PEr FYI

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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December 16, 2018

Restoran W.A.W, Kuala Lumpur…This one’s for the monied tourist

It’s unusual to eat at a tourist hotspot in your home town. On holiday we endure it all.

Chicken wings have been popping up all across Malaysia for the last many decades and are very much on-trend in the capital – but if ever there was a subject to split opinion it is the place serving the very best in town. Only one wing can rule them all and Restoran W.A.W (Wong Ah Wah) is the chicken wing specialist.

Sure enough, Wong Ah Wah signature roast chicken wings are absolutely awesome. And precisely because of this, it is almost certainly on a tourist’s radar. Experience and instinct suggest that this restaurant has gone over to the dark side. The supporting dishes such as creamy salted egg prawns, dried chilli fried with frog, salted fish fried kai lan, fried chili cockles are not too bad either. However, the Signature hokkien mee is a poor imitation of the fame KL dish.

I came, I ate, I paid – so that you don’t have to. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 8, 2018

3 Geori Butchers Blue, Seoul…meat mecca

Sleek without being imposing, this Korean barbecue restaurant is the real deal. When a Korean barbecue place wants to set itself apart from all the other Korean barbecue places, it has essentially three variables to play with: meat, heat and sides

The meat is luscious black iberico pork from Spain. The pork belly – a cut with the perfect balance of fat and protein is the true star. The other meat that really steals the spotlight is Korean beef sirloin – premium Korean beef sirloin that has nice marbling with natural flavor. They don’t try to be overly clever, or self-consciously modern, rather concentrate on getting the fundamentals right.

Oh, for a table-top barbeque place, 3 Geori Butchers Blue is not smoky at all. This way, your happy dining memories can live on in your social media, and not on your clothes.

If you’ve got that BBQ craving, then you’ve come to the right place. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 15, 2018

Mr Rocky, Shenzhen…like having a cheesy version of Nashville in Shenzhen

Inspired by the wild wild west of the USA, this American bar in Shenzhen is your go-to spot only if you are desperately in need of some cheesy cowboy-style atmosphere and dying to tuck into burgers, steaks and pizzas and hit the dance floor for an evening featuring live bands and DJ sets.

Food is profoundly awful. The steak was tough as nails and disappointingly taste like the bovine equivalent of chicken breast, the pizza was chewy as bubble gum and the hot pumpkin soup was anything but.

An out-of-touch and bungled attempt to create a themed restaurant. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 28, 2018

Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant, London…the most overrated restaurant in London.

It just makes my day when I spend a ton of money on something that I didn’t even enjoy eating. (insert sarcasm here) Okay, I’m totally kidding. I actually hate that feeling and that’s why I am writing this. It’s the worst feeling in the world when you spend a ton of money on food that isn’t even that great.

The food looked good from a distance but on closer inspection turned out to be rather unappetizing. The duck in the three combination barbecued meat was the only acceptable bit. The grilled eel in honey sauce was revolting and the house special “pei-pa” beancurd was not as good as the off-the-shelf beancurd equivalents in Sainsbury’s.

Seriously though, it really is awful. I’m struggling to think of a reason why anyone would actually want to eat here. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 30, 2017

6 Round, Pangyo, Seoul…the argument-ending KBBQ

KBBQ = a roll-your-shirtsleeves eating ritual in which diners grill different cuts of meat themselves over a tabletop grill, to be enjoyed with complimentary sides

In true Korean style, 6 Rounds offer their table top BBQ to allow you to cook your own meat, you can have everything from beef ribs to pork belly marinated in their house sauce, and scorched to your liking. The marinated beef, a Korean barbeque classic, marinated into an unmistakable tenderness, is much-lauded here.

Happy eating, people. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 26, 2016

Maxim’s Jade Garden, Hong Kong…desirable gastronomic option at HKIA

As the financial and now much-vaunted culinary capital of Asia, with one restaurant for every 600 people, Hong Kong has one of the highest per capita concentrations of restaurants in the world. Amongst all these restaurants, without a doubt, Cantonese food in Hong Kong rocks.

Maxim’s Jade Garden (located at the Departures Check-in Hall Mezzanine, Terminal 1 of Hong Kong International Airport) serves authentic Cantonese cuisine showcasing the best dim sum and local Guangdong dishes. Their shatteringly crisp baked barbeque pork pastry buns beats your everyday hamburger at its own game. It yields a super moist, fluffy interior and I would dare say, offers the ultimate bun experience.

With aeroplane food often a disappointment, Maxim’s Jade Garden is a desirable gastronomic option to spice up your journey. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 23, 2016

Restoran Stadium Negara, Kuala Lumpur…huge disappointment

Restoran Stadium Negara was originally situated near the national stadium – hence its name, but has since relocated to its present location in Jalan Yap Kwan Seng.

Though famous for its steamboat, I wanted to try their other offerings and ended up having my appreciation of Tze Char food being dulled by this  “average” eatery serving culinary disasters. The hokkien style noodle is not hokkien mee without lard. Only then did I find out that this is a halal restaurant. The sweet sour crab was bursting with the flavour of wam Kuala Lumpur tap water. It was neither sweet nor sour  and the accompanying buns were too hard and not hot. The BBQ chicken wing and BBQ sotong were pretty ordinary.The steam prawns turns out to be among the only edible charm at this place.

I really do not like Restoran Stadium Negara. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 28, 2016

Hiang Ji Roasted Meat Noodle House, Singapore…a blatant rip-off

So what makes a bad restaurant? Obviously dreadful food is a hurdle, then there’s surly waiting staff, a dingy atmosphere, woeful decor and the crucial litmus–value for money. If there’s something that really niggles, it’s being ripped off.

To be fair, Hiang Ji in Toa Payoh, which I’ve taken a dislike to clearly isn’t the worst in Singapore. Rather, it’s the most disappointing.

I do believe in paying the proper price for food. So I’m not advocating dirt-cheap restaurants. Likewise, as I said, the very best restaurants are worth their huge bills, which is why I and many other people save up to go to them. But when places like Hiang Ji charge full whack for extreme portions, it really annoys me. A small sharing platter can be of different sizes and prices, depending on the kitchen’s whims and fancies. No amount of feedback nor complain will get them to change it for you.

A meal here could cost the price of rent in some cities. While that’s an exaggeration, it’s best to avoid this place and just go with the others if you’re going to spend the money and get the best roast meat possible. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 17, 2016

Wangbijib, Seoul…Oh sweet, heavenly MEAT!

There’s a restaurant with tabletop grills in every plaza, mall and food court in Seoul, cannibalizing another one’s business two doors down or across the street. Still, I love Korean BBQ and can’t complain about having so many restaurants to choose from.

Let’s talk food.

Now, let’s just pause for a moment to talk about this meat. Meat, though some may tell you otherwise, is not created equally. There are good cuts, bad cuts, good flavor, and bad flavor. Wangbijib invests in good quality meat and seasons them spectacularly. They’ve also got the meat selection, chargrill king short beef rib, thinly sliced marble beef kalbi and pork rib.  The thin cuts of beef were amazing. The hanwoo weren’t marinated and I relied heavily on the sauce to add flavour.

Warning: Make sure you bring a change of clothes to wear if you plan to go other places after eating here or at least some back-up perfume/cologne because you will smell like what you eat afterwards!!

The portion sizes here are generous, so come hungry. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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