A Decade of Mount Kinabalu: Going Places (Part 4 of 4)

This is the last part to this four parts article.  Part 3 of this article can be found here.

With a heavy heart, we left the Little Hut.  The rain clouds were beginning to set in, so we made haste and proceeded to our next destination hoping that the weather will maintain.

We made our way to Desa Cattle, which was conveniently situated along our journey.  I have been a constant visitor to this farm since I started my love affair with Mount Kinabalu.

Welcome to Desa!
Almost each trip, I will bring my group to see the black and white cows that are unique to Desa Cattle. What’s best is that the entrance fee is quite minimal, charging only RM4 per person.
Employee of the month
Inside, visitors get to see gigantic cylinders used to store the milk, and the processes that it goes through all the way until the final packaged milk in the familiar white and black box. Visitors are also able to see the actual cow milking process which only happens at 3 pm everyday.

Conveyor Belt 

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Desa Cattle has seen a lot of changes throughout the year.  Years ago, from a simple farm that produces milk until today, a fully commercialized area that even has souvenir stalls, food products made with Desa Milk and even a calf and goat feeding and petting area.

Past with flying colours
Wendy practicing her maternal skills on the calf. Pass.
Milkmaid
Wendy then tries her practicing her maternal skills on the goat. Pass as well!
Chewing gum
Patricia did not want to lose out and tries her hand at feeding the goat.
Happy Goat
“Yummy. By the way, I like your hair”, says the goat.
Missing mom
“Now where did that milk lady go”, asks the goat.
Acrobatic Show
“Come climb to the top, the humans love it.”, says goat to the other goats.
Scenic view
Apart from seeing the factory and the live feeding area, visitors also get to enjoy very scenic views of the mountain range behind the fresh green grasses.
Pre-wedding
Even soon-to-be weds come all the way here to have their pre wedding shots taken. The grass is so green here that it makes as a good natural contrast for any picture taking.
Top quality grass
Even the cows knows what is good quality grass when they eat it. Seen in this picture is one cow giving his tongue of approval. Click to see the bigger picture if you don’t believe me.

Once everyone was satisfied molesting the cows and the goats, we started making our way to our next destination for some souvenirs:  The souvenir market of Nabalu.

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The souvenir market at Nabalu offers plenty of souvenirs to choose from.  If the stalls were arranged into one single file, I would bet it would stress more than a mile long.  Here, it is a normal practice to get into bargaining for the best price with the stall keepers.

After quickly getting our souvenirs (it was already beginning to drizzle at that point), our stomach started crying for attention.  Unfortunately, the one and only non-halal coffee shop in that area was not opened.  Without wasting time, we got into our van and continued our journey, keeping our eyes peeled for any interesting looking place to eat.

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There were many stalls that we drove past, most looked as if they have already closed since it was already way past lunch time.  Our hopes of finding a place to eat while driving along this mountain stretch was slowly diminishing.  Then out of the sudden, as if through some divine intervention, a big green structure that screamed “MAKAN HERE!” (makan means eating in Malay) appeared in front of us with its big bright yellow sign which was quite impossible to miss.  (It is located some 15-minutes driving pass junction to Ranau by-pass road, going towards Tambunan.

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Kungfu Master

The owner of the place who also happens to be the chef gave us a very dazzling show of cookery.  This is a trait that skillful chinese cooks have in common; their ‘kungfu’ with the wok.  The picture of him above, gloriously handling the wok with such intense yet beautiful flame just to prepare a simple baby kailan dish!

Mouth watering
We were already mouth-watering even as the dishes were being cooked. It didn’t help that I was taking pictures of the process!

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Some of the delicious food that we ordered (clockwise from top-left):  Herbal Chicken Soup, Soy Vinegar Pork Leg, Fried Chicken Wings, Baby Kailan in Garlic sauce.   Guess which one of his dishes was our favourite?  The Baby Kailan in garlic sauce!  It was so good that we ordered it a second time!

Sinalau Bakas
We could not believe our luck! Not only did we find that delicious Bah Kut Teh shop in the middle of nowhere, right next to it was a stall selling Sinalau Bakas. ‘Sinalau Bakas’ is Kadazan word for BBQ Wild Boar meat.
Starting a fire
Upon enquiry, the old lady at the stall offered us RM10 for 1kg of the BBQ Wild Boar Meet. That’s extremely cheap in Sabah’s standards, usually going for around RM18 per kg. We did not even hesitate (okay maybe a bit) and placed an order for 2kg of the heavenly food ! (Just for the record, we hesitated only because we were not sure if we could finish 2kg of it!) The old lady happily obliged and picked up some wood and chucked it into the fireplace.
The fireplace
Using natural dry wood for the BBQ gives the meat that smoky aroma goodness. We waited patiently while our 2 kg of lean mean non halal wild boar meat was being grilled to perfection.
Heavenly Aroma
Alas, served and devoured within minutes. The Sinalau Bakas has a more aromatic flavour to it and is slightly tangier compared to normal BBQ pork.

Needless to say, all of us were stuffed till our throats.  Never did we imagine we would have such a fulfilling lunch in such a predicament.  After our late lunch, we continued our journey back to Kota Kinabalu City.  Borneo Backpackers has always been my choice of affordable accommodation in KK.  After tidying ourselves up, we wasted no time and walked (still with our legs screaming in pain) to the nearest shopping mall The Suria Sabah, followed by dinner at Welcome Seafood Restaurant.

Welcome Seafood Restaurant
Welcome Seafood Restaurant stretches almost the whole of Asia City’s mall, with its bright lights accompanied by happy faces and joyous laughter all around. First impressions definitely lived up to its name, ‘Welcome’. Welcome Seafood Restaurant is well known for its fresh dishes at affordable prices.
The Assignment
Naturally, the famous food critique among us gets assigned to place the orders.
Sorting through
It was interesting, not to mention assuring to see the clams sorted through being filtered one by one. The ones with the empty clam shells are discarded to one side.
King Prawns
Fresh King Prawns just waiting to be selected by customers.
Sea Cucumber
Ever seen live sea cucumber?
Fresh Oysters
Fresh oysters just waiting to be served, one of my favourite seafood dish!
The School
A school of Fresh Talapia fishes swimming synchronously in a group, waiting to make its way to someone’s dinner table.
Conquering the mountain again
Not only did we conquer Mount Kinabalu (me for the 10th time, ahem) two nights ago, we conquered our mountain of food tonight!

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Wendy was crowned the Queen of Crap Crab!

After a good night’s rest, we were ready to continue our journey.  Getting up in the wee hours of the morning around 4 am so that we can make it to Beaufort (2 hours drive) in time for breakfast and most importantly, to catch the train to Tenom.

The train ride itself is one of the highlights of the journey as it is the oldest serving and last good-old-fashion steam-powered train in South East Asia.  Sadly, the weather has again ruined our plans.  The heavy rain last night has flooded many parts of the track and has rendered the tracks impassable.  This was really disappointing especially to me.  I have been on this train once before, and the old-fashioness of the train was really amazing; sitting on the steps of the train with the doors wide open watching everything go by, villages by villages, waving to half-naked little children playing watching the passing train, making conversation with the old lady selling food and other tidbits in the train are among many other interesting things that one can never experience on a modern train.

Determined not to let our plans be ruined, we decided to drive to Tenom ourselves.  Why not, since we have a van!  The drive to Tenom took 2 grueling hours going through any oil-palm plantations and many hilly areas, not exactly a scenic drive.  Finally we arrived at Tenom and I immediately went to have another love affair.  The love of coffee!

Driving along
Yit Foh Tenom Coffee factory is located very near to Tenom town, just around 5 minutes drive. You won’t miss the big sign driving along the road to Tenom.
Seminar
Once inside, the Manager, Mr. Alex who happens to be the owner welcomed us with open arms. We were served a cup of freshly brewed coffee which aroma filled the entire showroom. The Yit Foh documentary video was played for us while we enjoyed every sip of coffee.
The Roast
Visitors are not allowed into the roasting chambers itself, but we get to see the roasting process on the television.
A spoonful of sugar helps the...
Freshly brewed coffee straight from the coffee-bag with some sugar perhaps? Such convenience. Suddenly a song comes to mind… “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine goes down.”
Sipping Slowly
Eric enjoying his coffee while paying attention to the Yit Foh documentary being screened.
Coffee Syphon
Mr. Alex introduced us to a rare and unique method of coffee brewing: the syphon. I was a coffee barista in my previous years, had numerous trainings on all types and ways of preparing coffee and I must admit, this was something new to me too.
Mr. Alex
Mr. Alex enthusiastically showing how the syphon apparatus is to be used.
The procedure
The coffee groups is first placed into the upper compartment of the syphon apparatus, while the water below is being boiled.

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As the water boils and evaporates, the steam makes its way to the upper compartment, mixing with the coffee grounds.  Upon mixing, the steam is converted back into liquid form, and from its weight, makes its way back to the lower compartment as coffee.  How does it taste?  Gin tastes like dry water.  Syphon coffee tastes like dry coffee, the water is there but it leaves a dry after flavour in the mouth.  Very interesting.

Leftovers
The leftover of the coffee grounds after the syphon process.
The showroom
We spent quite some time looking and shopping through the number of products that was offered in the showroom. I love the packaging for the Yit Foh set, which included 5 different types of coffee they offered.
Demo Units
These roasted and unroasted coffee beans was on display in the showroom.
The Ultimate Shopper
Wendy’s the ultimate coffee shopper: those shopping bags full of coffee is not just for show! From her facial expression, she is one satisfied customer!
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All of us posing with Mr. Alex, owner of Yit Foh Tenom Coffee with our bags and bags of coffee products.
Pigeons
I must admit, I have another love. It’s my love for Beaufort. Every trip to Kota Kinabalu must be accompanied by a stop-over at Beaufort. Maybe it’s the delicious to-die-for kueh tiaw. Maybe it’s the laid-back lifestyle there. Maybe it’s the feel of the birds and pigeons constantly hanging around the town. Maybe it’s all of these that I miss each time I leave the place.

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Foo Lim cafe is always my go to place for breakfast.  Their kueh tiaw is always served with generous amount of roasted pork that is three-times thicker sliced that those in cities and a charcoaled aroma that beats any other.

Goodbyes
As I said my goodbyes with Beaufort once again, I managed to capture this dramatic moment when a passer-by was going about his everyday life walking through the flock of pigeons.

It was back to reality, after a 6 days of love affair.  A 10th anniversary love affair.  Will I be back to have another affair with Mount Kinabalu?  I think the right question to ask is, “Why not?”.  I hope that one day I would be able to bring my son (currently 11 years old) to climb the mountain with me.  I pray that my knees has not failed me by then.

Apart from Mount Kinabalu, I have a keen interest in climbing Mount Rinjani in Lombok, Indonesia next.  Although not as high as Mount Kinabalu, the fact that Rinjani has a lake crater from an active volcano is enough to excite the soul!

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