Where To Get Fresh Cooking Herbs in KK

Where To Get Fresh Cooking Herbs in KK

UPDATED: 6 SEP 2012
Calling all the gourmet chefs of the household, and dinner-party rockstars wannabe… Stop cooking with dried herbs that have fancy little stickers on overvalued glass bottles. A lot of those herbs and spices are planted in the developing world, then shipped off to the West to be packaged and exported back here (more on this later).

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I know, i know. You think fresh herbs is going to bazooka a hole in your wallet, but if you knew where to look it would be a lot cheaper to get them fresh than bottled. The first thing you have to figure out is what herbs you’ll be needing for your cooking project…

Western Herbs

Three of the best places to find Western fresh herbs are Tong Hing, Merdeka Supermarket, and Pick N’ Pay Foh Sang and Likas Square. Among the herbs carried by these supermarkets are choices such as rosemary, sage, dill, oregano, tarragon, thyme, chives, marjoram, and Italian flat-leaf parsley. Tong Hing carries the imported variety from Australia and Genting Highlands (West Malaysia), and they cost anything from RM3.00 – RM10.00 for a bag containing a few springs.

It’s still affordable for most expats to get their herbs from Tong Hing, but there are other alternatives if you’re budget conscious. Pick N’ Pay has some variety (not all), and they sell them cheaper than Tong Hing. The real gem in terms of variety and value is Merdeka Supermarket though. Their store-packed fresh herbs go from RM1.00 – RM3.00 and you get triple the amount of herbs that you do in Tong Hing because they’re (probably) locally-grown.

What I notice when I shop at Merdeka is that I’m never worried about how much I’m paying for herbs (even if I need to cook for 100 people), whereas at other places I’ll be a lot more conscious about how much I’m spending.

Fresh Western herbs at Merdeka Supermarket are about RM1.50 per bag on average.

Merdeka Supermarket

No. 75, Jln Penampang Batu 3,
88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Tel: 088-21 6601
Store hours: 8:00am – 10:00pm daily
Location map

Pick N Pay

No. 2, Ground Floor, Jln Bunga Raja Kayu,
Taman Tuan Huat,
88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Tel: 088-21 9898
Store hours: 8:30am – 11:00pm daily
Location map

Check out their new Likas Square store!

Tong Hing Supermarket

55 Jalan Gaya, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Tel: +60 88 230300 Fax : +60 88 222577
Store hours: 8:00am – 10:45pm daily
Location map


Exotic Asian Herbs


Herbs like ginger flower (Bunga Kantan), lemongrass (serai), Kaffir lime leaves, curry leaves, turmeric root, galangal root, and many others can be found in the wet markets. You may be able to find some of these herbs mentioned at Merdeka Supermarket and Pick N Pay, but it’ll be much fresher and cheaper if you head to the market.

Fresh Asian Herbs at local wet markets are about RM1.00 per bag on average, and cheaper by weight compared to supermarkets.

Bulk Green Herbs


Lastly, if you’re looking for bulk herbs to use for catering or large parties, you will likely find Thai basil, mint leaves, Chinese parsley, chives, spring onions, and Asian flat-leaf parsley by going to the wet markets around the city.

Although there are a few in town, KKMOI likes KPD Tamu at Teluk Likas and the Wholesale Fruits and Vegetables Market in Bundusan the best. This is because they usually have the variety we want, and it is unbeatable in terms of value for money. The farmer won’t be interested in selling a few sprigs of leafy herbs to you, so the wholesaler is your best bet unless you are willing to buy a truckload of cucumbers on a regular basis!?

The herbs sold in bulk are RM1.50 per large bag or per bunch on average, and is cheaper by weight compared to supermarkets.

Here’s where you need to go:-

KPD Tamu Market

Kompleks Pemasaran KPD,
Teluk Likas, Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah, Malaysia.
Hours: 11am – 5pm (They close when they’ve finished selling). Saturday is quiet because on Sunday, they have the Tamu.
Location map

Bundusan Wholesale Market

Pasar Pemborong Sayur-Sayuran Dan Buah-Buahan Pantai Barat Sabah
Jalan Bundusan, Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah, Malaysia.
Hours: 11am – 5pm
Location map


Other places where you can get fresh herbs:-
Fresh Mint – KK Main Wet Market
Thai Basil – Bornion Mini Market

Happy refreshing your dishes!

9 thoughts on “Where To Get Fresh Cooking Herbs in KK”

  1. Great post on those herbs – too bad I don’t live in KK or I’ll be zooming to Merdeka for those herbs – my fav is still the Thai Sweet Basil which I use quite often in my cooking.

  2. Thanks Thanis! The sweet basil on the photo is Italian but Merdeka also sells the Thai variety! Where are you based? 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing! Yes, Merdeka supermarket is my place to get fresh herbs for my cooking. But it would be nice if I can plant them myself at my back yard! Just wonder where to get ‘bibit’ of rosemary, thyme, dill etc….

    1. Yea. Maybe you can replant the herbs that you bought from the supermarket. 🙂 It is more cheaper though. Anyway, does the herbs have roots still intacted to it?

  4. thank you for your repost, im indonesian chinese married sabah chinese guy, live in sabah, it is so helped me so much to find those herbs

  5. I m searching for lemon balm plants. I appreciate if you can guide me to any establishments in Kota Kinabalu where I can get them. Thank you very much

    1. Try Gaya Street on Sunday. Sometimes the home-nurseries that sell at the market has the lemon balm plants. You could also try Maju Kota nursery, the one behind Damai, (across from Da Chen coffee shop and that pet store) to see if they have it. If not, they can probably still give you ideas on where to get the plant. Good luck! 🙂

  6. Mantanani, just 40 miles northeast of Kota Kinabalu, cosnists of 2 islands, and is surrounded by coral reefs, and very clear and inviting waters!The smaller island (Mantanani Kecil) is a bird sanctuary and in the evening you will see a spectacular swirl of 1000’s of swallows returning to nest. On the larger island (Mantanani Besar) there are a couple of small resorts and there is a small sea gypsy village which is worth a visit if you are interested to see how they live.Beautiful views of Mount Kinabalu and beautiful sunsets make Mantanani island an ideal place for a camp fire and beach BBQ in the evening.

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