PEr FYI

July 21, 2019

Hakkasan, Shanghai…bill you’re likely to choke on

It’s going to be love or hate for would-be patrons, even those who can get past its many moments of joylessly expensive dining without rolling their eyes.

We eat some good things. This is remarkably pretty food. They were easy on the eyes to look at and quite nice to eat. The quality of the cooking itself is, at the moment, mixed. Regardless of how otherworldly this meal is, here is a bill you’re likely to choke on. I’m sure no one comes here looking for a bargain, but man, this place is expensive even by tourist-trap standards

And the most depressing thing? It’s full. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 14, 2019

Crab and claw, Bangkok…I tried the C&C lobster roll because you shouldn’t

Let me set the record straight: despite what the reviewers said, this roll is not worth your 950 baht.

The price of the lobster roll seemed a little pricey, even for Bangkok standards, and was pretty standard roll. The C&C Lobster roll’s limp bun was liberally mashed in with globs of chilled maine lobster pulled through drawn butter topped with lemon zest – but none of the succulence of the best of its kind. Overall unimpressive.

Love the lobster roll in burger and lobster, not impressed with this one here. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 23, 2019

Char Casual Dining, Singapore…moved to speechlessness by their char siew

Char is renowned for its roast meats. The char siew and crispy roast pork belly are pure meaty succulence and flavourful intensity. And what flavours! The meats are as good as anything you’ll get in Guangdong and need to be eaten with just some steamed rice to make you feel that life – and food – really doesn’t get much better than this.

The Signature char siew – melt-in-your-mouth tender, with a sublime sauce that is the ultimate blend of salty, sweet and deliciously sticky. The crispy roast pork belly – the crackling that comes from the meat is the main character of a good roast. The meat has been marinated in a blend of Chinese and Western herbs and roasted on high heat. By all means try some salted egg pork – tender pieces of boneless rib meat deep fried for a crispy outside but a tender inside and stir fried in a creamy sauce of salted egg, chilli and curry leaves and, to balance the simplicity of the meats, add in Char’s homemade charcoal beancurd with spinach and wild fungi – homemade silky charcoal beancurd that’s steamed and then deep fried, laid on a bed of poached spinach and topped with wild fungi and a delicious sauce.

The prices border on a blow-out, so order carefully. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 9, 2019

Pao Xiang Bah Kut Teh, Kuala Lumpur…tapas style bak kut teh

Chopsticks at the ready!

The String-Tied Bah Kut Teh is a method of tying up the meat with a cotton string to keep its shape and texture. The string keeps the meat from falling apart during the boiling process, making it firmer and easier to absorb the essence and flavour of the herbs.

Poh Xiang has gone upscale from a 30-seater stall in Klang to a self-consciously stylish restaurant in Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur. Served tapas style – small individual portions of food that allows a magpie approach and diners can zigzag to check out the mouth-watering choices of typical BKT dishes which are wide and varied.

You will be treated to some big and bod flavours with the pai kut, sum chan bah, ka wan, de tor, hun teng, Kim cham kor and braise egg. It’s hardly surprising that everything tastes so good.

Regardless of how otherworldly these dishes are, the bill is something you’re likely to choke on. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 5, 2019

Nuer Koo, Bangkok…has beef noodles like no one else in Bangkok

There are other beef noodle shops in Bangkok, but there is nothing quite like Nuer Koo (pronounce ‘Nua Kooh’).

I opted for medium sliced kobe beef quickly dipped in broth. The soul-stirring soup is deceptively mild at first, gaining carnality with each spoonful but never growing too forceful. It manages to be light and clean on the palate, with a straightforward beefiness that doesn’t linger too long. It comes with rough cuts of gorgeously marbled beef, putting up gentle resistance. The noodles have an integrity and chew you might associate with good Italian pasta.

I’m calling the beef noodle soup here a BUY. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 16, 2018

Restoran W.A.W, Kuala Lumpur…This one’s for the monied tourist

It’s unusual to eat at a tourist hotspot in your home town. On holiday we endure it all.

Chicken wings have been popping up all across Malaysia for the last many decades and are very much on-trend in the capital – but if ever there was a subject to split opinion it is the place serving the very best in town. Only one wing can rule them all and Restoran W.A.W (Wong Ah Wah) is the chicken wing specialist.

Sure enough, Wong Ah Wah signature roast chicken wings are absolutely awesome. And precisely because of this, it is almost certainly on a tourist’s radar. Experience and instinct suggest that this restaurant has gone over to the dark side. The supporting dishes such as creamy salted egg prawns, dried chilli fried with frog, salted fish fried kai lan, fried chili cockles are not too bad either. However, the Signature hokkien mee is a poor imitation of the fame KL dish.

I came, I ate, I paid – so that you don’t have to. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 10, 2018

Lila’s Laundrette, London…expensive and next to no joy

I slim down my suitcase by doing laundry every few days when on vacation. Self-service laundromat helps saves money than hotel laundry service when you are self-funding. Therefore it seems not a bad idea to take a few days accumulation of clothing for a hot water wash at a laundrette place.

Unless you really have to, do not go to Lila’s Laundrette near Marble Arch. It is expensive, the owner is not the most honest guy and they do not change dryer filters which increases the cost to dry your clothes.

For me, that’s not good. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 9, 2018

Ming Garden, Penang…the price for a meal can be more than a mortgage payment (or two)

Ming Garden is not just expensive; it’s outrageously overpriced, serving Chinese food to diners with deep pockets. But sometimes, you just want to splurge (and other times, you’re on an unlimited expense account or your rich relative is treating!)

The food presentations are stunning, but of course, for that kind of money, they should be. However, the quality and taste of the food lacks wow-factor is very average for its elevated price.

Although eye-wateringly expensive, you get the least bang-for-buck given the fairly unimaginative repertoire for which mediocre would be a flattering description. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 17, 2018

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Hua Hin…Uber-touristy.

The idea of eating at a tourist hotspot in our hometown is laughable. On holiday we endure plastic croque monsieurs under the Eiffel Tower, misshapen bratwurst by the Berlin Wall and food and fruits on the floating markets in Thailand, like Damnoen Saduak.

Damnoen Saduak has been Thailand’s best known floating market for a very long time but it is also the most touristy one. It’s lively, full of boats selling food and fruits, and it’s colourful. But you can’t turn your head without being sold something. Everything is expensive.

In sum – don’t go here if you hate cliches, and don’t eat here unless you like paying three times more for your food. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 1, 2018

El Cerdo, Kuala Lumpur…make me want to roll my eyes

Precisely five minutes into the first dish, I realised that this heavily romanticized chopping of piglet with a plate experience was a bona fide tourist trap. Me, I’m all about taste and that’s why El Cerdo just doesn’t do it for me.

The food is grotesquely overvalued. I’m brashly oversimplifying things here, but all that we’d ordered – frito de queso (cheese), toger prawns (wrapped in bacon), guiness ribs, deep fried squid, half a roasted suckling piglet and champinonless angelo were only mediocre.

El Cerdo is overpriced, underwhelming and easily wayyyyyy overrated. Plus, there are plenty of better restaurants nearby. Avoid. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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