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Day Day Soto

This is a pretty unique cafe for me. It's more like a specialty cafe, where they're focusing on a product that they're obviously good at making. And in this case, it's the soto dish (I know almost everyone is at least familiar with this dish, particularly if you're really into soupy dishes). I have gone through this road (the road = Unipark commercial area, near to Taman Univilla) possibly hundreds of times (because I live nearby) and yes, I did notice that this cafe was almost always full with customers. So obviously that triggered my interest and on a fine day, me and my mom decided to give it a go.

So I'm not that surprise to find that their main menu was the soto dish (the Chinese version mind you - with a wide range of condiments to choose from). I mean, it is called Day Day Soto right? But I was taken aback when I discovered that that is the only menu that they're offering. You can choose to eat it in its glorious soupy state or pair it with a Gon Lo Men or plain white rice. And yes, they do have a wide range of selection of soto to choose from. Me and mother dearest decided to try out their Chicken Soto and Fish Soto together with some Gon Lo Men, which were unimpressive overall. Both of us thought that the dishes were only average in taste. They do have toasts on their menu (we tried out their Chocolate Toast and it's again so-so in taste and the bread was pretty stale) and sadly that is also the only other food of choice here should you are not in the mood for any soto dish.

My ratings however are as follows...

Food - 3/5 (this is for the lack of variety and taste)
Price - 3/5 (pretty standard, medium range stuff)
Service - 4/5 (good but a little confusing - as it does say 'self service' but the waitresses will come to your table to wait for your order)
Decor - 3/5 (nothing to shout about but pretty comfortable)
Location - 4/5 (trust me, just drive along the Taman Univilla commercial area road and you'll definitely spot them)

** Current status - Still in operation (as of Dec 2014)











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Nukies Sauce Burger Stall

Even though I might not always feature food stalls specifically (I usually feature the food bazaar as a whole) but there are a few stalls that had made their way into my exception list. This burger stall was located at Kuhara Food Court Centre, within the Taman Ambar (in front of SMK Kuhara) residential area.

A friend actually posted about the stall on the ever popular social media app WeChat and because I'm a huge fan of burgers (especially one particular burger that caught my attention - read below), I felt that it was my duty to try them out. Huhuhu...

Now the burger that I'm dying to try was the Payau Prosperity Burger (yes, a deer meat burger folks) and obviously when I heard about it, I have the urged to try them out and let me tell you, it did not disappoint as well. The patty was just very tender and delicious, although maybe with a bit too much sauces on them. My partner decided to go for the Lava Sausages (similar to a hotdog dish plus some chicken burger patty) and he said that (again with a little less sauces) the dish was near perfect. There are other types of burgers to choose from so do give them a try if you're within the area.

So all in all I say..

Food - 4/5 (a very creative variety of food)
Price - 3/5 (it's an acceptable pricing - in the middle range)
Service - 4/5 (it's self service where you order directly from the stalls)
Decor - 4/5 (pretty laid back, outdoor environment)
Location - 3/5 (drive on to Taman Ambar and you'll definitely spot the place as it's on your right)

** Current status - Has been closed (as of June 2015) 







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BFTP: Telang Usan Hotel Kuching

I'm back with my second BFTP and this time around I'm going all the way to Kuching, Sarawak. This might be waaayy back when I was a little greener (aka 'younger' - those were the days...) but it still remains as one of my fondest memories to this date.

Telang Usan Hotel Kuching

When - Sometime around 2009, with my early bonus no less
Where - It's located somewhat at the center of the lovely city of Kuching, so you'll have no troubles walking around for some retail therapy.
Room(s) that I've stayed in - Deluxe Room
Reason for staying - Now I have never done this (because I'm a somewhat control freak) and I absolutely hated going anywhere without any prior planning but weirdly enough when a good friend goes all 'lets go to Kuching' on a whim, I jumped on board. Our first hotel (it was during the school holidays so it's near impossible to find good, reasonably priced hotels) was a total dump (yes, we stupidly decided to just walk-in to a random hotel - in a city both of us are no familiar with) but thankfully a staff of the former hotel help us to find a better hotel so we're good from then on.
Pros:
* The room was big in size and the price was just right. In fact, I've notice that most of the hotels in Kuching were way cheaper (yes, including the big league hotels) than that in KK. Go figure!
* The Orang Ulu decor in and out of the hotel was just fascinating. You'll feel as if you're visiting somebody's home rather than staying at a hotel, which was pretty awesome.
* There's a garden for the guests to lounge in as well, a good attempt at introducing nature to the otherwise metropolitan area
Cons:
* I admit that the hotel might need to do some upgrade since the hotel (despite the very original Orang Ulu decor) looked very dated. It gives out the vibe of staying at a 1990s establishment.
* I do remember that the breakfast (albeit free) was the same throughout my one week stay. I'm hoping that they've improved this matter now
Memorable Event(s) - I still remember that when we were there, there's actually a construction going on within the proximity of the hotel. So eventhough the hotel was suppose to be very near to the main city attractions and mall areas, me and my friend had to walk around 25 minutes to get there (because we had to circled the construction site to get to the city area, and it's a huge construction site mind you). It was raining at times but I personally like the hotel so much that I kinda let the distance matter go. And I do appreciate the staff lending their personal umbrella to us so it's all good in the end.
Overall rating: * * * 1/2 (you'll definitely get the sense of Sarawak when you're there)

(P/S: Pictures below are mostly 'borrowed' from Tripadvisor.com and Sarawakhotelbooking.com so all credit goes to them)

Yup, they also provide free on-site parkings

There's actually a pretty awesome sitting area in between the main door of the hotel to their actual entrance a few metres from it. Pretty interesting concept.

Absolutely love the very traditional Sarawak decor 

Where else can you get a cosy garden within a hotel area, in the city no less?

Similar room that we've stayed in. It's really big in size and comfortable to boot


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Kentucky Fried Chicken Fajar Tawau

Again let me stress out that I'm currently eating my words for supposedly not going to review popular franchises. But here I am! There are currently 5 branches of KFC here in Tawau (yup, there're really popular) and one of the newest edition to the family was this branch at Fajar Complex. It's located next to the Allianz Insurance office and is actually at the former Hong Leong Bank building. Mind you, there's actually another KFC at the same area but thankfully not that near from each other.

I don't think I need any lengthy introduction to the world of KFC since I'm pretty sure everyone has been into one in their entire lifetime. Plus my main focus is to review their latest offering, that is the (again, very heavily advertised) Double Down Maxx burger. Now I know that KFC has these seemly never ending promos of new products but what attracted me to this was when I discover that it's a burger without the usual bun sandwiching the patty. So when me and my partner dug into our bunless burgers, I notice that it's a bit too salty for my liking. But it's still very filling as the thing (despite the less appealing look) was actually quite huge. My partner just loves the burger so much that he ordered another one to go. I also like to highlight the KFC new selection of side dishes such as the mini harsh browns, fried jalapenos, fried onion rings and fried criss cut fries (which were all very delicious by the way; main rival McD really needs to step it up now). Their new and improved regular fries are also to die for as it is now more crispier and tastier then ever before. Two thumbs up for their side dishes!

Now lets move on...

Food - 4/5 (I mean come on, this is the worldwide famous KFC)
Price - 3/5 (I don't know though, I think it got a bit expensive overtime)
Service - 3/5 (it's self service so no problems there)
Decor - 3/5 (typical KFC of course)
Location - 3/5 (again, if you're going to the Fajar Complex, the main problem might be the lack of parking)

** Current status - Still in operation (as of Dec 2014) 









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My Top 5 Bakeries in Tawau

Now if you guys notice, I haven't been featuring any bakeries and delis inside my blog. And trust me, it's not because I do not like them. It's maybe because I LOVED pastries and cakes so much that I usually overlooked them. But I'm determined to make it up to you guys and here I present to you this special list of my favourite bakeries in Tawau. Check them out guys!

MY TOP 5 BAKERIES

1. Q Bread Bakery
I have lots of respect for bakers (or should I say pastry chef?) who personally bake their goods and oversee their business at the same time. You just know that the quality of their products will be superb. The bakery is currently the it bakery for their really nice cakes and very adventurous themes & seasonal treats. I mean, where else can you get Halloween or World Cup themed pastries in Tawau right?

Where - Fajar Complex (next to Body Shop) 
Specialties - Cakes (both ready-made & to-order), muffins, cupcakes, pastries, cookies, breads 
Favourites - Chocolate Mousse Cake, Chocolate Muffin, Chicken Cheese Bun








2. Sweet Secret Bakery
I discover this bakery by mistake a few years ago, when I got lost trying to find another bakery. But I think fate has brought me here. Now don't be surprise to find very unique blend of cakes & pastries being sold here. I admit that I can't even remember most of the names of the goods since they're definitely one of a kind (both in name and their combination of flavours)

Where - Taman Mega (inside the commercial area) 
Specialties - Cakes (both ready-made & to-order - and lots of it) pastries, breads 
Favourites - Lava Cupcake, Chocolate Truffle, Chocolate Cappuccino Cake, Chocolate Peel & Nuts bun







3. Blend & Shake
Okay, this place might not be your traditional typed of bakery. In fact, I don't even know what to call them (err, neither a cafe nor deli.. stall maybe?) But they do have a very good selection of tasty pastries and a wider range of cakes on display. And I do recommend their Hari Raya specialty cookies since those babies were simply marvellous in tastes.

Where - Inside of Giant Hypermarket building 
Specialties - Mostly cakes & cookies
Favourites - Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Moist Cake, Chocolate Swiss Roll





4. Cheese Cake House
I usually don't favour chained bakeries (due to multiple bad experiences from such places) but I'll make an exception on these two. One of two bakeries with multiple chains on this list, this family-run bakery made sure that their goodies are equal in terms of textures and tastes, in each of their branches (there's 3 so far).

Where - Lower ground floor of Eastern Plaza, near Servay Parkwell Supermarket in town & mile 4 of the Apas road.
Specialties - Cakes, breads, cookies and pastries. 
Favourites - Belgium Chocolate Mousse, Tuna Bun, Egg Sausage Bun  



5. Red Apple Cake House

Another local chained bakery that had caught my eye (and stomach) is this particular bakery. More popular with the Chinese customers, the first time I was introduce to this bakery was at the grand opening of a convenient store in town. Every customer was given a goodie box that contains a few cakes and pastries and I’m hooked ever since. I think it helps that they only have 2 branches in Tawau so they manage to retain they quality as well. Another plus? If you like things in mini sizes, then this is the bakery for you as they regularly produce mini versions of muffin, cupcakes and even burgers. 

Where – Shoplot at Jalan Sin Onn and near the Fujimart building
Specialties – Cakes, breads and pastries (shout out to their selection of macarons) 
Favourites – Brownie Cheese Cake, Mini Chocolate Muffin, Mini Burgers, Macarons








Well that’s it for today. I’ll also be posting about my Top 5 Delis/Cafes as well as Top 5 Places to Get Cakes sometime in the future (hopefully not too distant) so do wait for it okay guys!
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Pizza Hut Fajar

Yeah yeah.. I tried to avoid giving reviews on chained restaurants and eateries, mainly because almost everyone knows them so it hardly needed any introduction. So I'll try to make this post as simple as possible. Currently there are only one PH restaurant available in Tawau, specifically within the busy Fajar Commercial Complex, right next to a popular mobile devices store and a well-known pharmacy.

During our recent visit to the eatery, me and my partner had ordered one of their heavily advertised pizza (shame on me for not being able to remember the name though) but the taste was just so-so. I think the main problem with PH pizzas is that their names might be creatively thought out and toppings may vary but the taste remains blend and ended up disappointing their customers, who originally has high hopes for them (yeah.. it's obvious that I'm talking about me). But that's just my personal two cents though as my partner preferred their pizzas over others. I do however loved their side dishes, such as their BBQ wings (the sauce was just superb) and their Sharing Platter (a platter of various yummy goodness).

It's also good to note that there will be a new branch of PH opening soon within the Tawau area, specifically at the newly construct commercial area at Jalan Sin Onn called Taipan Commercial Center (hey who knows, I might be posting about them in the future as well).

So next up we have...

Food - 4/5 (mostly for their side dishes)
Price - 3/5 (as expected from a chained restaurant, plus taxes of course!)
Service - 4/5 (pretty good in terms of waiters, the kitchen staff might need to step it up a bit though)
Decor - 4/5 (pretty standard, comfortable PH restaurant look and feel)
Location - 3/5 (the main problem has got to be their parking spaces, as the Fajar area are notorious for their impossible parkings)

** Current status - Still in operation (as of Nov 2014) 






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Warung Jawa

I admit that I'm not much of a 'cooking person' (but that obviously didn't stop me from being a foodie) so normally whenever my laziness gets the best of me, I tend to stop by the eateries near my house. And another one of those is this place. The now popular restaurant was once a humble (shabby even) stall selling a couple of best selling dishes within the housing area of Taman Semarak, Tawau. People always said that with patience comes great rewards and so after many years, they managed to open a bigger, improved version of their stall in the commercial area of the same housing estate. They're pretty popular amongst patrons within the immediate area (there are several other housing areas nearby - mine being one of them) as well as office working people during weekdays.

I have been a patron of said restaurant for a few years now and while they have expand their previous stall into a more comfortable place, the size of their menu however remains the same. As the name implies, the menu consist of several Indonesian-turned-local dishes and since their hay days, they pretty much sell the same limited items such as Nasi Lalap, Mee Hoon Sup, Gado-Gado and a variety of kuihs. But I am pleased to see that with my recent visit, comes also a few more addition to the existing menu. I've recently tried their new venture the Chicken Burger (might not be the best but the taste was sill satisfying) as well as the usuals such as Mee Goreng (my partner swears by it) Nasi Goreng Ayam (so-so but the portion was generous enough) and Mee Hoon Sup (my mom's favourite but somehow it got smaller in portion unlike the others). It's also good to mention that their kuihs manage to remain at the same pricing at it was before, at only 20 cents per piece. They're also closed every Friday so do take note of that as well.

All in all I say...

Food - 3/5 (food quality might vary but there's no doubt about their quantity though)
Price - 4/5 (can be considered cheap)
Service - 3/5 (I love the makciks to death but really, it's a waiting game with them)
Decor - 3/5 (typical ordinary looking kedai kopi feel)
Location - 4/5 (it's easy to spot them once you entered the Taman Semarak main junction)

** Current status - Still in operation (as of November 2014) 








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