Saturday, 18 May 2013

Mai Yai Thai Orchid Restaurant Kota Kinabalu Waterfront, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia



Mai Yai Thai Orchid Restaurant Kota Kinabalu Waterfront
Words and Pictures by Kirsten Durward


The Waterfront

Sit on the Waterfront and gaze out to sea as the evening light glistens on silvery waves.  Enjoy the colourful display of local fishing boats bobbing at anchor.  Soak up the growing atmosphere on the cusp of nighttime pleasures. And yes, please, enjoy some freshly prepared seafood, Thai style.

Colourful fishing boats bob on the water
After a little consideration I set down the surprisingly decent wine list and settle on some of the house specialty cocktails.  They proved to be worth the gamble, better than many I’ve had in more upmarket KL bars.

Sundowners at the Waterfront

A foamy pale peach Beach Tropical is light and coconuty; smooth and easy drinking for those with a slightly sweeter tooth. Unlike a lot of Malaysian cocktails it is not too syrupy for me.  A blend of pineapple, Malibu, vodka and triple sec.  With just a splash of Sangria mix. RM17 ++

Ice Montokum, a local liqueur, tops the Kinabulu Cooler with a blue curacao tone.  It’s a visually pleasing drink against the gilding sky.  The rum, passion fruit and lime combination is a sure fire hit for me. A potent drink, which leaves a pleasant tang on the back of the tongue. I’m happy! RM16 ++

Yam Mamoung 

Slender strands of fresh green mango and crunchy peanuts are served dripping in delicious fresh lime dressing. Yam Mamoung is sweet, sour and spicy all at once. A true Thai style salad, both refreshing and stimulating. I love this dish, particularly the tiny fresh chilies, but if you are not a spice fiend they are easy to pick out too.  A great pick. RM 12.90 ++

Tom Yum Seafood

The fresh produce market has been plundered well for my bowl of Tom Yam Seafood.  Generous amounts of succulent Chinese mushroom, juicy fresh prawns and delightfully soft squid, soupy broth.  I love it when Tom Yam is chock full of fresh flavours and this one excels.   I identify fresh lemon grass, coriander and Thai basil leaves, together with ginger slices and teeny tiny pieces of bird’s eye chili, all combining for a lip tinglingly good flavour. Every mouthful is a fresh delight and the end I cannot stop myself from lifting the bowl and downing the last delicious gulps.  Not only is this dish a total YUM, it’s a total bargain too.  RM 7:90 ++

 Kaow O Sapparod (Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken and Vegetables)

I decide to eschew my regular Thai favourites in order to offer the reader the visual pleasure of Kaow O Sapparod (Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken and Vegetables). Saffron rice, steaming hot fills a scooped out half pineapple. Crunchy vegetables, dried fruits, and soft chicken combine with pineapple and cashews to create a hearty dish topped with a little candy floss of dried shrimp. It’s suitable for those with low spice tolerance but equally satisfying for all. The volume of the dish defeats me – it’s a two-person share and would be wonderful with any of the Thai curries on the menu. RM 22.90 ++

I’m not sure if my glow of perspiration is from the sultry tropical air, the spicy soup or the potent cocktails. But who cares? It all feels good!


Reason to visit. Colourful atmosphere, sea views, genuine Thai food, good drinks selection.

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