PEr FYI

May 22, 2020

Kiki Yococho, Sapporo…yummy as heck and beautifully flavoured.

There is a belief amongst crepe-lovers: if you could catch the crepe with a frying pan after tossing it in the air (with your left hand), while holding a piece of gold (on your right) you’d become rich that year. True or not, this I personally know: whatever filling or topping you choose to accompany a crepe, it’s always a delight – whether for a meal or dessert!

When pondering Japanese food, crepe isn’t the first thing that comes to mind but tucked away in Daimaru Sapporo, Kiki Yococho is a little local gem. The crepes are – and I’m only slightly exaggerating – a firm favourite which was sweet-but-not-too-sweet in that dangerous way that means you could eat it all day. The seating area is small in a typically Japanese bustling way.

You can’t really go wrong with the crepe. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 7, 2020

Sunday folks, Singapore…arrive hungry…

Singapore’s dessert scene is anything but boring. I remember when going out for a mid-afternoon sweet treat was about choosing between a red velvet or a chocolate cupcake. These days it’s a whole other story. Desserts have been supersized, with enough calories to fuel a family for a month.

Sunday Folks is piled high with soft serve ice cream, to cakes to waffles. While I wouldn’t advise regular consumption, an occasional waffle sea salt gula melaka topped with gula melaka and hand-harvested sea salt (don’t worry, no eggs in this mixture) with toppings gula melaka mochi, chocolate Mikado sticks and gula melaka sauce can’t do too much harm, right?!

If you’re feeling extra naughty, order one of their indulgent Affogatos to go with it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 12, 2020

Blackbird, Manila…Hear me now: do not make the mistake of dying before you have eaten here

There are places, that, have great food, but more importantly will also guarantee you a good time. That mean dishes that go beyond excellent but make you smile, too. And all at the right price. Which doesn’t necessarily mean cheap but definitely means value for money.

To start, dive into the exceptionally decadent mushroom, fortina and truffle arancini. The salt and pepper squid and shrimps with sweet soy and ginger was as unusual as it was delicious. Then there’s tempura eggplant and prawn fritters with nuoc cham. These are all more tiny mouthfuls than actual dishes.

The main event comes in the form of impossibly thin slices of grilled short rib, green onion and ginger, kimchi, hot bean paste, lettuce and rice. It is utterly delicious and truly one of the undisputed stars of the show.

Then have a little rest – because you really should try a sundae. The dessert is worth saving space for. The burnt butter and vanilla seed ice creams, chocolate brownie, candied pop corn, salted caramel is an ice cream lover’s dream come true. I believe I have found the single best dessert available right now in the Philippines, or, for that matter, anywhere else.

This is an impressive date spot if you want to bring out the big guns. You’ll keep talking about this truly delicious meal long after leaving. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 29, 2019

Lady M, Singapore…wildly delicious

Food is like fashion. People may copy Lady M’s Mille Crêpes, but when they want a perfect specimen, they will go to the store.

Sweet-toothed Singaporeans, you’re in luck. Choose from signature, green tea, marron, salted caramel and pair it with the array of the delicate artisanal tea selection. Personally, the signature and salted caramel are the perfect excuse to shovel spoonfuls of warm carbs into your face.

Lady M is truly the queen of cakes and confectionary delights. On your marks, get set… eat! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 21, 2019

After You Dessert Café, Bangkok…arrive hungry…

Should we really leave room for desserts? Bangkok dessert scene is anything but boring. Moreover, I crave my sweets. More and more I revere my sweets.

It’s hard to avoid the After You revolution, with Instagram going wild. If you’re feeling extra naughty, order one of their indulgent baby shibuya honey toast to go with it. While I wouldn’t advise regular consumption, an occasional choc banana pancake can’t do too much harm, right?! The baby mango sticky rice kakigori is selling like hot cakes but I don’t share the same sentiments.

Other than mango sticky rice places, After You is easily one of the best dessert places in Bangkok. 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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August 31, 2019

Lek Seafood, Bangkok…don’t make the mistake of dying before you eat here

When dining out in Bangkok, the spectre of crippling indecision lurks around every corner. Once you get past the overwhelming question of where to eat, you’re still faced with the menu: what to order? Lek Seafood provides an easy answer to both of these questions.

First of all, you should eat there. Second, show up in a group of 3 or 4 and go for these: the grilled cockles is a simple satisfying dish. Also fantastic is the shrimp in hot and sour soup (tom yum kung) which is perfectly cooked and a firm bestseller here. My favourite was the stir fried soft crab in curry sauce. I will never tire of it. The stir fried cabbage with fish sauce is also much loved and the stir fried baby clam with sweet basil was a refreshing touch between the spicier dishes. By the time you get to dessert, the choice is especially easy: the mango sticky rice may not sound like anything special but this is one of the best in the city.

Fantastic, authentic food and great service, Lek Seafood deserves all its repeat visits from all Thai food lovers. 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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March 31, 2019

Creamery, Singapore…paradise for those with a sweet tooth.

If you love chocolate as much as me, and you’re hungry, then look away now.

These days desserts have been supersized, with enough calories to fuel a family for a month. The Choc a lot is the top seller for a reason – cookie chocolate lava include a scoop of ice cream. Choose your flavour of ice cream – I picked Banoffee (banana, toffee and choco mud pie) – and indulge. Each bite was a perfect ratio of crumbly cake and warm sauce. If you’re feeling extra naughty, order one of their indulgent brownie topped with milo dinosaur ice cream to go with it.

Arrive hungry. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 24, 2019

Café Mary Grace, Manila…it isn’t all that earth-quaking

What started out as delighting her children with personally decorated birthday cakes, Mary Grace is now a chain of cafes and kiosks all over Manila.

I had the fairly remarkable looking Mango bene – frozen layers of meringue with custard cream, and fresh mangoes in between. It was sweet-but-not-too-sweet in that dangerous way. There are moments when richness overwhelms but I was disappointed not to find what I came for.

For the record, everything they serve is gorgeous! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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