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Puaka Cafe

The tech team at work will be upgrading our internet throughout the rest of December so I’ll only be able to see you guys again sometime next year (fingers crossed!). So before that, I’m squeezing in another review just in case. Proclamations such as “I swear that this is the best grilled burger that I’ve ever tasted in Tawau' is a bold statement to make, especially when the person reading it may know a thing or two about grilled burgers. My partner dabbles with grilled burgers from time to time so when he read such declaration from an FB group, it did more than just peak his interest. It made him very determined to find and try the burger himself (and roping me into it as well). Honestly I would say that it’s a smart ploy coming from the owner (yes, I know a marketing strategy when I see one) but nevertheless it did got our attention (so obviously it worked).

We arrived at the reggae sounding, street food inspired Puaka Café (yes, I did a triple take on its name, which if translated directly means ‘evil spirits’) open air hipster eatery at around 7.00pm, as they’re only open at such time. And it would be advisable for them in the future to mention to their patrons that they’re not 100% up and running during said time since we ended up waiting for our orders for almost 2 hours (I credited my partner’s determination for our ‘patience’). The guy fronting the place (the only guy there at that time) was thoughtful enough to give us complimentary fries while waiting but after such a long wait, we were both expecting a spectacular rendition of their Grilled Beef Burger and Chicken Chop. Unfortunately what came out disappointed us even more. My Chicken Chop order was tender but the sauce lacked any punch and was very bland. My partner’s long awaited Grilled Beef Burger tasted acceptable enough but the patty was not grilled thoroughly (it’s still a bit tough) and it also has a crumbly texture. It’s doubtful for us to be coming back anytime soon but I do recommend you guys to try them yourselves at least once, since the place is actually a good place to chill out and maybe you’ll get a better experience than we did.

Shall we move on then…

Food – 3/5 (deeply disappointed after such a long wait)
Price – 3/5 (it’s still fair I guess)
Service – 1/5 (communication should be a priority for them as well)
Décor – 3/5 (very relaxed, hipster café like ambience)
Location – 4/5 (it’s right next door to Gerai Satay Wak Hassan as well) 

** Current status – Has been closed (as ofApril 2017) 

*** P/S: So sorry for the poor pictures below since that is the best that my low quality camera phone could come up with in an extremely dimmed condition







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W&Z Cafe

This is another eatery that is relatively near to my home and I’ve frequented throughout the years. I have actually seen this place grew from a less popular joint (due to stiff competition left and right) to its currently more reputable state. And yes, it does prove that patience bears fruit in the end, as they can be considered as one of the preferred choices for food within the Taman Semarak commercial area now.  

The place is a popular breakfast hangout as they’re among a handful that opened in the wee hours. They provide the usuals such as Nasi Lemak (portion may vary but I just love their spicy and salty sambal) Fried Mee and Fried Bee Hoon (just meh!) with a slew of add on side dishes that includes the tauhu set (not as good as the ones in town) and fried food like sausages and nuggets. Going on to lunch time, they provide a variety of lauk pauk for you to choose from to go with plain rice (yes, I do mean Nasi Campur here) or you can also opt for a tasty Chicken Rice instead. Since business is booming as of late, the eatery has also decided to extend their opening hours to the night time, with several locally popular cook-to-order types of dishes being available. Bear in mind though that their service might be snail paced for some reason during this particular hour. But no worries as you can munch on some grilled chicken wings in the mean time (available at a stall just outside of their premise).   

Now what I’m curious (and bothered) about is how in the world did the owners managed to find grumpy people to help them managed the eatery. I don’t expect them to be overly friendly or anything, just a simple smile or give a proper response to your question is already fine to me. I can understand people being tired from daily chores and all but I’ve seen and encountered these situations all the time so it does concerns me a bit. 

Next we have…

Food – 3/5 (it depends on the cook’s ‘mood’ I guess because tastes may vary as well)
Price – 4/5 (very affordable – a huge plus point for the place)
Service – 2/5 (it has its ups and downs)
Décor – 3/5 (they have huge spaces now, I give them that)
Location – 4/5 (it’s on the left side of the commercial area, noticeable once you’ve entered the main junction into Taman Semarak) 

** Current status – Still in operation (as of December 2016)   










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Kedai Kopi Khun Lok - Mongolian Chicken Rice

It actually takes a post from a travel blogger (from Peninsular Malaysia no less) for me to realize what was going on within my own ‘backyard’. A fact that I am semi-ashamed about since it shows that I need to be more vigilant in the future (I’m making that one of my New Year’s resolution). Now what exactly am I talking dramatically about you asked? Well, if you’ve read a previous post that I’ve done before on places that I wished were still open, I did mentioned a particular dish called the Mongolian Chicken Rice. Trust me when I say that it was so well known back then that a famous TV personality named Axian came and went home disappointed because the shop that provided said dish has long been closed and is currently an Indian fabric shop. So when I found out that their stall has somewhat ‘resurfaced’ in a different kedai kopi within the Fajar Complex area (right next to the KWSP office) I wasted no time in getting there.

I admit that I was a bit sceptical when I arrived at said kedai kopi and saw that the people manning the stall were different from before. But since I’m hungry anyway, me and my mom ordered their regular Mongolian Chicken Rice and were thoroughly surprised to find out that the taste was the same as I’ve remembered them (that one of a kind thick and sweet sauce was just lovely). I’ve also tried one of their previously popular sides and my personal favourite, the Chilli Anchovies (a mix of chilli, anchovies and some other stuff – which was again sweet tasting and non spicy at all) and I’m convinced that they’re legit. Well, it’s either that or the original owners had bestowed the secret recipe to their successors. The main point is that I’ve finally had a ‘reunion’ with one of my childhood comfort food and I’m darn happy about it.

Oh and we’d also picked out some dim sum (from a separate stall) specifically their Prawn Siu Mai and Century Egg Siu Mai and both tasted pretty amicable (and with reasonable pricing). But do be warned though that this particular stall do served pork so do ask before taking on their dim sum.

For ratings however…

Food – 4/5 (such nostalgic taste but portion was smaller than before)
Price – 4/5 (no GST yet so hooray!)
Service – 4/5 (impressively swift although it’s also a challenge to catch their attention during peak hours)
Décor – 3/5 (hey I’m good as long as it is comfortable & clean)
Location – 4/5 (trust me, they’re easily spotted once you’re within the Fajar Complex) 

** Current status – Still in operation (as of December 2016)  








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