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Alek Tomyam House

It was only recently that I’d managed to confirm that the former Ginza Sup Tulang eatery that I’ve reviewed before (situated within the Taipan commercial area) has officially been closed and has now been replaced by Alek Tomyam House (hence this short 'latest update' post). Nothing much differs in terms of its décor and most of the menu items except maybe for the obvious (the place now focuses more in tomyam rather than sup tulang I presume?). I did not have the chance to try its namesake dish (again) because during me and my parents visit, we’d instead opted for their Nasi Goreng Kampung (tasty and not too salty), Singapore Fried Mee Hoon (again, very acceptable taste), Ginger & Onion slice fish as well as some Sweet & Sour slice fish (which oddly looks identical but I can assure you that both dishes tasted different and pretty good actually).

Other than that…

Food – 3/5 (not bad at all)
Price – 4/5 (mid-range pricing minus the GSTs)
Service – 4/5 (nothing much to complaint here)
Décor – 3/5 (they do add a vape station now)
Location – 4/5 (it’s right in front of the brand new Pusat Zakat Tawau office)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of June 2017)





*By the way, this is the Ginger & Onion fish dish

*And this is the Sweet & Sour fish dish



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My 7 Peculiar Finds during Ramadhan 2017

Yup, it’s kind of obvious that I’m running out of ideas in writing a post specifically for the Ramadhan month (it’s a yearly activity of mine mind you). There seems to be less breaking-fast buffet being offered this year (I’m serious, several hotels has either limit their food to meal sets only or completely forgo them altogether) and even lesser places to get our usual bazaar treats (last year’s smaller bazaars were no longer available this year, leaving us with the Big Three again). But I do notice several ‘unique’ (or at least seldom seen and heard of) food that were available all over town this year so I’ve decided to feature them instead…

SUSHIS & TAKOYAKIS
*The right one was the Smoked Duck nigiri if I'm not mistaken

*This is actually a Chicken Takoyaki (also available were Beef, Squid, Original fillings)

I’m no expert when it comes to these Japanese specials but I do love the sushis that I’ve bought as they tasted fresh and yummy to eat. And although I’m not too fond of takoyakis, I did gave them a try when my mom bought them and thought that they were surprisingly not bad (probably because my mom had bought their Chicken Takoyaki instead of the ever popular squid variety)
The place? Fujimart Bazaar & MPT Bazaar
The cost? Around RM7.50 – RM20.00 (depending on your choice of sushi) and RM4.50 – RM5.00 (according to your preferred takoyaki fillings)
Are they available after the Ramadhan month? Yes, the Yamazaki Homemade Sushi that I had also provides COD services daily so do check out their FB page. There’s also an FB page for Tawau Takoyaki COD service if you guys are interested (or better yet you can just drop by the Japanese Boat Takoyaki at Eastern Plaza). .

TORTPIA WRAP
*Chicken Tortpia (other available fillings includes Beef Tortpia& Cheese Tortpia)

I’m going to make a wild guess here and say that this particular dish is a hybrid of the beloved Mexican food tortilla and a popia (spring rolls), which is not a bad idea at all in my humble opinion. The filling tasted similar to that of a Malaysian kebab (yes, the one with the pita pocket) but the texture actually resembles that of a murtabak instead of an actual tortilla (or even a popia).
The place? Fujimart Bazaar
The cost? Around Rm4.00 – 5.00 (depending on your fillings)
Are they available after the Ramadhan month? I’m not too sure about this but they do provide contact details should you guys have any inquiries (0168198971 Mizan).

BUKO PANDAN & BUKO SALAD
*Buko Pandan

*Buko Salad

These Filipino versions of our Ais Batu Campur are hands-down the breakout meal/dish/dessert this year, as I’ve seen their sudden emergence all over town. Both were quite refreshing I must say, even though it might not replace my all time favourite the cendol any time soon.
The place? Almost every bazaar has them this year
The cost? Mostly around RM5.00
Are they available after the Ramadhan month? I’ve seen them being promoted before and even after the Ramadhan month (but not  specifically) so you can check out this Tawau Food Delivery FB group for any recent updates.

NASI MBAK

This simple dish (of plain rice, fried chicken & some store bought chilli sauce) might be familiar to anyone from KK but this is the first time I’d seen them here. I wouldn’t say that the dish was bad or anything but it wasn’t outstanding either. Portioning might be a bit small but then again, you get what you’d paid for. Also, somebody told me that everything depends on how good the chickens were fried, and which brand of chilli sauce best compliment them.
The place? MPT Bazaar
The cost? RM3.00
Are they available after the Ramadhan month? Again, I’m not too sure to be honest as this is the first time I’ve spotted them here in Tawau. But I do imagine that it is not going to be that hard for you to prepare them for yourselves now, isn’t it?

MINAMI

I honestly never heard of this particular pastry until I’ve tried them out recently (and no, it’s not any type of Japanese dessert either). The crust was actually soft & chewy (not hard & crunchy at all like a tart crust) like a terang bulan (or apam balik as some people called them) but with a more modern, sweet toppings such as peanut butter and candies. I don’t really like overly sweet things but this one was acceptable in my opinion.
The place? Fujimart Bazaar
The cost? RM5.00 (for 2 regular sized minamis, I’m not too sure about the Baby Minamis though)
Are they available after the Ramadhan month? I think so as I’ve found some posts (but no official FB pages yet) and it is recommended that you guys call the person in charge directly should you’re interested (either this 01151638349 or 0198420187)

PUTU BAMBU
*I was told that this was the Putu Bambu Pandan flavour (there's also the Original flavour)

Again, this kuih might not be that new to some people (particularly West Malaysians) but to Tawaurians we might not be too familiar with them. In fact, this is the first time I’ve tried these sweet treats and boy… they were definitely SWEET! It closely resembles that of another local kuih called ketayap but with an even softer and smaller texture and size.  
The place? Fujimart Bazaar
The cost? RM4.50 for 5 pieces
Are they available after the Ramadhan month? Most probably not as I can’t seem to find any infos on them anywhere (at least anywhere in Tawau of course).

BEROBOK

This staple Buginese food might be popular locally but you seldom see them (well, at least I seldom see them) being sold during the Ramadhan month. The close cousin to that of a congee that I’ve had was very flavourful and scrumptious, with a generous amount of chicken chunks, corn kernels and spinaches as its condiments. 
The place? Fujimart Bazaar & MPT Bazaar
The cost? RM5.00 (but it also depends on the size of the plastic container)
Are they available after the Ramadhan month? Well, if you’re from a Buginese family than this might not be a problem. But for someone like me (who isn’t so lucky), may I suggest that you make lots of Buginese friends from here onwards? (hehehe…)


So until we meet again next year perhaps? Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri everyone!
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Papa's Tarts & Puffs

I did notice this particular pastry shop several times (and in numerous places) when I was visiting KK but never got the chance to try them out yet (it was entirely my fault of course since I was easily blindsided by other, more popular franchises). So I was glad to see that they’d opened a branch at Servay Hypermarket (the one downtown, and they’re situated right next to (or behind it?) the main exit of said hypermarket). You’ll get my confusion once you stop by their tiny branch and see their somewhat semi-hidden location for yourselves. That aside, I have visited the place a couple of times now since my mom is a huge fan of their sweet & savoury goodies. Among the treats that we’d tried out were their Chicken Siew Pau (mom’s favourite and a yummy pastry indeed), Tausa Piang and its Salted Egg version (pretty satisfactory but nothing too distinguish), Chicken Puff (another one of my mom’s favourites, mainly because mom loves the generous filling) and of course, their namesake Egg Tart (it’s not too sweet but the crust was a bit too thick for my liking).  

Next we have…

Food – 4/5 (mom sure loves eating them all the time)
Price – 4/5 (very affordable, the kuihs costs around RM2 and below)
Service – 4/5 (thumbs up for their pleasant service – even when the staff seems to be feeling under the weather)
Décor – 3/5 (simple yet memorable)
Location – 2/5 (wish that they could be more visible from outside of the hypermarket though)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of June 2017)



* Chicken Siew Pau

*Tausa Piang

* Egg Tart (like duh!)

* Chicken Puff

* Salted Egg Tausa Piang


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Sky Bar & Lounge Garden

For some reason, this year’s fasting month has made me and my family somewhat reluctant to go out and have a buffet fiesta of sorts (mainly due to the unpredictable weather and over crowding). But that doesn’t mean that we were not enticed by seemingly bargain meals being promoted all throughout this month. And one such place was this place, which is situated on the top floor of Shervinton Hotel, right next to the Milimewa Superstore. But to actually reached the café, you do need to take the lift on your right side (from the main entrance, as the left side will only lead you to the rooms) and press the 5th floor button. The first thing that you’ll see when you’re out of said lift is a flight of stairs. Climb those stairs as it will eventually lead you up to the café. Yup, not complicated indeed!

We'd decided to try out their Ramadhan dinner set which includes a choice of a main dish (Chicken Fried Rice, Kampung Fried Rice, Chicken Fried Mee, Seafood Fried Mee), a dessert (a scoop of vanilla ice-cream) and free flow of rose syrup drink. For the price that we’re paying, I do think that the portion should be a bit more than what we’re getting. Although the food in general were pretty good in terms of taste (we ended up ordering the same Chicken Fried Rice & Kampung Fried Rice – which doesn’t look that different from one another to me) I kid you not when I say that we were ‘forced’ to take away some KFC due to being unsatisfied and still feeling a bit hungry afterwards. They also offer lunch sets regularly and ala carte menus so do check them out. Maybe the portion will be better on those occasions.

Moving on…

Food – 3/5 (they should really look into the portioning of their food)
Price – 3/5 (its RM15.90 for our Ramadhan set meal)
Service – 4/5 (at least the waiters were friendly enough, but their kitchen staff can be a bit faster in preparing their food)
Décor – 4/5 (modern and they do provide an al fresco space overlooking the city should you prefer that)
Location – 4/5 (no problems in finding the place even with the somewhat confusing direction above)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of June 2017)







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Chemangeh Leaf Kitchen

I’m going to write this one as briefly as I can since I’m off somewhere in a while and for the fact that there isn’t much to comment about this eatery. This place is actually situated at the spot formerly occupied by D'Salam Cafe within the Ba Zhong commercial area. Food and drinks were still pretty limited (at the time of my visit) so both me and my partner ended up ordering the same thing, which is the Nasi Goreng Histeria (yup, we’re suckers for unique sounding food). The supposedly extra hot fried rice was relatively tamed in the heat department (but I think it depends on the person since my partner was sweating profusely afterwards). But in terms of taste, I still think that they’re at the above average level since it was unmemorable but adequate.

And yes, I’m still going to give them some rating…

Food – 3/5 (I do wish that they will expand their menu in the future)
Price – 4/5 (it’s still very reasonably priced)
Service – 3/5 (I think this is a one time thing since we had to wait quite a bit for our food – there’s an entourage of patrons that came before us)
Décor – 3/5 (at least it looked cleaner and more pleasant now)
Location – 3/5 (you’ll spot them in front of Wakaf Thai Tom Yam restaurant)

** Current status – Still in operation (as of June 2017)





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Fire Cooking

As we’re entering the fasting month again, my mind (and stomach) are fill with these thoughts on food. And the only way that I could think of to get my mind off of hunger is… to blog about food (that sounds wrong now don’t it?). Just so you guys know, I went to this particular eatery way before the fasting month started so do ignore my slightly drooling reviews all throughout this month.

At first glance, you might be a bit sceptical to set your foot inside this tiny eatery. I mean, it looked so small (it occupied half of a shop, in the same row as New Millennium Food Lounge and Ziremi Delicatessen within the Fajar Complex) and unappealing in terms of first impression that you might decide to forgo this place altogether. But do not be fooled by its interior as their food was quite nice and delectable. A contributing factor to this might have something to do with the main cook being the former employee to another eatery within the area called W&L Fast Food. We recently had their Butter Prawns, Mix Vegetables and Ikan Goreng Kering Bawang Putih (highly recommended) as well as a serving of Salted Fish Fried Rice for myself. All I can say that is that it was one of the most satisfying meals that I’ve had in a while. The price was also considered very cheap (our bill for that particular visit did not even reached RM50) with the yummy food that you’re getting. And mind you, the place is almost always full of customers (and due to limited spaces) so do avoid going there during peak hours. Or else you might end up seating in close proximity to some err… rather unpleasant looking and smelling garbage dumping area nearby.

Next we have…

Food – 4/5 (kudos to the cook for his excellent cooking)
Price – 5/5 (hopefully it’ll stay at a reasonable price for a long time – fingers crossed)
Service – 3/5 (can be very hectic during peak hours so do be patient)
Décor – 2/5 (I did not expect anything spectacular, probably because of the location as well)
Location – 3/5 (trust your gut when you see this tiny, crowded place within said area) 

** Current status – Still in operation (as of June 2017)   







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My Top 5 Go To Malls in KK

Yeah, yeah… I know this post is way overdue. I should’ve post this one right after my not so recent KK trip but man… this affliction known as laziness was just too hard for me to beat these days. So without further ado, this is my personal list of favourite malls in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (in a very particular order of course)…

IMAGO KK TIMES SQUARE
Pros – Clean free toilet, still has that new vibe going on, a lot of high end/ branded stuff, lots of eateries has also moved here from other malls
Cons – Limited parking autopay machines, security eyeing you suspiciously if you happen to be a bit underdressed or coming in wet (well, at least that’s what happen to me)
Favourite spotsEverrise, Victoria’s Secret, DC Comics Super Heroes, the entire food mecca downstairs



SURIA SABAH
Pros – Spacious walking areas, lots of events being held there (seems to be at least one per week when we were there), a majority of the stores are now occupied (a stark contrast from a few years back)
Cons – Food court can get pretty dirty, long queues to go in or out of the parking space (or is it just our bad luck?)
Favourite spots – City Grocer, Times bookstore, Metrojaya, Sportmart, Baskin Robbins



1BORNEO HYPERMALL
Pros – Easy navigation throughout the stores, plenty of hotels attached (4 all together), pretty self sufficient despite the distance (has almost everything you want under one roof)
Cons – Their distance from the city centre (but got plenty of public transportations available nearby), expensive parkings especially the ones right outside of the premise
Favourite spots – Padini Concept Store, Parkson, GSC Cinema, Ayam Penyet Ria, Marrybrown



CENTRE POINT
Pros – Affordable goods, plenty of new and upcoming stores, wide selection of gadgets & electronic accessories available
Cons – Mostly non branded stuff, stores come and go rather quickly, lack of cleanliness (but they’re trying to improve in that department)
Favourite spots – Adidas Original store, Growball Cinema, Matahari, Yoyo Cafe



WISMA MERDEKA
Pros – Lots of old school businesses, affordable goods especially for games & cds, has a wider & unique services such as travelling agencies, reflexology centres, watch repair store, cobblers & tailors under one roof
Cons – The very dated overall look (but then again they are one of the earliest malls in KK), confusing staircases, weird parking spaces
Favourite spots – Mango snack bar, JS Fashion, Tong’s, Just For You


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