Kota Kinabalu Breakfast – Kopitiam

Kota Kinabalu Breakfast – Kopitiam

Breakfast in Kota Kinabalu's Kopitiam, must try

Any good day starts with a large breakfast, unless you are on some kind of special diet. Trying different breakfasts around the world is one of the greatest things to do. It gives you the authentic atmosphere right in the morning. A breakfast Kopitiam in Kota Kinabalu is pretty much unique to Malaysia and Singapore.

Now I am well aware that there is not just one breakfast that does it for all over Malaysia or even Sabah. With focusing on Kopitiam breakfast I might hurt some of the Philippino and Malaya people of Sabah but my love for Kopitiam is just too high.

Kopitian Breakfast in Kota Kinabalu
Breakfast at Fook Yuen before a long day.

Most of us who have been to Singapore, already know the greatness of Kopitiam breakfast. I would almost go as far and say it is one of the best breakfasts in the eyes of many westerners.


There are a few places for having Kopitiam in Kota Kinabalu. Despite me being an advocate for Google restaurant reviews, I decided to try the Fook Yuen Kopitiam in Gaya street.


For many it is labeled as a tourist hot spot, with a large portion of Chinese tourists, but the variety, location ,and atmosphere is pretty good over there.

Entrance of Fook Yuen on Gaya street. Photo by Openrice.com

What makes Kopitiam breakfast so special?

The combination of salty, savory and sweet dishes is what fascinates me the most. You could come here for breakfast, lunch ,or dinner and would get something appropriate. Considering all that, it’s just fair to call it a perfect place for brunch. Let us take a closer look at my all-time favorite breakfast items of any Kopitiams:

Teh tarik

Teh Tarik

is a mix of strong black tea and condensed milk. It can be really sweet so I would suggest you to mention “less sweet” when ordering it. The caffeine of the black tea makes it a great substitute for regular coffee. In addition to that, the regular coffee in Sabah is mostly instant.

Soft boiled eggs with soy sauce

The eggs are so soft that you can scoop them up with a toast or slurp it with your spoon. Make sure you add some soy sauce to give it the right saltiness. Getting some egg protein early in the morning is a perfect starter in a day that is packed with adventures

soft boiled egg
Kaya toast

Kaya toast

For all the sweet tooths out there, here you go. Kaya is a spread of coconut, sugar ,and egg. It’s very popular in Malaysia and Singapore. There are some mixes with Pandan added to it as well. Kaya tastes a bit like caramel cream with a hint of coconut.
In addition to Kaya, there is a chunk of butter in between the hot toast halves.

Curry Laksa

is a coconut-based curry soup. Usually served with shrimps, chicken, fish balls ,and bean curd. Noodles are often thick wheat noodles or rice vermicelli.
The spiciness is the perfect level for most people. Spicy and coconut creamy at the same time.

Curry Laksa Malaysia
Dim Sum Malaysia

Dim Sum

Most Kopitiams have a range of Dim Sum bite-sized steam dishes. It belongs to the Cantonese kitchen, a variation of Chinese cuisine. The flavor is often savory-sweet. Overall I find it rather light. Good if you are not into spicy food, for others it might be a bit bland. Overall I don’t go for this option for breakfast.

There are several more toast and tea variations. Noodles soups with duck and chicken are also on the menu. On this guide however I focus on my favorites. Hopefully you guys can share the same taste as me.

Local producer for many Kota Kinabalu's Kopitiam

One of the best things about Kota Kinabalu’s Kopitiams is the large supplier base of locally produced ingredients. Many of the spreads, eggs, etc. are from local farms in Sabah. You might spend a bit more than you are used to, but the taste reflects it. Well and organically produced eggs and Kaya spread are the most important for me.

Find the right Kopitiam in Kota Kinabalu

location of Kopitiam in Kota kinabalu

Whether you are in Singapore or anywhere in Malaysia, you will always find a Kopitiam. The size can vary and should not influence your decision too much. Many places taste great, unfortunately, I did not have enough time to try out all of them. Here you will get my 3 favorite breakfast Kopitiam in Kota Kinabalu.

  1. Guan’s Kopitiam

  2. Fook Yuen Gaya Street

  3. Yee Fung Laksa


Just copy and paste into Google maps and it will show you the direction. All of those places are around the center and pretty easy to reach. If you are good at walking, all of them are within a 30-minute walk radius. Since Uber is so useful in Kota Kinabalu, just get one and start the day more relaxed.

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