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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June 24, 2017

Korean Country Food, Seoul…Comfortable no frills atmosphere and large portions

This restaurant in Myeongdong is a good option when you want to eat authentic Korean food. The interior is simple but comfortable – the no-frills Korean atmosphere seems to exude authenticity. The service is curt and fast.

Boneless Jjimdak (boneless deep stir chicken with special medium sweet soy sauce). It was basically a stew of slowly cooked chicken thighs, potatoes, carrots, green onions, cabbage, all swimming in a delicately balanced rich soy and oyster sauce that was sweetened with rice syrup and brown sugar. Sweet.  Spicy.  Rich.  And HUGE! The three of us could not even finish a plate.

Prepare to leave stuffed. 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 15, 2017

Donald & Lily Nyonya Food, Melaka…overrated 100 times

If nobody’s told you yet, it’s average food and unjustifiably pricey. Save yourself the wait and the drive.

And the food is not even that good! The food looked good from a distance but on closer inspection turned out to be rather unappetizing. I had nasi ketuk ayam rendang and taukua rojak. Neither dish was as good as their equivalents in any food court. Both were decent and edible, but as has been mentioned, was ordinary at best.

Honestly, there are many other underrated, inexpensive places to grab nyonya food in Melaka– just take my word for it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 26, 2017

Restoran Ming Huat, Melaka …mee kahwin is a mash-up you don’t want to miss

Mee kahwin, crudely translated is married noodles. It is – excuse me while I use the f-word – a fusion dish. The dish may sound frighteningly exotic and confused, but the marriage of mee rebus and Indian rojak has innate cohesion.

The mee kahwin here at one of the stalls at Restaurant Ming Huat is well executed, inventive Malay cooking served with sweet, sour, salty, spicy and peanuty flavour combinations. Yellow noodles are topped with taukua (fried beancurd), hard-boiled egg, potato cubes, fresh bean sprouts, crunchy cucur udang (prawn fritters), and cut green chillies, bathed in generous ladles the lip-smacking gravy.

It’s a mash-up you don’t want to miss. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 27, 2016

Smoothie House, Taipei…it tastes like eating clouds

CNN named it one of the top 10 desserts in the world. Taiwanese snow shaved ice (or snow cream) has definitely made a mark on the dessert scene.

Snow ice is made by freezing a block of flavored, sweet milk (as opposed to just a block of ice) and shaving it down into flaky ribbons of layered snow. The ice is fine and fluffy as rabbit down —neither too crunchy, nor too dense and wet—and blend seamlessly into the toppings. Think of it as an ice sundae.

If you go for the trinity of mango, strawberry and kiwi, you’re in for an intensely fresh treat. And the all-mango one = greatness.

This is not food for wimps. Bring a friend or three to share. You’ll thank me. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 13, 2016

Hainanese Delicacy in Far East Plaza, Singapore….worst of the worst

This place exudes a brand new level of absurdity. I have a string of invective to describe this place that can’t be printed in this blog. The food is actually not bad, but the unethical and fussy whims could hardly be more off-putting.

Yes, this is where you get ripped off. And in case you’re wondering, I’d ordered for a chicken drumstick to go along with my chicken rice, while lunching with my three colleagues. After they’d served everyone else, they told me that they can’t serve me the drumstick and offered other parts of the chicken. When I pointed out that there are drumsticks visibly available and that I was willing to pay extra, they told me that I need to order half the chicken to get the drumstick. To put things in perspective for them, I pointed out that the four of us dining together would have already ordered the equivalent of half a chicken. But alas, no amount of discussion would persuade them to serve my order. They had no answer to my question as to why they didn’t make their policy clear at point of taking our orders instead of when my colleagues had already started on their meal.

This place – where the customer is rarely right – should be declared a disaster area. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 5, 2016

Lai Lai Dow Jang, Taipei…Small eats, and a lot of them, are the big thing here

Venture into Lai Lai Dow Jang and first-timers like me will undoubtedly be intimidated. Here you will find a huge variety of street foods, snacks that are both sweet and savory. Expect to stare at foods you’ve NEVER seen before and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

I played it safe and opted for freshly made hot soymilk, you tiao along with an egg pancake.Those with no language skills like me, simply stand in front of the stall, point to what you want and use your digits to say how many.

Here you can overcome your fear and try as many new Taiwanese foods as possible. I’m not saying you will like every dish. But I can guarantee that you will have some surprises and you might crave for some snacks when you’re back home. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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