PEr FYI

August 31, 2019

Lek Seafood, Bangkok…don’t make the mistake of dying before you eat here

When dining out in Bangkok, the spectre of crippling indecision lurks around every corner. Once you get past the overwhelming question of where to eat, you’re still faced with the menu: what to order? Lek Seafood provides an easy answer to both of these questions.

First of all, you should eat there. Second, show up in a group of 3 or 4 and go for these: the grilled cockles is a simple satisfying dish. Also fantastic is the shrimp in hot and sour soup (tom yum kung) which is perfectly cooked and a firm bestseller here. My favourite was the stir fried soft crab in curry sauce. I will never tire of it. The stir fried cabbage with fish sauce is also much loved and the stir fried baby clam with sweet basil was a refreshing touch between the spicier dishes. By the time you get to dessert, the choice is especially easy: the mango sticky rice may not sound like anything special but this is one of the best in the city.

Fantastic, authentic food and great service, Lek Seafood deserves all its repeat visits from all Thai food lovers. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 25, 2019

Cheung Fat Kitchen, Hong Kong…the food here is worth the guilt

I am well eaten (and equally well travelled) and still managed to come a cropper in a review of Cheng Fat Kitchen, a cheap, boisterous restaurant in Hong Kong’s North Point. The food is really nice, and really distinctive, reliably tasty — and cheap

Everything about the char-grilled beef short ribs (thick cut, house special pepper sauce) is great.  Meaty, juicy, lick-your-fingers clean amazing. Save room for some of the best steamed clam with wine & lotus leaf. Don’t leave without trying the sweet and sour pork (sauce served separately). There are thousands of Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong, but few have sweet and sour pork like this. Savoury and crunchy, sweet and tangy: it’s addictive stuff. Treat with caution.

Your best bet here is to come with a big group of friends and order as much as you can. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 24, 2019

Sarabeth’s, New York…do yourself a favour and put it on your list

Sarabeth’s is a brunch factory. And I mean that in the best possible way: After serving what must be tens of thousands of meals since the early ’80s,** the place makes consistently great plates of breakfast and brunch items.

Look, the menu doesn’t promise adventure. It promises heartiness and hominess. If what you want is classic breakfast and brunch food, here you go.

The menu doesn’t promise adventure. It promises heartiness and hominess., The avocado & burrata toast which I gravitate to, comes with sunnyside eggs, petite greens, espelette is the perfect way to start the day in NYC. Lemon & ricotta pancakes with fresh blackberries is the breakfast of your dreams. Each bite is light as air and perfectly flavored with fresh lemon.

Take note, prices are a bit high for what you get which means at the end of the meal, you’ll have just enough for subway fare. That aside, do yourself a favor and put it on your list if you’re ever in the Central Park South area. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 18, 2019

Mui Kee Congee, Singapore…Is there a sadder sound than the scraping of your spoon on the bottom of a congee bowl?

If I’ve learned one thing from ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ it’s that Goldilocks had the right idea: you’ve got to be picky about your porridge or congee. The good old fashioned, authentic congee I’ve sampled  at Mui Kee is juuuust right. It serves exactly the kind of Chinese food that you would get in the best of Hong Kong restaurants. It’s a tiny place with no room to eat in, but it’s proper street food with a kick.

There is a great selection of parrot fish belly, homemade pork meatballs and threadfin belly. It is incredibly delicious and well made with the ones with the fish belly having a distinct presence of wok hei in the porridge, which we all love.

Is there a sadder sound than the scraping of your spoon on the bottom of a congee bowl? Paws off, baby bear. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

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August 17, 2019

Maichibo, Chiba, Tokyo…the more is definitely the merrier.

Maichibo is a lovely spot in Chiba specializing in okonomiyaki, the Japanese savoury pancake cooked on a large steel hot-plate. I won’t hold it against you if you’ve never heard of okonomiyaki before. It’s the lesser known of Japan’s delectable dishes, but it’s certainly having a moment.

The Mai Course is made up of Caesar salad and baked romaine lettuce with half boiled egg followed by tonpei-yaki pork omelette. The sauce was not too overpowering, instead, it was a great combination of the pork. Then there were grilled chicken, chiba’s beef steak 50g and Hokkaido’s grilled scallops which was pleasant rather than exciting, cooked just a fraction longer than I would have preferred. Then the main event – the Mix okonomiyaki. Its flavors—sweet and savory, spicy smoky —were instantly recognizable (as they would be to anyone who has been eating casual Japanese food of late), while the texture, simultaneously crunchy and creamy, hit all of my comfort food sweet spots. No wonder they call this stuff Osaka soul food.

If you’ve been to Chiba only to go to Disneyland, this Japanese gem is the perfect reason to return. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 12, 2019

Airbnb, Condo Grand View 360, Johor Bahru…thumbs down for misrepresenting the listing

If you’re like me, you do not know much about Airbnb. But this much I do know…when I show up to my rental, I should find that it is what was advertised.

With my rental of Unit A05-02 at Condo Grand View 360 in Johor Bahru, the listing booked is misrepresented. There were no bath towels (the listing indicated towels are included) and when I reached out to my host, Daniel, he simply blamed it on the Airbnb system. Hence at 9+pm, I had to scramble to the mall to purchase towels before the shops closed. Daniel who had been very responsive prior to that suddenly went very quiet and ignored me twice when I asked if he was going to reimburse me. Mysteriously, the wifi signal disappeared soon after and never came back on for the duration of my stay. The beds were not as comfortable as you would get in a 1* hotel. We woke up with excruciating pain in our backs. The beds are so hard and uncomfortable, I need a chiropractor.

Genuinely the worst Airbnb experience I have ever had. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 9, 2019

Corgi in the Garden, Bangkok…a whole new level of cuteness

Lovers of corgis, beware: you might not want to leave this place. Behold its stubby little legs and equally stubby tail. You can now cuddle with these adorable cuties in a cheerful and homely ambience.

Everything the humans need to know:

You can feed, touch the little cuties while sitting on the floor sipping coffee or tea. A selection of 12 corgis are on hand to be cuddled and offer highly Instagrammable photo opportunities. You need to love that they will climb on your lap and lick your iPhone. The entry fee covers entrance, a drink and a time slot of 120 minutes with your favourite furry friend. Get there early to avoid long queues.

It’s bound to lift your mood, as dogs do. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 4, 2019

Phantom of the Opera, Singapore…still awesome spectacle after all these years

It has been more than 15 years since I first saw, and was not particularly entranced by, “The Phantom of the Opera,” the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that has been playing for more than 33 years (longest-running show in Broadway and the West End history!) and grossed $6 billion dollars worldwide (more than any other musical or even, gasp, movie!). But after watching it for the third time, I am made to love the lush, romantic, string-filled songs, the effect is offset by the comic jauntiness of Prima Donna or the pavane-like stateliness of Masquerade with neat lyrics (‘Masquerade-paper faces on parade,’)

The score, story, and visual wonders of this grandest of all current Broadway musicals,  the intoxicating power of songs such as “The Music of the Night” and the thunderous title number remains irresistible. The design is a heady barrage of ravishing costumes and lavish sets that change frequently, working in everything even to a descent into the underworld via a tilting bridge that leads to a candle-filled lake. No one can ever say that they’re not getting their money’s worth from this ticket.

There are musicals and musicals—and then there is the incomparable Phantom of the Opera: Awesome in scale. Luscious with melody. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 3, 2019

Otaru Music Box Museum, Hokkaido…never fail to dazzle

Otaru is home to a brilliant museum that never fail to dazzle visitors.

Comprehensively housing over 25,000 music boxes dating as far back to the 19th century, the museum continues to draw crowds from all over the world. Oh, and forget to check out the roof space where you may design your own music box, with options including music played and external design. Loads to see and do, and thanks to the vast variety of music boxes, it makes for a brilliant day out.

Then of course, there is the building’s 1912 architecture too – Otaru Music Box Museum is definitely worth a visit. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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