Sabah, Borneo ‘Land Below The Wind’ is well known for her spectacular sights and wonders of nature, however, there is something else that makes her a popular destination…mouth-watering must-try food! Sabah has inherited a vast array of cuisines from its melting pot of cultures and traditions.

From bustling markets to basement restaurants in shopping malls, Kota Kinabalu the Capital City of Sabah as well as nearby areas has a whole range of dishes and eateries to offer. A vast array of delectable cuisines are easily available, worth to be explored and savoured.

Here below is our recommended Top 10 must-try food while you are in Sabah, Borneo.

1) Laksa Noodles

Must Try food in Sabah

Image: Trip Advisor

Laksa is a spicy noodle soup, famous among the locals during lunch. The main ingredients are wheat noodles or rice vermicelli, chicken or seafood, served in either rich and spicy curry coconut milk or Asam soup based. They are few types of Laksa in Sabah such as Curry Laksa, Asam Laksa & Nyonya Laksa. 

One of the best laksa in KK city is at Kedai Kopi Yee Fung. They have consistently served this local delight for the last 20 years.

127, Jalan Gaya, Pusat Bandar Kota Kinabalu, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Opening Hours:  Weekdays 6.30 am – 6.30 pm | Weekends 6.30 am – 4.00 pm
Contact: +6088-312 042
Price: RM7 – RM10 per bowl

2) Fresh Fish Noodles Soup

Must try food in Sabah

Must try food in Sabah

Famous for any meal of the day, Fish Noodle Soup is a must-try dish in Sabah. To order fish noodles soup, first choose the soup paste between tom yam and tomato. Next, select your preferred noodles between yellow mee, mee hoon (rice noodles) & kueh teow. Finally, choose your fish part e.g. fresh or fried fillet, fish head, fish cake, fish ball, fish skin etc. Freshly cut cilantro is also sprinkled in the soup to give it a special aroma.

Fatt Kee Seafood Restaurant is well known for serving the best fresh sliced fish noodles soup in Sabah.  For more than 15 years in the business, many celebrity guests from in and outside Malaysia came to try their food and all enjoyed it very much.

Lorong Hilltop, Taman Far East, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening Hours:
Daily at 6.30 am – 11.00 pm
Contact: +6016-824 8414
Price: RM7 – RM10 per bowl

3) Sinalau Bakas (Smoked Wild Boar)

Must try food in Sabah

source from

Sabah’s most popular native dishes, an iconic food of Kadazandusun people, the largest ethnic group in North Borneo. ‘Sinalau’ which means ‘Smoked’ and ‘Bakas’ which means ‘wild boar’ is sold mostly from roadside stalls and ‘Tamu’ markets in west coast and interior districts such as Kota Belud, Ranau, Tambunan, Keningau and Telupid.

The most famous stretch of Sinalau Bakas stalls near KK is found along the highway stretch from Tamparuli to Kundasang in direction of Mount Kinabalu. Tour buses and vans often make pit stops along the way to provide tourists with a taste of Sabah’s indigenous culture. A non-halal dish.

On the way to Kundasang, Jalan Tamparuli – Ranau, Sabah
Opening Hours:
Daily from 9.00 am – 7.00 pm
Contact:  Walk-in only
Price: RM15 – RM35 per bowl

4) Sang Nyuk Mee

Must try food in Sabah


Sang Nyuk Mee was originally  “invented” in Tawau in 1979, and now it becomes the food that defines the culture of Kota Kinabalu City. It is so popular that you can find it pretty much everywhere in Sabah.

Sang Nyuk Mee comes in two styles,  one is Noodle Soup  and two is Kon Lau Mee style. In Kon Lau Mee style, noodles are served in separate bowl and mixed in aromatic dark soy sauce and pork oil, together with another bowl of tasty pork broth with thinly-sliced pork, meatballs and pork innards (e.g. liver, intestines).

Famous during breakfast and lunchtime, other yummy side orders are Stuffed Tofu, Brinjal with Minced Pork.

Kedai Kopi Jia Siang, a Chinese coffee shop in Lintas Plaza, Kota Kinabalu serves one of the best Sang Nyuk Mee.

Lot 1-0, Ground Floor, Lorong 3, Lintas Plaza Ring Road, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening Hours:
7:00am-3:00am daily (only close on Hari Raya holiday)
Contact:  +6016-8303435/ +6013830243
Price: RM7 – RM10 per bowl

5) Banana Leaf Rice

Must try food in Sabah

Image tripadvisor

Originally from South Indian, Banana Leaf Rice is another famous meal for lunch and dinner in Sabah. White rice is served on a banana leaf with an assortment of vegetables (usually 4 types), pickles (chutney), appalam (papadum), and other condiments.

Traditionally, Banana leaf meals are eaten by hand using the right hand where only the tips of the fingers should touch the food.

Sri Latha Curry House offers one of the best authentic Indian Food served in Banana Leaf. Their Fish Head Curry is a ‘must try’ dish as well.

No. 28, Jalan Berjaya, Bandat Berjaya, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening Hours:
Daily from 6.45 am – 5.00 pm
Contact: +60 88-253 669
Price: RM10-RM15 per set

6) Fresh Seafood

Must try food in Sabah



Sabah is well known as a haven for fresh seafood. They are many choices of must-try seafood and price can range from affordable to expensive.  Many famous seafood restaurants around in Kota Kinabalu City Centre but to compare in price and taste, Welcome Seafood Restaurant is by far the best choice.  They are known for serving fresh seafood at a reasonable price.

Lot G18, Komplek Jalan Asia City Phase 2A, Asia City, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Opening Hours:
Daily from 12.00 noon – 10.00 pm
Contact: 011-3162 3812
Price: subject to size & type of seafood

7) Bah Kut  Teh

Must try food in Sabah

image: Alpha on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Bak Kut Teh is a well-loved dish of succulent pork ribs stewed for hours with garlic, onion, herbs, and spices to yield the most flavourful and aromatic broth. You can find the most popular version of this dish at Yu Kee Restaurant! A must-try!

74, Jalan Gaya, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening Hours:
Daily from 2.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Contact:+60 88-221 192
Price: RM7 – RM10 per bowl

8) Hinava

Must try food in Sabah

image: pin interest

Hinava is a famous traditional dish of Kadazan-Dusun, the ethnic people of Sabah. This must-try dish is made from fresh raw fish and mixed with lime, salt, red chilli, sliced shallot and ginger. Hinava is the local version of Japanese Shashimi and it is served as an appetizer.  There are a few types of fresh fish to be used to make a tasty Hinava however the most popular is Ikan Tenggiri (Mackerel) as this fish has firm meat and less bone.  Hinava dish is made from fresh raw fish, therefore it is important to marinate it with plenty of freshly squeezed lime juice. The acid in lime juices will ‘cook’ the fish without heating like ordinary cooking. As it is not a main dish, Hinava is not easily available. However you can surely get to taste this unique dish at D’Place Restaurant everyday as they are specialized in Kadazan-Dusun food.

Lot 2.01&2.02, 2nd floor, Plaza Shell
Opening Hours:
Daily from 11am to 10.00pm
Contact: <+60 16-833 2381
Price: RM8 – RM15 per plate

9) Ngiu Chap (Beef Noodle)

Another popular soup dish in Sabah, Ngiu Chap (mixed beef soup), can be enjoyed in many ways. You could order your mixed beef soup served with vermicelli rice noodles, yellow noodles, or even just with plain white rice. If you’re squeamish about eating other organs/parts offered here, your safest choice is to order the beef balls and the stewed meat!

One of the well known restaurant serving Ngau Chap is Kah Hiong Ngau Chap, about 20 minutes drive from KK City.

Block B, Lot 14, Kedai Plaza Grand Millenium, Jalan Pintas, Donggongon, Penampang, 88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening Hours:
Daily from 7.00 am – 3.00 pm
Contact: +60 88-731 646
Price: RM7 – RM10 per bowl

10) Tuaran Mee

Must try food in Sabah

image: 1676820535

Another famous noodle dish in Sabah, Tuaran Mee is a tasty egg noodles, stir fried and served with thinly-sliced ‘char siew’ or roasted pork.   Nowadays, you can find many restaurant offering Tuaran mee with their own version. Lok Kyun Restaurant’s (30 minutes drive from KK City) is one of the oldest restaurant serving Tuaran Mee, using their traditional and historical recipe.

Jalan Lama Tuaran, 89200 Tuaran, Sabah
Opening Hours:
Daily (Except Wednesday)  from 8.00 am – 4.00 pm
Price: RM8 – RM10 per plate