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Saturday, 25 January 2014

Take A Taste Of Sabah Home - Gaya Souvenir Centre 沙巴特产屋

If you ask any local Sabahan what the must-visit street is in Kota Kinabalu, Gaya Street will definitely be the first answer.
Gaya Street during the CNY night market
Photo source:
Home to the famous Sunday morning street market, night markets during festive seasons (the Chinese New Year one is happening all this week!), some of the best famed local eateries, and shops such as sundry and textile that take you back to the olden days, it's no wonder a visit to KK is not complete without a walk down Jalan Gaya (or 加雅街).

Gaya Souvenir Centre, on the corner of the block nearest to the old library.
Located in the middle of town, Gaya Street (which is always busy due to the fact that nearly every bank you can think of can be found there) is the perfect location for Gaya Souvenir Shop to open its doors for tourists who would like to take some of Sabah's specialties home with them.

Selling mainly food items, Gaya Souvenir Shop has a vast variety of different flavours for both the safe and the daring taste buds. Dried mango slices are loved the world over, but wouldn't it be fun to sneakily offer your friends back home some spicy chocolate? Now there's a gift you don't find every day!

Freeze-Dried Crispy Durian Slices  RM20.90/packet
A big hit with tourists from Hong Kong & China.
Kara Squid Flavoured Fish Snack (Original/Spicy)  RM12.50/pack
Great for little gifts as there are 40 mini packets in each pack.
Dried Mango Slices  RM15.90/packet
Coated with honey instead of the usual sugar powder.
Featuring Charlotte & Tom!
Durian / Coconut Candy  RM10.90/packet
Coated with
gula melaka (brown sugar) instead of normal sugar.
Fruity Chocolates: Mango, Jackfruit, Mangosteen, Coconut, Banana, Durian  RM24.90/box
Unique Chocs: Sabah Tea flavoured, Tongkat Ali, and Cili Padi (Small Chilli)  RM24.90/box
Birds' Nest Candy  RM15.90/box
All the yumminess of a birds' nest in a little candy!
Or the original Borneo birds' nests - Price ranging into the thousands depending what grade you want!
Note: Guaranteed to pass through customs if you're taking it overseas.
Tongkat Ali - Price also very much dependent on what type you buy.
Note: Red Tongkat Ali is the most expensive (and rarest), followed by black, with yellow being the most common.
The benefits of Tongkat Ali, other than the widely-known "male health energizer", include stronger bones, relieves high blood pressure, reduces blood sugar levels, increases metabolism etc. All you have to do is chip some of the root off, soak for about an hour, then boil for another hour. Remove the chips, and your Tongkat Ali tea is ready for consumption!
You can even make it into an alcoholic beverage! Soak the Tongkat Ali slices in alcohol for 3 months - You can try it at Gaya Souvenir Centre this March! =P
Is coffee addiction part of your daily life? Well the selection of aromatic coffee available at Gaya Souvenir Centre will definitely satisfy your needs! Starting with a non-Sabahan product, widely claimed the world over to be the best in the world, Kopi Luwak is Indonesia's coffee pride.
Best coffee in the world - I sh*t you not!
Commonly known as "cat poop coffee", connoisseurs around the world swear it's #1 - and with a price tag of RM118/box, it better be! =) 
If you love coffee but arent quite taken by the thought of drinking animal poop, Sabah has various different coffees which are well-known in their own right:
L-R: Sabah Taste White Coffee, Sabah Tenom Coffee, Sabah Tenom Coffee (No Sugar), Sabah Taste 3 in 1 Coffee Mix, and Traditional Sabah White Coffee in Hazelnut, Coconut and Durian Flavour.

Bak Kut Teh (Herbal Soup) mix - Sandakan style with black pepper  RM9.90/box 
I think this was like the only non-consumable product they had on sale, though that may change once the 2nd floor renovation is done:
Sea Cucumber Oil (Handmade) Soap  RM10/bar
It was an interesting trip, and a fun one trying out some of our local produce. Definitely a good place to stop by while going on your heritage walk along Gaya Street and up to the Atkinson Clock Tower!
Check out the write-ups of Rungitom, Ah Bing, Charlotte and Diana
Gaya Souvenir Centre
Ground Floor & 1st Floor, Lot 119 Wismas Bumi Jalan Gaya. Gaya Street, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Tel/Fax: 088-266191

Great Fortune Marketing Sdn. Bhd.
Lot B-G-16 & B-01-16, Ground & 1st Floor, Block B warisan Square, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Malaysia.
Tel/Fax: 088-447699

Til next time,
Calista xx 
(While munching on my last mango chocolate. Yum.)

Saturday, 18 January 2014

To Tame Or Not To Tame; American Apparel Wants Your Opinion

The internet has been abuzz about a new fashion statement. What's new, right? The fashion industry has always been volatile; with most trends here today, gone tomorrow. But one trend that has been very much a constant, especially in the "modern era", is that women should be pretty much hairless, you-know-where.

American Apparel has many-an-eyebrow raised at their newest display mannequins. Right in the front window of their New York store, stand 3 seemingly normal mannequins - female, loosely tied-back hair, glasses - wearing sheer lingerie. Nothing so shocking about that, I'm sure you're thinking.
Photo source:
Except that under that lingerie, are very obvious nipples, and, more shockingly, very unkempt "pubic hair".

According to various online newspapers and websites, District Visual Manager Dee Myles says that it is "important to have instances spark up curiosity and conversation about what we deem beautiful and sexy." And the American Apparel New York window display is set to send tongues a-wagging with that very taboo topic of conversation.

Looking at their website, they have kept to their "theme" of letting their models go au naturale (though very much more manicured); and their stand of no photoshopping also seems to be true:
Left: Visible pubic hair; Right: Un-photoshopped armpits
So what are your thoughts on this "controversy"? Should we subject ourselves to the pain of waxing our (very sensitive) private areas to a clean slate? Or do you not mind going (or your partner for that matter) au naturale? Maybe, a little "gardening", or "trimming of the bush" would be satisfactory? The online world seems split between the "I Love It!"s and the "Eww That's Disgusting!"s - where do you stand?

Drop me a comment with your opinions on the matter, and maybe why you think that way? Or even just a comment on what you think of the display, regardless of your thoughts on personal maintenance! ;p

Til next time,
Calista xx

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Family of Fruits Farmer 果农之家 - Sweet Delights in Every Dish!

Happy new year guys! How's 2014 going so far? Have you made any resolutions this year? Had success with any of last year's resolutions? Drop me a comment - I'd love to know!

Continuing on with my Taiwan Leisure Farm adventures, the next stop on our list was a lunch stop. The Fruits Family Restaurant / Leisure Farm serves exactly that: fruit incorporated into every dish! Yep, every single one!

The reception area, where you can get a cup of tea before entering
Part of the Tian Mama (田妈妈) group, you can be sure that all the fruits are organic, and picked fresh from their farm, located just behind the restaurant. To be accepted as a Tian Mama certified restaurant, the food has to not only be delicious, but healthy as well! How's that for a stamp of approval?

Resting spot just outside the restaurant for those who like to breathe fresh air as their lunch goes down
After taking a quick walk around the farm, the owner explained that visitors could come and pick as many fruits as they could eat straight off the trees, for a small price. Patrons are also welcome to relax on the farm after having their lunch. Unfortunately for us, September is the "transition" month, which means there were no fruits blossoming for us to pick. Shinny (our guide) told us that longan season had just passed, and orange season was in October.
And the farm stretches on!
The odd starfruit can still be found hanging around
As we walked into the restaurant, the sweet smells told us we wouldnt have to wait long to savour the delicious food Fruits Family had to offer. The dishes started coming out not a minute after we sat down!

Clockwise from left: Stir-fried Wild Vegetables with Garlic & Onions 野菜料理; Passion Fruit Sweet & Sour Fish 时果金黄鱼; Papaya Peanut Salad 青木瓜丝; Pineapple Pork Belly 菠萝虎拳; Ginseng Chicken Soup 龙葵鸡汤.
L-R: Tofu in fruit sauce; Durian Battered Prawns 榴莲炸虾; Mango Pork
Desserts! Mangosteen Prawn Salad & Banana Popiah with Alfalfa Sprouts
Verdict? All were deliciously yummy! My favourite was definitely the mango pork and banana popiah - just enough fruity taste to not overwhelm your "main meal" taste buds!

So how much can you expect to pay for such a mouth-watering feast? Check out the price list:

2 pax    NT800     7 dishes 1 soup
4 pax    NT1600   8 dishes 1 soup
6 pax    NT2400   9 dishes 1 soup
8 pax    NT3200   10 dishes 1 soup
10 pax  NT4000   11 dishes 1 soup

Not bad for a balanced meal that tastes like heaven! So next time you're in Taiwan, make a trip to Mijhih and complete your trip while bonding with family and friends over the variety of famed fresh Taiwanese fruits!

Mijhih Fruits Family 果农之家
Address: No. 6, Mijhih Vil., Nansi District, Tainan, Taiwan.   地址:台南县楠西乡密枝村6号
Hotline 订餐专线: 06-5750035 / 5750167 
Website 网站:

Til next time,
Calista xx