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Ever have cravings for meat dumplings and ikan bakar at the same time? Well, Kota Kinabalu apparently has enough people who have this unique combo from time to time to warrant a few of these gyoza + grilled fish restaurants.

Today let’s look at one of the most popular of them – Kedai Kopi New Mui Vui.

Restoran New Mui Vui, Kota Kinabalu
Restoran New Mui Vui, Kota Kinabalu

New Mui Vui restaurant is located at Hilltop, some 10 minutes away from the heart of Kota Kinabalu, and a stone’s throw from one of the most popular tomato soup fish noodle in town – Fatt Kee (it’s good, check it out!)

Like many local eateries in this part of the country, service isn’t looked at as an area of emphasis, so don’t take anything personally. Overall however, the restaurant is comfortable enough, and hygiene is passable.

gyoza, seafood fried rice
gyoza, seafood fried rice

The restaurant serves gyoza, grilled fish/squid/lamb/beef, fried chicken wings/quails, as well as a fried rice and a selection of different noodle. Do note that your dishes may not come all at the same time. Menu is linked below.

We ordered those dumplings to go with a plate of seafood fried rice, as well as grilled stingray and squid for dinner.

ikan pari bakar, sotong bakar
ikan pari bakar, sotong bakar

Those grilled fish and squid were actually pretty good, even though the chili sauce it came with wasn’t much to shout about. Fried rice too was rather delicious, as most seafood ingredients from KK are of rather good quality. The gyoza however, was pretty subpar if you ask me, but if you’re in KK and long for gyoza, this is one of the few places you can get some, so I guess it’s… OK-ish?

Next time I may just have chicken wings instead of gyoza.

map to new mui vui, Kota Kinaabalu

Address:
New Mui Vui Restaurant
 2, Lorong Gunung Ulu Merak 2,
Taman Far East,
88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.950502, 116.092648
Tel:  013-870 5781

new mui vui menu 1 new mui vui menu 2

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I’ve been on a bit of a hot pot hunt as of late (or as well call it in Malaysia, steamboat), especially Sichuan style mala hot pot. So when the opportunity to be one of the earliest group to sample Xiao Long Kan Sichuan Hot Pot (小龙坎火锅) came calling, I was quite excited, to say the least.

Xiao Long Kan at Fahrenheit 88
Xiao Long Kan at Fahrenheit 88

Xiao Long Kan is one of the most popular spicy steamboat chain originated from Chengdu, which is the capital of  Sichuan province in China. So when it comes to authenticity, you can’t do any better than that, this is the ground zero of Spicy mala hot pot.

pork bone broth, tomato, or mala soup?
pork bone broth, tomato, or mala soup?

Xiao Long Kan’s first branch in Malaysia is located at Fahrenheit 88, more specifically, at the side that is facing Starhill shopping mall (don’t try to look for it INSIDE Fahrenheit 88 like I did..)

While there’s plenty of seats spanning across 4 levels, it already gets pretty packed, but a little patience from your end and I’m sure you’ll agree that it is definitely worth it.

original condiment, without all the other fuss
original condiment, without all the other fuss

There’s four different soup base to choose from – traditional spicy soup (mala, a must have), tomato soup, mushroom, and pork bone broth. You can always go for up to three like we did (all except mushroom). Additionally, the level of spiciness can also be customized. Do refer to the menu below.

Condiment situation is different here at Xiao Long Kan compared to just about every other hot pot outlets. Instead of a dozen or even more choices, here they stick to the traditional way of cilantro, green onion, and garlic. A special oil (xiang yu) is then added to the condiment which has the property of lowering heat. You can also choose to add soya sauce or black vinegar, though the good chef does not recommend doing so.

This blend is to ensure the taste of ingredients and soup is tasted to its fullest instead of being overpowered by fancy condiments. Can’t say I disagree.

Australian wagyu A5
Australian wagyu A5, we had to order another portion, so good

And then there’s ingredients. Xiao Long Kan does not lack in “special dishes” not easily found at other restaurants. Some of which even requires some sense of adventure.

We were served with Astralian wagyu A5 (so good we went for seconds), pork ball, pork neck, fish pasteprawns, pork belly, chili beef, rose meat ball, sliced lamb, and these are just the “normal dishes”.

meat slices, duck intestine, pork blood, balls, pig's brain, and tripe
meat slices, duck intestine, pork blood, balls, pig’s brain, and tripe

In addition, we also had duck intestine, tripe, pork blood (my love!), pig’s brain, and even aorta!

I like that they also include a guide on the menu on how long you should cook each ingredients – ranging from 30 seconds (sliced green bamboo shoots), to 8 minutes (pig’s brain). Following the guide ensures that you don’t overcook certain items to the point where flavor is lost, or worse, under cook dishes and end up having an washing machine within…

sliced green bamboo shoots were on point
sliced green bamboo shoots were definitely on point

Their rice cake & fried crispy meat are two of the ready-to-eat items we tried, and both are pretty delicious too. The rice cake should be consumed soonest possible to enjoy that crispy on the outside and soft inside texture.

As a rule of thumb, meat is best cooked in the clear or spicy soup, while vege goes better with tomato/clear soup, as advised by the head chef from Chengdu.  These sort of pairing ensures that taste doesn’t clash, sorta like how you pair red with meat, and white with seafood kinda idea.

Jess, Mei Mei, KY, Eunice, Mag
Jess, Mei Mei, KY, Eunice, Mag at Xiao Long Kan

Overall I got to say that this was one of the best hotpot I had recently, the super thick tomato soup, to the aroma from the red spicy soup, and all those fancy, fresh, and mostly imported ingredients. I’m pretty sure we’ll be back again for more mala goodness.

map to authentic xiao long kan sichuan steamboat

Address:
Xiao Long Kan
Lot 03, Block D, 179,
Fahrenheit88, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.147331, 101.713282
FB:  www.facebook.com/XiaoLongKanMY

xiao long kan menu (1) xiao long kan menu (2) xiao long kan menu (3)

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This taiping oyster omelette has a bit of a personal back story. About ten years ago, the then gf of mine and I went on a trip up north, and on the way back to KL we stopped by Taiping for a bit of touristy sightseeing, night safari at the Taiping Zoo (definitely worth it even at 2019), and of course, dinner.

Taman Tasik Food Centre, Taiping
Taman Tasik Food Centre, Taiping

With Taman Tasik Food Centre located a very short distance away from the entrance of Taiping Zoo, it made for a perfect refuel stop for the night.

So that was the last time I had a taste of this version of oyster omelette, until a couple weeks ago when I re-visit, 10 years after the first time.

Needless to stay, I was pretty excited to be able to rekindle with this long lost taste.

prawn omelette or oyster omelette, take your pick
prawn omelette or oyster omelette, take your pick

Oyster omelette in Taiping (or maybe just this particular stall?) is quite different from the version served in Penang or KL. The version on the Pearl of the Orient is usually a little more oily and more runny, while this particular Taiping version has a firmer consistency, almost in 30% prawn fritter, 70% usual oyster omelette.

bitter gourd soup to go with our fried dish
bitter gourd soup to go with our fried dish

If you enjoy a less runny texture, this version should satisfy. While it does not top my favorite oyster omelette in Penang, the different experience it brings definitely makes it a worthy candidate should you look for dinner/supper spot at Taiping.

love its crispy texture, even better if bigger oysters!
love its crispy texture, even better if bigger oysters!

Oh, we also supplement the oh chien with a bowl of bitter gourd soup, supposed to make the whole thing just a tad healthier, no?

map to taman tasik food centre, Taiping

Address:
Taman Tasik Food Centre
22, Jalan Maharajalela,
Taman Tasik Taiping,
34000 Taiping, Perak
GPS: 4.850994, 100.745754

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While the breath of Japanese cuisine kept advancing in Malaysia, there’s a segment of this food that alienate majority of the population here in Malaysia. See, you can find sushi, sashimi, and yakotiri that are suitable for most everyone to consume for the most part, but when it comes to proper Japanese ramen, the pork free or halal version proved to be a bit of a challenge to locate.

Kogura Chicken Ramen, Lot 10
Kogura Chicken Ramen, Lot 10

The good news is, we now have Kagura at J’s Gate Dining in Isetan KL.

Kagura Chicken Ramen is hailed from Tokyo with the name of Seimenka Kaguraya, and even back in Tokyo, the recipe has always been pork-free and lard-free. Rare but still pretty popular at the same time.

There’s a selection of different soup base and ingredients, ranging from RM 12.88+ to a maximum of RM 22.88+. When it comes to proper Japanese ramen at these type of set up, I’d say they’re very competitively priced.

While the base is chicken, there’s a choice of shoyu, miso, and “rich” soup. They also serve gyoza, fried rice, and a limited choice of tempura (menu below)

Kagura Chicken Ramen
Kagura Chicken Ramen

So how do they taste like?

We tried the “rich” and shoyu ramen together with their dumplings, and I gotta say that the soup base rivals the pork based ramen, with a slightly less greasy note. They also did a good job with the chicken base chasiu, but I do feel that the texture of pork chasiu is still superior. Overall though, this is a more than decent version of ramen that certainly did not make me regret having it for sure.

The dumpling though was sort of average, I guess perhaps it’s the lack of fatty bits that failed to bring it to my expectation.

fancy some dumpling to go with your ramen?
fancy some dumpling to go with your ramen?

Skip the dumpling unless you are way too hungry, otherwise, this ramen is fit for anyone who loves ramen, even if you’re not specifically avoiding pork for whatever reason.

Happy eating!

map to Lot 10, KL

Address:
J’s Gate Dining
Level 4
Lot 10 Shopping Mall
Jalan Bukit Bintang
GPS: 3.146462, 101.711758
Tel:  03-2110 6850
Webwww.js-gate.com

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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

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