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Lil Grilled Garage

Man, there’s no way in hell that I’ll be making my way as far as the Balung area (which is exactly the other end to where I’m currently staying) if it wasn’t for this particular burger joint. You could say that they went locally viral for their mouth watering burgers and other western food selection and since the opportunity presented itself recently (or more precisely I needed to send my dad to the Tawau airport) me and my partner wasted no time in stopping by their place. And in all honesty, I was taken aback by how… err, small the joint really is. Granted, I did know beforehand that the burger stall rented a place within the Restoran Sedap Corner Balung branch’s premises (right beside the junction leading towards the UiTM Tawau) but I was expecting them to be much bigger in terms of stall size (due to their FB page). Parking might also be a bit of a problem since said premise is located on top of a small hill and with limited parking spots to boot.

As my partner was a big fan of grilled burgers (particularly the beef variety) he was understandably gutted when they’re out of beef patties for the day. So both of us just have to make do with their Blazing Chicken Burger and Grilled Chicken Burger. I ate the latter and it was juicy and delicious as expected but not that distinguished in my humble opinion. I guess because I have tasted better offerings elsewhere so I was slightly disappointed for the non-wow factor. My partner’s burger was a rendition of KFC’s Zinger Burger but more crispy and tender with tastier sauces (at least that’s what he said).  

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

*A look at their stall in the middle...

*... with the Restoran Sedap Corner's section on the right...

*... the outside seating area...

*... their Blazing Chicken Burger...

*... and their Grilled Chicken Burger

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#EKAE Leisure Dining

Me and a few colleagues had actually decided to stop by this restaurant during one of our ‘sudden detour’ not too long ago. The eatery was once located in Kubota Square but had since uprooted themselves to the newly operational Kubota Sentral commercial area, right in front of its former place. My friends had ordered some interesting looking food right off their menu such as the Chicken 3 Sauce with Brown Rice, Fried Noodles with Chicken Wings, Fried Spaghetti and Japanese Teriyaki Chicken Rice. The general comments that I’ve gotten from them were that the food were quite favourable and appetizing. I also like the fact that they'd provided the healthier brown rice choice in their rice menus. Unfortunately I was down with a stomach flu during said time so I pretty much drank their Chrysanthemum Buds Tea to death (yup, me and my never ending stomach problems). Bear in mind though that this place does serve pork.

My only peeve with this place was that they’re very rigid when it comes to their opening hours. We’d actually arrived 10 minutes earlier than their supposed 6pm opening hours (for the evening) and they’re very reluctant to even open their doors for us to sit and wait for those 10 minutes to go by inside their restaurant. I mean come on… its 10 freaking minutes only right? It’s not as if we’re going to wreck havoc or something during those short, precious minutes!

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





*BTW this is the Japanese Teriyaki Chicken Rice...

... Fried Noodles with Chicken Wings...

... Fried Spaghetti...

... Chicken 3 Sauce with Brown Rice...

... and my Chrysanthemum Tea pot

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10 Hari Raya snacks that you'll usually find in Tawau

Day 4 of the Syawal month and I finally got an idea for my annual Hari Raya entry. Since there aren’t anything interesting to write about throughout the Ramadan month (because I’ve probably covered everything there is to it about that particular subject in my previous posts) so I focus my attention to the Syawal month. And while visiting a few open houses (and getting diarrhoea from them – lucky me!) I suddenly had an epiphany. So here I present to you guys (in no particular order) the… well, you can just reread the mouthful title above.

KUIH BANGKIT
This Buginese staple biscuit is just delicious when it’s really thin in texture (well, that’s my preferences of course). Also called ‘Bangkek” by the locals, the relatively simple biscuit has now spawned several flavourings such as the coconut and cheese variety (yup, everything needs to have cheese nowadays huh?).

(Picture credit goes to Nur Zahara Rin)

KUIH SEMPERIT
Man… I used to ‘hate’ this cookie growing up, probably because it was the most manufactured kuih raya out there (meaning = my mom loves to buy the pre-packed ones from the nearest supermarkets that had less than stellar tastes). But then again, this is also arguably the most legendary cookie during Hari Raya so it will be a sin for me not to mention them at all. Plus I did eat some homemade semperit recently and they were pretty good; successfully restoring my faith in the latter.

BATANG BURUK
I remember being introduced to this kuih/keropok hybrid when I was visiting one of my best friend’s home at 15 and got instantly hooked. It might be a bit ‘dusty’ to the hands but it is still something sweet and yummy to be had after a full on meal and are available in different flavourings.

KEROPOK AMPLANG
This snack is probably the most synonymous to Tawau and not just during the festive season. And I remembered it being the most requested snack to bring back to the Peninsular Malaysia during my college years so it’s no doubt that it was very popular even outside of Tawau.  


(Pictures credit goes to C Maiy Bone and Cookpad.com)


KACANG ATOM & MASAKO
I know that peanuts are nothing new when it comes to Hari Raya but the majority of said snack that I’ve encountered in Tawau often looked like the ones in the pictures. Probably due to the (again) Buginese influence, you would most likely see these flour coated peanuts more frequently than others.


MURUKU & KEROPOK KARI
I have to admit that the emergence of these types of snacks has grown quite a bit in the last few years. With various new flavourings being offered each year, the generally curry tasting snack has successfully integrated itself as one of the most popular Malaysian snack there is, even in Tawau.


(Pictures credit goes to Orang Sabahan blog and Suemamamas blog)

KUIH MAKMUR & JINTAN SUSU
As I was ‘Google-ing’ the former, I’d noticed that there seemed to be a difference between Sabahan’s kuih makmur and its counterpart from other states. But then again I’m no expert when it comes to actually differentiating them so I can’t comment much on that. What I can comment on however is that both cookies were (very) powdery , sweet, has a crumbly texture and is much loved by my dad.

(Picture credit goes to Opah Ju blog)


KEREPEK GUNTING/ GILING
Another popular Buginese light munchies that is a favourite of mine, this snack might looked similar to that of the muruku outwardly but taste wise is pretty different. More ‘oniony’ and non spicy, this crunchy goodness is just hard to put down once you started having them.

TART NENAS
Moving on to my mom’s all time favourite; the popular Malaysian mini tarts has since ‘evolved’ into different shapes, sizes and even some whacky colourings. But the pineapple flavour is still very much the core of all that as it wouldn’t be a ‘tart nenas’ without the ‘nenas’ part right?

MODERN KUIHS
It would be unwise for me not to mention the modern Hari Raya cookies that seemed to be growing in terms of variety even more rapidly in these few years. There are just too many to mentioned here but the ones that stood out most probably be the Almond London, Red Velvet, Mini Popiah, Chocolate Chip and Cornflakes, just to name a few. Heck, there’s even this Onde Onde flavour cookies that has been making its rounds here in Tawau lately so anything’s possible right?

(Picture credit goes to Usahawan Hasil Laut blog)

(HONOURABLE MENTION) KEROPOK BELINJO
As much as this crackers might looked very enticing, do be warn though that it is not in any way sweet or savoury. It is in fact quite bitter and is usually beloved by the older generations (although there are a few young people that I know who’d also loved them). The reason why this cracker did not made the cut is because that I'd actually seen less of them being served during the Hari Raya these recent years, quite possibly because of their pretty hefty pricing (due to them being imported from Indonesia and all). But I do miss seeing them around since this used to be a main stay during my childhood years (and the thing that my parents used to ‘prank’ me when I was little – like seriously!).

And last but not least, have a HAPPY EID AL-FITR everyone!
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Han's Bakery

Okay… so here I am cracking my brain trying to justify this entry but in the end I decided to just run with it. I mean, this is not my first rodeo and I personally consider a bakery with a sit down area an eatery, so that’s that (yup, this definitely doesn’t have anything to do with my obsession with pastries and cakes… wink wink). And just to get the location out of the way, it is situated within Perdana Jaya commercial area (facing Giant Hypermarket’s KFC entrance, right next to a Chinese cafe called Ancient Taste).

The barely a month old bakery occupies 2 floors of the shop lot, with their freshly baked goods being made upstairs. Me and my partner were feeling peckish after shopping at the nearby hypermarket and decided to try out some of their offerings. We had their Bolognese Bun, Nacho Potato Bun, Chocolate Black Stick and Double Chocolate Cake and all were fresh, airy and very enticing. My favourite has got to be their Bolognese Bun, as it tasted mightily similar to its namesake. The Nacho Potato Bun was a simple bun with a cheese/potato slice filling. My partner really liked their take on a chocolate bun, what with its fully chocolate coated and filling bun. Their cake was moist but a bit too sweet for my liking though. Oh and in terms of beverages, they’re currently limited to a couple of coffees (which includes lattes, mochas and such) and canned juices so hopefully they’ll add to the list soon.

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






*This is the Bolognese Bun...

... the Nacho Potato Bun...

... the Chocolate Black Stick...

... and lastly, the Double Chocolate Cake

(Updated on 20/06/2018 - I've stopped by again recently and had taken away these babies home with me...)
*This is the 'dirty version' of French pastry Pain Au Chocolat...

... and this is the Katsuibuishi Bun (basically a sausage bun with a generous amount of takoyaki's tempura flakes on top)


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The Place

Replacing the Upgrade Hamburgers & Coffee within the Fajar Complex area and specifically next to the Nationwide Express office (yup, I’ve been roaming the area quite a bit as of later), The Place (no pun intended… wink wink) is now a local hangout site especially during night time (well, mostly during the non Ramadan months). The place (hehehe… sorry I can’t help it) provides typical local dishes as well as some Western treats in their menu. But what got everyone hyped up was the Malay yong tau foo stall right in front of said eatery. My partner decided to try some fried chicken wings from the latter out of curiosity and he said that it was just fair tasting at best. I guess a lot of people disagree with his palate as the stall was crowded within seconds of its opening. I was in the mood to try the in house dishes and opted for some Nasi Goreng Special while my partner had their run of the mill fries. My dish took its sweet time getting onto the table and it was unremarkable in any way. Just the usual suspects of ingredients in one plate with a dry taste.

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







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Restoran Marhaba

Another quickie post before I go brain dead again (damn this cold my mine!). Originally known as the Empire Food Court (they're within the Takada area, facing the LHDN main office) I honestly am not sure whether or not the change of name was due to new management or simply because it was not related to their location at all (as I’ve conveniently pointed out in my previous post). But nevertheless I found myself there again one night for supper with my parents. And other than their name, nothing much is different from before in terms of menu and decor. My parents had their Nasi Ayam Penyet and Roti Canai and both were just mediocre. The former’s portioning was surprisingly very small while the latter was just so-so but with an acceptably tasting curry (or so my dad commented anyway). But the worse part was probably the so-called Chicken Sandwich that I had. Man, it was so not what I’ve imagined, what with its two-slices-only common white bread and store bought chicken mix for filling.

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







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