Located at the east coast of Sabah, Sandakan used to be known as Little Hong Kong because of its similar skyline and landscape and of course because of its prosperity. Over its hundred years of history, Sandakan has developed from a village to be a timber center of Sabah during the 70s.
Sandakan is an important historical and nature city in Sabah but most importantly Sandakan offers great choice of foods for foodies. Yam Cha is big in Sandakan as the culture is inherited from the British. Good selection of pastries and cake can be found all around Sandakan but the “must eat” at Sandakan is the Seafood. The seafood is fresh and cheap. There are fish noodles, fish cake, seafood bak kut teh and much more for you to choose for. If you are a foodie, a trip to Sandakan will be a memorable one to you for sure!
Visitors come to Sandakan for its Nature tour at Kinabatangan or Sandakan Heritage Trail. For a foodie, you can explore Sandakan food trail by driving as public transportation is not well developed at Sandakan
Sandakan Central Market
There are over 30 food stalls at Sandakan Central Market ( Pasar umum) The most famous stall is The original kueh Teow with deep-fried pork on the 3rd floor. Stall no. 33 (facing the sea) is also highly recommended for their seafood noodle. For more information of Sandakan Central Market https://www.sabaheats.com/guide-food-hunting-sandakan-central-market/
Opening hours: 5am to 11am
Pasar Umum Sandakan,
Beside Sandakan Convention Center
GPS Location: 5.8387414N 118.1206816E
Pasar Tanah Merah (moved to Bandar Nam Tung)
Locals come here for the famous kuey teow with deep-fried pork. The nearby stall manned by an uncle sell good steam buns.
Location: opposite Bandar Nam Tung
GPS Location: 5.83116, 118.08765
H84 Kon Lo Mee
If you looking to try the famous spring noodle of Sandakan, H84 Kon Lo Mee at Sim Sim Bridge no.7 serve good and tasty springy noodle. They also serve good dim sums, century egg dumplings and curry laksa.
Opening hours: 6am to 11am
Location: Sim Sum Bridge 7
GPS Location: 5.8388534N 118.1205958E
Kedai Makan Kong Teck
fresh self-made wantans, fuchook, fishcakes, Prawn balls, stuffed bittergourd, stuffed tofu, tofu puffs serve in clear soup, curry laksa and prawn soup. Do also try their Hakka Kon Lou Mee
Opening hours: Tues – Sun 6.30am-11am (Closed on Mondays)
Location: Jalan Pak Tak, Mile 7 90000 Sandakan, Sabah
GPS Location: 5.8803705N 118.0556837E
Breakfast to Lunch
Moon & Star
Serve Sang Nyuk Mian (pork Noodle) 生肉面. Must try the Sang Nyuk Mian with pepper soup.
Opening hours: 8am to 3pm
Location: Mile 6, Jalan Utara (Taman Tyng)
GPS Location: 5.86703, 118.05884
Kim Fah 2 京华II, Taman Tyng
Famous for Cantonese style roast. Their roasted duck is a must. Service is slow but worth the wait
Location: No 1-42, Bandar Tyng, Mile 6, North Road,
Tel: 60 16-818 7588
GPS Location: 5.8687429N 118.0596748E
良记鱼旦。Leong Kee Fish Ball.
Serve one of the best fish balls in Sandakan. Their fishball is fresh with the hints of mandarin orange peel. The fishball century off dumpling is also a must!
Location: Bandar Prima Square (Behind D’Northstar Hotel)
GPS Location: 5.8566453N 118.0734318E
Lots of fish balls. Fresh and delicious!
a simple yet delicious fish ball noodle
Lunch to tea time
Kedai Yap Syn Kee
Old-time favorite cincau(glass jelly) drink for over 70 years! Kedai Yap Syn Kee is a sundry shop located beside Jalan Cecily but they are famous for cincau/leong fun made using simple recipe yet tasty. you can choose the cincau drink with or without evaporated milk. Perfect place to make a short stop if you pass by Jalan Cecily. Kedai Yap Syn Kee are close most of the time but do knock on the door (after 12pm)
Location: Alongside Jalan Cecily
GPS location: 5.8288312N 118.0780855E
Kedai Roti Gold Crown
Great Variety of pastries offering. Famous for their red bean paste pastry. They also serve delicious fish balls and pork skin soup Sandakan food – Kedai Roti Gold Crown 金冠麵包中西餅店
Opening hours: 8am to 5pm
Location: Tanah Merah (opposite Bandar Nam Tung)
GPS Location: 5.831062N 118.0880553E
Kedai Kopi Wing Hup Lee
Wing Hup Lee famous thin crust egg tart is delicious and sold out as soon as they come out from the oven. they also serve Prawn noodle and curry Laksa
Location: Permai Shoplot, Jalan Sibuga, Mile 6, Sandakan Sabah
GPS Location:5.8570002N 118.0566224E
Bun Hock Bakery
serve Sandakan famous UFO tarts
- Lrg. Sibuga 3
- 90000 Sandakan
- Tel: 089-631-176
GPS Location: 5.8434722N 118.0409208E
serving buns and pastries at Sandakan for over 50 years old. famous for their homemade red bean paste and roasted crushed peanut mixed with sugar
Opening hours: 8am to 5pm
Location: Pasir Putih, Jalan Bokara (facing the road about with Fish)
GPS Location: 5.8235052N 118.0820364E
lunch and dinner
Ngee Lee Restaurant
Delicious Coconut jelly and Cantonese roast. The coconut jelly is made from coconut milk. A must try especially during hot day SANDAKAN FOOD – KEDAI MAKAN NGEE LEE
Opening hours: 10am to 2pm, 5pm to 8.30pm
Location: Tanah Merah, Beside Leila road (opposite Nam Tung Town)
GPS Location: 5.831094N 118.088125E
Empire Seafood Restaurant 傅貴林門海鮮餐廳
There are many seafood restaurants in Sandakan but one place we love to visit for seafood is Empire Seafood Restaurant. Their signature dish is fresh sea prawn yee Mee(crispy noodle).
address：Lot 174 & 175, Block CC & DD, Lorong Avenue 5, Bandar Utama, Batu 6, Jalan Utara, Sandakan
Opening hours：10:00am – 2:00pm，5:30pm – 10:00pm
Nam Chai Seafood Bak Kut Teh
Seafood Bak Kut Teh NAM CHAI SEAFOOD BAK KUT TEH (南财肉骨茶)
Opening hours: 8:30am to 2pm and 6pm to 9pm
Location: Ground Floor, Blok D, Jalan Leila, Bandar Nam Tung
GPS Location: 5.8307738N 118.0894983E
Sim Sim 88 Seafood Restaurant
famous seafood restaurant at Sim Sim water village. Serve fresh and delicious Seafood.
Location: Sim Sim bridge 8
GPS Location: 5.8598418N 118.1263787E
San Da Gen Kopitiam offers simple foods that not only encapsulate Sandakan’s coffeeshop eats, but also traditional Malaysian favorites. The owner attempt to recreate/collect all the traditional local favorite foods all under one roof. A must visit when in Sandakan Town area
Opening hours: 8am to 5pm
Location: Nak Hotel, Jalan Perabuhan
GPS Location: 5.8385706N 118.1165725E
Famous for their fruit-based cake. We tried their avocado cake which is in season now and the taste is heavenly. Creamy with avocado taste.
Location: Lot 151, ground floor, Block G, Lorong Avenue 5, Bandar Utama IJM
GPS Location: 5.8646446N 118.0536586E
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/urbancafesandakan
Chokolatte, The Coffee Ministry Sandakan
Chokolatte is a Korean concept cafe serving a variety of delicate dessert and cake. Nice cafe with great ambiance.
Location: Lot 43-GF, Jalan Dataran B.U. 4, Utama Zone 3 Commercial, Jalan Bandar Utama, Mile 6, North Road
GPS Location: 5.8616535N 118.0520198E
A cafe serving yogurt, ice cream, coffee, juice, cake and pasta. The soft-serve ice cream is delicious and they change the flavor every week.
Location: Lot 52, Ground Floor, Lorong Avenue 2
GPS Location: 5.8645805N 118.0523175E
Equator Coffee house
Local favorite cafe for tiramisu and coffee. First gourmet specialty coffee house to operate in Sandakan
Opening hours: 11.00 am to 5.30pm, 7.30pm to 11pm
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/equatorcoffee.sdk
G/F, Lot 5, Block 12, Bandar Indah,
Mile 4, Jalan Utara,
GPS Location: 5.854927N 118.0726755E
Persatuan Perikanan Sandakan (Sandakan Fishing Association)
A no menu seafood restaurant. They serve the freshest seafood available on the day. The restaurant is actually the office of Sandakan fishing association and the chef is the chairman of the association. There are only 4 tables available so make sure you call to make a booking before visiting.
Location: Lebuh Empat, Sandakan Town
GPS Location: 5.8412469N 118.1186914E
Pasar Kim Fung
(Dumplings, chicken rice, yam paus, chicken wings, apam, taufufah, cham piang, cakui, kon lau mee) Opens from early morning till late for late partygoers
Location: Mile 4, North Road, Bandar Kim Fung
GPS Location: 5.8574405N 118.0790645E
rooftop hang out place for sunset view overlooking the sea. Balin Rooftop boasts a beautiful penthouse rooftop lounge with one of the great view of Sandakan bay and the town.
Opening hours: 7am to 1am
Location: 8th Floor, Nak Hotel
GPS Location: 5.8384932N 118.1165859E
Kedai Makan Pukat
Seafood restaurant located within the fishing village. offer fresh seafood
Location: Kampung Pukat Fishing Village, Bandar Nam Tung
GPS Location: 5.828978N 118.0885971E
Where to Buy prawn cracker, salted fish and dried seafood products in Sandakan?
Sandakan is famous for its sea produce. While it may be hard to bring back some fresh seafood, a souvenir consist of dried sea produce is a must when visiting Sandakan. You can find homemade style sellers mainly at Sim Sim and Kampung Tanah Merah Area.
Sim Sim Bridge no.8
You can find fresh sea produce and salted fish and this restaurant cum marketplace. Fishermen on a small boat usually sell their daily catch to this restaurant.
Location: Sim Sim bridge no. 8 (Beside Sim Sim 88 seafood restaurant)
GPS Location: 5.8598739N 118.1264108E
The villagers dried and make their own prawn cracker at their house compound. Walk around the water village and look for the seller as there are few household selling their own dried sea produce.
Location: Kampung Pukat (beside Bandar Nam Tung)
GPS Location: 5.8297278N 118.0879641E