1 Philippine Peso is equal to 0.07 Malaysian Ringgit. That means, a single Malaysian Ringgit is equal to around 13-14 Philippine Pesos. I was counting the cash I had on hand and would definitely not leave this place without finding a bargain. We didn't waste time so as soon as we got settled, we went ahead and got our money exchanged; then went to malls like Suriah Sabah, Karamunsing Complex and 1 Borneo. There were a lot of things on sale like clothes, electronic gadgets, food, accessories, cosmetics, souvenirs and small trinkets. I saw some really good buys. I couldn't make up my mind what to take home so I only bought a few things (and thought I'll probably buy more the next day). Then we went to one of the best places for a sweet tooth like me. The Cocoa Boutique in Tanjung Aru. =)
Tanjung Aru's Cocoa Boutique
I don't know if you've realized it, but you're actually looking at two life like statues made of pure chocolate. Just look at the intricate details on these works of art! We proceeded inside and saw some more stuff made of the same chocolate. :)
The map of Sabah and schools of fish, then this cute Green Turtle (which is brown now LOL) was there to sat hi to everyone coming into the store. :)
Then the hallway was like chocolate heaven!
They have different flavors available, different fruits, nuts and spices in each chocolate masterpiece. Rumor says, there's a specific postal code for each piece on the shelves, I could live there. =)
Chocolate with Espresso Coffee, Dark Almond (obviously dark chocolate with Almonds), Milk Assortment (Milk Chocolate covered Hazel Nuts + Almonds), Milk Hazelnut (Milk Chocolate covered Hazel nuts).
White Chocolate with Strawberry, Dark Chocolate with Chili and White Chocolate with Coconut.
Milk Chocolate with real Hot Chili, or Mint
Hazel Nut with Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate and Milk Chocolate. =)
I took a ton of these for Mom and Dad who's got diabetes because it's Sugar Free! =) I guess they can still have this in moderation.
Plus, they've got a lot of the same chocolate put on smaller packs, and they have them on sale. This is perfect for those who want to bring a little something home after their trip. =) I especially love the white chocolate covered almonds because I ate almost a whole pound of it. Don't tell anyone haha!
We had dinner a couple of kilometers away from this place. It was hosted by the wonderful, warm and welcoming people of the Sabah Tourism Board.
Kampung Nelayan Floating Seafood Market Restaurant
It was raining when we arrived at the restaurant. This is in the Bukit Padang district which is almost at the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu. It's part of a Botanical Park that has got a lake and the structures are built on its shores. From the spacious parking lot where we alighted from our bus, you'll have to climb a few steps up to a Malaysian inspired house that's got seating for a couple hundred people. The place was packed, and we somehow figured a few minutes after that there was a show happening on the adjacent platform of across where we were at.
This is the restaurant. It was full of Aussies, Koreans and Europeans when we got there. They were enjoying the scrumptious food served in Kampung Nelayan.
This is the stage that I was referring to earlier. It was a little dark so I had do a little more exposure on my cam. It turned out nice actually. The "1 Malaysia Culture and Variety Show" was witnessed on this stage, and everyone really enjoyed it. There were fire breathers and dancers too so watch out because you might get caught in the flames and their performance. =) It was really awesome! The rain didn't stop them from doing it either!
Feel Like Royalty: Dinner at The Puteri VIP Rooms
To cap off the evening, the Sabah Tourism Board hosted our dinner at the Puteri VIP Rooms which is like a lodge in the same establishment. It was so nice of them to do this, I want to cry at the sight of what we ate that evening. You just feel you're getting taken cared of. You feel like royalty.
They presented a few things that we should also tell you guys about their wonderful city, their awesome Sabah.I felt how much they were really proud of their country, about everything on it and especially their people. As one of the scientists said, the biodiversity is unparalleled and they have the most natural theme parks in the world. They don't have to put up plastic or metal structures to prove their point because they've got it all. They are truly blessed by God!
They have Chinese lineage, so seeing tea as part of their dining experience wasn't surprising. They don't really have cold water with what they eat unlike Filipinos. I learned that when I asked for water because they gave me something warm instead. It's just like in Hong Kong.
Since it was raining outside, this was the perfect way to start the dining experience. This is Chicken and Lemon Grass Soup. It was so nice. I love the sour hint on the broth. The lemon grass flavor was strong and the ginger gave it a hint of spice. Pretty good.
The Carrot Juice I ordered didn't really match what I was eating but for vegetarians, it's something you would definitely want to experience. It tasted like the vegetable itself! Then we had our main course! Well actually this was something like a Chinese Lauriat Service so after one dish, they had to serve another one which totally had us eagerly waiting!
Fresh Shrimp! For those who LOVE seafood, Sabah will surely be your paradise. Shrimp thrown around a wok, heated up on really strong flame. It kept the moisture and sweetness on each piece that even I couldn't resist it. I definitely recommend this for starters. Quite awesome!
Who wouldn't drool at the sight of Oyster topped with melted cheese presented this way? An eagle made of Taro root towers above this platter and the Oyster fresh from the sea, you simply want to have this on your dinner table. The salty, ocean flavor still lingers. It was so nice to be part of our meal.
Deep Fried Red Snapper - for the real honest to goodness fish, this is tops! I love how crunchy it is but doesn't lose its flavor. The soy based sauce complements it and made it full bodied. The moist meat of the fish was so good.
Beef with Black Pepper - for those who want something spicy, try this dish together with hot rice. You really taste the black pepper which is the major component of this dish. It was also presented quite fine as you can see. We really felt like royalty.
Chicken with Chestnut - I loved this one. Just imagine the chicken pieces, the vegetable, the nuts and those chestnut pieces. It's the perfect mix. It's sweet and savory and perfect for the Filipino palate. Kids would LOVE this too!
Soft Shell Crab - If there's something that you should not fail to miss and order in this restaurant, THIS IS IT! The soft shell crab covered in bread crumbs and batter just literally melts in your mouth. I had more of this particular dish than any of the other things they serve, is that proof enough of how good it is? =) I could have wanted more but there were more dishes up the list!
Kacang or Yard Long Beans as they call it in English and this local edible Fern was served last. It made sense that after that gustatory adventure, we had to end it with something healthy and rich in fiber. I love the Fern because it was so crunchy. It was like Squash Tops but a more crunchy version of that. Then we had dessert!
Coconut Gelatin - Imagine coconut water with milk and made into this sweet concoction, cold and was perfect to end the meal. I loved it so much that I had to have second servings. It was refreshing and so soft to the palate, I finished mine in less than 3 minutes. :)
This is just the first day of our trip to Kota Kinabalu and having a taste of their cuisine in this magnitude was both AWESOME and a real eye opening experience. Their dishes had some similarities with what we have in the Philippines because just like us, they're a melting pot of different cultures. With respect, compassion and love as added ingredients to what they have on the kitchen, it is an expression of what they are as a people. Sabah and Kota Kinabalu in general had so much more to offer to tourists and travelers, you just have to experience it! Thank you so much to the wonderful officials and communications people from the Sabah Tourism Board. Thank you so much for letting us experience Kota Kinabalu one plate at a time. Next up will be our inter island adventures and of course the Mari Mari Cultural Village tour, make sure you watch out for Part 4 of our Amazing Kota Kinabalu series!
For more information about Sabah and the Restaurant
Please visit Sabah Tourism Board's website
Please also visit Kampung Nelayan's website
Or for a stress free trip, contact them directly
Sabah Tourism Board
(Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah)
Mail Bag 112, 88993 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia
Location: 51 Jalan Gaya, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Telephone Number: +6088212121 Fax: +6088222666, 219311
/* Make sure you fly Zest Air as they do it on a regular basis if you wish to be in Kota Kinabalu. They've got your covered every Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Please check Zest Air's or Air Asia's websites. For a more detailed flight schedule and itinerary, visit www.sabahtourism.com and see you in Sabah, I'm going back there too!