PEr FYI

August 20, 2017

Kruvit Raft, Phuket…plentiful fresh and cheap seafood on a floating restaurant

This place is spectacular! Not once did I feel like a tourist, just a Singaporean walking on water.

Kruvit Raft is modest, unassuming, endearingly awkward; its ugliness and limitations only make it the more likeable. Built on wooden pontoons and having floating wood and net fish enclosures, it is only accessible by longtail boats off the coast of Phuket. Part of the fun is walking around and peering into the different nets to see what’s on offer.   You get to pick the exact fish, crab or lobster that you want for the meal. The plates are affordable here, so the only guilt you’ll feel after scarfing down all those prawns, crabs, fish and lobsters is over your waistline.

If you can’t get Venice organised… have your date night here. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

kruvit raft phuket

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…

jiajia sha3

August 13, 2017

Gooseul Hambak, Seoul….big on flavours.

Hambak steak is the Korean-style hamburger steak made from ground meat and served with rice or mashed potato rather than buns.

Gooseul Hambak’s original hambak is a tender and juicy steak patty bathed in rich flavoured sauce. Enhanced by a velvety yellow egg yolk and some side dishes, it makes a simple yet great meal. The price is reasonable and the service extremely quick.

Whether you are just in the area, and like me, need a bite to eat this place definitely should be on your go to list.  I dig it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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hambak sel2

August 12, 2017

East and West Rendezvous, Melaka…overpriced, overhyped and over-rated

I’m often a little nervous when visiting ultrahyped eating places found online, and East and West Rendezvous proved why. It was a complete fiasco. The food looked good from a distance but turned out to be rather unappetising

Nyonya dumpling (Nyonya chang) is the only type of bak chang I eat, so I know a tasty one when I eat it. The ones you get here are pretty average. To rub salt in the wound, the staff here wear their rudeness on their sleeves.

Get this place off your list. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

east west melaka1

east west melaka2

August 9, 2017

Les Bouchons Rive Gauche, Singapore…deliciously affordable steak

Eating steaks can be an expensive business, but you needn’t spend big money to eat good ones.

Although not cheap-as-chips, Les Bouchons Rive Gauche is a quaint little French restaurant at Robertson Quay. Although I had a placed a reservation, the table I was allocated was in a twilight zone spot of the restaurant….partially inside and partially outside the restaurant. I ended up being moved to three different tables that one evening. That would have, on a normal night, spoiled my mood and appetite but the restaurant manager – Valentine, was absolutely gracious throughout and did his best to ensure we have a good experience.

Now about the food…you can demolish either the grilled rib eye steak with “vigneron” butter or grilled sirloin steak with herbs, both served with Mixed Salad & Free Flow of Home Made French Fries. Either one and you will end the evening feeling pretty damn satisfied.

I need to tell you about the fries. They are cooked in duck fat. Duck, fat and fries are three words that please most people. Combining them is a very beautiful thing. There’s no looking back once you have tried these brown and crispy fries.

While not quite as revelatory as the hype might suggest, Les Bouchons Rive Gauche certainly dishes out good steaks. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

les bouchon sin

 

August 6, 2017

Lee Noodle, Bangkok…cheap (and astonishing) duck noodle

Between cafés, street food stalls and lesser-known restaurant deals, Bangkok has a host of bargain bites that don’t cut back on flavour or finesse.

Lee Noodle, on Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thong Lor BTS station) is a budget-friendly hole in the wall guaranteed to whet your appetite without leaving a gaping hole in your wallet. Small and simple, this coffee-shop may be tiny but its purse-friendly homemade noodles which can be accompanied by moist succulent duck or crispy roasted pork belly or crab or charsiew or wanton (or all of it for 80 baht) is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Dangerously good, and it won’t cost you much more than 100 baht for the biggest, most delicious bowl of noodle you’ve ever tasted. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

lee noodle bkk

 

August 5, 2017

Humble beginnings, Johor Bahru…mille crepe with a smellfie. Awful!

I was at Humble Beginnings in City Square Mall, JB and absolutely loved their mille crepe. However, my experience was ruined by the a horrible stench. The place literally smelled like raw sewage. Disgusting! Utterly overwhelming!

I just never understood how restaurant managers are so oblivious to such an important detail. Whatever it was, it left me gasping with nausea, enough that I talked to other people about the stink.

Totally unappetizing. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

humble beginnings jb

 

July 29, 2017

Minetta Tavern Restaurant and Bar, New York City…The black label burger renders other burgers meaningless

This place opened in the 30’s so it’s wonderful to see the vintage décor of the old saloon-era interior intact. Being a full house, I sat at the refinished oak bar in the front of the room, elbow to elbow with other diners. The vibe is buzzy, exclusive, and properly chaotic.

The food rocks as much as the scene. The US$33 Black Label Burger – selection of prime dry-aged beef cuts with caramelized onions and pomme frites is without question a mind-blowing rivetingly intense experience. Named the best burger in America by CNBC, a continent full of burger connoisseurs, The Daily Meal,  calls it “the stuff of legend.”  The beef is a blend of four different cuts—short rib, skirt, brisket and rib-eye. It’s like eating a dry-aged steak in burger format. The bun was airy but not spongy. There is a chewiness and lushness in the same bite. Each bite of this burger was lingered over and savored. Even the fries were perfectly seasoned, and nicely crisped. It held to the quality of the burger.

This is now my must-go place in NYC, but frequent Minetta too often and I’ll be broke and really fat. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 8, 2017

Madam Zhu’s Kitchen, Shanghai…an absolute gem

Across its many regions China encompasses so many different cuisines that lumping them all together under one banner is akin to talking about ‘European food’. Madam Zhu’s Kitchen specializes in Sichuan and Shanghainese cuisines.

Make sure you sample Specialty: No1. Madam Zhu’s Peking Duck. Immaculately carved at the table by gloved cooks, it is worth it. Both the meat and the skin were excellent. The pancakes were wonders—light, delicate, strong. If you’re looking for Sichuan Province’s famous ‘hot and numbing’ dishes, this is the place to come. The gritty fried shrimp balls with chilli and pepper really is lip-tinglingly good. True to Sichuanese form, red is present in this dish –  in lashings of sliced or whole chillies. It made my scalp sweat. Boom.

The food comes quickly, the food is excellent, and the food is not very expensive. It is a busy restaurant, yet it feels intimate. Right now Madam Zhu’s Kitchen is an absolute gem, a true collector’s piece. I just hope it stays that way. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

madamzhu sha6madamzhu sha5

madamzhu sha1

 

 

July 2, 2017

Skinny Pizza, Singapore…squid ink pizza and black pepper prawn linguine are pure magic

Pizza is officially rated the world’s most popular food, and rightly so too. Asia has seen a boom in gourmet pizza restaurants of late.

Skinny Pizza’s squid ink pizza  does not only look like something that would feed Darth Vader, but has fullness, richness and jam packed with flavor. With an impossibly thin and crunchy crust, it’s a dish with something to say. The black pepper prawn linguine was perfect, simple pleasure. Linguine tossed in a fragrant black pepper sauce and prawn Bolognese. Topped with succulent char-grilled prawns. Skinny Pizza had it bang on.

As a fan of butter chicken, I took the bait and ordered the ginger butter chicken pizza. What a mistake. Butter chicken is great. Pizza is great. That doesn’t mean the two can be successfully merged — in fact, just the opposite: slice after slice, it got more repulsive when you bite into it.

skinny pizza sin

Whatever you do, just don’t take someone who’s going to order just a salad. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

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