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.
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
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
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).
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
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.
Address: 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
While many restaurants boosts a certain unique selling point that draws customers with fancy dishes, deco, or exciting new tastes, there also exists those that are none of those – a place that is seemingly running in exactly the same way the day it was established, and through various decades, staying on as a sort of time capsule.
Thye Huat at Berkeley, opens from Mon-Sat
A restaurant that brings you back in time with a sense of nostalgia and peace, if you would. In the era of quirky instagrammable cafes and fad based food, this is an increasingly a rare sight.
Located at Lorong Lang, just a few minutes from the old Sungai Rasau toll area, this kopitiam certainly fits the bill. Floor with mosaic laid decades ago, a single stall offering different simple dishes on different days of the week, and even some nyonya kuih to boot.
In addition to the dishes such as curry mee, mee siam, laksa, prawn mee, curry puff and so forth, the half boiled eggs and coffee here is also one not to be missed. Expertly crafted by the old operator, the coffee carries an aroma and body that’s as good as some of the modern cafes.
simple breakfast makes for a great start of the day
I also never missed ordering those perfectly prepared half boiled eggs whenever I find myself here. They’re also cracked and served in the little old china cups for you.
A breakfast here reminds us of simpler days, one with less distractions and modern constant bombardment of “look at me” culture. Will we ever find those peace again?
Address: Thye Huat Lorong Lang, Taman Berkeley, 41150 Klang, Selangor GPS: 3.056372, 101.464057 Hours: Mon-Sat for breakfast
When it comes to food that represent Malaysia around different embassies all over the world, satay is probably right on top of the list. Not only it is delicious, these meat on stick is also portable, easy to store, simple to cook, and super convenient to eat.
Satay Sri Melaka, Lembah Keramat
For most of us, satay usually means chunks of chicken or beef served on skewer that’s not unlike Japanese yakitori, but if you spend some time looking around, there are other varieties available that may surprise some of us – and for those who likes it a little different, take a look at Satay Melaka.
Satay Sri Melaka is located at Lembah Keramat, some 20 mins away from KLCC, closer to Zoo Negara area (makes for a great after-zoo early dinner spot if you ask me). This is a “lesser developed” area of KL, parking is a breeze, and prices aren’t overwhelming.
plenty of peanut sauce with sambal to go around
The selection of satay here should satisfy even the most picky of eaters, there’s beef, chicken, mutton, as well as various different innards – chicken heart, liver, gizzards, and even beef tripe.
I thought the chicken was perhaps a bit dry (would be great to have some chicken skin), but those innards were really lovely, with beef tripe being my favorite. For chicken satay my favorite would be Satay Ampang.
The peanut sauce and sambal was quite top notch and adds to the overall flavor in ways that every satay place should. Spicy, flavorful, and with just enough spice.
meat, chicken, liver, stomach, they’ve got it all
If satay is what you long for, this is a worthy place to check out for sure.
My day job brings me to Kota Kinabalu quite often these days, which is a bit of a blessing when it comes to work travel as this North Borneo city does offer a full package of beautiful ocean & beaches, the magnificent mount KK, and a host of rather unique hawker dishes not easily found this side of Klang Valley. I’m also particularly blessed to have friends who would bring me to explore these places.
Kedai Kopi Wah Juan, Kota Kinabalu
During my last visit, I had to go offshore for a short stint. For Sabah, that meant using the old Terminal 2 at BKI airport (who has flown Air Asia flight via this side before?). On my return trip, my friend Yann May picked me up and we decided to stopped by this rather busy looking kopitiam located by Tanjung Aru, between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 of the airport.
As it turned out, this was the famous Kedai Kopi Wah Juan that offers mixed pork (or pork offal) noodle which if I remember correctly, is an addiction of a friend who claimed to eat clean otherwise.
our lunch spread for two
We ended up ordering a plate of noodle with roast & bbq pork (as the lady doesn’t eat pork offal, WHYY!?), a bowl of beef ball soup, a plate of noodle with pork offal, and an additional small plate of pork offal.
Well, the result? It was awesome!
Can’t say much about those BBQ & roast pork, but the pork offal was on point, soft, flavorful, and properly braised to perfection. In addition, the home made noodle were superb as well, subtle in taste which compliments the other ingredients, and soaks up those sauce just nice. The beef ball soup too did not disappoint, and would be something I order again.
If I had to nitpick, they could do with slightly better chili paste, that’s about it.
One of the cool things about being slightly known for food is that I get a lot of recommendations to check out food outlets others find delicious, Ivy Sekinchan is one such places introduced by one of my futsal friends who are well aware of my love for fish noodle (particularly how often I ended up at B & Best)
Ivy Sekinchan fish noodle, Taman Bukit Anggerik
Ivy Sekinchan is located at Cheras, or more specifically, Taman Bukit Anggerik. This is quite a “remote” part of Cheras that doesn’t draw much crowd from people who does not stay within the postcode. The good thing about these sort of places is that you do get a stress-free parking situation, I guess…
While B & Best, or indeed Fatt Kee in Kota Kinabalu has quite a big menu, the offering at Ivy Sekinchan is a simple one-page affair. You get to choose from several types of fish ball noodle (in curry, dry, soup), grouper, dragon grouper, or giant garupa fish noodle, and fish head too (menu at bottom).
dragon garupa fish noodle soup
I had myself a bowl of dragon garupa with kuih teow (RM 22). The portion of fresh fish was quite generous, and was actually rather fresh and delicious. The soup base was quite strong tasting, if a little too salty. Cilantro, spring onion, tomato, and some fried shallots make up the rest of the ingredients.
A more than competent bowl of fish noodle for sure, but I’d like them to tone down the salt next time if that’s possible (or perhaps have it with dry noodle)
Hakka noodle if fish isn’t your thing
If fish noodle isn’t your thing, apparently the Hakka noodle here is worthy of a meal as well. Instead of wantan they have fish ball soup on the side, but you do still get the typical shredded pork on dry noodle as with any hakka noodle places (like the one at Pudu).