Since you are on your way to the exotic city of Kota Kinabalu, you must love adventure. KK offers all kinds of fun adventure from its beaches and mountains to its local shops and cuisine. Keep in mind, though, that moderation in all things is very important. Don’t get so adventurous that you end up being careless with your health. Problems in health in Kota Kinabalu typically involve being too adventurous with food served in local cafés.
There is always a special kind of thrill in visiting another country, especially one on the other side of the planet. Every activity, place, food or person you meet promises to be a new experience. But nothing zaps the excitement from a potentially wonderful experience like being sick. Travelers to Kota Kinabalu usually get sick from trying too many local foods, specifically street foods. Here is a thing or two about local cafés in KK.
Authentic local dishes in local cafés are delicious and very inviting. Malaysian foods are typically very tasty, leaving you wanting more. The utensils, however, may not be that clean. In a humid tropical city as KK, bacteria and all kinds of microscopic organisms both harmless and harmful easily accumulate on damp pans, spoons, forks, knives and other cooking utensils, after the people have supposedly washed them clean. Blame it on the weather, although café operators and service people may also be less interested in cleaning their utensils than making a profit. This is not to say you should avoid eating at these places, but simply to be mindful enough to wipe your spoon, fork and knife before putting them into your mouth. You also aren’t sure what kinds of bugs have crawled on them a few minutes before they were placed on your plate.
Be warned also that Malaysian food is very spicy. Avoid the chili vinegar that is commonly served along with the bottles of soy sauce and white vinegar. If you don’t have a strong stomach or are just not used to eating spicy foods, avoid being too adventurous or else you’ll get diarrhea and suffer for days. Stick to McDonald’s or other Western food joints that are in abundance in the city, or better yet go to the more expensive restaurants that guarantee proper hygiene and offer a wider variety of dishes.
Restaurants regularly get cleanliness and hygiene ratings from DBKK (the city municipal council), and they display these ratings for their customers to see. Also, waiters and waitresses wear health cards to prove that they have taken the hygiene course required by DBKK and have been screened of Hepatitis and Tuberculosis.
Also, avoid drinking water from the tap. Some good restaurants offer clean drinkable water, but it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially if you know that you have a weak stomach. Always have a bottle of mineral water in hand. If you order a soda or fruit juice, it is typically served with ice. Try to avoid ice also since it’s most probably frozen tap water.
Watch your health in Kota Kinabalu. Vacationing here could potentially be your best vacation ever if you just make sure you stay safe, watch what you eat, stay clean and don’t get too adventurous if you know that your stomach can’t take it.