PEr FYI

September 30, 2011

Mei Keng Fatt Seafood Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur…Average food for high prices

The pricing of the food here is rather pricey compared to other local seafood restaurants / tai chow places. Apparently (I found out later) that this place targets the Gwailo and foreign $$$.

Their signature dish is the chilli crab. Even if you’re not a crab fan, you can always have a deep fried bun (man tao) dipped in the delicious chilli sauce. The place had simple decor, and plenty of outside seating. Service was casual and not bothersome.

Overall the food quality is nothing special. You can find this at a lot of places in Kuala Lumpur. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

September 23, 2011

Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop, Hong Kong…Nothing to write home about

I’ve had my fair share of bad wanton noodle, but this was just….whoa, not good at all.

Never, never, never order the dry noodle. I have always enjoyed dry-style wanton noodle but not when it’s Gobi-desert dry, bland and uninspiring like what I had here. The wonton filling wasn’t too thrilling either.  The dry noodles were so repulsive, I ended up soaking each mouthful of  noodle into the small bowl of soup. Only then, it’s decent, but not something to write home (or here) about.

Certainly not one of the better wanton noodle place in Hong Kong. I’ve had better elsewhere. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

September 18, 2011

Le Cafe Confectionary & Pastry, Singapore…Golfball-sized pineapples tarts from pastry heaven

If you like your pineapple tarts big, fat and round, try the buttery, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth golfball-sized ones here. I loved the way the crisp, rich yet light outer crust melted in my mouth. There’s nothing to fault about the filling as well…distinct, moist and well-textured.

Trouble is…they are addictive. Once you pop one into your mouth, you can’t stop and want more. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

September 17, 2011

Mamink Daeng Tata, Jakarta…their Tata Ribs is one of the best ribs I’ve had.

This place serves mostly food from Makassar, Sulawesi. They have branches in Tebet, Permata Hijau, Pasar Minggu and Bandung. I tried the one at Jl Casablanca. The place is not air-conditioned and is slightly better off than a warong (stall).

 I had the iga bakar which is their star dish…..aptly named Tata Ribs (Grilled ribs), but their Coto (Soup) or their Konro (Soup with Boiled Ribs) on other patrons’ tables looked good too. I rate my Tata Ribs up there with Tony Roma’s and Sizzler’s – this is practically one of the best ribs I have had. It has the perfect balance of chewy meat and melty fat.

Service is pretty good too. Great place for a quick lunch. Don’t miss this place if you are in the area. This is the true truth as i say it as it is…

September 10, 2011

Ford’s Theatre, Washington DC…like a travel back in time.

Ford’s Theatre was an amazing experience to tour – to see where Lincoln was sitting when he was shot.

You must get tickets at the box office, but entry is free. How he died is just sad and you feel it when they tell the story of that night. In the actual theater, you can peer at the Presidential Box where the President and his wife and guests were seated – where no one is allowed to sit anymore.  There is also a museum in the theater, with interesting pieces like the gun used to shoot Lincoln, Booth’s diary, knife and boot, etc. I thought Lincoln died in Ford’s Theater, but he actually died in a house across the street called the Peterson House. The ticket you get at Ford’s Theatre is the same one you use to visit the Peterson House, but I didn’t have time to go in there.

This FREE tour and site is well organized. It was awesome to feel like a tourist traveling back in time. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

September 8, 2011

Thuong Xa Tax (Saigon Tax Trade Center), Ho Chi Minh City…looking for eye-popping lacquerware at good bargains? This is the place

There’s one golden rule to shopping in Vietnam: bargain, and bargain hard. If you’re looking for bargains on just about anything, this is the place. The vendors are easygoing, and easy to bargain with. They are hungry to close a deal.  

The Tax center, formerly known as the Russian market, offers it all. The ground floor mostly specializes is locally made gold and silver jewelry and a reasonably sized supermarket selling a good array of local and imported food stuff on the 2nd floor. Of special note is the 4th floor where you will find all the amazingly beautiful lacquerware – the traditional industry in Vietnam. The entire floor showacases an eye-popping selection of diverse designs and colours of lacquer boxes, vases, coasters, plates, trays, curved plates, etc

The most important rule of bargaining is to be cool. Raising your voice, looking angry, and making accusations will only characterize you as a rich, clueless, ungracious foreigner who deserves to be ripped off. In the Vietnamese mind, such people are being obnoxiously haughty and superior. It is well worth the loss of a sale to tell such a person to screw off. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

September 6, 2011

Salt ‘n’ Pepper Cafe Restaurant, Johor Baru…Craptacular!

Don’t even think of eating here. My stomach was very angry at me for filling it with what this place tried to convince us was food.

Based on my visit to the buffet in Salt ‘n’ Pepper Cafe Restaurant, if this is acceptable, then all the other buffets in Malaysia are somewhere between a dumpster and an 19th century chamber pot in a malaria hospital. It would be tolerable if the food were delicious, but it is not nice at all. I tasted chicken with the consistency of owl pellets and what I think might have been a pan full of caterpillars covered in orange marmalade. The sad buffet was stocked with hideous looking stuff that were seemingly emptied out of somebody’s pockets shortly before our arrival. These all have the same taste and consistency (bad) and might be part of a government program to choke foodies to death. Nothing was good.

Ignore this place like you do beggars or cries for help from alleyways. I would rather lick toilets in Geylang for sustenance. This is really the true truth because I say it as it is…

September 4, 2011

Causeway Bay West Villa Restaurant, Hong Kong…the char siew pau gets FOUR exclamation marks!!!!

Like many other dim sum places, West Villa serves dim sum at lunch. It’s known fot its “Tai Ko char siew” (translated: “Big Brother Char Siew”)- apparently they named their specialty BBQ pork after Jackie Chan because he likes it so much. And true to form, the irresistible BBQ pork bun (Cha Xiu bao) has superb fillings, the slightly sweetened flavour was balanced perfectly and the bun’s texture was great. Best of all, the pork is crispy on the outside whilst moist and juicy on the inside.

The restaurant is large by Hong Kong standards. The décor is bright and the tables spacious. For a late lunch (it was past 1pm when I got there) it was still pretty busy, mainly with locals – always a good sign.

Char siu bao at lots of other places are slushy textured BBQ pork on the inside, but the BBQ pork buns here is all meat.  No slushy fat.  The bread was nice and soft.  I have tasted lots of good ones, but the ones here seals the deal. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

September 3, 2011

Tanjong Pagar Pandan Leaf Nasi Lemak, Singapore…fantastic value for money and amazingly delicious

A plate of nasi lemak (rice cooked in rich coconut milk), which comes with pandan-flavored rice and your personal choice of three condiments (I chose a fried chicken drumstick, a piece of luncheon meat and a piece of otah) costs only $2.50. The huge really fresh fried drumstick is exceptionally crispy, tender and as a colonel would say it…finger-licking good.

The difference between a good nasi lemak and an exceptionally marvelous nasi lemak lies in the use of pandan leaves (screwpine leaves). Possessing highly fragrant floral smell, these leaves are used to infuse rice dishes or desserts with the signature aroma; a nasi lemak will not be a true nasi lemak without their presence. At this 02-43 stall, the rice even has pandan colour all over and has the most amazing aroma.

This pandan leaf nasi lemak is easily the best I have tasted in Singapore in the six over years I have been here. Anjd at $2.50 it’s fantastic value as well. Thank god, there are still stalls like 02-43 out there. They are a vanishing breed. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

September 2, 2011

City Segway Tours, Washington DC…Yes. Yes. Yes. You must do this.

As an experienced Segway rider (is that nerdy? yes it is), I was ok with the quick instructional time and the hilarious safety video where a stick person falls off a Segway in every way imaginable and in the worst ways possible. Then the guide takes you outside to an alley for a practice run.

The tour itself was pretty awesome. The tourguide was well-informed and we hit up a lot of spots that I wanted to visit anyways on foot. I tried walking the day before but retired after covering only Washington monument, Lincoln memorial, WWII and the Vietnam and Korea war memorials.  It was just too taxing on the feet.

Riding a Segway just kicks ass.  There is no better place than the National Mall to ride one of these babies around.
I recommend this tour to anyone visiting the D.C. area whether or not you’ve seen the sights.  This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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