I Heart Kota Kinabalu: Day I

Hey everyone (if there’s anyone reading this that is).

I’m off for another Malaysia adventure and this time my feet is taking me across the South China Sea to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah together with my mum and blonde aunt who is visiting from USA.. (and she’s no dumb blonde). The flight to KK takes about 2 hours via Malaysia Airlines or Air Asia and it’s best to take the first flight out so that you have a head start in the “land beneath the wind’.

Tenom Cafe.

It’s always an advantage to get to know the locals and that’s what we did… we had Mr. Julius take us around for the next 4 days. My aunt is a great fan of the ‘teh tarik’ so the first we did when we landed was to have one at TENOM CAFE which is 20 mins from the airport. With wooden stools and tables, the cafe is reminiscent of a P.Ramlee era with open kitchen and variety of dishes to choose from.

The ‘teh tarik’ had quite a bubble effect on my aunt. The more bubbles & the warmer the tea, the happier she is. Her early breakfast consists of ‘roti tissue’ which is thin & wispy-like & her good ol’ tea. My breakfast consists of ‘soto ayam’ which is light and has bery little MSG ingredient. The soup is made of pure chicken stock with strips of cucumber as garnishing. Even though it came in a small bowl, the portion was just nice and not to heavy for the morning. This plus the ‘tenom’ coffee will keep me awake for the rest of the day… and it’s only 9am now!

Roti tisu & teh tarik for the soul.

Roti tisu & teh tarik for the soul.

Soto ayam.

Soto ayam.

Jamilah Jewelry Shop

The first place we went to when we got here was to the local City Parade Shopping Mall where we got some language books for Sydney and had a quick hair wash at the local saloon. After we got our hair all done, my mum introduced us to the famous pearl shop in KK (Kota Kinabalu) called JAMILAH JEWELRY STORE which is smack in the middle of town. Now every girl who dreams of being Bree Vandercamp from Desperate Housewives should definitely enter this shop which has all forms of pearl jewelry which are REAL (okay, no fake pearls here).

How can you tell a fake pearl from an original one? Easy peasy.. take the 2 pearls together & rub it against each other, if it feels rough, it means it’s real and if it feels smooth & slippery.. that means it’s fake because it would be made of plastic (and plastic is slippery). My mum taught me that so now I can go in and rub most of the pearls to confirm it’s originality quality. I didn’t want to be Ms Bree Vandercamp but I like pearls especially the earring kind.

There’s something about putting your hair up in a bun with sparkling pearls that gives you an elegant with a touch of softness look that gets to me. Or maybe it was the inspiration from The Girl with the Pearl Earring portrait which shows her innocence. Alas, I did get some pearls and I also saw photos of Makcik Jamilah on the wall cracking open a few huge clams with many pearls inside. She rears them for her business and this is only in KK. Such an inspiring businesswoman.

Pearls are a girls' best friend too.

Pearls are a girls’ best friend too.

Hyatt Hotel, Kota Kinabalu

We did check into our hotel.. well after the visit to Jamilah store. I loved the lobby area where the rooftop is covered in glass and you can see the sky & sun shine down on you as you have breakfast. And this is the gorgeous view from our Hyatt hotel. We’re able to catch a glimpse of sunrise & sunset from our window. The room is pretty accomodating as well with transparent window at the bathtub area which allows guests to relax and watch the beautiful view of the ocean. However, if you’re with friends, I’d like to suggest pulling down the blinds so that there’s no peep show going on while you bathe.

Hotel lobby area.

Hotel lobby area.

The view from the top.
The view from the top.

Portview Seafood Restaurant.

Over here in KK, the only food that’s famous for the taking is the fresh seafood that is caught by the local fisherman on a daily basis. And also since dark (night) sets early here in KK, our dinner started at 630pm. Here’s an amazing fact, KK is 2 hours away from KL which is the same distance as Bangkok or Phnom Penh but with no time difference with Peninsular Malaysia. It is in actual fact supposed to be 1 hour ahead of KL but I guess to avoid confusion & also because we’re 1Malaysia, the time difference is the same for East & West Malaysia. Now back to the dinner.. and that’s why we’re having our food early because it’s already dark outside even at 630pm. Mum highly recommended the PORT VIEW SEAFOOD which is 15 mins away from our hotel and has quite a variety of seafood cooking style. There’s also supposed to be a local cultural dance show during dinner which got my Aunt excited.

Do they breed Mantis Prawn like this in other seafood restaurants? I asked Loong Siew and she said at her work place the Mantis Prawns are left to grow up on its own and not confined to a bottle.. (which got me more curious actually). But these babies are huge!

The price at this restaurant ranges from RM10 and above depending on what type of fish you order & what size. We took the chilli crab, vegetables, steamed tofu, and steamed fish for 3 people (that’s quite a lot) but we did finish it off nicely. However, due to the heavy rain, the performance was canceled which disappointed my aunt a bit. But the food was good so she and mum turned out to be happy grown-ups at the end of the night. With a tiny burp & a tinge of excitement, we resolved for the night!

Lots of seafood for the night.

Lots of seafood for the night.

Mantis Prawn.

Mantis Prawn.

It's a crab!

It’s a crab!

About Yafieda Jamil

A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.

2 Responses to I Heart Kota Kinabalu: Day I

  1. Kevin says:

    2012? Just thought to send this, that yes I read it and I will be reading more I bought peatls from a little store across the road from the water front (real) I have them valued in Australia (i am very very happy)

    • fienuts says:

      Hi Kevin

      Wow lucky you for getting valuable pearls from Kota Kinabalu! I love buying pearls there, especially from Aunty Jamilah’s shop. She must be super rich by now. Lol.

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