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
For those who loves classic Hokkien dishes, Hua Xing would be a place you shouldn’t miss. For reasons unknown, I didn’t know the existence of this place until very recently, despite staying rather close to the area and actually visited the police station just across this restaurant for “official business“, furthermore, Sing Kee is also one of the restaurants we frequent.
Restaurant Hua Xing at Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya
Most of it though, has to do with the location of this place. Situated on the first floor of a fantastically planned shopping strip that is Plaza Seri Setia (conveniently situated behind a row of shop houses), it is but 50 meters from Federal Highway, but well hidden enough that you’d never find Carmen Sandiego if he take up residence in this building.
Anyway, the restaurant has a pretty clean, air conditioned interior, with photos of various dishes plastered on the wall, which was helpful. Food arrived in less than 10 minutes after we ordered, definitely a good thing.
Hokkien braised pork with “alkaline” kuih, or Hong Bak in Hokkien
I’m ashamed to be a Hokkien for not having heard about Hong Bak before, and how insanely awesome this dish is. Really fat cuts of pork braised in thick, sinful gravy accompanied with soft “alkaline” kuih. The kuih is like a softer version of char kuih kak’s kuih, and really goes well with the gravy. Of course, those fatty pork doesn’t hurt at all. I love it.
Another notable dish here is the fried eggplant. It reminds me of the version at Serai which I loved, both are deep fried, one with sugar (Serai), and another with plenty of garlic. Very delicious and positively addictive, I will order this every time I’m here.
The bitter gourd Hokkien mee is a nice change from the ordinary version which can be a tad “jelak” after having the 2nd bowl. The slight bitterness from the vege neutralize the dark sauce in a positive way, I like it.
Potato flour noodle was a bit of a disappointment for us, a bit too dry for my liking, and doesn’t offer any advantage in taste either.
The rice wine (or actually red yeast) chicken was another old school dish that we tried, it could do better with heavier dose of red wine/yeast thingy but the dish held its own nonetheless. It’d be better with rice, we had noodle, so a bit of mismatched there.
Yuki, Horng, Suan, and KY at Hua Xiang, Sungei Way
Over all, the dinner at Hua Xing was a positive one. I believe we’ll definitely head back there again. I only wish that the parking situation is a bit more favourable though.
Address: Hua Xiang Restaurant Lot1-12, 1st Floor, Plaza Seri Setia, Jalan SS9/2, Seri Setia, Sungei Way, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor GPS: 3.085874, 101.62023 Tel: 03-7876 3288 Hours: lunch and dinner, closed on alternate Wednesdays