Seller at the Filipino BBQ
This is the second in a series of more in-depth posts on our trip to Borneo.
February 12, 2009
We are always surprised at how draining the heat and humidity can be. We took advantage of our air conditioned room to rest and refresh ourselves during the afternoon. We had read a lot about the Filipino night market. It happens every night along the waterfront in Kota Kinabalu. It was not far from the hotel and decided to check it out.
We arrived at the market around 6pm and it was already in full swing. The vendors seemed to be organized by what they sold - chili, vegetables, fruit, produce and closer to the water - poultry. On the other side were the food vendors. The woks were hot serving up stir fries. Other booths had ice shavers and prepared Ais Kacang or ABC, a sweet mix of shaved ice, sweetened condensed milk, gelatin, cendol and other items.
Limes and hot chilies
The smoke and wonderful smell from the BBQ led us back to the corner and the Filipino BBQ. The grills were set up along the waterfront. You can stroll along the smoky aisle to see the wide variety of fish available - fillets, whole fish, prawn, king prawns, whole squids. Next to the grills are long cafeteria style tables set under a canopy. Go to the opposite head of the table to negotiate and select your meal. At the opposite end of the table, a seller is setup with recently grilled seafood and ready to provide you with whatever you want.
Grills in action
We were hungry and decided to go for the King Prawns. The owner took our order and sent our selection back to be reheated and finished. He directed us over to the table and showed us how to do the dipping sauce. Take a handful of the small potent birds-eye chilies, crush them a bit with the spoon, salt, pour a little bit of the sweet soy sauce and water. He gave us a bowl to pour water and wash our hands. They asked if wanted "nasi" which is rice. We said "Yes" and they brought us two bowls of rice. A package of paper napkins was dropped on the table. Napkins were very poor in Malaysia They were often very small and very thin or just a box of tissues (Kleenex). We used a lot of the Wet-Ones we brought along. We also took some hand sanitizer but never used it.
Our two prawns arrived - steaming hot just off the BBQ. We washed our hands in the bowl and dug in. You eat with your hands. Peel a segment of prawn; grab a hand of rice. It was somewhat primeval sitting under the smokey evening light eating with our hands. But it was great. The prawns were meaty and sweet. I should have devined them since they were a little gritty and sandy but otherwise very tasty. We also had a couple of Malaysian canned drinks. We asked for 'sodas' but they heard 'soya' and we gave us two canned Seasons brand soya drinks They were actually much better than having a Coke. The dipping sauce was spicy hot, the shrimp was sweet, the drinks were refreshing, the atmosphere was very exotic. It cost us about 80RM (~23USD) and was wonderful for such an experience.
Related Posts: Arrival in Kota Kinabalu - First in the series
Our view across the tables