Ocean Seafood Village Restaurant @ Kota Kinabalu – Live Seafood Tanks!

I just remembered these photos taken during my trip to Kota Kinabalu. It was a seafood dinner me and SL took together with KampungBoyCityGal at Ocean Village Seafood Restaurant (海王城海鮮村).
But before I continue, first let me just say that the food wasn’t spectacular and the price was very expensive, mainly because the restaurant is to cater to tourists mostly. I don’t think any Sabahan with the right mind would want to dine there and get chopped like us lol.

ocean-seafood-village

Then again, this post isn’t really about the food nor the prices. It’s about visiting perhaps one of the largest and most awesome seafood restaurant with the most live seafood on display in Malaysia. If you thought Bali Hai‘s display of seafood was impressive, wait till you see Ocean Seafood Village’s.

big-prawn-statue

A large prawn statue greets the customers at the entrance of Ocean Seafood Village Restaurant.

live-seafood-tanks'

Once we stepped into the restaurant, instead of making orders we made way to the live seafood area like kids who couldn’t wait to go to the playground. Our jaws literally dropped looking at the arrays of aquarium tanks housing the countless live seafood ranging from prawns to clams and fish.
The front rows mainly housed live prawns, mantis prawns at the middle, fishes at the back and clams on the side with crabs crawling around on the ground.

tiger-prawns

These red colored tiger prawns price increase ten bucks for every upsize: RM20 each for small, RM30 for medium and RM40 for large. Pricey? Oh yes, certainly. But do keep in mind that even the smallest prawns are at least twice the length of an average adult’s finger.


lobsters

Huge lobsters. This is definitely too rich for my blood.

mantis-prawns-in-bottle

Most of the mantis prawns we seen at Sabah are kept in separate plastic bottles to prevent them from fighting and killing each other.

mantis-prawns

Besides spotting black stripes, Sabah’s mantis prawns are also much bigger than what the Peninsular counterpart.

choose-mantis-prawn

At Ocean Seafood Village Restaurant, customers are allowed to hand pick their seafood. So what you picked is what you are going to eat later.

live-mud-crabs

I have never seen such huge mud crabs before, their sizes are comparable to the Sri Lankan crabs. But Sri Lankan crabs do have larger claws.

live-seafood-aquarium

After spending close to an hour touring and taking photos of the live aquarium tanks, we finally got the exciting feeling calmed down a little and proceeded to make our orders. Eating time!

seafood-dinner

The dishes we ordered include a clam, two types of tiger prawns, about 2kg of crabs and a veggie.

ginger-onion-sar-bak

The ‘Sar Bak‘ (沙白) which translates to ‘White Sand’ is a type of clam, which is unique to Sabah. Costing at RM20/kg, ‘Sar Bak’ clams have whiter and thicker shells and packs more flesh compared to the normal ones. The flesh is juicy and sweet in its natural taste so not much seasoning is required to cook it.
Unfortunately the chef was too liberal at the salt and the dish turned out too salty – so salty we had to send it back. Luckily it was much better the second time around and we were not charged for the first plate.

soy-sauce-tiger-prawn

We picked 2 medium and 2 large sized tiger prawns to be prepared in two different ways. One of them was Stir Fried Tiger Prawns with Soy Sauce. The freshness coupled with the sweet flavor of the tiger prawns’ succulent flesh made it really easy for us to love it.

butter-cheese-prawns

But ultimately we preferred the Butter and Cheese Tiger Prawns for the deliciously creamy and savory sauce.

kam-heong-crab

The Kam Heong Crab was so-so, nothing fantastic but the meaty crabs did give the dish some points. Even so, I felt it was still better than the overcooked Sweet and Sour Crab we had at Luyang.

sambal-sabah-vegetable

This kangkung like veggie is called ‘Sabah Choy‘, literally translated into Sabah Vegetable. It has a crunchy stem with very little leaves. We had it fried Sambal Belacan style but the chef did a bad job at cooking it. I think we only took a few mouthfuls before deciding to totally abandon the dish lol.

coconut-jelly

For desserts we had Coconut Jelly, priced at RM10 each. Expensive stuff but well worth trying because it is not commonly available anywhere. Plus, they were delicious treats.

seafood-restaurant

To give you a picture of how big Ocean Village Restaurant is.. imagine this as only 1/6 of the restaurant’s full seating capacity. Then add the live seafood section, humongous right?
Anyway, our seafood dinner cost RM250+ in total, it was the most expensive meal we had throughout our trip to Kota Kinabalu. I’d be either too rich or crazy to call that cheap but given the eye opening experience that would remain in my memory for a long long time, so it’s worth trying at least once.
Ocean Seafood Village is located somewhere at the outskirts of the city, easily recognized as the ‘big seafood restaurant’ next to Promenade Hotel. I am still amazed by the fact that all four of us reached the restaurant on foot, all the way from our guest house!

Ocean Seafood Village Restaurant
Jalan Promenade Hotel,
88000 Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah
Contact No: 088-26 4701

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19 thoughts on “Ocean Seafood Village Restaurant @ Kota Kinabalu – Live Seafood Tanks!”

  1. Very expensive meal. Even coming from Singapore. I can tell you lala for 1kg RM$20 which is SGD$8 is way too expensive. I guess the price includes the maintenance cost of the fish tanks. But it’s a wonderful sight to behold nonetheless.

    If you send food back into the kitchen, be careful. A good rule of thumb is never to criticise the food or insist on getting it back for minor issues. Especially when your food has not been serve finished. Reason being you never know what goes into your food in your next plate. Or whatever you request(though its your customers right) to get it changed at no cost. Chef would no doubt get the blame by the manager etc and guess what? You may all be getting ‘extra ingredients’ in the form of saliva aka pui chao nua into your food.

    So, don think customer is always right. Yes we can insist to be right but who knows whats going on behind. Be kind to chef.

  2. You’re right, Sabahan seldom dine at Ocean except during special occasions. It was lucky that you didn’t go to Port View Restaurant (which is also one of the tourists area) because the food there is more lousy and bad services.

    The Sabah Vegetables is actually pucuk manis, which we only eat the leaves in KL. It is also the vegetables that you can find in Pan Mee.

    Fyi, Luyang Restaurant’s signature dish is the Kam Hiong Crab and Baked Crab. You can check this out, http://everydayfoodiluvkk.blogspot.com/2009/10/luyang-restaurant-luyang.html

    Food in KK is not as good as KL but they do have their specialty and you really need to know what to order or else, will end up with disappointment.

    By the way, I love your blog!! Merry X’mas!!

  3. Greetings Vkeong,

    Actually, the reason why they kept the mantis prawns in separate plastic bottles was so that the mantis prawns will grow faster. The logic or mechanism behind the plastic bottles is to prevent the mantis prawn from curling their body. If they curl their bodies, they will produce eggs; and that is why they grow slower because most of their energy are used for that purpose. However, if they can’t curl their body, they will use their stored energy for growth.

    Regards,
    Tam
    Degree in Aquaculture :)

    1. Hi Tam! Thanks for the explanation. The restaurant owner told me they placed the prawns in the bottles to prevent them from fighting lol. But your version seems more logical and makes more sense haha

  4. HI..I’m a local KK . The best place locals go is “Gaya Seafood restaurant” in Inanam. You can get taxi and ask them to go to Gaya Sports Inanam and the restaurant is beside it. Much much cheaper. there are many good food in KK which locals frequent but they are not in the city. Those in the city are preying for ignorant tourist. Lots of good food in Damai and Lintas area for breakfast/lunch or dinner. Generally the standard cost of living in KK is higher than KL so you can expect the food to be rather expensive like kon lou mee minimum RM 5 per plate.
    Hope you do come to KK and enjoy our food again.

  5. Hi I’m a local in KK. Good and cheap seafood are not in city area. Try go to Gaya Seafood restaurant-nice and cheap seafood. thats where the locals go. Ask taxi driver to bring you to Gaya sports in Inanam. Plenty of nice n special noodles around Damai/Lintas area. You cant go on foot from KK. Have to get taxi. Hope you’ll come back to KK and try again.

  6. Hi…! For me I think there is 1 place call SEDCO, they got alot of Seafood with reasonable price and sometime they do promotion too…. Just like rite now, U can take RM 13/kg crab in town rite now.

  7. Hi Vkeong, love your food post just have a minor gripe with the lobster definition. A true lobster has two claws, the ones that you have take pictures of quite frequently is not a true lobster per say but a different crustacean species which is called the spiny lobster. They are bigger but do not taste as good as a true lobster!

    Keep them food blogs coming!

  8. It is a must for me to come to this restaurant every time I come to KK Sabah. I like the butter sauce lobster, siput tarik and sabah vege….i hv brought my family few time to this restaurant and they enjoy the food too….

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