Filipino NEW Tambayan At Kainang Filipino Blk 3 Ground Flr, Api-api centre, Kota Kinabalu (016 818 2008).
A large population of Filipinos in town means some decent Filipino food was bound to show up. Don’t think it’s just adobo and balut: the Filipino’s version of deep fried pork knuckle, crispy pata, is delish and their sizzling sisig, minced pork cheek with onions and sunny side up egg served on a hot plate, is our favourite. They go down well with some good old San Miguel too.
Free parking at night. $$
Thai Mai Yai Thai Orchid Restaurant Lot 13, Waterfront (08 823 4841).
Good ambience, service and of course, food. Surely that sounds good enough if you’re in the mood for some mouthwatering Thai delights such as Thai style chilli crab, pad Thai and loads of tom yum variants (they also serve the usual seafood option). Come early to reserve a table by the sea and dine over the magnificent view of sunset during your dinner. Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. Disabled friendly. $$$
Vietnamese NEW Peppermint 1 Gaya Street, opposite RHB Bank and Affin Bank (08 823 1130).
One of two options in town to satiate your craving for a bowl of pho, Peppermint has been around for more than a decade and recently upgraded themselves to more modern ambience, and consequently, raised their prices almost out of the budget category. Still, the spicy fried chicken rice is good stuff that has people coming back for
more. While it is just fried chicken, the homemade chilli sauce is scrumptious with just enough zing to not overwhelm the chicken. The beef stew is also recommended – the chunks of tender beef has just enough sinew and is very flavourful. Pho here is pretty good too, although locals tend to prefer a bowl of ngiu chap instead. Pork-free. Child friendly. Free parking at night. $$
NEW Flames Lobby level, Le Méridien, Jalan Tun Suad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu (08 832 2222/www.lemeridienkotakinabalu. com).
Le Méridien’s small, casual steakhouse deals in prime cuts of beef and all things meaty like lamb shank, linguine with lobster and oven-roasted Norwegian salmon. It’s not a unique dining experience by any standard but it is a pleasant enough touch of comfort if you’re tired of exploring hawker stalls. Halal. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 12noon–2.30pm, 6pm–10pm. $$$$$