As every Indian abroad will tell you, there’s no taste like some dal and chawal in a foreign land. I for one, love trying new cuisines and will avoid Indian food at all costs. But I do know that on a longish trip, I too will look for something Indian – just to get me by!
Indian travellers, especially those who travel in groups, will look for at least a couple of Indian meals when overseas. It’s an inexplicable thing – but other Indians will understand what I’m saying. There are so many different types of Indian food – Jain, cuisines peculiar to the North, South, East and West, fusion of all 4. Each Indian state has their own style of cooking so the possibilities are endless when you open an Indian restaurant in a foreign city.
Mother India Restaurant at the Oceanus Mall, is one such restaurant in Kota Kinabalu. Our hosts were the Sabah Tourism Board and Datuk Tan who is Head of the Board, entertained us through the evening with his witty repertoire!
If you need to shop, there is no better location. It’s in the Oceanus Mall. I quickly nipped over to Body Shop who had an amazing 70% sale on! A small supermarket on the Basement floor has great offers ranging from cosmetics to instant noodles with unusual flavours like Laksa and Tom Yum.
Being the true Indians we are, we relished the naans, butter chicken, baingan bartha, bhendi fry, chicken kababs, jeera pulao, papads etc. Finger licking good, we saw the restaurant was rapidly filling up with non-Indians! Means they like the Indian curry and masalas! Very heartening to know that our Indian cuisine is so popular worldwide. I remember cousins of mine paying $15 for a masala dosa way back in the 90’s in a popular Indian restaurant in Manhattan.
Shelley, the Owner of the hotel gave us lovely white tee shirts which we promptly donned and posed for photos! She is a lovely lady – Indian from Canada serving food in Malaysia! Very unusual but there you go! She practices medicine in her spare time I think.
So all you Indian travellers going to Kota Kinabalu, don’t worry about food. This restaurant is very reasonable and services home style khana! For vegetarians, the Malaysian cuisine might seem formidable but there is Indian food available! Tried and tested and extremely good.
The staff were very courteous and I think amused by our enthusiasm to eat our own cuisine! Followed by extremely ‘kadak’ (for those of you who don’t understand that – it means ‘strong’) masala chai, the evening couldn’t get better.
Not wanting the evening to end, we headed off to the nearby boardwalk which houses nightclubs. Man, was that a revelation! The suddenly sleepy Sabah was alive with the sound of music – both karaoke kroakers and some extremely good singers in bands. As we ambled along trying to figure out where we could stop and have a drink, we bumped into our friends from the Pacific Sutera. Was so good to see familiar friendly faces. They were so excited to see us as well (I think!!).
We went to a smoky and laser light filled nightclub called B.E.D. There was an all-girl band singing – didn’t think too much of their lyrics (They were loud and hence quite incomprehensible) but they were eye candy especially to the boys in our group!! Danced till my legs hurt and then slowly crawled out and back to the hotel. The others partied on till the wee hours of the morning and had quite a blast! So for the young party movers and shakers, Sabah has a great nightlife.
Others who spent the evening with us were the charming Humphrey Ginibun from the Sabah Tourism Board and Bernadette of Borneo Trails. I need to add here that they were tremendous – they organised all our tours and outings and it was perfect. Our guide Hazel was the best – funny and witty and lovable!
All in all a great day – tiring but oh so enjoyable!