Food Hunting at Menggatal Plaza

A traveller said, “I won’t have the memory of a city, if I don’t remember how its food tastes like.” Smell is the sense most closely linked with memory, and it can trigger a memory. We tend to recall more happy things while we enjoy great food. Agree? That’s why our food quest is a lifelong journey. Thanks to, I found some great stuffs at Menggatal Plaza (see Location Map or Street View), about 20 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu City (KK).

Relax Cafe

My first impression of Relax Cafe is a home-like cozy place filled with nice aroma of coffee.

Relax Cafe

The most ideal picture of my life is reading a book and relaxing in a cafe. Besides coffee, I love the smell of books. Coffee and books are prominent elements in the trendy interior design of this little cafe, so yea, I like its identity.

Interior of Relax Cafe (Click to Enlarge)

This cafe makes smart use of spacing and soft lighting to create many “small worlds”. You can find a little personal corner that belongs to you and your friends. In city, most cafes want to stuff as many desks as possible in a small area, making us feel like sitting in an open public area.

Relax Cafe: Oreo Lover (MYR12)

Most other cafes sell mainly cakes and dessert. Relax Cafe has some stomach fillers. The following are some of the items (*Serve No Pork):
– Oreo Lover (MYR12)
– Hot Commando Latte (MYR10)
– Cappuccino (MYR8.50)
– Hot Relax Chocolate (MYR7.50)
– Relax Signature Cheesy Snacks (MYR12.90)
– Cheesy Chicken on Papan (MYR28)
(Prices as of Nov 2016)

Relax Cafe: Cappuccino (MYR8.50) and Hot Relax Chocolate (MYR7.50)

Relax Cafe: relax signature cheesy snacks (MYR12.90) (avalanche of cheese!)

Relax Cafe: Cheesy Chicken on Papan (MYR28)

When I was looking around, I saw a pretty girl smiling at me. I took a deep breath, walked to her, and said, “Sorry Miss, would you please move away? I need the power points behind you.” Ok, I’m just kidding. She is Kimberly Vung, the Miss Sabah Tourism 2016, in our food hunting group. I’m just trying to say that it’s very thoughtful this cafe has many power points, something that I always search high and low in other restaurants.

Relax Cafe (note the power points behind her lol)

To find out more about Relax Cafe, check this out:
Facebook: RelaxCoffeeCafe
Tel: +60 19-8231127
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm daily

Juara Express

What’s for lunch / dinner? For food, I’m very lazy to think what to eat, so Nasi Ayam (Chicken Rice) is my default choice.

Restoran Juara Xpress (Halal)

Therefore, if the price of chicken rice rises, that’ll affect my income. In KK, most chicken rice costs MYR7 and more. In Menggatal Plaza, you still can find cheap chicken rice at Juara Express:
– Nasi Ayam Goreng (Fried Chicken Rice) (MYR5.30)
– Ayam Kon Lou Mee (Noodle with Chicken) (MYR5.80)

Restoran Juara Xpress: Chicken Rice (Nasi Ayam Goreng (MYR5.30)). Thank you Eilvane for holding the bite so we can take photos.

The quantity of the chicken is not bad, at least the meat is more than cucumber. You can have noodle there too.

Restoran Juara Xpress: Chicken Noodle (Ayam Kon Lou Mee (MYR5.80))

There are 9 other Juara branches in Sabah:
Tel: +60 88-433653
Opening Hours: 10am – 9:30pm daily

Phoenix Restaurant (名凰阁)

Our next stop is a Chinese restaurant called Phoenix Restaurant (名凰阁) next to Upperstar.

Phoenix Restaurant (名凰阁) opens from 5pm to 11pm daily

We tried the following dishes:
– Pork Belly with Salted Fish 咸鱼花腩煲 MYR12 (S) MYR20 (M)
– Nam Lu Chicken Wing 南乳鸡翼 MYR10 (S) MYR20 (L)
– Fried Tom Yam Meehoon 炒冬炎米粉 MYR10
– Ikan Bakar (Grilled Fish) from Paul Ikan Panggang (separate stall in this restaurant) MYR4/100gram

Phoenix Restaurant (名凰阁) : Pork Belly with Salted Fish (咸鱼花腩煲) MYR12 (S) MYR20 (M)

Phoenix Restaurant (名凰阁) : Nam Lu Chicken Wing (南乳鸡翼) MYR10 (S) MYR20 (L)

I like their Pork Belly with Salted Fish and Nam Lu Chicken Wing, very appetizing.

Phoenix Restaurant (名凰阁) : Fried Tom Yam Meehoon (炒冬炎米粉) MYR10 (meat / seafood)

Paul Ikan Panggang: Ikan Bakar (Grilled Stingray) MYR4/100gm

More info of Phoenix Restaurant:
Facebook: PhoenixRestaurantkk
Tel: +60 13-9720333 (Eddie Law, 阿聰)
Opening Hours: 5pm to 11pm daily

Ikan Bakar Nicholas (Grilled Fish)

We tried Grilled Fish of Ikan Bakar Nicholas in Kedai Kopi Memang (美满).

Ikan Bakar Nicholas

The grilled fish we had was a flounder, which costs MYR14 (MYR3.50 per 100gram)

Ikan Bakar Nicholas: MYR14 (MYR3.50/100gm)

Ladleful BBQ Steamboat Buffet

MYR30 for a steamboat buffet sounds too good to be true, but I find it at Menggatal Plaza. Ladleful BBQ Steamboat Buffet serves no pork and the following is the rate:
– Adult MYR30
– Child MYR15
– Under 5 is Free Of Charge

Ladleful BBQ Steamboat Buffet (Adult: MYR30, Child: MYR15)

Ladleful BBQ Steamboat Buffet

Though the buffet isn’t expensive, the food is not cheapo. They have good variety of meat, seafood and vegetables, and soft drink and ice cream are included.

Ladleful BBQ Steamboat Buffet

Ladleful BBQ Steamboat Buffet

Facebook: Ladleful
Opening Hours: 6pm – 11pm daily
Tel: +60 16-5122111

About Manggatal (Menggatal) Town

The correct name of this town should be Manggatal (means itchy). During British colonial era, the river there was used like a highway. There were many types of Mango trees grew along the river bank. One of them is the Bulunuh tree. Unfortunately, this bulunuh tree gives off latex which can cause body allergic reaction if contacted. To counter the itch, you have to get an old shirt of the person and tie strips of the shirt around the tree. This shall stop the allergies ASAP.

Photos taken in Menggatal (Kota Kinabalu), Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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