PEr FYI

May 13, 2017

Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market, Seoul…there’s a world of crustaceans in here

Whoever invented the fish market with attached restaurant was a genius. Because what better way to entice customers into consuming a highly perishable food than offering to cook it right then and there?

Here’s a fish market with the luscious lobster, springy calamari and plump shrimp I want on my lunch plate or dinner table tonight. This Seoul destination also functions as a eatery, complete with floor seating and table service on the upper level. What you’re buying here may or may not be, but it’s high quality and a worthy splurge.

The most remarkable part of the market is its expansive selection of whole fish as well as live seafood, including eels, crabs, lobsters and sea urchin. Browsing the colorful, enticing sea creatures is irreplaceable. 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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October 23, 2016

Restoran Stadium Negara, Kuala Lumpur…huge disappointment

Restoran Stadium Negara was originally situated near the national stadium – hence its name, but has since relocated to its present location in Jalan Yap Kwan Seng.

Though famous for its steamboat, I wanted to try their other offerings and ended up having my appreciation of Tze Char food being dulled by this  “average” eatery serving culinary disasters. The hokkien style noodle is not hokkien mee without lard. Only then did I find out that this is a halal restaurant. The sweet sour crab was bursting with the flavour of wam Kuala Lumpur tap water. It was neither sweet nor sour  and the accompanying buns were too hard and not hot. The BBQ chicken wing and BBQ sotong were pretty ordinary.The steam prawns turns out to be among the only edible charm at this place.

I really do not like Restoran Stadium Negara. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 11, 2016

Tsunami Village, Penang…Nothing on the menu would drag me in again

Dining out at a waterfront restaurant is all about simple pleasures. But not just any table will do — the food, after all, has to live up to the setting.

Here, the baked lobster with cheese, crab salted egg and prawn wine are more like upscale pub grub. It is good in the way seafood is good – but it lacks complexity, sophistication and the wow ­factor. The others are a mixed bag. The clam kam heong’s sambal was nice but the clams were so small, they might as well serve a couple of magnifying glass with the dish. The fried chai tak with garlic was so-so while the fried mix ho fun and mee hoon was the only well-executed dish.

Nothing on the menu at Tsunami Village would drag me in again to pay with my own money. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 13, 2016

Addiction Aquatic Development, Taipei…not pilgrimage-worthy

Is the experience is actually worth the money? It’s questionable. If you are looking for fresh and good quality rather than value for money, go for it.

The restaurant makes it a point to emphasize the freshness of the seafood. That’s the good news.

The bad news is I had a less-than-stellar experience at the bizzarely-named Addiciton Aquatic Development. Despite its very passionate reviews, the seafood tends to fall somewhere between bland and unremarkable.  None of this freshness matters much. The final bill was hefty and I was still hungry and highly disappointed. Frankly, I have trouble understanding what the fuss is all about.

Sometimes, the chorus of public opinion isn’t a good thing. I was unimpressed. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 15, 2016

Red House Seafood, Singapore…a meal will cost you about the same as an iPhone

At Red House Seafood, a meal will cost you about the same as an iPhone. While some of us are happy with a few dollar pizza slice or yong tow foo, some among us will admit to splurging on a nice restaurant on occasion, while certain discerning foodies opt to indulge in costly fine dining on a regular basis.

The atmosphere is incredibly calming, potentially to quell the shock you might feel upon seeing your bill. We chose to kick off the meal with steamed scottish bamboo clams with minced garlic. It was a work of art in the simplicity and purity of the main ingredient contrasted with the visual intricacy of the garnish.Takesumi chilli crab bun was a savoury steamed soft black charcoal gravy-filled bun loaded with chunks of chilli crab meat mixed with fresh pork. However, it was not as good as it looks or made out to be. There was too little gravy and too much bun. Their Signature creamy custard sauce was also a complete let-down.

I anaesthetise myself with chinese tea and brood on the fact that really, with restaurants like this, it doesn’t matter what the hell I say. They have their audience.This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

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January 24, 2016

Fulton’s Crab House, Orlando…Wowowowow!

Fulton’s is a seafood-centric restaurant in the heart of Downtown Disney.

The colossal Alaska King from the waters of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, 1.25 pound of sweet crab with a hint of salt was real succulent appetizing quality and mouth-watering. It was the largest Alaskan King Crab legs that I’ve ever seen on a plate. The body itself is fairly empty and all of the meat is concentrated in the long thick legs. The legs must have been precracked because they were easy to crack open. Fulton’s Crab Cake – blue crab, maque choux, fried green tomato, remoulade was rich, filling and delicious. That is a bold statement, but it’s true… If I was going to die and it was my last meal, I would want this crab cake. Ok, maybe two crab cakes.

It is pricey, but crab is always pricey and also you’re in Downtown Disney, so that’s expected. Totally worth the splurge. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

fulton crab house 2 orlando

fulton crab house orlando

 

January 9, 2016

Somboon Seafood, Bangkok…fried curry crab is heaven on a plate

One of Bangkok’s utterly superb and most delicious restaurants, Somboon is a classy place with outstanding Thai seafood with Chinese influences. Some mighty fine exhilarating Thai flavors, excellent service, pleasant setting and the price is right.

So, what’s to love?

As a matter of fact, every dish is rich in flavour. Coconut, lemon grass, basil and chiles are employed to magical effect.

The innocuous-sounding, obsession-worthy fried curry crab (Pu Pad Pong Gari) , cooked in a fragrant medley of spices and aromatics is gloriously unique. It’s a curry that hums with the power of a jet turbine and the finesse of an Apple Watch, fueled by radioactive levels of heat and subtle layers of sweet, salty and sour that creep down the back of the throat…its spicy punch set off deliciously by the fat, sweet crab meat. It’s definitely not what you sometimes get at other crab restaurants. Next time I’m here, I also really want to try fried curry crab meat where the meat is separated from the bisected crab body.

More intricate is the steamed fresh water prawns with garlic. No section of the tongue was left unstimulated. The stir fried baby cabbage with crispy pork is a textural delight and one of the best I have ever had. This is one of my benchmark dishes for most Chinese restaurants.

Run, don’t walk to this critically praised and nationally recognized Thai seafood restaurant. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 14, 2015

Under Bridge Spicy Crab, Hong Kong…more a tourists’ stop than a local haunt

This isn’t a fancy restaurant – it’s very Chinese-y with red and gold in its décor.

As the name suggest, this crab specialist is  under a vehicle bridge. You have to order crab if you go to a restaurant with crab in its name, so we did – we got the spicy crab with chilli and garlic, and true to form, the bright red large-clawed crustaceans were buried under a generous mountain of dry mix of fried chilli and nice crunchy deep-fried garlic bits. This dish is believed to be originated from typhoon shelters which are shelters fishing boats during typhoons. I have to admit…for me, the deep fried minced garlic ends up being the star of the show rather than the crab.

I didn’t quite manage to enthuse over all the other dishes – they were just gastronomically illiterate and a little bit desperate. The service too was not the best.

It’s more a tourists’ stop than a local haunt. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

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March 14, 2015

Crab in da bag, Singapore…No, this ain’t the place for restraint

When it comes to food, I suffer from multiple personality disorder. Sometimes, I crave refinement, creativity and some extravagance. And other times, I just want to pig out. When those urges get too strong, when I want the culinary equivalent of “dancing like nobody’s watching,” I can’t imagine a better way to set them free than to sit down and start cracking shells and stuffing face at Crab in da bag. It is crowded, messy and plenty fun.

Each table is covered with a large sheet of coated paper. The crab arrives in plastic bags…. set in the middle of the table sheathed in clear plastic loaded with the sauce of your choice. The best dish was definitely tiger prawns in garlic butter. Sri Lankan crab in caboodle mix – a combo of local and Cajun spices – is out of this world….they combined beautifully. The crab farci was delightfully delicious. The word farci, when used in the description of a dish, means to ‘stuff’ or to ‘pad out’ (from the Latin,farcire). The prawns are first cleaned out and then cooked in their shells, ensuring maximum flavour. The sweetness of the prawns complemented the garlic sauce perfectly. Whenever I need a prawn-fix, I know where to go. The squid in curry had a very intense and specific flavour.
If you don’t like eating with your hands, you should not even think about going there. No, this ain’t the place for restraint. It’s for anyone who speaks the international language of crab done right, and who wants to enjoy good seafood in a casual atmosphere. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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