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Bing Cafe

I actually went to this place sometime after the Chinese New Year but had sheepishly forgotten about them (I got totally blindsided by other eateries) until I did one of my file sweep recently. So I do apologize for the not-too-recent pictures below (with the CNY decors still in full display) of the eatery which is located at Bintang Kubota commercial centre, right behind Ding Tea. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about the food. Among the things that we’ve tried out were their Mayo Fish Fillet Rice, Chicken Aglio Olio Spaghetti and Chocolate Moist Cake (if I’m not mistaken). Since I had both the Chicken Aglio Olio Spaghetti and Chocolate Moist Cake, I can honestly say that I love both of the dishes. The former had just the right amount of seasonings mixed into the spaghetti while the latter was soft and pleasantly taste. However, my partner who’d eaten the aforementioned rice dish commented that it was okay at best as he said that it tasted ordinary, what with the typical mayonnaise and all. But another thing that I actually like about the place were the cosy and subdued ambience, as it is situated a bit farther from the main road. Definitely a place to have a calm evening while sipping some coffee or tea and reading your favourite book (an activity that I sorely missed nowadays… sigh).

In addition…

Food – 4/5 (hey, I still love them and will probably be back for more)
Price – 3/5 (still pretty reasonable in my books)
Service – 4/5 (I just love a family run business as it feels homey to me)
Décor – 4/5 (like I’d mentioned above – all cosy and homey)
Location – 4/5 (I recommend you go straight after entering the main junction leading into the commercial area)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of May 2018) 







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Japan Boat Takoyaki Tawau

I admit that I was the last person in my household to try out the ever popular Japanese snack takoyaki, due to my dislike over seafood. My initial impression of the snack was that it might have some sort of seafood smell and after taste that I’m so not fond of. But when my curiosity got the best of me one day as my mom presented me with a chicken version of said snack, I was instantly hooked! So ever since then, I’ve tasted a couple of locally produced takoyaki and so far everything was good but nothing too memorable. But unlike the others, I have eluded this particular stand for awhile now (even though they can be considered as the pioneer here) due to its singular flavouring.

This well known franchise has been making its rounds here in Sabah (as I’ve noticed several of them during my trips to KK) and Tawau is no exception. They’re previously located at a prime spot on the ground floor of Eastern Plaza (facing the main open stage) but had since moved a few lots away, to a more secluded area (possibly due to the increasing rent?) near to Servay Parkwell Hypermarket. As they did not offer any other choice other than ‘octopus’, I’d held out from stopping by their place on several occasions. But my eager partner had bought two sets of those yummy looking munchies recently so I figure that I should at least give them a chance. And I was surprise that I found myself not hating them at all. Granted, I’m still not a fan of seafood but the main ingredient pretty much got lost within the thick ball shaped flour and generous amount of toppings. Man, I never thought that I would be happy to taste the overwhelming sauces and tempura scraps before, as I found everything acceptable and to my preferences.  

Other than that…

Food – 3/5 (tasted more premium than the rest)
Price – 3/5 (a bit expensive from the others but I personally think that they’re still affordable)
Service – 4/5 (the sole person manning the stall was courteous and fast)
Décor – 4/5 (their blue-ish décor has caught my attention everywhere I go)
Location – 2/5 (they're hidden from immediate view so you do need to walk around to be able to spot them)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of May 2018) 



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Dozo The Innovative Noodle Lab

While we’re on the subject of new eateries that had mushroomed within the Fajar Complex area in the space of a few months, here’s another one that can be considered as the baby of the bunch. Now it is forgivable should you think that the modern looking café only serve noodles (as I initially did). But I was glad to discover that they also had non-noodles dishes within their menu, such as rice based dishes and some light snacks. They can also be proud of their selection of beverages that includes western, Chinese and locally popular coffees and teas.

Me and my mom made our maiden visit about 2 weeks ago as I had some errands to do nearby. Admittedly I was a bit confuse with their intricate looking menu but I managed to get the hang of it after a while (it was actually pretty simple if you follow the direction of the menu – silly me!) and had ordered their Chicken Chop Gon Lou Men (the chicken were crispy but felt a bit dry while the noodles were evenly marinated with soy sauce) and the Paha Bakar Rice (my mom’s order, which turns out to be a well portioned Roasted Chicken Rice). My mom was thoroughly satisfied with her meal that she insisted that we come back a few days later. This time we had their Fried Fish Fillet Mee Hoon in Pure Tomato Soup (which I loved as it was not overly sour and the fillets doesn’t have that fishy smell that I dislike) as well as their Ayam Berempah Rice (again, my mom is a happy customer). I like the pick-and-match concept that they had with their soupy dishes as you can try out a variety of noodles and ingredients with different flavours of soups.

Next we have…

Food – 4/5 (officially my mom’s favourite ‘new hangout’ right now)
Price – 4/5 (I was surprised that they’re average in terms of pricing, since I thought that they would be more expensive)
Service – 4/5 (very friendly and prompt)
Décor – 4/5 (I love the monochrome look, with the mostly black and white setting)
Location – 3/5 (they’re across the street from Kingston Hotel & the Perdana Sports & Recreation Club)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of May 2018) 











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De'Lova Cafe

These recent months saw a number of eateries suddenly sprang up within the locally popular Fajar Complex area and I for one, am very happy with this development. Other than the one that I've just posted, another eatery that had recently opened was this small café. Visible from the side of CIMB Bank (directly facing the SESB counter), the café boasted an array of local delights as well as several western dishes within their menu. When me and the family decided to stop by recently, we’d tried out their Nasi Goreng Special, Penang Kuey Teow and some Fish and Chips. Both my sister and my mom who’d gobbled up the first 2 items thought that their food were okay but undistinguished in terms of taste. The western dish that I had also tasted good but a bit on the dry side; otherwise its portion was terrific. My little niece and nephew managed to try a few sticks of chicken satay, which was probably the better ones among them all.

So to conclude everything…

Food – 3/5 (I must say that I’m not disappointed thus far and will try something else next time)
Price – 3/5 (your typical average pricing)
Service – 4/5 (pretty good – nothing much to comment)
Décor – 3/5 (I’d always like the idea of a chalkboard like wall)
Location – 4/5 (they’re also right next to this STC ‘toto’ place – the only one within said area)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of May 2018) 







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Restoran Senario 2

It was somewhat ironic that I’ll be doing this review of their recently opened branch first rather than their predecessor. I’m actually very familiar with their original stall called Warung Senario (a humble looking warung located within the Hill Top old commercial area) but the last time I’ve visited that particular place was probably during my early teen years (which was not that long ago mind you – wink wink). So when I noticed that this eatery bears the same name as the latter, it piques my interest to stop by their place within the Fajar Complex area (the exact shop formerly occupied by the Hot Platter Restaurant).

I was pleased to discover that despite their bare outlook (in more ways than one), their variety of food was still top notch, with pre-cooked dishes being fully displayed in their cases as well as yummy looking fried snacks (such as fried samosa, spring rolls and bananas) readily available. They also had cook-to-order local staples available should you want something hot to eat. Either that or you can always try out their multi flavoured steamed ‘pau’ (white bun). I got attracted to their lauk pauk and had their Nasi Campur while my partner opted for their Gado-Gado (he’s a fan of said dish). Both dishes were commendable and evenly flavoured. It was just a shame that the place still lacks customers though. I personally think some of the contributing factors might be that they’re still new within said area and is only open during the day.

Furthermore…

Food – 4/5 (the choices of food was just splendid)
Price – 4/5 (very affordable and reasonable indeed)
Service – 4/5 (I like the fact that they treated their customers in a friendly manner)
Décor – 3/5 (your typical kedai kopi setting so nothing much to comment)
Location – 4/5 (they’re also right in front of the 1Homeware store)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of May 2018) 







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Kafe Hati Ke Hati

I was somewhat anticipating this eatery’s opening earlier this year due to the fact that the brand Hati Ke Hati is a well-known all-in-one bridal store & catering business. Boasting a steady service all around Tawau (as well as its neighbouring districts & even some parts of Peninsular Malaysia), I was very intrigued when I found out that they’re opening a café within the Gaya Commercial Centre single row shops (right next to Taman Gaya B). 

One thing that stands out about this café is its overall décor. As expected, the eatery was fully decorated with flowers and ornaments usually found in a typical wedding ceremony (or specifically the Malay ‘pelamin’) with several ‘hot spots’ suitable for private dinners or celebrations. Me and my partner got curious and seated ourselves at one such area within the café (hence the somewhat dark and ‘romantic’ pictures below – sorry folks!) and ordered their Nasi Goreng Hati Ke Hati and Nasi Ayam Penyet. Both were pretty good meals although nothing too distinctive in terms of taste. I’d also grabbed their Kek Batik (from their display cases) and found that it was to my liking, with a good balance of sweetness from the butter (I presume) and chocolate. Unfortunately the same thing cannot be said of their Chrysanthemum Tea as it was very fragrant and refreshing but with the sweetness level that will probably knock somebody out.

Other than that…

Food – 3/5 (will consider coming back to try something else)
Price – 3/5 (I was half expecting above average pricing anyways so no surprises there)
Service – 3/5 (a bit slow but at least they’re apologetic about it)
Décor – 5/5 (beautifully decorated; as expected from a bridal business expert)
Location – 4/5 (they’re visible from the main Sin Onn road – occupying the shop formerly rented by Goat Heaven Cafe)


** Current status – Has been closed (as of August 2018) 









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LFT: McDonald's Nasi Lemak Burger

Just a quick rundown (yup, a back-to-back LFT) on arguably the most talked about fast food in Malaysia right now. I’m not going into a lengthy introduction since it has already been promoted like hell everywhere, so I’ll just jump right into the star of the show. The fast food rendition of one of our beloved national food was priced at RM14.95 (ala carte) or RM16.95 (for a set meal) and comes with fluffy (and seasoned?) buns, cucumber slices, crispy coconut induced chicken thigh (hehehe… sorry, I just can’t resist), a sunny side up egg and the all important sambal. And I concur with other foodie bloggers comments on the sambal being more on the sweeter side rather than salty and spicy. This was actually a plus in my book since I can’t take overly spicy food anyway. Portioning was pretty big as well and very satisfying. So, will I be dropping by again for a second bite? Definitely (if my wallet permits it of course)!

Next we have…

Food – 4/5 (I actually dig the overall flavour of the burger)
Price – 3/5 (honestly I think that they’re quite expensive)
Service – 4/5 (very swift so no complaints here)
Décor – 4/5 (your usual red & yellow trademark setup)
Location – 4/5 (Tawau's McD is visible from the Apas main road, leading up to Taman Megah Jaya at Mile 4)




(Updated on 17/05/2018 - Just to include the proper version of the nasi lemak called Nasi McD that had recently follow suit)


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LFT: Ais Kepal

It’s been a while since I did one of this Local Food Trends (LFT) because lets face it, there aren’t that many foods that dominate the local social media scene as of late. That is of course until the sudden emergence of the ais kepal!

A shaved ice dessert in the same category as the more popular Ais Batu Campur and Cendol, this dome shape chocolate goodness is a simpler version & somewhat a local take on the Korean bingsu. Made viral by some creative vendors back in the Peninsular Malaysia, Tawau was a bit slow in catching the hype (as always) but we got there eventually. I have the privileged to taste two such version of the dessert recently. Even though both were equally priced (at RM5 per bowl) and can be found in smaller stalls (both within the Hill Top area), the quantity and quality of the dessert however cannot be more different. The first one that I’ve tried (from a stall near to the locally popular Warung Nina) was disappointingly diluted, with only a minimal amount of chocolate sauce spread on top of the dessert. This is sad because the chocolate sauce is the main ingredient that made the dessert famous in the first place. But that experience did not discourage me from hunting down another stall (located beside the Warung Senario within the Hill Top old commercial area) and this time around I was blown away. The portion was definitely bigger, with a very generous helping of said sauce. Granted, their toppings might not be as many as the latter but what is more important is the chocolate coated ais kepal itself, as it has a strong chocolate flavour, sweet and all around refreshing.  

And a little rating is also a must …

Food – 4/5 (I recommend you guys to try the latter one)
Price – 4/5 (obviously an affordable ‘hot day’ dessert)
Service – 3/5 (no complaints here)
Décor – 3/5 (they’re usually available in smaller Malay stalls)
Location – 4/5 (both stalls were hidden from the main road so you do need to ask around should you get lost for some reason)

*This is the one near to the proximity of Warung Nina (they're the green stall next to the car wash as well)...

... and the one near to Warung Senario (and next to the vegetables stalls)



(Updated on 07/05/2018 - I recently discovered that Restoran Sri Titingan & another eatery called Kopi Shake has also join in the 'ais kepal' bandwagon. Their rendition of said dessert was priced at RM5.90 and was covered in Milo topping (for the former) while the latter was cheaper at RM4.00 and had (quite literally) a milkier based) 

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Jalan Utara Baru Food Stalls

As I was making my daily commute to and fro my home and workplace, I did notice this unnamed food centre as I was passing by Jalan Utara Baru. Even though they’re located at the bottom of a small hill, their very bright lights and not to mention the huge LCD projector obviously caught my attention but it did took me sometime to finally dropped by (no particular reason though – just plain old laziness I guess). The place was originally a car wash but has now been converted into an area that sells fresh produce (on the left) and the aforementioned on its right side. 

Among the food stalls that are currently available (at the time of my post) includes the main food stall called Na& Man Café (which also provided the venue’s drinks) as well as stalls that sell bakso, fried fritters (particularly the banana variety), burgers, grilled fish, laksa and the ever popular yong tau foo. Since me and my partner were pretty famished by the time we reached said place, we ordered Nasi Goreng Daging and Nasi Goreng Lalap straight from their main stall. Unfortunately, both dishes somehow OD in saltiness so we were practically drowning in water soon after that, due to our ‘heavy drinking’ (never thought that I would say that while drinking plain old ice water). The wait for our food (or every other customer’s food for that matter) were also longer than usual so if you decided to stop by, then may I suggest going for the other smaller stalls instead because the snail pacing of its cook will definitely test your patience.      

Furthermore…

Food – 3/5 (really need to do something about their salt level though)
Price – 3/5 (fairly priced & affordable)
Service – 2/5 (little to be desired – what with the feet dragging waitresses and all)
Décor – 3/5 (I actually thought that their place was quite comfortable)
Location – 4/5 (they’re just metres away from the Taman Ria 4 & 6 roundabout)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of May 2018) 








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