PEr FYI

November 17, 2019

Owen Seafood Restaurant, Singapore…prices that knock the wind out of you

While there are plenty of budget-friendly food options in Singapore, dining in some restaurants can come with a staggeringly steep price tag. With restaurants opening at a fast rate, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re getting the most for your SGD when dining out.

A seafood meal at this Chinese restaurant doesn’t come cheap. And the disappointing things is that it’s not a restaurant which is particularly distinguished. Unquestionably, I think food is too pretentious….which is a really bad thing. And it’s just too bloody expensive. It is really really horrendously expensive …

You will only remember it as the restaurant that is so expensive that you were outraged. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 15, 2019

Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh, Kota Kinabalu…decent enough

Oohs and aahs went up as the waiter placed all the plates and bowls in rapid fire across the two tables we’d joined together. And so begins a classic game of everyone’s favourite bak kut the (pork rib soup) pastime: how much can you eat before it gets cold? You’ll attempt to pop some pork ribs into your mouth at the same time as some you tiao and your pork belly. It’s the constant pressure to eat faster that keeps things interesting, right?

The food rundown. Decent enough.

The best I’ve had in Malaysia? No. The second best I’ve had in Malaysia? Still no. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 8, 2019

Long Beach King, Singapore…the masters of food shelled and finned

Lobster has hogged the limelight on the edible crustacean stage for so long, that we have a tendency to forget the sweet, meaty merits of the humble crab.

There are no prizes for guessing what dish Long Beach King specialise in. The seafood-centric menu currently offers inventive dishes including deep fried flat rice noodles with “la la king”.  The star of the show were the crab dishes, de-shelled, bursting with flavor. The House specialty live prawns impeccably cooked and presented. When the seafood are this good, it seems pointless to stray, but the homemade beancurd with chef sauce was also splendid.

Long Beach King offers a bold and innovative ‘sea-to-plate’ dining experience. But be warned, a meal here comes at an eye-watering price. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 25, 2019

Cheung Fat Kitchen, Hong Kong…the food here is worth the guilt

I am well eaten (and equally well travelled) and still managed to come a cropper in a review of Cheng Fat Kitchen, a cheap, boisterous restaurant in Hong Kong’s North Point. The food is really nice, and really distinctive, reliably tasty — and cheap

Everything about the char-grilled beef short ribs (thick cut, house special pepper sauce) is great.  Meaty, juicy, lick-your-fingers clean amazing. Save room for some of the best steamed clam with wine & lotus leaf. Don’t leave without trying the sweet and sour pork (sauce served separately). There are thousands of Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong, but few have sweet and sour pork like this. Savoury and crunchy, sweet and tangy: it’s addictive stuff. Treat with caution.

Your best bet here is to come with a big group of friends and order as much as you can. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 18, 2019

Mui Kee Congee, Singapore…Is there a sadder sound than the scraping of your spoon on the bottom of a congee bowl?

If I’ve learned one thing from ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ it’s that Goldilocks had the right idea: you’ve got to be picky about your porridge or congee. The good old fashioned, authentic congee I’ve sampled  at Mui Kee is juuuust right. It serves exactly the kind of Chinese food that you would get in the best of Hong Kong restaurants. It’s a tiny place with no room to eat in, but it’s proper street food with a kick.

There is a great selection of parrot fish belly, homemade pork meatballs and threadfin belly. It is incredibly delicious and well made with the ones with the fish belly having a distinct presence of wok hei in the porridge, which we all love.

Is there a sadder sound than the scraping of your spoon on the bottom of a congee bowl? Paws off, baby bear. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

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July 21, 2019

Hakkasan, Shanghai…bill you’re likely to choke on

It’s going to be love or hate for would-be patrons, even those who can get past its many moments of joylessly expensive dining without rolling their eyes.

We eat some good things. This is remarkably pretty food. They were easy on the eyes to look at and quite nice to eat. The quality of the cooking itself is, at the moment, mixed. Regardless of how otherworldly this meal is, here is a bill you’re likely to choke on. I’m sure no one comes here looking for a bargain, but man, this place is expensive even by tourist-trap standards

And the most depressing thing? It’s full. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 6, 2019

Lynn, Shanghai…its glory days are long past

In fairness to Lynn, it was a Sunday night, and when I last visited in March it practically was a ghost town. We had nearly the  entire restaurant to ourselves. It can’t be a good sign.

Indeed, it has an air of style with contemporary dark wooden walls with highceilinged room. The menu, like the restaurant itself, has a solid, timeless quality with a mixture of Shanghainese and Cantonese.

It is only fine. And that’s the thing. It could be a place in which to utter the words: “What the hell; hang the expense. It’s good.” Instead, they’re filling it with the words, “Will this do?”

For me, its glory days were a decade ago. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 18, 2019

Tsui Wah, Singapore…covers all the bases

This iconic cha chaan teng (tea café) from Hong Kong that had humble beginnings as a bing sutt (ice cafe) at Mongkok in 1967 has landed in Singapore.

The taste combination of the signature sweet condensed milk and the fragrant crispy bun was fantastic, but the weak crispiness was a bit of a let down. King prawns with XO sauce in tossed noodles is the one to go for here. The noodles were springy and the prawns were super-fresh. Wantons with shrimp roe in fish soup is also a favourite. Within the simple delicious broth, the wantons – fat, plump, and bursting with shrimp – are a winner.

What to avoid: Seafood curry with steamed rice & stir-fried instant noodles with pork chop and assorted vegetables on sizzling plate. Unless you really need to satisfy the sudden urge for curry, there are much better places to go that won’t leave you full of regret. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 1, 2019

Restoran Kapal Layar, Langkawi…Not satisfying. Only satisfactory.

Restoran Kapal Layar does not set any new paradigms. It is satisfactory instead of satisfying.

The presentation of almost all the dishes was underwhelming and unremarkable. While it is not the epitome of any particular trend, most of the food coming out of its kitchen is quite ok. If I were to recommend one meal that captures some of the energy in the Langkawi dining scene right now, I might come up with reasons not to mention Restoran Kapal Layar. It is an outlier.

This is essentially an IKEA cafetaria. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 20, 2019

Dragon-I, Johor Bahru…it’s Chinese food done properly

I could not have been more excited. I have enjoyed everything this group has offered whenever I’ve been to one of its KL outposts, and I was thrilled that I would no longer have to travel so far.

The food at Dragon-i is really nice and really distinctive. We ordered the Auspicious Treasure Pot (Poon Choi b/ pencai). What arrived was a sizable bowl of braised Chilean premium abalone, premium sea cucumber, Japanese dried scallops and oysters, premium mushrooms and fresh sea prawns, roast chicken, braised pork belly, pork balls, dried beancurd skin, yam, black moss, chinese cabbage, broccoli, deep fried beancurd skin, radish and pork bone stock. The seafood was fresh and well-seasoned; the pork juicy and tender; and the vegetables soaked up the richly flavoured broth very nicely. Service is extremely efficient in this large operation, but don’t expect it to be cuddly.

Drawbacks? The kitchen occasionally gets things wrong, but when it’s on song – the food is really nice. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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