PEr FYI

February 29, 2020

Cats, Singapore…Too slow, too tame, too threadbare

Filed under: Activities, Entertainment, Musical, Singapore, theatre — Tags: , , , , , — PEr @ 4:42 pm

From the moment I bought the tickets, I was filled with regret, thinking this musical is going to be hideously dated, boring, empty, meaningless, unfunny. For the entirety of the two hours I sat watching Cats, there’s no plot and no apparent point, but I travelled home afterwards humming the one tune – Memory.

Although the anthropomorphised felines, in their spandex leotards and furry leg warmers, prowl the aisles and glare in the eyes of the punters but somehow the show, with its trademark junkyard set, does not feel like an immersive experience. Whilst the music sometimes jarred a little, the choreography of this production was spectacular. However, there was several songs that turned out to be pleasant surprises

Cats is a musical unlike any other. If you are looking for more traditional West End or Broadway music and a clear plot, you perhaps ought to go elsewhere.

The “memory” lives again. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 23, 2020

Eneko Shop, Sansaku market, Otaru…serious about seafood?

No trip to Hokkaido would be complete without sampling Japan’s most prized resource – allergies permitting. A stone’s throw from Otaru stations, the Sansaku market  presents a terrifically seductive dance of fresh, gorgeously prepared seafood and shellfish, tucked in one of Hokkaido’s most beloved neighbourhoods – Otaru.

Eneko Shop offers the kind of food you have to work for. It’s virtually impossible to avoid a queue, and you’re likely to be elbow-to-elbow with strangers. Stunning seafood dishes like octopus are profound in their simplicity, bringing out clean, startlingly robust flavors. Make sure you have the more ambitious dishes like the Seafood rice bowl with Hokkaido specialty, ikura (salmon roe) for a total experience which is dizzying and unforgettable. Everything is exceptional. It’ll leave seafood enthusiasts bragging for weeks.

You’d be advised to come with an appetite. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 22, 2020

Hakkasan, New York City…you’ll die poor but happy

New York’s Chinese food scene is a diverse beast. There’s pork ribs to sweet, stir-fried-whatever-you-can-think-of, Hong Kong Dim Sum, the classic Peking duck and of course the comforting staples including noodles and fried rice (and way, way more) at eateries both high end and super casual.

With its innovative Cantonese cooking, Hakkasan is still the benchmark against which all high-end Chinese restaurants should be judged. Their stylish interior and moody lighting attracts all kinds of beautiful people.

We started with hakka steamed dim sum platter – scallop shumai, har gau, prawn and Chinese chive dumpling, black pepper duck dumpling. The pastry was perfect in give and texture, just elastic enough to encase generous bites of flavour-packed meat and seafood. The stir-fry black pepper beef ribeye with Merlot was equally good, the melting tenderness of top-quality meat turning the clichéd staple into a luxury – Chinese takeaways should weep with shame. We also enjoyed the hot and sour soup with chicken, shiitake and pomelo, spring onion and fried egg rice and the tofu, aubergine and Japanese mushroom claypot with chili and black bean sauce

You’ll die poor but happy. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 16, 2020

Khaw Glong Thai Restaurant, Koh Samui…don’t skip the shrimps with tamarind sauce. Or the curry.

If my grandma decided to open a Thai restaurant in Koh Samui, she’d end up with something that looks like Khaw Glong Thai Restaurant. An unassuming authentic Thai cuisine eatery using fresh high quality ingredients without MSG and additives set the stage for dishes like thai curries.

Those un-averse to the funkiest flavors of the sea will be delighted by dishes like the jumbo shrimps with tamarind sauce, tom yum seafood and red curry crab meat. By the time you decide on a non-seafood dish, the choice is especially easy: there’s just one staple option, chicken in pandan leaves – gai hor bai. The only question is whether you want it. Based on its vibrant aroma and mesmerizingly delicious juicy and moist chicken inside – the answer is yes.

One of the best bang-for-your-buck restaurants in Koh Samui. Go early. Or be prepared to wait. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 15, 2020

Kuya J Restaurant, Manila…a homey vibe

This is the place to get your affordable yet impeccably cooked, deliciously simple Filipino food.

The old-time classic crispy pata brings me to my knees, as does the heart-palpitatingly good sizzling sisig, served in a sizzling, cast iron pan, look good and taste even better. The moment I took my first bite, I fell completely in love. (I think this is a good time to note that writing out this paragraph has made me incredibly hungry, and has also ruined this week’s attempt at veganism.)

Kain na tayo! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 9, 2020

AirBnB: Silverscape Luxury Residence, Melaka…If I work hard, one day, with luck, I may be able to forget

We’ve all endured a disappointing hotel or accommodation at some point – whether it was bed bugs or the mattress was last upgraded in 1950.

There is one thing worse than staying in a dirty accommodation: to be told a day before arrival that there is no reservation for you. It was a red flag sign when I was informed that they didn’t have my reservation details and that the apartment I’d booked and paid for, was delisted. So I was offered an alternative apartment in the same building.

The evidence at Silverscape Residences began with the disturbing stench that hits you when you enter tower A via the residence carpark. Rooms were dusty. Not maintained or loved. It had a good location, sufficient amenities and the view from great – but it seriously lacked cleanliness.

This one will leave me with memories. They are bleak and troubling. If I work hard, one day, with luck, I may be able to forget. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 8, 2020

Trio Original, Taipei…a snug drinking den

Looking for a watering hole with charm? Trio Original is the kind of place that’s primed for a pub crawl.

Staff are enthusiastic and eager – which I’d expect from a specialist bar – serve up a wide range of cocktails. It was a bar that make me feel welcome: superior bartenders and bouncers be damned. If you’re looking for somewhere quiet, pleasant and aesthetically pleasing, Trio Original is the absolute dream.

Just don’t blame me for the headache tomorrow. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 2, 2020

Disney Magic of Animation The Exhibition, Singapore…it tells a story

There is  much to admire here. Disney’s drive, the museum demonstrates, was relentless. Having mastered the basics of animation in the ’20s, Disney kept pushing at the possibilities.

Disney entered a new era with his first sound cartoon, “Steamboat Willie,” the third starring Mickey Mouse. We take it for granted now, but at the time the work meant selecting an expensive technology, developing a technique for coordinating music and image, and convincing distributors the cost was worth it. Nothing about it was easy. By the time he created his first feature-length work, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” he had transformed the very notion of animation. Other exhibits cover the war years and postwar animation movies

Disney lovers, rejoice! The exhibition is almost leisurely in relating its narrative, and while children will quickly pass by many sections that will fascinate their elders, there are more than enough thrills for everyone.

This just may just be the happiest place in Singapore. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 1, 2020

Dadong, New York City…nobody should pay this much money and be sad

If one wants terrible food delivered quickly, accompanied by several other unappetising dishes you hadn’t ordered but other diners are currently waiting for, Dadong in midtown New York is for you. While I didn’t get ill after eating at Dadong, I did feel sick about how much I’d spent on a substandard meal.

I’m a massive Dadong, Beijing fan, and can wolf down a peking duck faster than you can say “Times Square”, so I awaited my Dadong “Su bu ni” roast duck – served with sugar, pancakes, crispy sesame buns and special sauce with some level of excitement. The duck was bland, dry and actively repellent. I like to think the staff made it up as a prank, and were watching to see if I would be an obedient foodie and play ball. Let us never speak again of the prime chili diced short ribs

Dadong in New York, well, just don’t serve very good food. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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