Quality wining and dining can turn a good holiday into an excellent one. All too often though, meal inclusive packages around Malaysian resorts can be decent tummy filling ventures, but not mind blowing taste sensations. Gaya Island Resort by YTL however, has more than a few dishes capable of exciting the palate and creating a deliciously memorable vacation. Here's The Yum List's pick of:
Don't Miss Dishes at Gaya Island Resort, Borneo
Barbecued Seafood Bajau Laut Style
Seafood, seafood, seafood. It must be eaten en masse when it's this good. A Bajau Laut Beach Barbecue not only delivers a romantic set up, with sand in your toes, the sound of the sea lapping the shore, your own private butler and chef, but... too offers succulent seafood. Cooked the traditional way on skewers over hot coals, fish, prawns, mussels, lobster and a host of supporting meats and vegetables are barbecued according to the seafaring indigenous conventions of the Bajau Laut. Book in advance for this delectable experience.
|Bajau Laut Beach Barbecue - delicious local seafood cooked on skewers over hot coals|
Line Caught Fish
I have found not one fish on the mainland comparable to the quality of what we ate while in Sabah. There's something about the waters around the island of Borneo that produce incredibly fresh and juicy aquatic creatures. In an attempt to move towards sustainability, Gaya Island Resort by YTL offers the "catch of the day," which are caught by line, not the common net fishing method (which traps all in its path, in an attempt to snare one desired species). Sourced daily, you're assured freshness and simple preparation enhances the natural flavours.
|Line Caught Catch of the Day - Coral Trout|
This traditional egg noodle dish was recommended by a number of Sabahans as a 'must try' while in the state. Haling from a small city on the coast to the north of Kota Kinabalu, these springy noodles are usually fried with local vegetables and topped with char siew and egg rolls. Gaya Island Resort proffers their own luxurious version brimming with seafood.
Sabahans' version of ceviche marinates the freshest of seafood in lime, chili and ginger. A tangy, fresh and unstoppably more-ish dish is the result. Available at Fisherman's Cove and on the Bajau Laut Beach Barbecue, order this one close to arrival, as its addictive quality will leave you yearning for more.
Combine a mouthwatering fish broth, the best seafood from the waters of Borneo, a fabulous chef and sea breezes drifting through the private rooftop gazebo and, you have yourself a delicious and unforgettable meal. The Sinagang fish broth is a classic from Kadazan cuisine comprising lemongrass, chili, tamarind and ginger to make a subtly sour-hot broth. Even before all of the goodies are added to the barbecue or to simmer, the broth on its own is droolingly addictive.
|Steamboat and Barbecue|
Everything from the Bakery
All too often I'm disappointed with the bread in Malaysia. My personal preference leans towards darker, wholegrain varieties with crusty crusts and an inner that you can sink your teeth into. Local taste buds however seem to enjoy sweet, light, white breads that are fluffy and disappear in the mouth seconds after they enter. The pastry chefs at Gaya Island Resort have all bases covered. Breads and pastries are baked daily and a huge variety starts the day on display at the breakfast buffet counter. The cinnamon bun even tempted my usually healthy morning taste buds into submission.
Award Winning Cocktails
The wise administration at YTL are quick to snag the best of the best and when it comes to mixing drinks, they outdid themselves by taking on the talented and award winning, Azlan. Chill off further after a dip in the lap pool at the swim up bar and order one of five Gaya Island Specialities. The Gaya Dream should be your first pick, but so too a moment should be taken to chat with the barman over his latest creations. Inspired by a dip in the sea and the sighting of starfish, the Aquastaria is one of Azlan's winning concoctions. Pineapple, Bacardi, Midori and blue Curacao mingle to represent aquamarine waters, while thin slices of carambola float just like sea creatures.