Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kedai Kopi Hilltop

I read about this from a beautiful site - I have fallen in love with their photos, writings and ventures. Knowing I will be going to Kota Kinabalu, I took the chance to check out their blogs for info. This is one of the shop they went. There were no address given, just a telephone number for me to call. When I called up, the "tauke nio" (lady boss) could not give me a full address. She kept giving me some names and landmarks that I (not being a Sabahan) do not know. The only name that she kept repeating was Jalan Lintas (Lintas Road). Equipped with a map of KK, we cruised along Jalan Lintas and all other related roads for 3 times. Now Lintas Road is one of the major roads, so it is not a short distance. It took us 1 hour and yet we still failed to find the place. After numerous calls and getting very late (about 11+pm), we gave up and turned to Jalan Bunga Ulam Raja to head back to town centre. And there it was - Kedai Kopi Hilltop!

Location : Kolam Centre, Jalan Bunga Ulam Raja, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Rating : Quite Good

The first thing we ordered and came was the grilled stingray. The fish is marinated and grilled with spices mixed with little bit of curry powder. How do I find this? Maybe I had too high hopes, it turned out to be ok. Quite good, but I find the spices tasted slightly funny. Then we had grilled sotong (squid) in curry sauce. The squid is really fresh and the curry does not over power the meat. But you have to eat them all (squid+sauce) in 1 scoop in order to get the oomph. Because we were so hungry after such a long search, we ordered a fried seafood bee hoon (rice vermicelli). I noted that bee hoon in KK are slightly thicker. The dish looks normal, but it was actually quite tasty. The bee hoon was cooked with enough heat that makes the noodles absorbed the fragrance of seafood. This is the "sign" that we had been looking for the whole 1 hour!With all these info, hope your search will be less tricky :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Port View Seafood Village

How can I not go for seafood when I am in Kota Kinabalu? I am sure if you tell anyone about going to KK, they will definitely tell you where to go for seafood. For us, we have the advantage of having locals to bring us. This wasn't what I am used to, as I do not like to owe favours but they weren't really my relatives and I can't really say no either. So I just have to go with the flow.
It was a really grand feast, which made me felt really indebted to this family. They made the orders, and I had the shock of my life when the dishes came one after another.

Location : The Water Front, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Rating : Good

The first dish was 10 inches sea tiger prawns cooked in spiced butter. You may not know how huge is the prawn. Maybe the picture below will give you a clue.

The prawns were so huge and they are so fresh that the meat is sweet and springy. I think the cook managed to ensure that the sauce did not over power the fresh taste of the prawns, which was good.

The second dish was also 10 inches sea tiger prawns. This time, it is fried with soy sauce. Sorry, I can't help it but show off how huge the prawn is.
I love fresh sea prawns being cooked this way as it usually retains the sweetness of the meat. Unfortunately, the cook had poured in a bit too much soy sauce. The dish was slightly too salty. It was still good though. One thing about eating huge seafood is that the meat will be quite chewy, but this was ok.

Next we had some rather exotic food. There is this shark's lower jaw's soft bone stewed in clear sauce. Such a long name, even longer jaw.

By the way, this has to be quite a huge shark. Personally, I do not agree in shark killing but since it has been served, I might as well tell you how it tastes. The texture is rather chewy and jelly like. The bones itself is rather tasteless (at least it has no fishy smell). It took hours of stewing to soften the bones and the cook blend it with clear sauce of mushrooms, garlics and corianders to fused the traces of freshness in them. It seems that this is a delicacy favoured by Hongkies, as it offers medicinal values. Shark bones are rather well known among in chinese medicine as good for bones, spines and joints.

Next we have fresh abalone steamed with garlic topping. If you like garlic, this dish is great as garlic draws out the fresh seafood taste.

I felt that the cook has slightly overcooked this dish. It would have been better if the meat wasn't that chewy.

Then came the fresh sea flower crabs. It is difficult to get live flower crab. The dead ones that are sold in the market are the worst type of seafood as the meat would have disintegrated and bacteria would have spread.

I remember a funny quote by a relative: "The crabs are lining up to go into your stomach". Hehehe... she is such a cute and funny person.

That's why I think it was a great idea to order sea flower crab and it was even greater idea to have it steamed with eggs. Simple yes, but the taste of fresh sea enveloped within your mouth was heavenly!

Finally came an unassuming stew. Now this may look small and simple dish to you, but it is actually the fin lining of a 200kg fish they call it "long dun". "Long dun" is a term for fishes that has lived longer than 10 years and grew so huge that man should swim away and leave it alone. Again, I do not condone killing or eating them. But since it is served... The texture is slightly like beef tendons but tasted very strongly of sea blood. Seafood lovers will love the powerful fragrant and tastes.

Our grand feast was wrapped up with 2 coconut fill of pudding made of coconut meat and juice, blended and frozen. The pudding is naturally sweet and fragrant of coconut. This is a great finale to seal off the feast.


  • What is good - The cook knows how not to over power the naturally fresh taste of seafood. All dishes are mildly dressed.
  • What is not such a good idea - Extinction of certain species.
  • A note of heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Ben's relatives for such a grand feast.

Quickie : The Rainforest at Poring Hot Spring

It was 5pm after we finished climbing hill to walk on the canopy hanging bridge and soaking our feet in Poring Hot Spring. As usual, I was yowling for food again. So the best place to go (actually, the only place to go) is The Rainforest.

We ordered local coffee, hot & cold. Fragrant enough to soothe our thirst.Hungry me ordered "The Rainforest Fried Rice". Nothing to shout about, but decent enough. The chilli here isn't hot, but extremely sour. But mixing with the rice was actually quite nice.
Ben ordered mixed sandwich. Nothing much, the usual fare. What I like? The environment. Quite a suitable name for the restaurant as we were surrounded by greens. The waitress was polite and friendly. The food overall was nice. It left me with a good feeling to end the Poring Hot Spring journey with a relax mind and a full stomache (hehe..).

Quickie : Nasi Lemak at Kafe Kundasang

It was already noon and we were still in Kundasang. I supposed it was the cold weather. I have been shouting "hungry" all the time since I was up on Kinabalu Park area. We have just checked out so I can't cook something to soothe my hunger pang. Looking around Kundasang, there were no place to eat. The shops are mostly closed and we were no willing to eat in a hotel. Finally we came to Kafe Kundasang. It is a simple coffee shop. I saw a lady diligently wrapping up nasi lemak (Malay for coconut milk rice) to sell for Muslim to break fast in the evening. I asked for a packet and ordered a steamy local coffee to with it.
It looks like any normal nasi lemak, but the rice actually tastes different. You see, they use cinnamon and cloves to cook the rice. I might say this is a healthier choice as they use less santan (coconut milk). But the taste somehow reminded me of Chinese steamed glutinous rice. Maybe it is because of the spices they use.
Anyway, I can't give you a fair verdict if the nasi lemak is good. Reason being (1) I was hungry, (2) This is a different method of nasi lemak.
But no regrets, as I get to taste the localised food.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Quickie : Fruits from Borneo Sabah

It is amazing that I took the initiative to buy fruits, what with my carnivorous appetite. But I promised myself that I must try all things foreign in Borneo Sabah. And so, I went to the fruit stall in Kundasang and started pointing at all the fruits I have not seen or tasted before. The result:
The first thing we tried was manggis hutan (wild mangosteen). It actually looked like a ballooned duku/langsat. Even tasted slightly like one, but the look and texture is very similar to manggis (mangosteen).
The next we took was pulasan. Well of course I have tried pulasan, but I found another type which is dark purple. The seller said it is called pulasan hitam (doesn't sound convincing to me). They tasted very much like rambutan, but the red pulasan is more juicy. I find the pulasan hitam softer and fragrant more towards lychee.
The last and biggest fruit I have pointed is called bambangan (if I spelt it right). Very easy to peel. When I first bit into the flesh, it tasted very much like mango, but with slightly more fibre. But the after taste that dwells in my tongue after I swallowed the fruit smelled like nangka (jackfruit).
Interesting fruits that you should try if you were there. And no, I did not suffer any stomach ache, so no worries :)

Sabah's Ngiu Chap

Ah... Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. I went, I see and the chilli sauce conquered me. Phew.... I thought I can take hot and spicy until I dip a piece of meat into this unassuming sauce.
I wouldn't say the sauce taste great, cause it taste nothing except extreme spicy. Oh my goodness! I have to "tabik" Kadazan people. BUT... This is not a blog about the chilli sauces. It is about a good beef brisket noodles shop in KK - Kah Hiong Ngiu Chap!

Location : Kolam Centre, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Rating : Great

We have ordered the usual beef brisket with flat rice noodles. And a KK usual of bee hoon (rice vermicelli).
We found the clear soup very very fragrant minus the usual lot of msg. Included in the soup are some spices that warms the stomach (great for us coz we have just touched down from KL with empty stomach).
The rice vermicelli is slightly different as they are thicker than the usual but very smooth. The meat are soft and springy to the bite. I have to say, it is even better than those I have tried in KL so far.

It is not hard to find the shop, with its signature yellow and red sign.
In case you still can't find it, look for the sign below, which is right off the main road - Jln Likas/Jln Lintas.

Besides burning our tongues with KK's chillis, we manage to scuttle around Sabah for a few days. You might find our journey log in -

Friday, September 14, 2007

A whole meal soup at Pudu

This is not a decorated shop, nor is this a hyped bistro. Simple family affair. Simple dishes. Extravagant flavour and assortment. The place is directly opposite Shaw Parade along Cangkat Thambi Dollah. Simply lovely!

Location : Cangkat Thambi Dollah, Pudu
Rating : Great

I read an article some time back that double-boiled soup offers enhanced health value. Even fats from double-boiled soup has its nutritional values. We ordered tien chat (notoginseng root) soup shown on top and coconut chicken soup. Tien chat are good for blood circulation. While the bottom coconut chicken soup is good for nourishing the organs.
In addition, we have ordered additional dishes to go with white rice. The chicken legs were not as soft as I expected, but the mushrooms were extremely big.
But one of our favourite is mui choy khau yuk (salted mustard with pork belly). Since young, I never liked animal fats until I tried this. It was really fragrant when eaten with rice and mui choy and meat.
There is another favourite of ours - curry pork (wild boar), but too much just spoil the purpose of drinking some healthy soup.
If you don't mind going for street food, this is one of the must. Economical and tasty. What more can I ask?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Quickie: Ah Pek's Dau Foo Fa at Menglembu, Perak

Dau foo fa or dou hwa in mandarin or dau hway in hokkien all refers to beancurd dessert doused with ginger syrup. Among the few variation you find are salty or spicy dou hwa from Szechuan China, or Malaysian's gula melaka syrup (palm sugar), or Taiwan's mix with soya drink.

Beancurd originated from China and dou hwa are consumed all year round, summer with ice and winter warm syrup.

This uncle has been selling dau foo fa (Ipoh are full of cantonese) and dau jing (soya bean milk) for years. He used to stand all day without sitting. Nowadays, as age catch up, he has brought along a foldable chair to sit when thre are no customers.
What is a good dau fo fa? For me, it has got to be smooth, fragrant of bean and ginger from the syrup must not be overpowering. I found all this from Ah Pek's dau foo fa.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wan Ton Mee Sg Besi

I am not really a fan of wan ton mee. I have tried them in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia and even Indonesia. Don't ask me why I tried them at so many places, yet I don't like them. It was more of by chance than by choice. Anyway, I have always found the noodles too soft or too elastic. The wan ton mee in Hong Kong was sooo.. dry and hard to chew (I can't forget them even after 20 years). But I find this place not bad, as in I won't dread going for it again and again.
The shop offers many varities of wan ton mee, from dumplings to roast meat, from stewed meat to fried meat. Hahaha... all meats.
Location : Sg Besi, Kuala Lumpur (Near Jln Chan Sow Lin)
Rating : Good

What I like about here is the noodles (which I normally dislike). The usual fare are either too soft or too elastic, but this one is springy yet easy to chew. My favourite is with pork curry (wild boar meat). I think the combination of spicy and salty meat with the sweet noodles is good.Ben ordered duck meat noodles. Is it nice? Well the meat was rather normal. Luckily the noodles are good.In addition to the ala carte noodles, you can always order side dishes like wan ton (dumpling), sui kow (bigger dumpling) and foo chok (soy bean rolls).
Are they good? Well I would say above average.
Plan to go there this weekend? Look for the shop shown below:
Note: Come in the evening.