PEr FYI

January 13, 2018

Restoran Tapai Tang, Johor Bahru…tastes better than it looks

Johor Bahru food was once considered Malaysia’s poor culinary relation, but there are hidden gems in the city. Restoran Tapai Tang is one of the few old-school JB dining institutions where the quality has actually improved in recent years.

Their famed salt baked chicken is so tender, you won’t be able to stop eating it. wat tan hor (rice noodles in egg gravy) is perfectly fried with the lustrous eggy gravy over the wok fragrance flat noodles is just as good. On the minus side, all this good food is simply plonked on to the plate willy-nilly. This may be ugly-ass food – even the photo (below) doesn’t look very appetizing– at least not to me! But, I swear, the dishes were delicious.

This is a time your dinner tasted better than it looked. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 9, 2018

Shanghai Disneyland…..authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese

Unlike the mickey mouse Disneyland in Hong Kong, this Shanghai Disneyland features six themed areas.

With its giant Starbucks, Cheesecake Factory and Wolfgang Puck restaurant, you might for a minute mistake Shanghai Disney Resort for theme parks in Anaheim or Orlando. However, there’s more of a Chinese feel to it than to Hong Kong Disney, that’s for sure. Main Street has been replaced by Mickey Avenue and it’s easier to find Kung Pao chicken for lunch than, say, a hot dog.

Easily the best attraction, Tron ride, an exhilarating roller coaster in the park’s Tomorrowland area is the first of its kind in a Disney park. Riders race headlong into dark tunnels interspersed with shows of red, blue and yellow lights. The Pirates of the Caribbean is equally amazing and technically astonishing. Gone are the classic animatronic characters of other parks. In its place, high-definition, computer-animated trip across the ocean floor when the riders move between to real boats while an animated pirate ship battle takes place in front of them, sending animated (and real) water into the air.

This isn’t Disneyland in China; it’s China’s Disneyland. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 26, 2017

Hefu Noodles, Shanghai…you just have to turn up and slurp

There’s nothing finer for a light lunch than a bowl of noodles and delicious broth. Paired with a cold glass of flavored tea, you simply can’t go wrong.

If you’re looking for flavorful and tender beef noodles, look no further than Hefu noodles. Opt for the rich flavor and creamy textured Hefu noodles with crab oil & cattle rib. Wash it down with an incredible cup of delightful blend peach flower and fruit tea.

You just have to turn up and slurp. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 4, 2017

Old Hong Kong Kitchen, Singapore…deeply unlovable

Old Hong Kong Kitchen owners, have you eaten at your restaurant in Novena Square 2? Did you eat the dim sum? Did it live up to your expectations? When you hung that sign by the entrance that says, voted top 5 dim sum restaurants in Singapore, were you just messing with our heads? How did the rest of the food turn out so deeply unlovable? Does this make it sound as if everything at Old Hong Kong Kitchen is inedible? I didn’t say that, did I?

The siew mai – forget it. The fried stuff were oil-soaked yet not very crispy. I don’t know how this place survives. I don’t care about the decor, I want my food. The prices were too expensive for what it was.

This restaurant has probably the worst dim sum I have ever eaten in Singapore. 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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September 1, 2017

Bund’s secret, Shanghai…DO NOT GO IN THERE

Some restaurants get it wrong, others are for outrageous pricing, some have disastrous experiences and then there’s the ones that, well, just don’t serve very good food. This one is all of the above.

We ordered braised pork with sweet soy sauce, sautéed Australian scallop with wild mushroom and braised tofu with hairy crab meat. All impressive sounding names on the menu. I can’t report any of the flavours at all: there was nothing for me to swallow during this worst restaurant meal.

DO NOT GO IN THERE. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 19, 2017

Jia Jia Tang Bao, Shanghai…spurter of broth and burner of mouths

This steamed, soup-filled xioalongbao is, perhaps, the dumpling world’s favourite son.

Jia Jia Tang Bao is the place to go if you’re into this Shanghai speciality, otherwise known as a soup dumpling… a basket of steamed bite-size pouches of goodness usually filled with pork and broth. This is a true blue cramped hole-in-the-wall and you get a down-to-earth local experience. Sharing tables with strangers is the norm here, as chairs are precious.

Freshly made every day, what the they may lack in elegance, they more than make up for in flavor, the thinness of the skin and the quality of the soup inside. Expect a thinner-than-average skin and a pronounced porky filling boasting a hint of sweetness. Be careful — you need to put them in your mouth whole if you don’t want the soup to spill everywhere.

An insider’s tip? Just be careful to let them cool sufficiently before attempting to eat them, whole, or your next stop could be Shanghai International Hospital A & E. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 12, 2017

East and West Rendezvous, Melaka…overpriced, overhyped and over-rated

I’m often a little nervous when visiting ultrahyped eating places found online, and East and West Rendezvous proved why. It was a complete fiasco. The food looked good from a distance but turned out to be rather unappetising

Nyonya dumpling (Nyonya chang) is the only type of bak chang I eat, so I know a tasty one when I eat it. The ones you get here are pretty average. To rub salt in the wound, the staff here wear their rudeness on their sleeves.

Get this place off your list. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 8, 2017

Madam Zhu’s Kitchen, Shanghai…an absolute gem

Across its many regions China encompasses so many different cuisines that lumping them all together under one banner is akin to talking about ‘European food’. Madam Zhu’s Kitchen specializes in Sichuan and Shanghainese cuisines.

Make sure you sample Specialty: No1. Madam Zhu’s Peking Duck. Immaculately carved at the table by gloved cooks, it is worth it. Both the meat and the skin were excellent. The pancakes were wonders—light, delicate, strong. If you’re looking for Sichuan Province’s famous ‘hot and numbing’ dishes, this is the place to come. The gritty fried shrimp balls with chilli and pepper really is lip-tinglingly good. True to Sichuanese form, red is present in this dish –  in lashings of sliced or whole chillies. It made my scalp sweat. Boom.

The food comes quickly, the food is excellent, and the food is not very expensive. It is a busy restaurant, yet it feels intimate. Right now Madam Zhu’s Kitchen is an absolute gem, a true collector’s piece. I just hope it stays that way. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 11, 2017

Nam Heong Vintage, Kuala Lumpur…chicken hor fun is amongst the league of legends

As Asians, we’re constantly searching for the newest and hottest restaurants with innovative cuisines and are adorned with the latest, most stylish decor. Yes, being up to date on the restaurant scene is fun – and a Singapore necessity- but at times we forget about the historical gems.

Nam Heong Vintage’s unique and retro feel will transport you back in history and keep you wanting to stop time to cherish their delicious eats.

Order this: The egg tarts make a good start. The filling is delicate and sweet. The shell is crispy, flaky and buttery. The Nam Heong chicken hor fun aka kai see hor fun consisting of super smooth flat rice noodles (kuey teow) and shredded tender poached chicken. The awesomeness lies in the incredibly flavoursome soup with that vivid layer of orange oil that comes from boiling the prawn heads. I downed the bowl in record time; slurping up every strand of the noodles and drinking up every drop of soup.

Don’t order this: signature chicken rice with steamed chicken. Nam Heong used to be famous for its chicken rice, but sadly it’s a dish which should finally be laid to rest here.

You would not want to miss the chicken hor fun, though. It’s way up there amongst the league of legends. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

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