Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Before we start, I have a confession. I must admit that of the various ASEAN countries I’ve visited (all except Laos & Cambodia), Filipino food is ranked pretty low on the index of cuisine that gets me excited.

Tambayan At Kainang Filipino, Api Api Center, KK
Tambayan At Kainang Filipino, Api Api Center, KK

I’ve been to the country three times – to cover Asean Basketball League, volunteer for Operations Smile, and an awesome diving trip to Anilao. Neither of these trips got me real excited with the local cuisine, nor was my experience at the now defunct Filipino restaurant at BU Centrepoint by the name of Cagayan back in 2009.

That being said, it is always important to keep an open mind, so when my Kota Kinabalu makan buddy suggested that we try Tambayan at Kainang Filipino for dinner, I thought, why not? Maybe 5th time is the charm.

After that initial time, I’ve since returned to the place twice, I’m sort of a convert.

Tortang Talong, Pinakbet, Pork Adobo
Tortang Talong, Pinakbet, Pork Adobo

Tambayan at Kainang Filipino is located at Api Api Centre, a commercial area at the capital city of Sabah just a short walk away from Marriott & Prominade hotel. The restaurant itself isn’t particularly fancy and usually not overly crowded.

The menu (check the pics below) is pretty extensive for a restaurant this size, there are set meals, noodle, pasta, single rice dish, as well as various cook-to-order dishes separated into different categories of pork, soup, beef, vegetable, seafood, and so on.

dinner for two on different visits
dinner for two on different visits

Over the different visits, I’ve tried their pork adobo (RM 12.80), sinigang shrimp (a sour soup, RM 12.80), lechon kawali (crispy pork loin RM 10.80), pinakbet (mixed vege, RM 8.80), ampalaya con carne (stirfry bitter gourd, RM 8.80), and tortang talong (eggplant omelette RM 8.80).

pork, vege, adobo, bitter gourd, adobo, eggplant omelet
pork, vege, adobo, bitter gourd, adobo, eggplant omelet

The adobo were quite flavorful, with the sauce carrying a bit of sourish taste that was also rather savory, vege dishes comes with a strong dose of fish sauce and are generally quite well cooked, I enjoyed them quite a bit.

As for crispy pork, I do feel that this is less crunchy and perhaps does not carry that sodium goodness compared to our Chinese siu yok.

However, the dish that I ended up always ordering is that awesome eggplant omelette. It is basically just your basic purple colored eggplant sliced open and have a fried egg engulfing the whole thing, wouldn’t have expected it to taste so good!

with my KK makan buddy
with my KK makan buddy

So if you’re at KK and have an open mind to trying out food that’s of lesser popularity in Malaysia, head to Tambayan at Kainang Filipino. You may like it, you may not, but it’ll be a different gastronomical journey nonetheless.

Happy eating!

map to Tambayan at Api Api Center, Kota Kinabalu

Tambayan At Kainang Filipino
Block 3, Ground Floor, Api-api Centre,
88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.975185, 116.070327
Tel: 016-818 2008
Hours: 12.00 pm – 12.00 am

Discuss : KY eats – Tambayan At Kainang Filipino, Authentic Pinoy Food at Kota Kinabalu

  1. I’m not all that familiar with Filipino cuisine other than the crispy pata. Will hop over to Kuching soon – they have a nice Filipino restaurant there, will go and check their dishes out.

  2. ooo, i’ve never seen or tried filipino eggplant omelette before – would definitely order it too! 😀 my favourite filipino dish is probably the pretty common sisig (the sizzling-pan pork ears mixed with egg) but i also like kare-kare, the peanut-sauce stew with meat and veggies, and some of the sausages stuffed with layers of meat and egg 😀

  3. I haven’t tried much food from this part of the world – a few sickly desserts. I need to widen my palate for this region.

  4. I’m surprise that your favourite dish is that unpretentious eggplant omelet which I never see dish like this before 😛
    To be honest, the Filipino cuisine or the country itself doesn’t ignite my interest at all lor 😛

  5. I’ve stayed in KK for many years but never have I tried pinoy food. Now I’m interested to try them out! 🙂 Thanks bro

    • CleverMunkey: do it!

      • That is because no Pinoy food in forest. Jungle monyet only eat bananas and fruits. The only time jungle monyet get to sample Pinoy food is when Many got lost in the forest #wooi #tsk #distastefuljoke

  6. Didn’t order sisiq? never miss this place whenever i visit sabah.

  7. I guess a pork lover like you should! I like it a lot. U would too!

    • Mark: you’re not wrong. haha.

    • Tambayan at Kainang.Established sometime in 2006. Menu attractive but quality wise much to be desired. Menu very attractive but too many to have any quality signature dish. About 13 yrs now. Pinoys does not frequent it much nowadays bcos of its mediocure dishes. The centre rearside premises is being more popular for its LBC forwarding services. Ask a few Pinoys thier opinions. Better Pinoy “quality food” in 333 Commercial of PINTAS RD, near ITCC.

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