PEr FYI

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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May 28, 2017

Peter’s Pork Noodle, Restoran One Sentral, Kuala Lumpur…it’s the place to go if you want to try KL’s best pork noodles

If you ask someone where to go to get pork noodle (chee yoke fun) in KL, most people will say you HAVE to go to Peter’s Pork.

This one has three (three!!) kinds of pork: minced pork, pork slices and pork liver, which I don’t ask questions about. Lots of people go straight for the soup version (also great), but the sleeper hit for me is the dry version. The kway teow noodles themselves are kinda slippery, really chewy and the ideal canvas for this pork situation. The bowl of broth is also spectacular. There’s invariably a mad search for vacant tables and the coffee waiters can be brusque. But it’s all worth it for the pork noodles.

For ME (haters please sit down), this is the best pork noodle in the city. Oh god, I am so hungry. 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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May 7, 2017

Restoran Sun Huat Kee, Kuala Lumpur…pork ball noodle is good but not gold standard

Inexpensive and reassuringly tasty, pork ball noodle stand tall as a personal favourite.

Sun Huat Kee is a well-ventilated kopitiam which has an array of food stalls: Steven’s fried kuey teow, curry mee, wantan mee and of course, pork ball noodle (or chu yoke fun).  A bowl of kway teow (flat rice noodles) drizzled with lard and dark soy sauce, topped with a generous heap of fried mince pork and slices of BBQ sausages or siew cheong. Though called pork balls, these are rectangular and flat-shaped pork balls instead of round ones. The round bodied broth is robustly savoury and slightly sweet and though delicious, doesn’t match up to the one in a different kopitiam a few doors away.

Not gold standard. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 30, 2017

Chin Huat Live Seafood, Singapore…pumpkin crab is definitely something to savor.

There’s a lot to love about the not-so-humble crab. Singaporeans will travel to great lengths searching for the perfect plate.

You know the fish is fresh when you can spy it all glistening in the cases up front. At Chin Huat, bountiful seafood tanks packed with live produce tempts you on arrival. The menu extends to a full carte with lobster, elephant clam, bamboo clam, Dungeness crab, prawns, shell items. The pumpkin crab features the sweet and refined earthy flavor of pumpkin all umami thick, and orangey-yellow creamy, accented with tender crab meat. Second best is the stir fried crab with salted egg where the salted egg creates a lovely golden crust  – crisp and rich.

Whether you’re craving a simple clam  or an ornate plate of crabs, this is one of the better seafood restaurants in Singapore. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 8, 2017

Shi Li Fang, Singapore….profoundly awful

An executive summary: it’s pricey and the food isn’t even that great— likened to “corporate catering,” it’s merely expensive food without a narrative.

Shi Li Fang is a Taiwanese steamboat joint which is misleading with hidden costs, serves mediocre food and service that sucks. Be wary. Be very wary.

I ultimately concluded that “you probably shouldn’t eat at this place.” This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 2, 2017

Restoran Nobel House, Kuala Lumpur…worth a special trip

With the vast choice of  sprawling, ever-changing Chinese restaurants before you in KL, it is often difficult to know where best to go. Nobel House is one of these totally trustworthy restaurants which will give you a more refined dining experience…and blissfully so.

It’s a minefield of a huge menu in here. The Cantonese food, too, has a touch of the high street, only done really, really well. The flavors are all intense and wonderful.

Noble House is part of the Oriental Group of Restaurants which also runs Noble Mansion in PJ. Either one is still worth a special trip and trust me, whichever you pick, you won’t be disappointed. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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