Mecca of Bread Havens @ Sabah – A Back-to-Basics EndeavourJune 20, 2011 | 7,619 views
Don’t miss the first chapter – Filipino Market, Grand Borneo Hotel, Imperial Boutec Hotel & Restoran Getaran Jiwa ….
Roti Kahwin – Literally translated to ‘Marriage Bread’; this is the classic combination of slices of bread sandwiching butter and kaya (egg + coconut jam), either toasted or without. A holy matrimony indeed; and this one at Fook Yuen far surpasses my expectation (or lack thereof)
Ask any tourist to Sabah on what not to be missed, and darn sure they would proclaim SEAFOOD! Lots and lots of seafood; coming in at cheap and not-so-cheap categories nowadays. Gone were the times when we used to feast on fresh seawater fishes couriered over by my uncle who worked in Labuan. The Seven Star Grouper, Tiger Grouper, Mouse Grouper (all direct translations from their Chinese names) and even fresh cod arrived in abundance; timely for the reunion dinner come Chinese New Year. Imagine the relatives had run out of idea on how to cook the fishes aside from steaming them; and we ended up having curry cod instead.
But wait, how come I was eating breads and buns instead, yet came back not regretting the decision one bit? Read on to find out why …..
Bread Haven #1 – Fook Yuen opens until late at night; a favourite haunt among the locals as this will be the traditional kopitiam challenging the omnipresent Old Town and such.
First stop? Fook Yuen Coffee Shop situated on Jalan Damai in Luyang of Kota Kinabalu. Sorry, I did not stumble upon this shop nor made a detour purposely to sample the breads and coffee/tea come supper time.
Thanks to a bunch of lovely foodies (ex-coursemates, actually) permanently residing in KK, the short rendezvous took precedence over the dastardly sleepy spell hitting on them on that Sunday night. Bear in mind that there IS a slight timezone distortion between peninsular and East Malaysia; but not acknowledged in the official Malaysia’s timezone. They actually call it a day much earlier than us here, thus having supper at our presumably ‘early’ 9.30pm was much of a chore for them.
Guo Tie, or Woh Thip, or Gyoza is a type of pan fried dumplings with fillings of minced pork and Chinese chives (ku chai). Very famous in Sabah supposedly. These ones at the coffee shop directly facing Fook Yuen were good too; being freshly prepared as can be seen from where we were seated.
The place was brimming with people. People from all walks of life (students, middle-aged crowd, old-timers) were leisurely sipping on their coffee and enjoying their breads. If you’re here and wonder aloud how different can toasted bread with kaya and butter can be?
Then you’d better eat the humble pie (like yours truly), and give in to temptation at Fook Yuen.
Because the loaves of bread were freshly baked in-house (saw them carting trays of them from the back of the kitchen, at 9pm!), with an impossibly soft and fluffy texture (read how Precious Pea described the pillowy soft bread as easily dented by a single touch!). Go for the un-toasted version; definitely better choice amongst the two.
Good Teh C Ping (iced milk tea with evaporated milk) was all I needed to cap the night off …. but I relented and ordered another glass of iced “kopi+teh kahwin” thereafter. Equally as good. And remember there is no CHAM like what we order here.
Since this coffee shop opens from morning until late night (about 1am), you have all the more reason to drop by at least ONCE. Remember this when planning your itinerary. They have another branch on Gaya Street; a slightly upmarket version of the more traditional setting. Brought to mind THIS same commercialized concept over in West Malaysia huh?
Bread Haven #2 – Thien Wong Restaurant @ Lido – A coffee shop that opens for lunch and good for the Char Siew rice, and crispy fritters and snacks.
Lean, caramelized barbecued pork slices drizzled liberately with the sweetish sauce for better effect. If you’re fond of the KL famous half fat-half lean (bun fei sau) cuts, then you’re in for some jaw works.
Second stop? Lunch on the very next day at Kedai Kopi dan Makan Thien Wong in Lido. Was a little late for lunch though, almost 2pm and all that was left were char siew (BBQ pork) and chicken. Supposedly this place is good for their roast ducks too, but maybe next round then.
Verdict? Very homemade style of Char Siew, being lean without any traces of fat, and roasted until the sides became crispy and slightly charred. But I still prefer the melt-in-mouth varieties over here in Klang Valley. To each his own, I guess?
Very delectable-looking stuff at this stall @ Thien Wong. From spring rolls to curry puffs, banana fritters to vegetable fritters. Nothing beats greasy, crispy snacks paired with a cup of milk tea or coffee in the late afternoon?
And the HUGE banana fritters (about RM0.80 each) did not disappoint. Crunchy batter coating very sweet bananas within; requiring more than a few mouthfuls to down the whole chunk. See how the gigantic size dwarfed the plate of rice?
And once again, how could we have missed the famous buns @ Thien Wong? Go for the “Charn Bao” aka Char Siew Bao baked to a golden brown exterior, or a piece of slightly greasy yet aromatic and fluffy Polo Bao (butter + sugar bun)
Very good, almost melt in mouth texture reminded me of Mexico bun though, more than the conventional Polo Bao with a criss-cross topping.
Laid-back Scene @ LIDO – Work? What work? (Trivia : Guess WHO has played Chinese Chess here before?)
Bread Haven #3 – Jeong Hin Coffee Shop @ Inanam : Hands down the most retro of the lot; we went all out in search of the popular butter buns (Nai Yao Bao) here.
The bottom tray were all that was left that evening. Thank goodness we arrived on time. Albeit the intimidating traffic congestion around the vicinity.
Looks like nothing much, but one bite into the soft, warm buns fresh from the oven, with a creamy filling of melted butter and sugar …. and like someone I know said; “You could be in heaven” (RM1.40 each)
Jeong Hin‘s bustling with a hive of activities even though it was barely after work, and we were well past lunch hour. Tea time plays a very prominent role in KK, Sabah …. seemingly.
The lady boss was a witty one; first confirming whether the photos were going to go online or not. I answered yes, and she immediately came back with suggestion for us to try their equally famous ‘kopi-o’. Haha …. and there I was, preparing for the most hostile/acerbic retaliation.
Kedai Kopi Jeong Hin @ Inanam – Don’t ask me for the specific directions, but if you know where is Inanam, then you’re good.
Cool City serves a variety of juices, blended fruity drinks, and the equivalent to the bubble tea here. We had these at Warisan Square.
# Fook Yuen Coffee Shop – Roti Kahwin, Teh C Ping, Pan-fried Dumplings
Damai Plaza PH4,
Luyang, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
# Kedai Kopi Dan Makanan Thien Wong – Char Siew Rice, Banana Fritters, Char Siew Bun, Polo Bun
At corner of Lorong Rampai, Lido, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Next to OKS Curry House.
# Jeong Hin Coffee Shop – Custard Bun, Kopi-O
Lot 8, Ground Floor,
Block E, Lorong Inanam,
Inanam New Township Ph.2,
Tel: 088-423 337