SERVE NO PORK | MALAYSIAN KOPITIAM | SANDAKAN
When I traveled to Sandakan, I would normally spending my time around Sandakan Mile 4 (Bandar Indah & Bandar Prima) or IJM for accommodation, food and drinks. The old Sandakan city was once a busy port overseeing the Sulu Sea and known as the Little Hong Kong, now seems lacking of attractions and security. Well, this is not 100% true.
Sandakan Old Town -- not an official name but, I love to use this term to differentiate the old city and the new satellite townships such as Miles 4 and IJM, has more to offer. Recently I spent a night at the NAK Hotel -- one of the oldest hotel and an important landmark of Sandakan, to experience the morning ambient around. Woke up at 7 o'clock in the morning and already busy, but unlike other big cities in KL, Sandakan Old Town is too nostalgic for not compare to the scenes appeared in some 80's Malay movie on the telly.
Next to the hotel, the Local Bus Terminal is a busy place where passengers arrive with the 12 seater van and mini bus which connects the Old Town with the townships at the outer ring. Not to surprise when I saw a number of foreigners hopped on the mini bus heading to the famous Sepilok. I guessed they were suggested by the tourism websites or travel guide, because travel by local bus is always the best way to explore a destination, not to mention the cheapest too. Meanwhile, man power is still the trusted energy here, you can see people working on the street, pushing barrow with full loads of goods. Clock tick faster here in the morning, and goes slower towards noon...
The newly opened San Da Gen Kopitiam occupy a unit next to NAK Hotel. Opens from 8AM til 4PM, the kopitiam-style restaurant is managed by the same culinary team behind the renown Ba Lin Rooftop Restaurant. Do not expect traditional kopitiam-style here, but more like a fusion chic --- the interior of San Da Gen Kopitiam would already impress you, if not love-at-first-sight; The Ayam Penyet was a safe choice for me, it would be good as long as the fried chicken is well-spiced, tempeh is crispy and sambal is yum-meh. Unfortunately during my visit the restaurant was still under trial run and do not have much choices on the menu. Recently I saw some new dishes on their FB such as Durian Puff and Polo Bun. Can't wait to visit them for another time.
If the Sandakan Old Town is going to have more well-planned and designed, shopper-friendly restaurants/shops like San Da Gen Kopitiam, I believe more people who are now frequent the new townships, would come back to the old places.
FOODIOT'S POINT: 85%
BUSINESS HOUR: 8AM - 4PM (SERVES BREAKFAST & LUNCH)
PHONE: 089-238 988
ADDRESS: Jalan Pelabuhan Lama, 9000, Sandakan, Sabah