinner and shower. Slept soundly till next morning where we completely skipped breakfast to rest the tired bodies on the bed. The side effects? Not as bad as what I thought actually, not as claimed by some people that they're unable to walk for days. Only able to walk slowly & experiencing pains when walking up & down the stairs.

Because of our legs condition, resorted to visit & eat in places around the hotel vicinity only. The good news is Promenade Hotel is located in probably the best location in the city whereby foods & tourist attractions are pretty accessible by foot nearby. Took a cab ride to Suria Sabah shopping complex located nearby for window shopping.

One way to experience the local culture of a place is to visit the local market, which we did at Filipino night market located along the KK Waterfront. In one glance, the scene in the market just amazed u. U see unbelievably fresh seafood sold at unbelievably cheap price. Fresh vegetables from Kundasang sold as if they're for free. Imagine this, 1 bag consists of 10 pieces cucumbers costs only MYR 4.00 per bag. Multi racial people speaking to each other in local Malay accent. And all these happenings with the background of spectacular sunset scene. Besides the night market are the local handicraft market & dried seafood market.

Sunset at KK Waterfront

Fish market, u can see fishes delivered directly from boats to the stalls here

Fresh vegetables on sale. Notice the packed bags which are to be sold in bulks

Pearls sold at handicraft market

One reason of increasing repeat visitors to Kota Kinabalu is its famous fresh & cheap seafood. And to have the best seafood dinner with a reasonable price not necessarily need to be in a seafood restaurant with big aquarium. Few minutes walk away, makeshift restaurant stalls with "u pick, we cook" style, sprouted over a parking space. We got into this Seri 3 Rasa Seafood, displaying the largest choices of seafood I've ever seen on a single table. Fishes like seabass, trouts, pomfrets, groupers, all of them surprisingly are priced at fixed MYR 3.00/100 gram while others are also cheaply priced. Lobsters, are priced at MYR 15.00/100 gram while the rare jumbo-sized tiger prawns are priced higher but still cheaper by 40% I think than in KL.

We chose a coral trout fish (locally known as kerapu merah), big-sized prawns, squid & sayur pakis, local greens available only in Sabah to satisfy our hunger. A famous chef once said, when u use freshest seafood available, 70% of the work is already done. When we get it cooked with the simplest way, the natural texture & taste of the seafood will be enhanced. In this case, the seafood done the all the talking & not the chef. Price? MYR 85.00 for the food. No specific name for this place but all these stalls are located besides the Kota Kinabalu wet market along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens. A definitely must-try place for all budget-conscious seafood lovers out there !!!!

Arrays of fishes & lobsters on display

Crabs, squids, crayfishes, prawns, cockles, mussels etc. U name it, u got it

Crunchy Sayur Pakis cooked in Belacan style, I can have this all by myself !!! 

Coral trout steamed to perfection in Thai sauce. Fantastico !!!

The next day, walked to the Kota Kinabalu biggest wet market & bought local Tenom coffee powders for souvenirs back home. A stone throw away from the wet market is the fish market. Was told that this is the place where fish mongers take their daily stocks & distribute them to multiple places around the city. Sneaked into the place, hoping to catch a glimpse of the so-called auction. Didn't got my wish granted but still manage to buy frozen fishes to be brought back to KL.

Scene at the Kota Kinabalu wet market. Clean & well organized stalls

Local fishermen segregating the catches of the day

Tip to be shared for those wanna pack the seafood back home. All packed seafood for airfreight need to be of frozen types. Malaysia Airlines allowed frozen seafood to be checked in but Air Asia only allowed them to be hand carried at maximum weight of 7 kilogramme per person. We flew home to KL in the evening, bringing home the sweet memories & hope of returning again. As a seafood lover, it's a sin to the Food God (if there's any) if I don't come back !!! Not forgetting of course, the other attractions yet to be visited like the islands, highland resorts & others. KK, I will be back !!!

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