For a week we made Kota Kinabalu our base from which we made daytrips to marine and wild life parks. We really enjoyed the slow and laid back pace of the city. It felt more like a smalltown than a state capital.
Kota Kinabalu offers a large variety of markets, from the Gaya Street Sunday Market to the Filipino Market, whether it is street food, salted fish or handicraft, I am sure that you will find a market that suits your needs.
Also being a port city there is no shortage of fresh seafood. But be aware that not all restaurants have the intention to serve you a decent meal. Some are just your regular tourist trap.