PEr FYI

April 26, 2015

Antonió’s, Macau… If you can only try one Portuguese restaurant in Macau, make it this one

Macau is Hong Kong’s diminutive little brother. Over four hundred of Portuguese influence has added an extra flavour to everything from the architecture to the indigenous Macanese cuisine.

Portuguese Chef Antonio Coelho, owner and founder, is a Star Chef of Macau and his restaurant has been awarded by Michelin, The Louis Vuiton Guide, Chaine des Rotisseurs, among others. There are no gimmicks here, simply excellent, solid Macanese and Portuguese food. Antonio’s menu overflows with enticing-sounding items. One that shines is the roasted homemade Portuguese sausage which is especially good. The African chicken (imported chicken from Portugal) combines wonderfully with garlic, onions, ginger and desiccated coconut sauce, served with gratinated potatoes and mixed salad into a deliciously flavourful dish that surely impressed.

The restaurant has splendid Portuguese ambience with traditional vibes and the stroller and his guitar singing English and Portuguese songs makes this place perfect for special occasions.

If you can only try one Portuguese restaurant in Macau, make it this one. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

antonio's macau

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April 25, 2015

Happy Fortune Chinese Restaurant, New York City…a decent hole in the wall Chinese place

I’ve never tried Chinese food in New York…..until now. The entrance is a bit dingy with poster board notices and doesn’t look very inviting at all but this is a decent hole in the wall Chinese place.

Looking around, I guess hot pot must be a big deal here but we ordered dishes from the ala carte menu. The steamed pork juicy buns (8) siow long bao have plenty of flavourful soup inside and has a soft skin wrapping it. Some places have a thicker skin but this is not the case here. The roast duck with hand pulled noodle was pretty good but the roast duck, which was served in the bowl of noodle soup was soggy. Despite its name the pached seafood (fish, shrimp, squid) in chillli broth was not spicy at all. They gave a generous slick of chilli oil instead of adding chili into the broth. The interestingly named mixed seafood on fried rice turned out to be sweet and sour sauce on one half of the fried rice and hor fun gravy on the other. Gravy is more than just a condiment; it’s liquid comfort and this is in interesting dish.

The kitchen does gets things wrong, but when it’s on song – the food is fairly delicious.  This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

chinese ny

April 21, 2015

Shanana, Hangzhou…felt better but not “in heavens”

Filed under: Activities, China, Massage, spa — Tags: , , , — PEr @ 3:44 pm

Like many Asian countries it is quite easy to find a massage in China. I had no clue what to expect at this place (which was recommended by the hotel concierge), but it turned out cleaner and more professional than I expected. This tranquil retreat was legit, not a hint of anything improper.

As for the massage itself, I’d rate it a B. I was looking for Chinese massage- Tuina – but didn’t get that. If you are expecting something like a chiropractic massage, then this is not for you. The pressure is perfect. Hard enough to feel like it’s doing some good but not so hard that I need something to bite on to stop myself from crying out. But try as she might, she couldn’t zoom into the knots in my lower back and thus failed to loosen them. I definitely felt better after the massage, but not “in heavens”.

The best thing – their English is not very good so you never run the chance of getting a CHATTY massage therapist (my pet peeve).This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

shanana hz1

shanana hz2

April 19, 2015

Sabai, Fine Thai on the Bay, Singapore…..easily forgettable

Chef Samlee is known for her skill and expertise in Thai Cuisine. After all for thirty years, she cooked for HRH Princess Srinagarindra while she travelled.

In my mind I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of Thai and fine dining together. I love them both separately so surely I’d love them just as much together? Unfortunately I must say that we were both pretty disappointed with the meal that I received at Sabai as I love Thai food very much.

Let’s start with the positives…The delicious Yam Mamuang (spicy green mango salad with prawns, chicken, roasted coconut, grounded peanuts and sweet sauce) is bursting with fresh flavours and exotic notes. The See-krong moo op nahmpeung (deep-fried smoked honey pork ribs) is unbelievably succulent.

From really good to really bad. The Gang gwio warn gai (authentic green curry with chicken, coconut cream, sweet basil leaves, eggplant and pea eggplant) has a rich, heady flavour that comes with well-seasoned curries but the overall effect is disappointing due to the crappy “Plastic chicken”meat texture which is so rubbery and tasteless. The Pls kao sam rod, ratt prik, tawd gratiem (deep-fried garoupa fillet with three flavoured sauce, spicy and sour sauce or garlic and peppercorns) was so dry…so bad tasting.

A Thai meal would not be complete without a bowl of Dtom yum gung, pla (spicy and sour prawns and fish soup with lemongrass, galangal, chilli, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce and fresh lime juice). Beware though, this one is a tongue-numbing experience.

Sabai is somewhat more expensive than many other Thai restaurants in Singapore, but judging by my recent visit, easily forgettable compared to most Thai food I’ve had.This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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sabai sin1

sabai sin2

April 13, 2015

Wong Chi Kei Noodle & Congee Restaurant, Hong Kong…The thick, creamy and delicious congee here is a “5 Stars Plus” rated meal

There are hundreds of noodle and congee restaurants in Hong Kong, and they’re only getting better. Thank more discerning diners with higher standards for good food. And a growing sense of competition among restaurants to win us over. But for those of us who love digging into real good congee, the question remains: Where should I eat?

When friends go to Hong Kong and ask me where to go for a congee meal, Wong Chi Kei is where I send them. That’s not to say it’s perfect—to be honest, the cooking can be pretty uneven—but if you’re looking for the classic Cantonese congee meal that’s a better and beyond some of the competition, Wong Chi Kei is the place for you. Though the wonton noodle soup, made with big, juicy wontons, is not bad, the real banger here is the thick, creamy and delicious congee.

There is comfort (and folk-medicinal healing properties) in congee. This Cantonese rice porridge is light and suitable on hot days especially when you want to eat something non-oily. It can be cooked with many different types of ingredients. Actually, the types of ingredients are only limited by one’s imagination. The unparalleled dried oyster and pork congee must be given special mention.

The congee here is a “5 Stars Plus” rated meal. If I could add a few more stars I would! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

wckcentralnew[1]

April 12, 2015

Copper Chimney, Mumbai…drool-worthy baby leg of lamb (raan)

Copper Chimney is one of those safe, tried and tested places where you can never go wrong with its reliable and tasty Mughlai-inspired fare. Here you will find some of the most delicious bad-for-you North Indian food in the city with perfect harmony between distinctive flavors, sophisticated textures and artful presentation.

Everything I ordered was so mouthwatering good! The fabulous tawa jhinga (chilli prawns tossed with onions and capsicum in a tangy tomato masala) is a spicy smooth sensation. The delicious flavours mixed into this unique gravy taste certainly floats my boat. When it comes to North Indian food, the meat tends to be the thing. A veritable mountain of cinnamon-fragrant, soft meat sliding off the bone, raan (tender baby leg of lamb marinated in exotic herbs and slow cooked in the tandoor) is one of the planet’s higher forms of life on the food chain. The raan here was so tender (but not mushy) and succulent that you are able to eat it with a spoon. It melts in my mouth – exploding with flavour. Instead of the usual mango lassi, get them to make you one of their rich, creamy and delicious mango vanilla ice cream smoothie. Together with fresh, hot, crispy, yet chewy, garlicky, thin garlic naan, I was in 7th heaven.

The service staff were friendly, attentive and offered menu recommendations and yet not overwhelming. The service is top notch.

I have not felt so jazzed by a restaurant in quite some time! Don’t you love when you leave a new restaurant for the first time and keep blissfully sighing, “Oh my god. OH. MY. GOD.”? I did that as I left Copper Chimney. This is true truth as I say it as it is…

copper chimney mimbai

copper chimney4 mumbai

copper chimney5 mumbai

April 5, 2015

Cau Go Vietnamese Cuisine, Hanoi…Flavours are full and true

Vietnamese food to me, has been ever the bridesmaid, never the bride. But things changed after my visit to the modern, casual Cau Go.

Upmarket Cau Go is right downtown, has sweeping views across Hoan Kiem Lake. It may not quite be fine dining in vibe or price, but it’s a step above most other Vietnamese restaurants in town. The food was exquisite – every dish was so unique but flavoursome! And the service was fantastic as well!

The rich and fragrant flavors of the stewed beef shank with ginger is the all-star comforting dish I love here. The wok fried clam with local basil looks and tastes like a million bucks. With fresh basil perfuming the whole thing, it’s no wonder this dish is the most popular dish on the table. If only I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday!

For authentic, top-notch Vietnamese food, make a beeline to Cau Go and get stuck in. The excellent food still lingers in my memory. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

cau go hanoi

Catalunya, Singapore…food misses the spot

Have you ever eaten somewhere that everyone told you was the absolute best, only to find yourself wondering: Is that all there is?

It happens. Sometimes, the restaurant in question is operating on a dated reputation it no longer deserves. Other times, you’ve fallen victim to hype, gleefully perpetrated by those whose job it is to report objectively. The end result? You’ve now wasted precious time and money.

This place is a honeypot for the rich and famous – and it knows it. For one, the eyes have it here at Catalunya. Situated on the unobtrusive ground floor of the Fullerton Pavilion, the splendid view of the iconic MBS is always spectacular, by day or night, and adds wow factor to any meal.

The suckling pig is cute to look at  but is nothing compared to the crispy smooth skin, succulent meat, depth of flavours of the Chinese style suckling pig. The selection in the tapas menu mean there is something for everyone, from the tapas virgin to the more adventurous gourmand.

Commenters tended to define “overrated” with an algorithm that included ample amounts of hype, high prices and overly long wait times. Catalunya’s food though acceptable, fails to live up to the first two of these three factors. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

catalunya

April 4, 2015

Dave’s Bistro Bar & Grill, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia…The world’s best sandwich?

Eating bread filled with stuff is as universal as loving Taylor Swift.  When it comes to global gastronomy, the sandwich reigns supreme. If a sandwich is doing its job, every bite should be a voyage of discovery. A world of delicious ingredients hidden by slices of bread.

The Vietnamese-French Inspired Banh Mi Sandwich – Winner of the 9th Delifrance Sandwich World Cup 2012 held in Paris is a unique blend of crispy pork belly marinated with local herbs, garnished with daikon radish, carrot, cucumber and topped with bird’s eye chili and signature Tonka vinaigrette. Served between a freshly baked baguette.

Did I like the World’s best sandwich?

This banh mi was radically different, true. Something that combines so much pork with fresh herbs all stuffed into a crispy baguette is, I have to say, a pretty magical sandwich. The crunch of bread was followed by an interplay of porky goodness. It is one heck of a mega sandwich. Eating it tired me out as if I had just completed an Olympic event.

But is this truly the best sandwich in the world?

It may be a notch below great, compared to the humble Roti John. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

dave's bistro

 

April 3, 2015

Dapur Sunda, Jakarta…surprising, simple and flavourful food

Sunda is a race mainly in western Java, whereas inhabitants in other parts of Java are known as Javanese. Needless to say, Dapur Sunda (Sundanese Kitchen) is well known for its traditional West Javanese menu. That just means it’s saltier than in the east. It’s not much on ambiance, but the food is surprising, simple and flavourful, and the price is reasonable.

This restaurant at Bellagio Boutique Mall closes at 8pm and we arrived at 7.30pm. So the dinner was fast, fast, fast.

Gurame (Gourami) is a freshwater fish native to South East Asia. The crispy dish here was of an acceptable standard. The cumi bakar (Grilled squid) was charred from the grill, giving it that magical barbecue taste. It was soft, tender and clearly as fresh as could be. Also worthy of notable mentions are the udang mentega(butter shrimp) and tahu telor (Bean Curd Omelettes).

Though the dishes in Dapur Sunda can’t necessarily be categorized as refined restaurant cooking, they do serve hearty dishes that taste like great, home-cooked meals. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

dapur sunda jakarta 2

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