Little Town Called Tawau

I was thinking I should write a little about Tawau, eventhough we just spent a day here. I was lucky because I have an ex colleague working in Tawau, eventhough he doesn’t remember me. Hahaha! So, I just sent him a message to ask for tips on how to go about Tawau and he just offered to take us around when we decided to drop by!

After a great relaxing trip in Sipadan Water Village, we put up a night at MB Hotel in Tawau. After resting for a bit, my friend came to pick us up. He took us to Good View Restaurant. I reserved my comments on Good View because, I remember I read in blogs that this place actually ain’t cheap at all. But since he will be buying, I let him choose the place lah. Haha!

He has been working here for the past 3 years, so he basically knew where is best to go. He usually takes his clients and friends here, so he chose Good View over Kam Ling. Both restaurants served equally good and fresh seafood – so take your pick!

We let him did all the ordering since he’s familiar and here were some of the dishes.

Steamed fresh prawns

Steamed flower crabs

Steamed 7 star garoupa

Midin

Seaweed kerabu

Also, we had avocado juice! It proven to be a good choice because it wasn’t sweet or too creamy as I thought it would be. It was soothing.. like liquid yogurt. I was surprised to find that, Tawau actually grows Avocado commercially. We didn’t buy any back because, it wasn’t the season so, the avocado that we had, might be imported from Indonesia – according to my friend lah. If he bullshit me also, I won’t know! Haha!

It was indeed a good dinner, totally fresh seafood. And we had the 7 star steamed garoupa – it seems, this type of coral fish can only be found in Sabah, hence the cheaper price as opposed to eating in back in West Malaysia.

The next day, he took us to the wet market in Sin On. He briefed us a little on history of Tawau. We would have thought it was the Chinese who came and made the place economically prosperous but we were wrong. It was the Japanese. I read on Wikipedia, it was said that – the Japanese were in the fishing business, canning and exported the manufactured goods back to Japan, so he was right in a way. He told me, they were in seaweed business. Hence, there were some roads like Kuhara and Kubota named after the Japanese. After World War II, the Japanese lost to the Allies, the rule of any war is that, if your country lost the war, you have to uproot yourselves from the colony and return to your own country. So, dozens of Japanese had to forsake whatever they had painstakingly build in Tawau and return to Japan. See, you gain nothing in wars, only more destitution.

Coral fishes

Pasar Sin On

During the short visit to Sin On market, we got ourselves some coral fishes, lobsters and sea cucumber. Sea cucumber went as cheap as RM50 per kg, lobsters, Rm70 per kg, coral fishes ranging from RM50 to Rm90 per kg. So, my friends were right when I asked for things to do in Tawau – everybody actually ask me to buy seafood! That is why I saw many people bringing their own ice box on the plane! It is not allowed to check in your seafood, so be prepared to hand carry them. On our way back to KL, we saw many people carrying ice boxes!

Pork noodles

Then, our friend took us to this shop selling pork noodles. For the life of me, I cannot remember the place name! Haha! But the pork noodles is good. I regretted for not asking for intestines and pork balls, just meat. The pork balls are crunchy and they stuffed some fried squids inside made it all chewy!

After breakfast, my friend has to get back to work, so he dropped us at our hotel. Since he had a flight at 1 pm later that day, we bid him good bye and went loitering around Tawau on our own. It was nice to walk to the jetty to see the things going on. It was funny to see how the islanders roll the gas tanks to the jetty to be transported to other islands and also Kalimantan! Our friend advised us to be careful when walking around town because there have been many cases of robbery,well, doesn’t make any difference walking in KL then? So, we just be extra alert and careful.

We had a huge lunch at this place nearby our hotel called Kedai Kim Kim. Here, they served variety of tongshui and leong char! My favorite red bean soup was good! So was Jasmine’s bubur cha cha. You should try the herbal chicken with rice. I overheard many people ordering salted chicken, so I guess you could try to order that too! We also tried the siew mai and pai kuat. Well, it was mediocre but it does make you feel like you are eating at home.

Siew Mai & Pai Kuat

Red bean soup

View of Tawau waterfront

Old shoplot

We went for last minute shopping for dried seafood – shrimps and prawn/fish crackers called amplang. It was delicious! I think if we had planned properly earlier, then we would have bought even more things! We stopped by Wukka Cafe for tea break before heading back to our hotel, to get to the airport.

There isn’t much to do here in Tawau, but seafood is rather fresh and cheap! And sea produce are cheap too!

For other photos, click here!

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7 Responses to “Little Town Called Tawau”

  1. shorthorse Says:

    Oh thanks for the mini history lesson about Tawau’s pre-war Japanese colony … It’s news to me too … Kinda feel ashamed to be ignorant about some of the interesting facts in East Malaysia … Why is it I don’t recall learning about in Sejarah Malaysia…. ???

    • Gina Says:

      Aiyah.. in Sejarah, they are too busy spinning tales of Hang Tuah lah… myth, instead of real hard facts history.. this is how this country is being run.. on illusions.

  2. epicuriousgirl Says:

    haha, nasib ada dapat the amplang. :P

  3. bah Says:

    Interesiing place in the planet. Would like to visit there one day.

  4. Sunny lee Says:

    Was just passing through your blog… Didnt your friend bring you to the market next to Marco Polo hotel? My mom calls it phillipine market cause most of the things there are imported from there…. or maybe it was the workers? hmm… anyway There are lots of stuffs there from t shirts to sarongs to jewelleries to pearls… But u must know how to bargain lah! Hehe…. Amplangs are great gifts for friends. I bought a big box back for my family n friends. They really love it! My husband bought one big box…just for himself! Ok thanks for reading… Lolz…

    • Gina Says:

      Thanks for the heads up! I guess it’s due to rampant crimes, my friend decided not to take us to the market. Anyway, I’ve been to the Filipino market in KK before… and am not interested in jeweleries or pearls. Will let my other friends know – those going to Sipadan this March. :)

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