Lido Food Square, Sabah’s Street Food Centre
If you drop by Lido Food Square (丽都 in Chinese) in Kota Kinabalu City (KK), your appetite will haunt you like a crying child who wants candy badly. Even if you are full, the smell of food there will make you salivate and you have to eat something before leaving one of the most popular and biggest hawker food centre in KK (see Location Map).
Lido opens from early morning to late night every day, and it’ll turn into “feeding ground” during meal time for people from all walks of life. If you come late, it’ll take you some time to find a free seat among hundreds of tables, luckily food is plentiful. The variety is so rich that you can eat there 365 days, without needing a wife to cook for your breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper.
With over 40 food stalls, feel free to stroll around and shop for your dishes. Most food sold here are Chinese cuisines, but Halal food such as satay, nasi lemak, Thosai, Capathi, etc. are available too. No worry if you don’t know anything about local food, the hawkers are very used to foreign tourists, they have English names or picture guide for their food, and they are also more than happy to recommend what’s best for you.
Below are photos of Lido, just to show you what they have. Please note Lido is also famous for variety of breakfast, but you won’t see them in the following photos, which were taken in dinner time. You can click some photos to zoom in for details such as menu and price (US$1 ≈ RM3).
For a taste of Sabah delicacies, Lido is a promising stop for your gastronomic tour. You will wish that you have nine stomachs because there are just too many nice choices.
Sang Nyuk Mee (Sabah Pork Noodle / Vermicelli) is one of the signature dishes of Sabah. Sang Nyuk Mee of Kim Hing Lee (新苏兰 金兴利生肉面) is one of the best and they have a stall in Lido. If you don’t take organs (e.g. liver, kidney, intestines, tendon), you can request for meat only for your noodle.
Pic: “dry” Sang Nyuk Mee noodle. You also can order noodle soup.
Hakka (客家) is the largest Chinese group in Sabah so Hakka food is an important part of Sabah food culture. You can find Yee Mee Noodle Soup, Pan Mee Soup (Flat Noodle Soup), Dry Pan Mee (Dry Flat Noodle), Spicy Pan Mee Soup (Spicy Flat Noodle Soup) and Tom Yam Pan Mee (Spicy Tom Yam Flat Noodle Soup) here. (In Chinese: 清汤伊面、清汤板面、干捞板面、麻辣板面、东炎板面)
Full House Food Court (成日满饭档): If you are a noodle guy, you may try Vietnam Seafood Fried Noodle, Chicken / Pork Chop Noodle or Wat Tan Hor (Pho Noodle in Egg Gravy). Rice eaters can enjoy Fish Soup with Rice, XO Sauce Fried Rice, Tom Yam Fried Rice, etc. When you dine with a few friends, you can order white rice and share a few dishes such as Assam Prawn, Assam Fish, Curry Fish Head, Crispy Fried Pork, Asam Squid, Rice Wine Chicken, Claypot Belly with Salted Fish, Seafood Beancurd Pot, Chinese Herbs Trotter, Nyonya Fish Head, Dry Butter Prawns, Sizzling Seafood with Beancurd, etc.
(In Chinese: 上汤鱼片饭、XO酱炒饭、冬炎炒饭、越南海鲜面、鸡扒/猪扒面、滑蛋河粉、亚参虾、亚参鱼、咖喱鱼头、香脆炸肉、亚参鱿鱼、黄酒鸡、咸鱼花腩煲、海鲜豆腐煲、药材猪手、娘惹鱼头、奶油虾、海鲜铁板豆腐)
Sandakan city also is also very well-known for their food. You don’t need to fly 200 KM to Sandakan to eat, because some are available in Lido, for example, Noodle with Fried Pork, Sandakan Spring Noodle, Century Egg Dumpling, Mixed Noodle, Mixed Fish Noodle. (In Chinese: 炸肉河粉、山打根弹弓面、皮蛋饺、鱼杂)
Pic: Sandakan Spring Noodle and Century Egg Dumpling
The mobile steamboat booth of Luk Luk King (碌碌王, means Boil Boil King) also attracts a lot of crowd. Just pick the items (e.g. dumpling, seafood, fish balls, beancurd) you like and they will boil them in delicious hot soup for you.
Sunway Chicken (亨记) has various local favorite rice and noodle dishes such as Seafood Wan Tun Mee (Seafood Pho Noodle), BBQ Pork, Roosted Pork, Fried Pork, Ginger Duck, Stewed Pork / Chicken Feet, Curry Chicken, Dumpling Noodle, Roosted Pork Noodle, Roosted Pork Rice. (In Chinese: 鲜虾云吞面、叉烧、炸肉、烧肉、姜芽鸭、卤猪脚、咖喱鸡、卤鸡脚、水饺面、叉烧面、烧肉面、叉烧饭、烧肉饭)
Pic: Bak Kut Teh (pork rib soup boiled with Chinese herbs and spices) is a must-try if it’s new to you.
Whenever people talk about Sabah, they will think about our cheap seafood. My Hong Kong friends always tell me their seafood is so expensive that it costs the same to buy a return flight ticket to Sabah to eat seafood. I don’t know if it’s true. Anyway, our curry fish head and prawn noodle are really good because of fresh seafood.
East Coast BBQ Lido is the busiest seafood stall in Lido. They have so many orders that you would need to wait some time for your food to come, but it worth the wait. You just pick the seafood (e.g. stingray, slipper lobster, fishes, pomfret) you want and they will barbecue it for you.
Pic: I ordered one BBQ Stingway for RM20 (≈US$7). With the BBQ sauce, it tasted really nice!
Lido Cukup Rasa Seafood also has fresh seafood for you to pick and cook on the spot. They get Black Pepper Crab, Butter Prawns, Fried Cuttlefish, Fried Wonton Dumpling and Hinava (fermented fish cooked in lime juice with ginger, shallots, chili)
Other popular Malaysian and Western food are available too, for those who want to try something not so “Sabah.”
Jin Jian (金键) and You Ji (友记): Penang Fried Noodle (Char Kway Teow), Penang Prawn Noodle, Assam Laksa (Fish Mackerel Noodle), Seafood Curry Noodle, Ipoh Pho Noodle, Curry Chicken Rice / Noodles, Rice Wine Chicken Rice / Noodles, Stewed Pork Belly Rice, Pickle Pork Belly Rice
(In Chinese: 槟城炒粿条、槟城虾面、槟城亚三拉沙、咖哩海鲜面、怡保河粉、咖哩鸡饭/面条/米粉、黄酒鸡饭/面条/米粉、卤肉饭、梅菜五花肉饭)
Sarawak Kan Lau Mee (砂劳越 诗巫福州美食): Sarawak Noodle Soup, Wonton Soup, Wonton Mee Noodle Soup, Kon Lau Mee (Dry Noodle), Kui Chap (flat & broad rice sheets)
(In Chinese: 清汤面条/米粉、云吞汤、煮/干捞 云吞 米粉/面条、干捞面、粿什)
Snacks & Street Food
For those who don’t want stomach filler, there are a lot of snacks as well.
HoHo Popiah (何好薄饼): rolled crêpe
Melvic BBQ Chicken Wings with Honey
Same as other food courts, you can buy various types of drink, dessert and ice-cream in Lido.
Though serving great food, Malaysia hawker centres are infamous for being dirty and diners would find rats running under their tables. So I’m quite impressed that Lido Food Square is fairly clean. I found no cockroach, rubbish and foul smell. The only thing I don’t like is lack of parking space during peak hours. Lido Hawkers Association (PerLido) also does a good job to promote Sabah food via their annual State level Hawkers Food Festival (Pesta Makanan Penjaja). I hope over time tourists will learn that Penang is not the only place that offers tasty Malaysian street food, and they may love our food better.
Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo