PEr FYI

June 20, 2020

Ho Kow Hainam Kopitiam, Kuala Lumpur…classic old-school

Once inside it’s impossible not to smile – especially for a diner of a certain age. This joint  feels – not only right at home in its Chinatown neighbourhood but it even evokes warm nostalgia for the era of Charlie’s Angels and disco.

Have you, erm, heard of half boiled egg curry banjir toast? No? The entire toast crowned with the soft-boiled egg is flooded with curry. If your toast and egg obsession is level 99, this will be the most exciting thing you’ve for a long, long time. The only question is this: how much exercise are you willing to do after consuming this?

Even though I will never become a “regular”, I’ll definitely return. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 17, 2020

Calanthe Art Café, Melaka…merely so-so experience

Malaysia has a thriving specialty coffee scene that rivals that of other well known U.S. coffee-crazy cities like Seattle and San Francisco.

With the tagline ‘The First and Only One’, Calanthe is unique, serving specialty coffee drinks from all the 13 states of the country, some Malaysian states have unique blends of coffee mixed with margarine, salt or even wheat flour. With expectations raised sky-high, I was let down by the coffee I cupped which seemed relatively subdued and muted aromatics.

Calanthe is also called an “art cafe”, and therefore you can immerse in the artistic ambience, decorations and wall paintings. Food-wise the Calanthe Laksa – in-house recipe -the gravy consists of coconut milk, lemon grass, turmeric, dried prawn paste, shallots, etc. served with tofu puffs, fish balls, fried bean curd skin, portion of hard boiled egg, fishcake slices, bean sprouts and grated cucumber is nothing to write home to mother about.

The merely so-so vibes don’t quite last until the very end the week. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 13, 2019

Kinotoya Café, Sapporo…great place to have up your sleeve

When it comes to bakeries, Japan is a goldmine. The Japanese have embraced the art of French patisserie and become seriously good at it.

Kinotoya Café is neighbourhoody, mildly hip and completely welcoming, but still ever so slightly pretentious in places. I love the omelette parfait. It sounds sound so wrong, but it is so right. You can also indulge in the pretzel croissant and soft-boiled eggs.

For me, at least, Kinotoya Cafe is a great place to have up your sleeve. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 1, 2019

LeTAO Pathos Cafe, Otaru, Hokkaido…cheesecake Holy Land

I have to confess, I am not a cheesecake fan. After LeTao had brainwashed thousands of Asians through the power of pure indulgence and wondering what the hype is all about, I decided to take a plunge into the world of cheesecakes. It’s time for the moment I’ve been waiting for: the cheesecake cult initiation process.

The cake itself looks unassuming, but the luscious indulgently rich double fromage was so easy to finish in one sitting although biting into the dense base on its own may get a little overpowering after a while. In taste, the crepe suzette travel that thin line between “oh god, this is good” and “oh god, this is a bit much”. They are sweet and sticky but the rind of the orange pull it back from the nadir.

I am a little fatter now, a little poorer, but much happier. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 11, 2019

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai…a coffee-lover’s Disneyland

Once upon a time, Starbucks prompted millions of consumers to do away with cheaper instant coffee for a more expensive specialty product. With this Reserve Roastery, it is third-wave coffee.

Upscale, and they feature cocktail bars, bakeries, snake-like tubes that transport beans across the store and unique elements, this roastery is completely unlike a typical Starbucks. There are tons of food and coffee options, plus plenty of places to sit and stay for a while with staffers navigating selections the way a sommelier might do with a wine list.

Indeed the food and drinks are, well, a few stars better than your standard Starbucks offerings. My personal favorite is the dark chocolate mocha, which is just sweet enough with a good bitter bite from the espresso. Milanese bakery Princi provides the food, notable ones are cheesecake lampone, carrot loaf cake and torta princi.

Looking around, I see coffee fiends pilgrimage here from all over. You’ll hear different languages, see a spectrum of generations, and many different styles of clothing. If you’re a coffee lover, you won’t want to miss this stop.

This massive, gleaming roastery is the Starbucks Mecca. Translation: Be prepared to be awed and overwhelmed. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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