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Eating Vegan in Kota Kinabalu

⇒ Pando Cafe, ITCC

⇒ City Veggie, Lintas Platinum

⇒ You Yuen Vegetarian, Bundusan


*All photos by Ana Jonessy

Pando Cafe ITCC is relatively new, but it’s taking shape pretty quickly. This minimalist all-day cafe and self-described plant-based bistro slings so much more than a Tumblr stereotype of vegan iced latte and avocado toast. Instead, there is a choice of specialty drinks for the coffee bar–their cacao, spirulina and beetroot soy-lattes can be a bit of an acquired taste but it’s also their best sellers. Not forgetting the variety of cakes and desserts made on the premise by staff, and a handful of goodies sent in by carefully selected home bakers. Whether you want to fuel up in the morning or dive into an afternoon flight of sweetness, there’s something for everyone and perhaps, something a little different from your usual cafe fares too.



A quintessential day menu includes a veganized English breakfast, thin-crust sourdough pesto pizza, (v)egg-mayo, and almond butter spaghetti among others. Patrons can also choose from grab-and-go cold-pressed juices, brunchy bites or indulge in their seasonal items. Cafe manager and menu designer, Gan constantly add new concoction and experiments with different ingredients, so the menu can get pretty exciting. The current specials include cream cheese tiramisu, a cupcake medley, and coming soon, dirty sourdough waffle.

True pizza lovers should make the pilgrimage to Pando. There are a lot of good things thrown into their thin-crust sourdough pesto pizza–homemade cheese sprinkle, caramelized mushroom, fresh basil, bell peppers, corn, red onion, and other ingredients we’re not allowed to tell you. Gan swears by their pesto pizza and said if she had to pick only one food off the menu to eat for the rest of her life, that’ll be it.

For the sweet-toothed dessert-loving diners, walk straight to the display fridge and be spoiled for choices. The dessert roster includes classic flavors alongside more ornate creations like the center-filled peanut-butter-cup cupcake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate drizzle, caramel cupcake, and matcha cupcake with red bean paste filling and frosting. You may already have a favorite tried-and-true combo but next time when that craving hits, give Pando’s swirl of smooth, buttery chocolate frosting a try. Then wash it down with either their signature spirulina or beetroot soy-latte.



Pando, or “I spread” in Latin, is “…a work in progress,” said Gan. There are enough seats for 60 persons, which makes it an ideal space for people with all interests to dine and do things. “I want Pando to also be a gathering space for community-based events, and like the meaning of Pando, a place to spread positivity in different forms,” she added. Having been vegan for 2 years, food is Gan’s way to talk about the alternative lifestyle and share healthier meal options. “Eating plant-based is an opportunity to do good and feel good. It is so easy in 2019, there are so many vegan options available.”

City Veggie- Platinum Lintas   & Ho Yuen vegetarian Bundusan

Two other plant-based eateries you should check out are City Veggie Lintas Platinum for cakes and pastries, and You Yuen Vegetarian at Bundusan for full meals. Happy Veganuary! Some favorites at City Veggie include earl grey chiffon cake, organic banana cinnamon cake, and their housemade buns series.

Head to You Yuen Vegetarian at dinnertime to try out their sambal petai, fungus and veggie with tofu, iron plate mushroom and any of their fried rice selections.