Sabah is famous for Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in the Southeast Asia region. Many has traveled thousands miles for a taste of this notorious height of the region. While advanced climbers find the mountain fascinating and interesting to experience, I have seen few who went up but came down regretting; for many of them did not quite complete the adventure of conquering the peak of the third largest island in the world.
I am not here to write about the journey up to Mount Kinabalu. Instead, I am more fascinated to share with everyone a touristy yet interesting restaurant in Kota Kinabalu. Located in Bukit Padang, an area known for the state’s psychiatric hospital, Kampung Nelayan Floating Seafood Market Restaurant would definitely a great place for visitors to stop by, especially if your stay in the city is less than a week. Kota Kinabalu is a city sitting next to the sea, naturally blessed with fresh and tasty seafood cuisine. Walking around the city center area, one would be able to generously see seafood eateries.
Personally, over the years, I have been to so many seafood restaurants – big and small, near and far, cheap and expensive ones. Yet, Kampung Nelayan Floating Seafood Market Restaurant would still be my choice whenever I have to entertain guests from outside Sabah. The restaurant is divided into three sections, sitting afloat a man-made lake. Walking passed the entrance, where the main section of the restaurant is, you would immediately see lobsters and fish swimming in tanks – waiting to be chosen, before making their way into big plates. Dinnertime at this restaurant is exciting because at around 7.50pm, the main stage will be lit-up and soon to be followed by the unique sound of local music; all for the daily traditional performances. With more than 32 ethnics residing in Sabah, short stayers would not be able to sample all different cultures. However, the daily performances at this restaurant will give you opportunity to see the rich colours of Sabah and you would definitely learn about the cultures – the performances are accompanied with brief description of the dances’ origins.
The main section of this restaurant offers ala-cart menu and steamboat choice of dishes. On the right side of the restaurant, one could immediately see area dedicated for group or event reservation. If you were lucky enough, you would be able to see from distance how the locals organize events. Nonetheless, while you are at the restaurant, please enjoy the time spend; be it with your partner or with your group of friends and hosts. The price for the ala-cart menu will be highly depending to the season and method of cooking. However, the price here is reasonable compared to many seafood restaurants in the city center.
In the case where you have seen the cultural performances before, you and your friends should head to the left side of the restaurant and pass through the floating walkway. Here, you could have all-you-can-eat BBQ Steamboat dishes. I love the idea to be able to grill meat while waiting for the seafood and vegetables boiling in the steamboat pot. Also, since it is buffet style, I could comfortably chat with my friends and guests – taking all the time going up and down the buffet area. This area is an open-air section, so take note that by the time you end your dinner, your clothes will still be cooking – all those meat and seafood scents don’t leave you that easy, since everyone were grilling and sizzling at their table.
Of course there are hundreds more seafood restaurants around the city, but this is the only one that is definitely provide you with great value – money, taste and experience. Ask your hotel desk for transportation heading to the place. If you are taking a taxi, the price should be around RM30 for one way.
//Wrote by Makiko Saba, Malaysia