PEr FYI

May 23, 2020

Gram café and pancake, Singapore…the wait can be compared to purgatory

Who doesn’t love a pancake?

Gram’s Japanese soufflé pancakes are a fast-growing food trend on Instagram. In addition to their attractive, springy texture and sweet toppings, there seems to be a third factor in their social media success: a long line. If purgatory for foodies exists, then this is what it feels like. The food-obsessed want to taste what’s at the end of it, and posting a photo of the experience is proof that they did. It’s easy to see why: the buttermilk beauties served here are light and lovely, yet satisfyingly eggy. In short: flipping perfect.

And be warned: whether you have waited hours, weeks or months to try these pancakes, they  are unlikely to stay on your plate for more than a minute. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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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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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May 16, 2020

Mad For Garlic, Singapore…you’ll smell of garlic and happiness

First, the restaurant’s name, because names are very important: not surprising that garlic is the humming motor in this Korea garlic-themed Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is not only serving some of the most objectively interesting food, they’re also serving some of the most delicious.

There’s bias in this review, for sure, because this is my sort of food. Prepared at your table, the Garlic Bread Tower – Mad for Garlic special bread tower topped with garlic puree is the showstopper. It’s not all fancy and fussy, but it’s very good. Of all the main, Garlic Snowing Pizza – sweet white sauce, fried garlic, shrimp and pineapple. is the one to choose, as it’s really the best of what they have. Utterly gorgeous. This pizza is almost reason enough to visit. The Garlic sizzling rice – fried rice with pickled garlic, bacon and flying fish roe served on a sizzling pan is no match to the other two heady heights and I will not rush to order it again.

If you love garlic, you’ll love Mad for Garlic. For me, at least, it 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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May 15, 2020

So Asean Café & Restaurant, Bangkok…master of none

My reaction to the Jack of all trade menu is that there was no way this casual cafe could excel at preparing each different ethnic dish well. They were obviously casting a wide net, trying to appeal to the largest number of diners.

The familiar dishes – Puffy shrimp omelette, Grilled pork neck with spicy jaew dip, stir-fried squid with salted egg yolk sauce are all there but you also get slow-cooked chicken and pork adobo from the Philippines, Indonesian-style chicken satay or Singapore chicken rice.

This is just another one of those typical, charmless cafes in Bangkok. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 3, 2020

Waton Katsusen, Tokyo…Highly delicious, addictive, pure bliss… (did i use enough adjectives there?)

Tonkatsu (breaded and deep-fried pork cutlets) ranks high on the list of Japanese soul food.The best place to get Japanese tonkatsu in Haneda Airport at the moment is probably Waton Katsusen.

Pork loin cutlet platter – Japanese pork loin cutlet (only 10 servings a day) comes with unlimited shredded cabbage, house pickles, miso soup and a bowl of rice. The first bite is supremely crispy and crunchy, but you’ll soon feel the juices from the humble pork cutlet hit – the rest is pure bliss. The katsu is surprisingly light on the palate, and on the gut, you leave with a “clean” feeling rather than a queasiness. You are finished before you know it. You are happy. You look forward to the flight.

It is worth your while if you love katsu as much as I do. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 2, 2020

Eggs ‘n Things, Singapore…boy, it is a pancake to contend with.

If you go crazy for pancakes and crêpes then you’re in good company at Eggs ‘n Things. As you might guess from its name, this lovely cafe specializes in omelets too, perfectly prepared with a wide variety of ingredients.

Calories not a concern? Go for it and order the Singapore exclusive special, the Panedict – emmental cheese sandwiched between a stack of pancakes, topped with poached egg, Eggs & Things special hollandaise sauce & candied bacon. Pancake lovers will go bananas for the Hawaiian pancake sampler – 4 kinds of pancakes – banana, pineapple, macadamia & chocolate chip, served with whipped cream. Equally tempting are the Kalua pork and cabbage – a classic Hawaiian burger, Homemade kalua pork with smokey BBQ sauce and cabbage served on brioche bun which is worth a little extra time on the treadmill.

The atmosphere is quaint and cozy with delicious, reasonably priced food. Service is friendly too. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…eggs and things sin4

 

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May 1, 2020

Fung Seng Seafood Supplier, Kota Kinabalu…not rushing to return

Good seafood is hard to come by – but when it’s done well, it’s probably the most delicious thing you can put in your mouth.

If you want to enjoy some of those wonderful Sabahan seafood back home, there’s Fung Seng Seafood Supplier on the way to the airport. Most of their business is wholesaling – they supply to hotels and resorts – but they also do retail. The seafood are deep frozen and can last up to 10 hours without refrigeration and the stores are experienced in packaging them for check-in or hand carry for your flight back home. However, it’s pretty pricey and there wasn’t much selection to choose from. I didn’t think the quality/freshness was that great either.

Needless to say, I’m not in a rush to go back there. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 25, 2020

Siamese Boat Noodle, Bangkok…just go

There’s no beating around the bush. This Siam Paragon noodle joint serves, you guessed it, boat noodles.

The highlight was the Australian wagyu ribeye, beef ball, braised shank and tendon where the soup comes with a gorgeous beef flavour with a hint of spiciness and the beef itself is seriously tender and tasty to boot. While the much loved Australian wagyu ribeye is perfectly cooked and a firm bestseller here, another favourite is the suitably spice steamed wontons with Sichuan chilli. And I never tire of the grilled pork ball (3 skewers) with pleasingly flavoured sweet chilli dip. The crispy pork fat is also a crowd pleaser.

The place is regularly packed and it deserves to be busy. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 19, 2020

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, New York City…relentlessly noisy

Wolfgang’s is far from a pleasant, relaxing place to spend a lot of money. It attracts a boisterous clientele, bursting with crowds which prefer bellowing at the top of their lungs to conversations and therefore is relentlessly noisy.

I loved the texture of the dry-aged beef – a little crunchy on the outside and tender in the middle – but was underwhelmed by the taste – the surface would have fared better with a more chargrilled twang.

Given the food and the noise levels, your meal won’t measure up, and at these prices, these days, you should get more for your money. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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