PEr FYI

April 29, 2012

Nha Hang Cha Ca La Vong, Ho Chi Minh City…Don’t bother to eat here

Cha ca la vong – a very popular Northern Vietmanese dish – is catfish fillet marinated in tumeric plus sauteed onions, garlic, roasted peanuts with tons of dill.  This fish is served on a sizzling silver platter with a plate of fresh lettuce, herbs, and rice vermicelli. The sauces served with this dish are the shrimpy fish sauce and the regular mixed light fish sauce. There is also crispy fried sesame rice paper served with this dish.

After having sampled this authentic Vietnamese dish in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, I’m finally starting to be able to distinguish great cha ca from the so-so stuff, and honestly the stuff here is a little below so-so.  It’s kind of too light here. The turmeric marinade isn’t as pungent (in a positive way) or strong as it usually is. The shrimpy sauce and light fish sauce are also a bit too light. They also use a different sesame rice paper than is usually served.

Nha Hang Cha Ca La Vong sounded good as a local place that has been going for 5 generations serving only one dish. The only positive – they do have a nice interior design.

 

The search for good cha ca in HCMC continues…..

This is the true truth as I say it as it is…..

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April 22, 2012

Wild Honey, Singapore…You’d die of old age before the food leaves the kitchen

Sat down and ordered at 9.30am and 45 minutes later, nothing’s arrived…not even my orange juice. For two people in a breakfast meeting, moving off to our next appointments, that was totally unacceptable!

Between the not-so-competent hostess and completely unorganized/inexperienced servers behind the bar, I would say that they could probably stand to improve a bit in the service realm. Food-wise, theirs is a refreshing approach of offering all day dining breakfasts from different countries. You can choose Swiss, Japanese, Tunisian, Scandinavian etc depending on your mood and cravings. My Tunisian which was served in a small pan was flavourful, though I didn’t care too much for the spice so early in the morning. The prices for food a bit high, but about what one would expect for ambience. The decor is beautiful, a bit rustic but still fancy.

To their credit, when I expressed my dismay about the delay to Tristan, the supervisor, she listened and apologised. The surprise of the day came, when I was told the bill was waived. That was a pretty good service recovery move. It was a big deal. Odds were I wouldn’t go back to Wild Honey after that service lapse. Tristan acknowledged their error, fixed it immediately and said sorry. Now she has given me a reason to keep going back, even if they’ve erred. She cared and tried hard. As far as customer service goes, Tristan knew how to be forgiven her trespasses. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

April 15, 2012

AOT Limousine, Bangkok…depends if comfort, cost or speed is more important for you

Along the back wall at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok are various booths for AOT Limousines where you can pre-purchase your limousine transfer, whilst waiting for your luggage to arrive. Tell them your destination hotel and select a car (from 8 vehicle types) from the photograph. Depending upon your budget. 1100-1400 Baht will get you to most hotels in Bangkok in a well maintained and clean vehicle

From my experiences, the prices are always arbitrary. Once I was quoted a price for a Camry and then the price was reduced twice. But only after paying, I was told that the reduced price was for a smaller vehicle, which is not readily available and that I would have to wait for 30 minutes. To upgrade to a Camry which was on hand, I had to top up and pay supplement charges.

If there were better alternatives, I wouldn’t use AOT Limousine services. But the option is a taxi and the  problem with the taxis is that I always seem to score the stinky ones that are about to fall to bits. The AOT limos uses clean cars with English speaking drivers. But do remember to confirm if the toll payments are inclusive of the fee.

But now that the Bangkok Airport Rail Link has started operations, who knows? Comfort, cost or speed? This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

April 8, 2012

Ghee Hiang, Penang…I am officially a full fledged fan of the “Pong Pneah”

My favourite food stuff, whenever I visit Penang is the  “tau sar pneah” (a flaky biscuit with green beans – or commonly known as mung bean – fillings) and  “pong pneah” (somewhat akin to Hong Kong’s  “lou poh peng” – an equally fluffy biscuit with white sugar). Ghee Hiang is the local go-to house with freshly made pastries (they are made fresh every day)–both sweet and savory types.

Though I find that the Tau Sar Pneah at Ghee Hiang is not quite comparable to their rival’s, Him Heang, I particularly love their pong pneah — DANGEROUSLY DELICIOUS! They are so fluffy you can use them as a pillow that you will later bite into for the most amazing caramel goodness you’ll ever taste.

Instead of buying that lousy T-shirt, why don’t you buy the best biscuits in town? This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

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