28 June 2010

Kota Kinabalu Highlights - Glorious Food

Street Food
Street food is food that is commonly served from a streetside vendor, often from a makeshift or portable stall, a push cart, a basket. Food and green groceries sold in farmers' markets may also fall into this category. However, street food can also be served at stores, due to hygiene laws where the customer can clearly see the preparation and cooking of the prepared streetfood.

Most street food is both finger food and fast food; hence it is intimately connected with take-out, junk food, snacks, and fast food ...but not the McDonald's or Kentucky Fries kind. It is usually distinguished by its local flavour and by being purchased on the sidewalk or in the case of these photos, at a car park where it is opened from early morning (don't ask me how early ....I was still sleeping) till about two in the afternoon.

There is something about street food that I always found fascinating. Maybe because it is food that I have grew up with, as a snack or even as a meal, is cheap and is served quickly when the order is placed.

I am partial to the relatively round Chinese doughnuts, some stuffed with bean paste, the "Yau-Char-Quai" a kind of long stick fried bread usually served with rice porridge and the "Choy-Kui-Tuai" flat rice noodles fried with eggs and bean-shoots.

Bistro or Cafe Food
A bistro is a small, casual eating place known for serving hearty, simple "home cooked" food ...but certainly for some dishes, simple may be understating it. These places or establishments are usually shop houses in the suburb serving restaurant style food for the evening. They do not necessarily open during lunch time, but come evening, .....dinner is served and the good ones are usually jammed packed with people.

Although the food is served quickly in these bistro-restaurants, the preparation time can be very long for the cooks as many dishes need marinating and/or long, slow cooking times.

However, if you haven't already noticed, eating does not take that long a time. The food is enjoyed even much more when having it among good friends.

Restaurant Food

More specifically Café TATU, at the Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa. It was the place of choice for dinner with Margaret's friends whom she has not caught up with for a very, very long time. At least it felt like it.

Café TATU is a contemporary restaurant featuring a varied buffet dinner of Asian and Western dishes, in an open-kitchen setting. They offer Mongolian, Tandoori, Asian noodles, Dim Sum, Pasta, Salads, not forgetting the favourite, Seafood and of course, the desserts .....the famous Ice Kacang: shaved ice with sweet red beans, cendol, corn, rose syrup and ice cream. Chocolate cake with wild berry compote and fresh mint Panna Cotta with Pandan and ruby soga pearl are some of the sample you can find.

Beside the food already laid out, there are also cooking stations where you get to watch the cook at work, cooking your dish, prepared fresh on the spot.

The thing about eating in places like Tanjung Aru, the ambience of the place also count. The following are some features of the place, enroute to the restaurant that caught my eye.

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