• Sarah Voon

Must-visit cafes when you're in Kota Kinabalu


Recently visited KK for the first time and found some absolute foodie gems!

Biru Biru Cafe

It isn't hard to fall instantly in love with this place. It is unpretentious, has just the right mix of vintage authenticity and the people are incredibly friendly (much like the whole of East Malaysia!).

It has all the trappings of a hipster cafe but you will likely see more backpackers here than hipsters as it is also part of a backpackers' hostel.

Expect world class coffee and fresh, homemade coolers for prices starting at RM6.90 (can I just move to KK please!).

The menu may seem western at first glance but read the descriptions and you'll find a blend of Asian ingredients. This beef taco (RM16.90) pictured above may look pretty harmless but don't be fooled by its cheesy toppings. The sriracha punch in its first bite is sure to put any Malaysian taste buds to the test. But get past the spiciness and you'll enjoy a more than pleasant undertone of the fillings.

Those who might have an aversion to eating fish whole will want to give this dish a miss. But it's worth getting over your fear of eating animals with its heads still attached for the ikan basung dish (RM7.90). The sambal belacan as an accompanying dip offsets a lot of the fishy taste too!

Made a special trip back to Biru Biru just for their waffles (RM10.90). I definitely recommend trying both their waffles (banana and coconut with gula Melaka).

Biru Biru Cafe, No. 24, Lorong Dewan, Kota Kinabalu

Nunpat @ Oceanus Waterfront

KK isn't exempt from the Bingsu craze. And Nunpat makes one of the softest, tastiest bingsus I've ever tried.

And a great thing about this place is that it faces the waterfront so you can watch the sunset while enjoying the cold icy Bingsu.

I believe the bingsus cost around RM18 each but the huge portion is worth it. Both the cheese and chocolate options are equally good. But personally I think the banana chocolate is more value for money.

Nunpat, Oceanus Waterfront Mall Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen, Kota Kinabalu

Cabo Mexican Grill

Found this place by a friend's recommendation. She brought me over for drinks. The drinks are huge and totally worth the steep price tags.

The drinks range from about RM18 to over RM35. My favourite is the Somerita (Somersby and tequila), a little twist from their usual Coronarita (Corona with tequila). They ran out of Corona the night I visited.

Cabo Mexican Grill Lot -0, 32, Lorong Lintas Plaza 3, Kota Kinabalu

Inch Coffee Movement

Inch is tucked away in a warehouse just around the town centre of Kota Kinabalu. The cafe itself is just a container shop lot, which seems to fit in well with the warehouse backdrop.

Coffee beans here come from the best parts of the world. They even sell cold pressed coffee in cute little bottles with catchy names like the White Cat. Otherwise, tea drinkers can enjoy a chai latte here too. Each drink is RM10 but the cold pressed coffee is RM12.

Inch Coffee Movement 1 & 3, Block 6 MDR, Tanjung Lipat Warehouse, Jalan Pelabuhan

Kota Kinabalu

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