**Note: Didn’t have the time to update with pics as I had other articles written simultaneously and well, work, lol – I’ll update with awesome pics soon!
Disclaimer: I’m writing this based on my first trip to KK so if you have a better tip, please do share it in the comments and I will update this post accordingly
If you’re from KL, no trip to Kota Kinabalu is complete without buying a ridiculous amount of seafood back. Regardless where you buy from, it’s always much cheaper than Kuala Lumpur. I’ll cut to the chase and give you my best recommendations:
Dried seafood: Persatuan Penjual Ikan Kering
Located between Pasar Filipina and Pusat Kraftangan, this place is a haven for dried seafood. Obviously, all products are super marked up – after a few attempts, I’ve found that I could go as low as 30% of their listed price, i.e. if it’s stated RM100, you can probably get it for RM30. I asked a local and he agrees it’s a pretty good price. I don’t know if this applies to all products, and I’m pretty sure it can go lower with aggressive negotiations, but hey these guys need to feed themselves too so I think it’s a good enough deal lah yeah?
Frozen seafood: Fung Seng seafood supplies
Hands down, the best place to buy frozen seafood back home. I surveyed 5 other frozen food suppliers (3 at KK town, 2 others at the airport), and this place beats them all in price and freshness. It’s a distance from KK town center, so either Uber there (about RM8 one-way) or rent a car.
Just make sure you get the local discount of 10%. They didn’t budge any lower so I guess that’s that.
Before discounts, King Lobsters were listed at RM180/kg, de-headed “rock lobsters” (looked like mantis prawns to me) at RM45/kg, large tiger prawns at RM78 for a frozen block of 10 prawns, and they had a good selection of fish, crabs, and more but I can’t remember the price. I do remember it being the best of the rest though, even pre-discounts.
Oh and they will help you seal and pack your purchases for the flight too, at no extra charge. Well sealed, it survived the flight with barely a dent.
A cheaper, albeit riskier alternative is to buy fresh seafood from Todak Waterfront and ask them to pack it in ice for you. The price this way is definitely cheaper, but you risk it becoming a wet mess if it’s not packed properly. Also your seafood won’t be frozen solid, because physics.
However, a workaround is if you are able to persuade your hotel to help you freeze and keep your seafood, then you manually pack it in your own cooler box.
Note that all frozen food are to be hand-carried on the plane, they don’t allow it in your check-in luggage.
I hope this post has helped you, and I welcome all comments and opinions, especially if you have a better suggestion. I intend to return next year too!