Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Malaysia, Kota Kinabalu: Food & Drink

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The most popular "local" brew in Kota Kinabalu is Skol, manufactured under auspices of Carlsberg, and created by a consortium of brewers as a global mega-brand in the 1960s, so Wikipedia tells me. My hang-out downtown, sharing roof-space with the Rainforest Lodge, sold it in an ice bucket at 3 for 13 RM, or USD 1.50, with tax, during "happy hour", which being from 11 AM to 9 PM was more like "happy day."

The Sugarbun Cafe next door offered one of Malaysia's specialties, the "claypot" meal, a stew that could range from bland to fairly spicy. Here's the chicken one:

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BBs Cafe and Beer Garden also ran a teppan grill at night, offering good grub at good prices, like this salmon for 20 RM:

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I picked up these snacks somewhere and thought to take a picture before digging in. The dried red plums are the original sour candy, albeit with a pip inside.

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Other typical fare at the dozens of coffeehouse/cafe establishments that fill out the city center area include this breakfast of a pork-filled bun, a pastry and a great cup of strong yet sweetened coffee, for 4.40 RM:

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I knew it was Ramadan when I went to Malaysia, and I knew it was a majority Muslim country (though the constitution ensures religious freedom), and I somehow worried a bit that it would complicate my meal plans a bit. Well, restaurants weren't closed, beer was readily available, and after sundown the Ramadan food markets were in full flow. I even read in the newspaper surprising statistics about the number of people admitted to hospital with severe gastric distress after gorging themselves.

One night, I made my way toward the waterfront restaurant area, but was instead diverted by the Ramadan food tent area. I set out for some red snapper (dedicated readers will know this already), and I was not disappointed. I had it grilled, added a trio of enormous shrimp, and a tasty repast for about 40 RM. On the downside, no alcohol.

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Here are a few other shots of the tent city:

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Needless to say, I went back for more the next night.

I mentioned that this was a night-time function, but there was, right next to my hotel, a daytime edition, rather smaller, but also quite delicious. It seemed to run from 2 to 5 or so. I first stopped by for an ice-cold beverage--they had OJ, mango juice, avocado juice (I like avocados, but yuck!) tembikai juice, lobak juice and lo han kuo, among others. I have no idea what any of those are, but I gambled on the lo han kuo and found it quite nice--vaguely nutty but refreshing.

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Many of the stalls had signage with names and prices, but they didn't really help much (though nasi goreng means 'fried rice' in Indonesian):

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However, English is quite common in Kota Kinabalu, though like the rest of the country, Malaysian is the official language, and people were always kind and helpful. And they sure can cook!

This concludes my series of posts on my visit to Malaysia. It's been slow coming together because I've been quite busy between camp, my public speaking class and just farting around. I leave Friday for a week on Koh Samui, but don't expect much in the way of photos etc from that trip--been, there, done that, to the extend I think I won't take the Nikon, but just settle for pics from the iPhone camera. Before I go, I do expect to update the Book Report. Until then, see you in the funny papers!

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