PEr FYI

June 30, 2019

People & Places, Johor Bahru…There are things here I want to come back for

Let me tell you that, if you’d care to witness JB’s most mesmerising delivery of all-day breakfast, then this is absolutely the place to come. Two thoughts occur to me, very quickly. The first is that I like this place: I like the buzz. The other thought is: I like the food, very much.

We arrived without a booking, but squeaked on to a table with a  range of cactuses down the middle. ‘Why does it look like a botanical garden?’ I asked half-seriously upon entering.

The food upped the ante. The Signature hotcake – blueberry buttermilk hotcake, double cream, maple syrup, fresh strawberries, organic pea sprouts, mixed seeds and nuts was so good that I spent a long, long time slurping off my fork. Quesadilla Brekkie – fluffy tomyum scrambled eggs, chicken ham, sliced tomatoes, Alexa’s sriracha aioli, coriander, and Belgium cheddar cheese sandwiched between tortilla sheets. Topped with grated parmesan, pomegranate and a drizzle of pesto oil was far better. The Englishman’s breakfast was a generous pile of scrambled kampong eggs, streaky beef bacon, chicken bratwurst sausage, house-made baked beans, grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, toasted brioche. The roasted peanut butter toasts – Alexa’s signature roasted peanut butter on muesli bread topped with sliced banana, cacao nibs, chia seeds & dessicated coconut is also very passable.

Some bucket-list places truly live up to the hype. Most importantly I am left thinking there are things here I want to come back for. This is the true truth and I say it as it is…

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June 29, 2019

Kub Kao Kub Pla, Bangkok…For the sake of doubt this is a positive review

First of all, you should eat here.

Take the pad thai with prawns: springy but pliable, and soft but not mushy. Then, the sauce that coats them: Salty, sour and sweet. The combination is hard to top. Or take the stir fried crab meat in yellow curry: it’s mild, it has decent flavor and it’s smooth. Or the cowslip creeper omelette. I had heard mutterings about this particular dish online for a while. It’s one of those that you just have to try, because if you don’t try it you are missing out. You are less than a complete person. I hate being less than complete.

The menu can be surprisingly wallet-friendly. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 23, 2019

Sandbox, Singapore…I battled zombies for 30 minutes and it was awesome

If you’ve ever fancied a high adrenaline zombie killing spree with 3 of your best mates, look no further. At sandbox, you can finally find out how you and your friends would fare if you ever found yourself in fighting off rabid, flesh-eating zombies and infectious rats.

Using cutting-edge virtual reality technology, this is a totally unique and immersive experience that will chill you to the bone. With Hyper-Reality it means that this is not just a passive VR journey, where you sit in a chair and get bombarded with visual information that doesn’t match what your body is telling you is happening. When I walk forward in Deadwood Mansion, I actually walk forward. Of course, pictures and words cannot come close to conveying how immersive the whole experience is, you’ll have to try it for yourself. Or you can take my word for it that, thanks to the sensations and blasters and rumble packs, there was a sense of panic as I battled these ghouls and, in particular, something approaching genuine peril as a certain giant monster appears towards the end. I confess I was sincerely relieved when that chapter was done.

A must for your Halloween itinerary, if you’re brave enough of course. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 16, 2019

Baikohken, Asahikawa Ramen Village, Hokkaido…oodles of noodles

Not all ramen are created equal. There are salty, brown-coloured, broths and milky-coloured ones. But which restaurants really strike the perfect balance of flavoursome soup base to soft, silky noodles to extra ingredients? What is the secret that sets one ramen join apart from another? Who is top of the broths?

My mission to find the best ramen took me to Asahikawa Ramen Village in Hokkaido. The broth is pretty rich here. For the full-on indulgence, go for the charsiew ramen miso. Make sure to add in the butter, just because you can. The gyoza is a worthwhile side.

Overall, the food was good but not memorable but I can think of 50 other places I can get the same or better quality ramen. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 15, 2019

Paste, Bangkok…tastebud-smashing Thai food

Talk about fusion: Michelin-starred Paste must be the only restaurant in Bangkok that mixes traditional tongue-blasting Thai recipes written centuries ago with an innovative and creative twist. It matters not. Paste has wowed me with ingenuity and authenticity.

The triumphant water melon, ground salmon with fresh shallots and roasted galangal powder (served at the inauguration of the temple of the Emerald Buddha in the year 1809 King Rama I) was light, delicate, intriguingly moreish and a mishmash of surprising flavours . What’s not to love about that? It was one of those dishes you eat in smaller and smaller mouthfuls to ward off that moment when there’s none left. The smoky southern yellow curry with premium Australian spanner crab, hummingbird flowers, Thai samphire and turmeric had levels of deep flavors that just kept revealing themselves spoonful by spoonful. Get the chiang rai jasmine rice perfumed with organic jasmine flower to go with the curry.

Paste’s dishes are a jumble of flavours, but nothing about this place is a mess. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 5, 2019

Mammy Pancakes, Hong Kong…good but not great

Egg waffle also known as eggettes or egg puffs or egg cakes or bubble waffle is a popular snack in Hong Kong. It’s like what macarons are to Paris or what biscotti is to Italy. Nobody loves egg waffles like Hongkongers do, so much so that there’s an egg waffle festival held in Causeway Bay.

Mammy creates ton loads of flavours like chocolate chip, pork floss, seaweed, white sesame, matcha, cheese and everyone’s most / least favourite salted egg yolk. They are airy and light, super crispy on the outside, and warm and fluffy inside. It is a Michelin recommended snack shop.

Decently nice but I wouldn’t waste 30 minutes of my life queueing for it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 2, 2019

Wang Dae Bak, Singapore…at last, a Korean with real Seoul

It is an expression of Korean culture and Wang Dae Bak delivers that in spades. It has amazingly authentic K-ambience where the food arrives rapidly and the bill doesn’t faintly depress you. It feels like a rare, special place, offering familiar Korean flavours.

The menu covers a tight edit of all the things you’d expect to see. The marinated prime rib and marinated shoulder were incredible renderings. The spicy chicken is a little greasy, but satisfying for all that. The seafood pancake is bang on. The downside is that the very hard and tough pork rib didn’t reach the heights of everything else.

Over the speakers, K-pop boys sing on, but I only have ears for this shameless pork. A visit to Wang Dae Bak is dinner deep in Seoul where the smoke gets in your eyes, your hair and your memory. And I like it there.

If you are ever nearby, you know what to do. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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