PEr FYI

August 5, 2018

979 Nine Seven Nine Kopitiam, Penang…salted vegetable minced pork bihun soup is unmissable.

Penang is replete with high quality dining options that won’t break the bank, it just takes a little local knowledge to sort the wheat from the chaff. NSN is a super cheap local eat where you can stay stuffed without emptying your wallet. It may be a simple, humble little joint, but it’s astoundingly satisfying.

The star of the show?

The real deal comfortingly basic  salted vegetable minced pork bihun soup is remarkably deep, savoury and a wonderful depth of flavour. It is a contender for “best food in Penang” and I was told it regularly attracts long queues of devotees. It succours the old school and the hungry. It is no beauty but a winner. Seriously incredible, now I can NEVER stop craving for it. The deep fried wanton from a nearby stall in the same eatery is equally unmissable. Both are perplexingly cheap and  insanely economical.

Take friends, and order big. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 7, 2018

Bain Des Paquis, Geneva…cheese heaven and a great place to people-watch

A truly authentic cheese fondue meal – the much loved Swiss staple – is best relished away from the stress and bustle of city life. Bain Des Paquis is a great place to lay-back and hang out in the sun right next to Lake Geneva. The on-site café, La Buvette des Bains serves affordable yet tasty meals – especially the cheese fondue.

The house specialty, Fondue au Cremant is made with sparkling wine similar to champagne rather than white wine, for a more delicate flavour. This is the real fondue deal.

If rich, creamy cheeses a sound like your kind of scene, grab a few friends and meet for conversation, people watch in laid-back atmosphere and some of the most spectacular sceneries you’ve ever seen. Bain Des Paquis is just for people like you. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 2, 2018

Tanger Outlets, Washington DC…small but you get your money’s worth

I’m a certified outlet mall junkie. Going to outlet stores meant a treasure hunt of last season’s clothing at up to 90% off.

Tanger Outlets at National Harbor is rather small compared to many outlet stores in the USA. There are a total of 73 shops. All the usual suspects are present: Nike, Calvin Klein, Under Armour, Polo Ralph Lauren.

It may be small, but you’re getting your money’s worth. his is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 17, 2018

Lucky Famous, Melaka…affordable and forgettable

Most of the food at Lucky Famous is affordable and forgettable

The menu talks a good game and then, inevitably I suppose, the food arrives and blows it. They all tasted OK, but was too one-note, totally lacking special-something. The dishes were sometimes good and sometimes not, like playing mouthful roulette.

I won’t be compelled to revisit again and again. Only will drop in if I am around the area with nothing else more inspiring to eat. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 19, 2018

Oink, Edinburgh…Insanely cheap and lip-smackingly delicious

If pork is not your meal of choice, then Oink is not for you. If you are a “gourmet”, go for these hog roasts. And if you simply like good food, run to Oink and buy a couple of pulled pork roast rolls! Oink, as its name suggests serves only one thing and that’s pork.

There is only two choices on the menu – a roll stuffed with slow roast pork with / without crackling ! These tasty treats come in three sizes : Piglet (80 gms of meat), Oink (160 gms of meat) and Grunter (250 gms of meat). Oink size was just right for me. The pig is salted and tray-roasted, to retain its juices, and then shredded and served on bread rolls and customers can add a selection of toppings including sage and onion stuffing, apple sauce and chilli relish. The bread rolls are cheap, flimsy things, but you get a generous mound of quite majestic meat.

Simplicity itself, this. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 7, 2018

Sate Babi Bawah Pohon, Bali…utterly delicious

Bali is well-known for its pork dishes. A must-try Balinese dish is this pork meat-on-stick.

Tucked away under a tent in Kuta, the Sate Babi (pork satay) here is utterly delicious and that, and only that, is what everyone is here to feast on. The meat is unbelievably succulent and sweet and had a delicious char-grilled flavor coupled with a rich, mouth-coating savouriness.

Really – I’m not hamming it up! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 19, 2017

Nasi Lemak Bumbung, Petaling Jaya… it’s never short of utterly delicious

If you’re food-obsessed but don’t have the disposable income for Kuala Lumpur’s top end restaurants, you want to pay nasi lemak bumbung a mealtime visit. It is truly a cheap eat of an exceptional standard. You can tell, with every mouthful.

Nasi Lemak Bumbung is an odd name because the stall does not have a roof (bumbung) over it. It is hidden in a narrow alley.

The combination of coconut rice, crispy anchovies, peanuts, cucumber, egg and spiced fried chicken (ayam goreng berempah) hits all the right spots of flavour and texture. These were doused in an incredibly shrimpy sambal that I couldn’t get enough of—the funkiest, most powerful flavors of the meal. And all for less than ten ringgit.

A billion times better than plane food. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 18, 2017

Som Tam, Bangkok…possibly the best fried chicken wings I’ve ever had in my life

It was named Bangkok’s best som tam restaurant by CNN Travel. That was good enough reason for me to visit.

Of course I had the healthy and low-cost somtam with dried shrimp and peanuts. Papaya salad – or som tam – is a mainstay of Thai cuisine. It was a blend of savory umami, sweet, spicy, and tart. However, like the pork shoulder BBQ and hot and spicy crispy nil fish, there were ordinarily average.

Don’t miss the fried chicken – deep fried chicken wings to be precise – which triumphs over the som tam. Absolutely loved the lightly battered wonderfully crispy and succulent wings showered with a generous heap of fried garlic. They were possibly the best fried chicken I’ve ever had in my life. To be sure, I devoured a second basketful.

The food may not be worthy of going out of your way to visit, but if you are in the area,  fairly fast service, a basic but cozy décor, reasonable prices and addictive deep fried chicken wings are good reasons to pop in. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 28, 2017

Thip Samai, Bangkok…decent but not world-beating

The most famous Thai dish anywhere! For all Pad Thai newbies, you’ve missed out on stir-fried noodles with egg, tofu, and loads of toppings

Superb padthai  (small prawns) – padthai with shrimp oil, fresh deep sea prawns and wrapped with egg. There was a clear lack of grease and their texture which was neither too soft nor too firm. The noodles themselves were zesty and a had bold, stocky seafood taste to them. The one wrapped with egg, there’s only goodness inside. Even if you’re feeling extravagant, don’t bother upgrading to a Padthai song-kreung. Although it’s a generous dish – padthai with shrimp oil, fresh deep sea prawns, crabmeat, sliced squid and sliced mango, it stumbles badly though. It’s awfully dry and mellow.

The predominance of Thai customers is a reliably good sign. There’s no reservations so prepare to queue. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 14, 2017

Gu Yi Wan, Shanghai…comforting, delicious and cheap

Shanghai’s Chinese food scene is a diverse beast. This tiny Gu Yi Wan does a lot of things well but I’m all over it just for its modest braise in soy sauce beef noodle. It is rich and restorative in texture and taste, a kind of mental health food. Apart of that, other worthy mentions are their wantons, shaomai and shaobing

The restaurant is both the simplest and most marvelous of discoveries in a city that is filled with gastronomic delights. Trust me: you need to try it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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