PEr FYI

August 26, 2018

Eat., London…budget-saving food

London is not a cheap city, but it does boast a thriving foodie scene with plenty of reasonably priced dining options. Eat. is one of them, serving delicately done British fare in friendly surroundings.

Their very simplest dishes, like the pies, mash & gravy with crispy onions, really are decent. Brie & Truffle mac & Cheese with cranberry sauce and crispy onions is the ultimate comfort food. I must warn you, you might not be able to fit into your pants after eating this, your heart may have some trouble beating from all the cream and cheese, but I promise, it will be worth it. Pigs in blanket hot roll with wholegrain mustard mayo & onion & ale chutney was traditionally made with buttery rolls and warm toasty, savory hot dogs bundled inside.

Eat. is a reasonable and Instagram-worthy “cheap eat” which will give you change for a tenner. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 24, 2018

The Halal Guys, New York…great street meat

A food cart under umbrellas in can’t-miss yellow and red serving platters of halal lamb and chicken on 53rd and 6th in the Big Apple with never-ending lines that reeled down the block.

Your options are “chicken,” “lamb,” or “combo”. Lamb, roasted on a rotating spit and chopped to bits before a final crisping on a flat-top grill; chicken, simply grilled; falafel. The juicy lamb is the draw, sharply seasoned, with just enough melting fat. You want that as a sandwich or over rice? I chose sandwich. The secret “white” sauce is a must.

But take that white sauce away, and I don’t really get what the big deal is. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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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