updated August 2020:
When we mention Tawau, the first words come to our mind is cocoa. Tawau is the top producer of cocoa in Malaysia. Many are also not aware that Tawau is also famous for their foods. We spend 3 days traveling around Tawau to find out the best foods Tawau got to offer.
We stayed at Promenade Hotel Tawau which is located conveniently alongside Jalan Kuhara and few minutes drive away from the town center. Promenade Hotel Tawau is located adjacent to Eastern Plaza Shopping Centre, one of the newer shopping center at Tawau.
While there are bus and taxi around the town, the best way to explore Tawau is by renting a car should you arrived by plane. Google for Car rental Tawau and you have few choice to choose from.
Grab is available at Tawau providing cheap and convenient way to move around Tawau town.
Simply key in the eateries name at google map and you can find you way easily as its easy to drive around Tawau.
New cafes, milktea, bar and restaurants are mostly located at Kobuta Square, a new township at the center of Tawau.
Snacks: Indo Cafe
We have Pisang Goreng Cheese in Kota Kinabalu but once you tried the Indo Cafe’s version of Pisang Goreng Cheese, you will fall in love with this snacks. The banana fritter is crispy top with their special cheese and brown sugar. A Simple but must have snacks when in Tawau. Their Mango sago is worth trying too.
Location: They have 3 branches around Tawau Town. The original one located at Jalan Abaca, 2nd branch at Unijaya Commercial Centre and 3rd branch at Bandar Sri Indah.
Contact no: 0142802221
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm
Breakfast / Lunch : Restoran Haji Tamrin
Nasi Kuning (Sabah Yellow Rice) is synonymous with Tawau. Nasi Kuning is cooked with coconut milk and turmeric. One of the best places to try Nasi Kuning is at Restoran Haji Tamrin . The sambal should be dry usually serve with Spicy sambal fish.
Location: 4305, Jalan Sim Hua Seng, 91000
GPS Location: 4.2494814N 117.8947806E
Breakfast and Lunch: Kedai Kopi Hing Lee
Pork noodle (Sang Nyuk Mian) is originated from Tawau and Kedai Kopi Hing Lee is the first place to serve Pork noodle. They have been around for more than 37 years and run by the 2nd generation.
Location: TB 529, Ground Floor, Bandaran Baru, Fajar Complex
GPS Location: 4.2468065N 117.8904891E
Opening hours: 7am to 2pm
Breakfast and Lunch: Kopitiam Lao Yu Kee 老友記生肉麵
Another good place for pork noodle in Tawau. Lao Yu Kee also serves pork belly slices with in clear pork broth.
Address: Jalan Megah Jaya, Taman Megah Jaya
Opening hours: 6am to 2pm
Breakfast, lunch and tea time: 友联茶楼 Union Tea House
Union Tea House has been a family business since 1961 and managed to adhere to their motto “Innovation while maintaining tradition, tradition leading innovation”. Their Teh “C” Ping is a must and their egg sandwich is so delicious with their secret mayo sauce.
Location: TB 14891, Mile 3, Jalan Sin Onn, Taman Jambu Tawau.
GPS Location: 4.2646048N 117.9037338E
Opening hours: 7.30 to 5pm (Monday to Friday), 9am to 5pm (Saturday to Sunday)
Contact no: 089-750 976
Breakfast and Lunch: 源源茶餐室 Kedai Kopi Yuan Yuan
Almost every local Tawau we talked to ask us whether we tried the Soto at Kedai Kopi Yuan Yuan. The shop is packed with people waiting for seats. Customers can choose from Soto Ayam(chicken), daging(beef) and seafood. My Soto seafood comes with prawn balls, prawns, and fish slice. The broth is flavourful.
Location: TB10749 Taman Megah Jaya, 3.5 Miles Jalan Apas
GPS Location: 4.2576984N 117.9249474E
Opening hours: 8am to 2pm
Contact no: 6089-761986
No pork served.
Lunch: 老豆茶室-香底米粉 Papa Kopitiam Crispy fried mee hoon
One of Tawau specialty food is crispy fried mee hoon top with fresh seafood. Meehoon is fried till crispy and then soaked in an egg.
Location: Papa Kopitiam老豆香底米粉
Location: Perdana Square Jalan Apas Batu 3 1/2. Tawau
GPS Location: 4.2524638N 117.9196635E
Contact no: 014-875 8000
ABC @Kedai Kopi Wah Hing 华兴冰茶室
Kedai Kopi Wah Hing at the town center served blended ice with mixed beans, corn, milk and colourful jelly.
The favorite place for locals to have a taste of its ABC especially during a warm afternoon.
Location: TB.59 Jalan Chester, Tawau
Opening hours: 11am to 5pm
Afternoon tea: 强生茶餐室 Kedai Kopi Keong Sang
Kedai Kopi Keong Sang is one of the favorite spots for the local during tea time. Their “yip zhi mei” big pao is so huge and can feed 8 peoples. They serve dessert, noodle, and pastries.
Location: Jalan Pantai, Hua Dat Industrial Area.
GPS Location: 4.2501447N 117.9130787E
Opening hours: 8am to 5pm
Breakfast, lunch and Afternoon Tea: Coffeeshops around Jalan Kuhara and Jalan Budi
Looking for an authentic coffee shop where the locals hang out? head to the coffee shop around Jalan Budi during afternoon tea time for a cup of coffee and buns. Local call this area the Yam Cha Street (Afternoon tea break street)
Mess Kitchen @Tiku White House
Residential home turned Airbnb accommodation plus hipster café located abit away from the Tawau Town center. offering an confortable environment and wide selection of coffee, cakes and food. a good place for coffee lover.
Location: 2112, kg Sin On, Jalan Sin On Tiku, 91000 Tawau
Opening hours: 1pm – 10pm daily except Tuesday
Contact no: 019-458 6700
Dinner and Supper: Leong’s Porridge House
Leong’s Porridge House has been around for more than 60 years run by the 3rd generation. They serve good quality porridge. One of the Must try dish at Leong’s Porridge House is their “Sashimi”, raw fish slice serves with vinegar and ginger slice. The pork satay stall at Leong’s Porridge House serves one of the best pork satays in Sabah!
Location: Lot 19, Taman Perindustrian Prima Jaya. Jalan Air Panas, Miles 3.5, 91000 Tawau, Sabah.
(same row as Jungleland and Grandcafe)
Opening hours: 5pm to 11.30pm
Contact no: 0163369153
The Fuji Corner 富士湾餐馆
located at the corner of Fuji Recreation, The Fuji Corner been around for more than 20 years. Locals come here for the ice blended coconut juice and wet fried crispy noodle (Mee basah)
Location: off Jalan Sin Onn
Opening hours: 3pm to night
GPS Location: 4.260309,117.899473
Late evening to supper: Satay and Chicken Wing Stalls along Jalan Sin Onn
Few Malay stalls selling the Best satay in Tawau, with special marinated chicken wings and gogos (pulut panggang)
Dinner: Kam Ling Fresh Seafood
Tawau is renowned for its excellent array of fresh seafood. One of the most famous spots to enjoy this is at Kam Ling Seafood Kam Ling began as a hawker stall on July 31st, 1984 at Sabindo Seaside Tawau, Sabah, and transformed into a casual-dining Seafood Restaurant in early February 2020. Kam Ling is highly recommended by the locals and the owner Chef Wong has been in the business for more than 20 years.
Patrons can select the seafood of their choice, fresh from the tanks and it will be prepared to their liking.
Location: Kam Ling Fresh Seafood moved to Kobuta Square on February 2020.
GPS Location: 4.2426124N 117.889435E
Opening hours: 11.30am to 2pm, 5pm to 10.30pm
Contact no: 0198832511