PEr FYI

June 17, 2017

No Idea Café Gastropub, Bangkok…. pub with something special on the menu

Pubs only used to care about serving up the perfect pint, but now a good number of them are creating gourmet menus that go above and beyond your basic pub grub.

No Idea Café presents modern and inventive takes on traditional European fare. There’s the tasting board – salami, parma ham, cheese, chorizo, caper berries, olives, baguette, roasted garlic aioli which is comforting and satisfying. The twice cooked pork belly – fennel apple slaw, braised red cabbage- worked surprisingly well. Although parts of the meat was a little tough and the dish would have benefited from a little balanced cooking. The atmosphere is casual and the beer flows fast. Naturally, as a gastropub, most of No Idea’s interesting drinks are alcoholic.

This is not a trendy spot. Rather, it’s inviting and unpretentious. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 21, 2017

Va Fung, Macau…it’s surprisingly affordable and lip-tinglingly good

Dim Sum is arguably one of Cantonese cuisine’s finest contributions to the world. It’s one of the few types of foods I can eat repeatedly without tiring of it, because of its endless variety.

Don’t be put off by the nondescript appearance of Va Fung, this Macau number prepares Cantonese- food fit for a banquet and it’s surprisingly affordable. If you have a big group, this is the place to come. All the classics are done very well here — prawn dumplings (ha gau), siew mai and Cheong Fun with shrimps and char siu – and quite a number of the items are really lip-tinglingly good.

What more could you need? This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 5, 2017

Youyen, Hua Hin…seafood with an unbeatable view

There are few more satisfying experiences than eating good food by the sea. What’s not to love about a seaside view and a cool breeze on a hot day? Absolutely nothing!

But not all beachside views are created equal, and that goes double for what’s on the menu. The food at You Yen (some Thai and some Chinese styled cooking) – Stir fried prawn with garlic, deep fried fish in fish sauce, pan fried oyster with egg, stir fried baby coconut with shrimp, baked rice in pineapple – is honest and pretty average.

The real draw is seafood at bargain prices with an unbeatable view. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 4, 2017

Tai Cheong Café, Singapore…the Marmite effect: some rave about it, some feel its meh

There are more exciting Chinese cuisines out there these days, but sometimes all you want is a good old-fashioned Hong Kong feed. That’s when you head to Tai Cheong Café. Tucked away in Holland Village, Tai Cheong Cafe is really a cha chaan teng.

Their three coloured silky egg rice are the ones to go for here, with plenty of egg to temper the rich flavours and their egg tarts also always hit the spot. I come here only for this. The others on the menu isn’t as good.

I can’t say Tai Cheong Cafe gets everything right, or that it’s a Hong Kong diner destination, but I’ll stand behind this humble—and quite cheap eatery. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 25, 2017

Petit Jardin, Shanghai…check your expectations at the door

Petit Jardin is a younger version of the famous Jardin de Jade. Unlike the parent restaurant that serves authentic Shanghai -style cuisines, Petit Jardin offers modern Cantonese cuisine and it appears to be trying to walk a somewhat precarious tightrope.

They say the menu is, in fact, a window into a restaurant’s soul. Amusing enough, this must be the Mills and Boon of menus with ludicrously sounding dishes like “crouching cow and hidden hen jumping on the grill together”.

The trouble is we’re eating a spruced up, dumbed-down, nouvelle-cuisine version that tastes nothing like the original. The crispy black BBQ bun had nice filling but was practically hollow and a tad dry.

Petit Jardin’s not going to blow your mind or anything. Check your expectations at the door. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 19, 2017

Myeongdong Kyoja, Seoul…a good cheap eat in Seoul

Myeongdong Kyoja is great for a fuss-free, on-the-go dinner in town. This is where to fill up without emptying your wallet.

The greatest part of this restaurant is that they only serve 4 items on their menu. This makes ordering an easy task. It is known for kalguksu, which literally means knife-cut noodles in Korean. Its other speciality is mandu, or steamed pork dumplings. And rest assured, those big, plump, juicy dumplings will fill you up

It’s a good cheap eat in Seoul. When to go? Only the seriously hungry need apply. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 22, 2017

Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack, London…unfussy place serving decent seafood

“Seafood shack”. Not “seafood restaurant” nor “seafood café”. And true to their name, it was a simple setting with a village seaside atmosphere right smack in the back streets of the West End.

The food was decent -good ingredients, well cooked – the service warm, if a little slow. The Inverawe oak smoked salmon, crispy capers, horseradish cream, croutons was passable. The whole looe lemon sole almondine, wile Hayle mussels, samphire, capers, almonds was so-so and I find hard to get excited about.

It’s not bad. I had a moderate time. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 4, 2016

Seven Oaks, Johor Bahru…JB’s most out-there place to while away an afternoon

The humble Johor Bahru cafe is rarely just that anymore. At just a few months old, Seven Oaks is already proving to be JB’s most stylish cafe. Nothing in JB can yet match the beyond library-themed chic interior drugged with palace opulence facade.

JB’s not a city that’s short of a good bakery or cake shop, but separating the outstanding from the ordinary can take a fair bit of munching. I’ve kindly gone and done that for you. The ground floor at Seven Oaks is a bakery with scrumptious looking cakes and pastries that cry: eat me! Their salted egg lava croissant is of course their fame and fortune. The upper levels serves as a cafe.

Sure, these expensive go-tos might set you back a bit, but they’re worth every cent. It is worth the visit for the décor alone. This is JB’s most out-there place to while away an afternoon. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 27, 2016

Smoothie House, Taipei…it tastes like eating clouds

CNN named it one of the top 10 desserts in the world. Taiwanese snow shaved ice (or snow cream) has definitely made a mark on the dessert scene.

Snow ice is made by freezing a block of flavored, sweet milk (as opposed to just a block of ice) and shaving it down into flaky ribbons of layered snow. The ice is fine and fluffy as rabbit down —neither too crunchy, nor too dense and wet—and blend seamlessly into the toppings. Think of it as an ice sundae.

If you go for the trinity of mango, strawberry and kiwi, you’re in for an intensely fresh treat. And the all-mango one = greatness.

This is not food for wimps. Bring a friend or three to share. You’ll thank me. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 26, 2016

The Terrace Restaurant, Bangkok…Fried noodles with crab paste and black tiger shrimp. Good stuff, period.

Set in every Central mall, the cheerful, informal The Terrace is far from the capital’s best eatery, but the food is as vivid and bright-flavoured as it comes.

I’m smitten with  fresh spring roll “The Terrace”, chinese pancake wrapped with pressed pork, omelette, Chinese sausage served with sauce and pickled chilli mustard. Equally renowned is the fried noodles with crab paste and black tiger shrimp. Delicious is the only word fitting to describe the combination tangy, sour and salty flavor of crab paste. Yes, really, this is one of the most astonishing, delicious food available anywhere

Good stuff, period. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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