October 30, 2011

Phulwani Trading Est, Dubai…A true fabric store…with tailoring (if you want)

Filed under: Shopping, UAE — Tags: , , , , , — PEr @ 8:55 pm

I will be honest.  I have a love/hate relationship with Phulwani.  They have an amazing selection.  They carry a great variety of high quality fabrics from the subcontinent, primarily for clothing – suits, shirts and skirts. From simple cottons to elaborate silks and wools – there are some great fabrics.  However, I do have a problem.

The prices.  Yes, I understand these are premium fabrics HOWEVER, I do think they are marked up more than they should be.  Don’t get me wrong, this place isn’t expensive, but you need to really bargain them down. Many years ago, they were reasonably priced, but now it’s a little harder on the bank account.

Phulwani can also organise for tailoring. Decent tailoring, cheaply priced and fast (within 48 hours). This is not Wal-Mart or Jo-Ann’s, but a true fabric store with a vast array of textile possibilities. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

October 27, 2011

Restaurant Swee Ang, Johor Baru…standard acceptable fare

They offer an extensive menu of chinese dishes and soups…from ginseng chicken soup to pigs stomach soup to mushroom ball soup to crab ball soup to pork liver with lean meat soup to maw soup, the list goes on and on….
The food was okay. Nothing to complain about, but also not something to wake me up for in the middle of the night. If ever there was something to attract me there, it would be the wat dan hor – thin flat hor fun noodles fried in dark sauce before being drowned in tasty seafood gravy. I created a combo of my own, mixing it with the gravy of the pork intestines.
I am not a die hard fan of this stall, but I will for sure be a once-in-a-while repeat customer. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

October 26, 2011

Hing Fat Restaurant, Hong Kong…I get hungry just thinking about this “cha chaan teng” (Chinese tea diner)

Dining in a Cha Chaan Teng is listed as one’s top 10 things to do in Hong Kong. I have returned to this this simple no-nonsense Cha Chaan Teng often. Food arrives fresh and warm. I am served well and ably within a reasonable amount of time.

Its mouthwatering menu of Chinese cuisine serves classic favorites such as Char leong (yau char kuey in chee cheong fun skin), Cheong Fun (steamed rice roll with shrimp), Siew Mai and steam turnip cake. You’ve probably figured out by now that this place is not serving up fine cuisine but comfort food, but nevertheless, I get hungry just thinking about those dishes.

You can’t consider yourself to have experienced Hong Kong until you step into a such a Cha Chaan Teng and experienced the ambience and buzz in the eatery – the brusque service, the fast-in-fast-out turnover of the place, and the noisy atmosphere and general busy-ness of the place. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

October 16, 2011

Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant, Singapore…for that late night/early morning dim sum craving

Open overnight from 6pm to 10am, Swee Choon Tim Sum serves up pretty decent Hong Kong and Shanghai dim sum at reasonable prices.

There’s even a chef to knead la-mian on show. Their pork chop la mian is plain la mian in a clear and light-tasting broth with the fried pork chop served on a separate plate. The pork chop is rather tender. The juicy pork dumpling or Xiao Long Bao which is decent as well – the skin is very thin, the soup is quite tasty.

TO TRY: Deep fried shrimp paste chicken wings. It is surprisingly delicious.

The air-conditioned interior is kept clean and simple. Service was very friendly, efficient and attentive and the food came very quickly.

P.S. I love their chee cheong fun…it’s awesome. This is still the true truth as I still say it as it is…

October 12, 2011

Social House, Restaurant Bar Winepost, Jakarta…Design and ambience rocks but food and service sucks


Located in the upscale Harvey Nichols gourmet grocery store, the ultra chic Social House is acutally one of the hippiest venues in Jakarta. There’s an open-air bar with stunning views of the fountain on Plaza Indonesia’s roundabout and the surrounding cityscape. Well designed with balcoy with couches, low tables and sofa are arranged to create cozy areas. It is definitely designed to impress…after all it is part of the group behind Blowfish and Dragonfly.

That’s as far as the “wow” goes.

They serve Asian-European fusion dishes. My oxtail soup was extremely salty and the rest of the food was not spectcular either, sorry to say. We all aged significantly before our drinks arrive. The service was terribly s……..l……………o………….w.

Oh another thing. It was so smoky in non-smoking area, we needed oxygen masks.

Go hangout at this place, but remember, order a drink. Don’t eat. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

October 11, 2011

Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Washington DC…just a notch better than McD or Burger King

Their made-fresh-to-order burgers are not too bad and you get to pick your own toppings – all of them – mayo, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, green peppers, even grilled onions, grilled mushrooms. The buns are an eggy, brioche-like bread with that bakery whiff of sweetness,

The downside? The not-crunchy, not-crisp limpy cajun fries are a huge disappointment. You get a whole potato truckload of them with your order but they are overly greasy and always undercooked on the inside.  

In a world replete with fast-food burgers, Five Guys Burgers and Fries has attained iconic status in Washington, D.C. but to me, frankly, it’s just a notch better than McDonald’s or Burger King. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

October 9, 2011

Taitong Delicious Shark Fin Soup, Bangkok…now everyone can enjoy shark fin

Two of the most luxurious foods in the world – Shark Fin and Bird’s Nest – are available in Bangkok at such value price that you don’t have to be mega-rich to enjoy and indulge in it. These expensive delicacies are the finest ways to flaunt your wealth, but here at Taitong, to paraphrase Air Asia, at last everyone can eat shark fin.
The fibrous shark fin is tender and delicate, absorbing the subtle flavours of other ingredients in the steaming claypot of broth. The soup was thick and rich with a deep, earthy and almost fungal flavour. Yet, it was unmistakably shark-flavoured.
Taitong opens in the evening and stays open till late at night. It is a stall lined at the sidewalk in Chinatown in soi Charoenkrung 46, Bangrak, very close to the Shangri-la hotel. Though it’s at the roadside, it’s safe as it is in a lesser traffic lane and probably with less pollution.
That was the good news. And here’s the even better news: Price range from 400 baht for a pot which is good for two. This is the true truthas I say it as it is…

October 2, 2011

Ngoc Suong Marina Seafood Cuisine, Ho Chi Minh City…the place to go if you don’t scrimp on your seafood

Situated in District 3, the majority of the dishes are Vietnamese specialties. Shrimp may come raw, steamed with beer or in coconut juice. There is also a smattering of Western preparations—lobster Thermidor and Coquilles St. Jacques (French style baked scallops).

The ambience is the big plus – swathes of space are carved into cosy corners with décor that is tasteful with a subtle nautical. On top of that, the service staff are all very nice.

We had Ngoc Suong fish salad (goi ca ngoc suong) and grilled winkles (oc huong nuong). My favourite was the seafood au gratin (hai san dut lo).

This is the kind of restaurant you go to if you are not or don’t intend to travel like a backpacker when you go to HCMC and don’t scrimp on it’s culinary delights! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

October 1, 2011

Wafi Gourmet, Dubai…GREAT views, DECENT food, very UNFRIENDLY service.

Last Sunday  I had an odd and unpleasant experience at Wafi Gourmet in Dubai Mall. The food was okay– decent Arabic seafood. The location plus its views were GREAT, food DECENT but very UNFRIENDLY service.

I braved the  42 degrees heat, and chose to sit outdoors on the terrace, just so that I can enjoy the fountains and was immediately greeted by the sweet hint of shisha.  The key advantage of this restaurant is its location. You get to enjoy the Dubai fountain and the majestic Burj Al Khalifa.

The food on offer is of the Arabic variety (where Arabic cuisine is by default taken to mean Lebanese) – mezze, kebabs, shawarma, and a variety of Lebanese preparations along with fresh fruit juices and pastries. My order was  five perfectly cooked jumbo prawns, each prepared with spices. It was ok…decent.

Despite the nice food and superb location of the restaurant, the dining experience was soured by the very bad and unfriendly service. Not one waiter was smiling. They just don’t care. I was mostly ignored and by the end of the meal I felt uncomfortable, unwelcome, and disappointed. I’m deeply saddened that a place with such beautiful surroundings and great potential is run this way.

Moreover, it’s way overpriced. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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