Al Hamra Restaurant & Bistro @ The Palm Square Kinarut, Sabah

Written by @joehairie
(Photos by curiostraveller.com)

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Thought of the day-“Growing up, I learned life’s important lessons at the dinner table.”-Chef John Besh

Blink and you might be missing something in regard to some amazing dining opportunities. As Kota Kinabalu’s and its surrounding area fickle with new restaurants opening, one might not ably to see the best of the best. Connoisseur included. Hidden somewhere in a newly-developed commercial and housing area near Kinarut town, is one contender in the burgeoning concept of Middle Eastern cuisine. Introducing, Al Hamra Restaurant & Bistro at The Palm Square Kinarut. Though located about 18 KM from Kota Kinabalu city, getting here is not a hassle.

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When Memories of Food Are Powerful: Nasi Ayam Cocos by TLC is back and available @ D’Riverside Food Court

Written by @Lan
(Photos by curiostraveller.com)

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Thought of the day-“Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.”-Elsa Schiaparelli

When we saw the Chef/Owner, we immediately recognized him. He is one of the brothers that run TLC Stall in Anjung Selera. I looked at my Chicken Rice and immediately I realized that it’s the same as what I had more than 12 years ago. It’s not available in their stall at Anjung Selera, but it is here at their other stall, located in the newly opened D’Riverside Food Court, Sadong Jaya, Kota Kinabalu. This entry is about Chicken Rice named as Nasi Ayam Cocos, best seller of TLC in early 2000’s and now it’s back complete with the memories!

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Simple but Yum! Smashed Deep -Fried Marinated Chicken

Written by @Lan
(Photos by curiostraveller.com)

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Thought of the day-“No single food will make or break good health. But the kinds of food you choose day in and day out have a major impact.”-Walter Willet

That moment when I realized, food actually consumes me!

That Deep-Fried Marinated Chicken was presented on a simple plate. The chicken was smashed resembling Ayam Penyet of Indonesia. The sides were 2 kinds of simplified stir-fry vegetables, eggplant and cabbage. The dish, accompanied by a small portion of Shrimp Paste Sambal, generous portion of rice and a bowl of soup. Period. Nothing else. Except for that spoon and fork. What else? Again, nothing except that it’s time to eat. Introducing the Smashed Deep-Fried Marinated Chicken. prepared in a very small stall that concentrated on Chicken Rice at Grace Point Sembulan, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

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Gong Gong, Tung Fung Lo, Conch, Laevistrombus Canarium or whatever name you have for it, it’s absolutely delish!

Written by @joehairie
(Photos by curiostraveller.com)

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Thought of the day-“I am on a seafood diet. I see food and I eat it.”

Introducing the Asian version of French’s Escargot. This is Gong Gong, some named it as Tung Fung Lo. The scientific name is Laevistrombus Canarium and the western named it as Conch or rather Dog Conch. The difference between Escargot and Gong Gong? The latter comes from sea. Generally it’s a type of seafood, not something that you pick-up from your own garden. The shell is yellowish-brown in color, with quite thick outer lip. For its ornamental value, people do use the shells as decorations or sort of.  It’s absolutely delish or delicious if you prefer and Sabahans are blessed as the supply of Conch, unlimited.

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The Colors of Indonesian Nasi Padang

Written by @Lan
Photos by curiostraveller.com team members

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Thought of the day-“The only thing that I like better than talking about food is eating.”-John Walters

One long table, 2 diners, more than 20 dishes and at least 5 kinds of Sambal (hot/spicy sauce). If that’s not enough, there were 3 staffs monitoring the table, looking for more empty space to offer more dishes. Each dish presented in different texture, color and taste. That striking red sambal chili was kind of a warning for me not to consume it but then Asians can’t live without sambal. This is Nasi Padang, padangnese can’t live without it, it’s their ‘trademark’, we are pretty sure of that.

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The Colors of Seremban @ Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus : Hj Shariff Cendol

Written by @joehairie
Photos by curiostraveller.com team members

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Thought of the day: ‘Dessert is like a feel-good song and the best ones make you dance.’-Chef Edward Lee

People talked and keep writing good reviews about this place, a restaurant named as HJ (Haji) Shariff Cendol. Their Cendol is quite famous (since 1930’s) and we wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to try it, we’re in Seremban anyway. We want to see more ‘colors’ of Seremban, this time around in its edible ‘items’. We hope to see and experience that said ‘colors’ at Haji Shariff Cendol @ Seremban, Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus. For the record, their Cendol is ranked at #1 by TripAdvisor reviewers and that put it as the best dessert in the whole of Seremban Town!

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Our dining experience @ Rasa Utara, IOI City Mall Putrajaya

Written by @Joehairie
Photos by curiostraveller.com team members

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Thought of the day: “Good Food Is The Foundation of Happiness.”-Auguste Escoffier

All Rasa Utara Restaurants are Halal Certified

We had this golden opportunity to visit another branch of Rasa Utara Restaurant which is located at IOI City Mall, Putrajaya. There are many ways to get to IOI City Mall, click HERE for more information. Rasa Utara @ IOI City Mall is located on the Lower Ground Floor IOI City Mall, not far from the right side of East Wing Entrance (Click HERE for precise location of Rasa Utara Restaurant). Rasa Utara itself is well known for its authentic Northern Malay Cuisine and we were eager to have another round of some great and high quality food.

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Ayam Bakar Kantri by Kantri Restaurant @ Singosari-Malang, Indonesia

Written by @Lan & Edited by @Joehairie
(Photos by curiostraveller.com)

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“I am not a glutton, I am an explorer of food”-Erma Bombeck

A journey is incomplete without some great food and so our journey in East Java did have some stops here and there, enjoying the best of Indonesian cuisine. One of the most memorable dining experience was at the Kantri Restaurant which is located along the main road of Singosari, Malang-Surabaya. We just had some big breakfast and all the sudden we were hungry again and so our guide cum driver decided to made a ‘pit-stop’ at Kantri Restaurant. The menu seemed to have mostly fusion food but somewhere in between the pages I managed to see one alluring dish named as Ayam Bakar Kantri.

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We applied ‘Le 7 regole per riconoscere la buona cucina’ by Roberta Schira to our dining experience at Ferdinand’s, The Magellan Sutera Resort

Written by @Lan & Research made by @joehairie
(Photos by curiostraveller.com unless stated otherwise)

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“There’s nothing more romantic than Italian Food.”-Elisha Cuthbert

A deeper look into ‘Petto di Anatra Cotto in Sous Vide e Scottato Servito con Fegato d’Anatra’

We took weeks to produce this critique. A lot of reading and we even had to ask one of our Italian friend to translate a book written by Roberta Schira who is a journalist and food critic. Yes, we had to refer to some writings about Italian Food for 2 obvious reasons. First, we rarely dine in a fine dining restaurant, let alone in Italian Restaurant. Second, the food we ate was something new for our palate. To produce a credible critique, we must then refer to some valid sources, as guidance as we go through with this particular post. Welcome to Ferdinand’s @ Magellan Sutera Resort and let us introduce ‘Petto di Anatra Cotto in Sous Vide e Scottato Servito con Fegato d’Anatra’. To describe our experience at this exclusive Fine Dining Italian Restaurant, we decided to apply the ‘7 rules to understand good cuisine’ or Le 7 regole per riconoscere la buona cucina by Roberta Schira.

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Rawon @ Jamoo, Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya : The traditional Indonesian Beef black soup

Written by @Lan & Edited by @joehairie
(Photos by curiostraveller.com team members unless stated otherwise)

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“I live on good soup, not on fine words.’-Moliere, French Playwright 1622-1673

Previously, we wrote about our first time experience drinking Jamu. This time around, we will reveal what we both thought about Rawon, an Indonesian dish originated from Surabaya. Initially, we were not sure what to expect. We’ve read about it, seen it on TV, hearing people talked about it but we yet to taste it until we were at Jamoo, Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya. Another first time experience! What more can we ask for? We tasted the Traditional Herbal Drink and now it’s the Indonesian/East Javanese Traditional Dark Beef Soup. Such experience really broaden our culinary perspective! Did we enjoy consuming that particular Beef black soup? Here’s our honest review..

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Jamu at Jamoo? Only @ Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya : Healing and refreshing Herbal drink!

Written by @joehairie
(Photos by curiostraveller.com team members unless stated otherwise)

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“Jamu asal Indonesia tidak ada tandingannya di dunia, hanya saja rasa kepemilikan dan kebangsaan bangsa Indonesia sendiri masih sangat rendah terhadap jamu tradisional.”-Jaya Suprana

There were so many memorable experience when we visited Surabaya, Indonesia. One of those was when we were given the opportunity to sample some of the finest Jamu served at Jamoo, Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya. This particular hotel was our residence in Surabaya for 5 days and 4 nights. It was during lunch at Jamoo that we saw one lady wearing Indonesian Kebaya and carrying a basket (gendongan) with 4 bottles inside it. We were later told that she is the famous ‘Ibu Jamu Gendong‘. Her name is Ibu Lilik Mudjiati. Together with her colleague (Ibu Yayuk), they take turns in making and serving Jamu to patrons opting to have Buffet Lunch at Jamoo. While we do have another great coverage for Jamoo, we felt it is appropriate to highlight this particular experience, drinking that Jamu, for the first time ever! It’s indeed great herbal drink, healing and refreshing!

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Yasashii Bento @ Nagisa, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu

Written by @Lan & Edited by @joehairie
(Photos by curiostraveller.com team members)

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Located on the lobby level at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Nagisa is an award winning Japanese Restaurant serving the best Japanese Cuisine in the entire state of Sabah. Nagisa is recognized as the Best Restaurant in Hotel Category during Kota Kinabalu Food Fest in 2012. In 2014 and 2015, the Editors and Readers of Malaysia Tatler have acclaimed Nagisa as one of Malaysia’s Best Restaurants for its exceptional cuisine and service. We went here recently and tried Sakana Oroshi set and we love that dish (Here is the LINK to the review). We came again, this time around to see if the Yasashii Bento set is really worth trying.

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KuehKueh_My @ Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Written by @Lan. Edited by @joehairie
(Photos by @joehairie unless stated otherwise)

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“Elegance is achieved when all that is superfluous has been discarded and the human being discovers simplicity and concentration: the simpler and more sober the posture, the more beautiful it will be.” Paulo Coelho

A great cafe does not necessarily need the most up to date interior and exterior features. At times, simplicity is needed in order to align the owner’s products and the expected crowd. Less is more, well, sometimes this philosophy works depending on the ability of the cafe’s owner to keep the customers happy and ably to understand their needs. Customers tend to look at the features of the cafe over the products, if it is best suited to their ‘soul’, they will sure to come in. Nowadays, cafe business is quite challenging, it’s so hard to determine the exact desire(s) of patrons. So, does simplicity actually work for certain cafes? There is one, right here in the city center, a cafe full of simplicity.

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Golden Hour Dim Sum @ The Asian Restaurant, Horizon Hotel Kota Kinabalu

Written by @joehairie. Content arranged by @curiostraveller. 
(Photos by curiostraveller.com team members unless stated otherwise)

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For the Dim Sum fans, here is one good news. The Asian Restaurant at Horizon Hotel, Kota Kinabalu is currently running the Golden Hour Dim Sum promotion. The promotion started on August 15 and it will be on for a limited time only (until September 16, 2016). We sampled some of the Dim Sum and in another coming article, we will be highlighting our personal thoughts about the taste and presentation of each of that Dim Sum. This entry is about the new promotion  of that Golden Hour Dim Sum.

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Haus Cafe @ Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Written by @curiostraveller
(Photos by @joehairie unless stated otherwise)
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The Front Entrance

Some say it’s a cafe with unfinished design. Some say it’s a hipster cafe. We say, it’s a cafe with Industrial Design, purposely left unfinished on some parts, implying a big statement, a significant impact and trademark readily for viewing to those passing by. Alluring that is, as if it’s a call for people to come in and check out what’s inside. That is definitely genius and smart. Welcome to Haus Cafe, one burgeoning cafe in Kota Kinabalu City, we must say. The concept is different. While other cafes tend to outshine competitors, Haus look at things differently. Being humble that is. The owner intend to create that community feels by ensuring that the cafe is fit for people of all ages and background. It ain’t only for the avid coffee hunters and young career people (as you can see in many other cafes), the door opens for everyone.

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Sunday BBQ + Swim @ Azure Pool Bar & Cafe, Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu

Written by @joehairie
 (Photos by @curiostraveller unless stated otherwise)

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“We want to provide a space for families and friends to create moments in Azure that could last a life time. Sunday BBQ + Swim at Azure undeniably provides the best environment, best food for an extraordinary bonding time with family and friends”-Rachael Harman, General Manager, Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu.

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Sakana Oroshi Set @ Nagisa, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu

Written by @joehairie
(Photos by @curiostraveller unless stated otherwise)

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Honestly, we are not into Japanese Cuisine. We actually rarely dine at any Japanese restaurant. We are not that familiar with the ‘protocols’ of eating foods from the Land of The Rising Sun. In both our minds, all that we can think of is Tempura. Our destiny and palate keep changing though. 2 days ago, we had this opportunity to dine at the award winning Nagisa Restaurant, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu. There’s this recently launched menu named as Sakana Oroshi Set, creatively prepared and presented by Chef Kenny Liew You Khen. In total, there are three different sets to choose from. We tried all three. Were we satisfied with the taste and presentation of all three Sakana Oroshi set? Did that menu change our mind and worldview towards Japanese Cuisine? Read further to find out…

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Dreamtel Cafe @ Dreamtel Kota Kinabalu

(Photos by @joehairie unless stated otherwise)

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“Eating is sensorial. More than that, it’s about interpreting the information that your senses give you”- Chef Andoni Luiz Aduriz

“The information that your senses give you (as mentioned by Chef Andoni) will tell you if the food that you are consuming is cook from the heart or otherwise”-curiostraveller.com

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