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Mostly Ramblings

posted Mar 8, 2012, 3:30 AM by Haris Hashim   [ updated Mar 18, 2012, 2:19 AM ]


This begins as part of previous article, which is Lobsterlicious. But it takes too much time as well as deserve its own space. Which is another way to say too long!


The previous rambling touch on how thing started with a side hook into western food. It glance through the chocolate shop and restaurant very fast! Allow me more ramblings and I will try to make thing more interesting!

Let's see a picture of the two shop (which was created using Google Sketch Up by you-know-who ;). 

Choc Shop & Restaurant

The Chocolate Shop

The chocolate shop provide patron with home made chocolate. It is very popular as gift when bought together with gift boxes. There is option for chocolate arrangement and customization with names or cheesy words like "I love U". Ultimately we have provided chocolate for "hantaran" (gifts between would be married couple and their family), door gift for weddings and other events like dinners and celebration. 

Combining with the restaurant means that patron can now eat in or have the chocolates as desert. Speaking about desert, there are also cakes. Most of them have chocolate toppings to run with the chocolate shop theme. 

To conclude this part, let see some picture!

chocolate shop products

The Restaurant

The restaurant initially start with "Nasi Campur" (rice with dish and vegetable, self service so the patron can choose and pick) for lunch. Typical Malaysian foods which are high in energy and emphasize on local taste. Along with typical Malaysian drinks in which "teh tarik" (hot tea with milk) and "milo ais" (cold chocolate drink with milk) is the favourite.

It is an instant favourite among people who work in Eastern Plaza as well as new attraction for those who frequently visit the shopping complex. Driven by needs for quality Malaysian style eateries. Previously, such venue find it hard to compete with the existing food court. Typically with small seating area and not so fresh food. 

I am proud to say the as we go along, the restaurant raise the bar for competition and everyone, including the food court start to improve in the coming years!

The menu start to get new delicious food under the combined chocolate shop and restaurant establishment. Immediately chocolate and cake are offered to patron either as snacks or together with main menu as dessert. Soon after we start with goreng-goreng (fried rice, noodle), more offering with noodles (Mee Sup Tulang is the favourite, while our Mee Rojak Telur is quite unique since we substitue fried tauhu with crispy fried egg!) as well as the western menu that is an instant success. 

Varieties of foods are demonstrated by bellow pictures.

restaurant products

The Challange

Tawau as Tourist Attraction

The article started by suggesting Tawau as secrete enclave for seafood lover. Which I hope, is a secrete no more after reading this article.

Let me share another thing that is dear to my heart. Recent development (i.e. the new airport) has somewhat cause Tawau to be out of way from the main tourist interest. In order to go to Semporna and hence the islands there (Sipadan, Mabul), the landing airport is Tawau airport. But the new airport location (30KM from Tawau Town) make tourist go direct to Semporna instead of spending some time in Tawau. It used to be Tawau first and Semporna later in the case of old airport.

Awarenes About Halal Food

Right here in Sabah, awareness about halal is picking up. The people do have choice to choose which shop to go. But is the choice obvious? This is the question and part of my concern. The following topic might be a bit controversial. 

So let's take a tangent. Definitely we are moving very far away from lobster, for sometime already (my style of writing is always like attacking a long corner, tune early and stay comfortable ... out of topic ;) ).

Let's start with super market. I would not say they are irresponsible, but perhaps not properly informed. In such case we have two party that need to be corrected. The uninformed and the side that did not informed. Allow me 2 paragraph for a personal anecdote.

For few days I have noticed an area that sell dry packaged pork just half a meter from a very open nut selling area. In Malaysia, this is where you can scoop various nuts or cookies and buy it per 100 gm or part thereof. It is taken that the pork stuff is packaged and some people might claim air tight. But the packaging is very simple, so I personally doubt that it is airtight. I would say that I am open minded kind of person. So let pass that over. However, the acceptable practice and I suspect that this is the law, is for a very clear and big sign to mark that area as "Non Halal". After few days of seeing no such sign, I approach a kid who was maintaining that area. I did my part and put some mild threat about speaking with the supervisor. Some good come of it, since few days later the sign come up. You can view bellow picture for the sign. I would make an emphasize here that it is a personal choice whether you would buy the nuts and candies on the other side. I have stop buying, but might consider and carefully go to the very far side (1.5 meter minimum!) and see food stuff that are interesting  there.

Non Halal Area

Few more pictures. This time, taken few days back. The situation is still the same today.

Pork Chop In A Box One
Prok Chop In A Box Two


Pork Chop In A Box 3

Anyway, let's be open minded here. The food nearby are air tight. We have no idea whether what inside the boxes are airtight or not. But perhaps  the box have enough stopping power to stop the "offending" particle. Anyway, the being informative but has been done earlier. So maybe there is no sign there (or the fact stuff are being mixed) because the supermarket people use the above logic. Who knows! Anyway, the reason why I am showing this is to educate the consumer. At the end of the day my (and I hope everyone else who read this will share the same intention and not jump to conclusion to fast!) intention is not to blame the shop owner or in anyway accuse of wrong doing. So please take words such as "offending" particle as a friendly banter to make this write up sounds a little bit like Star Trek.

Ok, let's move to my second paragraph (don't count the last paragraph and you will be fine!). This is an anecdote being shared by my future brother in law.He can read and speak chinese. The specific occurrence is still in the same state of Sabah but somewhere else. But I am convinced that the same thing happen in Tawau. In KK a food court with mixed stall sell pork derived foods. The menu is off course in a language that most Muslim do not understand. Flash back to about 10 years ago when I was working in FIT as lecturer (a short stint, I can teach but I can not tolerate other lecturer, story of my life!). I was speaking with the canteen towkay asking about whether Muslim can eat their food. The answer is their food can be eaten by Muslim because (and they insist on this) they don't mix pork and use chicken or meat from normal market source which are halal. So I ask the next question, whether they use the same cooking pot for this halal chicken and meat as well as pork. The towkay said they use the same pot. And tell me in very friendly manner that there is no need to take such extreme measure. Or at least that is the understanding!

(By this time I have given up on just having 2 extra paragraph for this issue! :D. Surely my passionate reader already realized this. After all by this point the whole article is  more than 2000 words which if I'm not mistaken, What is few more paragraph eh!)

But why is that a problem. After all different stall means different pot or whatever cooking utensil being used to cook. Why not just go and eat at that very friendly stall with big Halal printed in green. Or that stall with "Makanan Islam" in such away you can see it from 50 meters. First check whether the owner is Muslim. Let's not even touch on religious or racist reason. It is simply psychological. And, pretty much only applicable to Malaysian Muslim. We are afraid of Pig and Dog. Done! Bring either of  these two cute animal near such person, prepare to see em sprint a 100m very quickly. Whatever the person body shape!

But that is not it. In fact, you can strike out that point. As it is actually not the point when it comes to food court in Sabah.  Drum rolls please! And I have to admin that this never cross my mind either. In such food court, the plate, the spoon and the facility to clean them are shared! Such a simple and very well known fact! Yet it never cross my mind until some one else mentioned it to me!

Again, let us be very objective and remember that we strive to live in harmony. In friendly banter such as this, not blame the owner of such establishment. We know they are non Muslim. It is part of inter religion dialogue that is going on. To respect and forgive each other. Let's focus on educating the consumer. After all the consumer in this context are Muslim. I can see everyday they are eating "offending particle" out of those shared plate.

Would it not fall on my head and shoulder such responsibility to say something about it?

(Note to self! such long unrelated write up should be in the Rambling part of the article! Well maybe next time ... phew!)