PEr FYI

January 19, 2019

Mantin original Coconut Shake, Seremban…Your body will thank you

In the searing heat and humidity of Malaysia, coconut shake — both refreshing and a smart choice for long, sun-baked afternoons — are moving into wide circulation.

Creamy, fragrant and refreshing, this drink is the perfect thirst quencher and body cooler. The flavor profile for coconut shake completely changes depending on the sweetener or ice cream. At Mantin, it’s the true-and-tested dosage of vanilla.

When coconut is in abundance, this is a great way to use it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 26, 2018

Nasi Kandar Pelita, Kuala Lumpur…KL’s worst dining experience

I want to do you the nigh-priceless service of telling you somewhere it’s imperative you don’t visit.

Some meals can feel like a punishment, and if that’s your bag, I can’t recommend Nasi Kandar Pelita enough. The nasi goreng and fried chicken were nothing to trouble Instagram with. The Maggi goreng was challengingly bland. It is profoundly awful. This is truly Malaysia’s capital’s worst dining experience, just short of eating broiled peanuts from a stall at Chow Kit Road run by a man with weeping dermatitis.

There are several words I can drum up to describe the treatment we received from the wait staff, but let me limit it one: shoddy. No, wait, remembering the wrong food they’d served despite reminders, I would add: uniformly bad.

We left hungry, of course we did, and RM60 poorer. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 23, 2018

Pappas Crabcakes, Washington DC…Well, this was a letdown

Oprah Winfrey named Pappas Crabcakes as one of her #FavoriteThings2015.

Pappas built its reputation on chunky with lump crab, filler-light, and only lightly spiced with crab seasoning, allowing for the full expression of crabby flavor. I ordered the snack plate – 2 fried blue crab balls, old bay seasoning French fries, coleslaw, tomato, lemon, choice of sauce. Sadly the jumbo lumps here at the MGM National Harbor tasted as if they’d spent more time in a freezer than in the Chesapeake Bay.

Obviously Oprah didn’t eat at the Pappas outpost here. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 5, 2018

979 Nine Seven Nine Kopitiam, Penang…salted vegetable minced pork bihun soup is unmissable.

Penang is replete with high quality dining options that won’t break the bank, it just takes a little local knowledge to sort the wheat from the chaff. NSN is a super cheap local eat where you can stay stuffed without emptying your wallet. It may be a simple, humble little joint, but it’s astoundingly satisfying.

The star of the show?

The real deal comfortingly basic  salted vegetable minced pork bihun soup is remarkably deep, savoury and a wonderful depth of flavour. It is a contender for “best food in Penang” and I was told it regularly attracts long queues of devotees. It succours the old school and the hungry. It is no beauty but a winner. Seriously incredible, now I can NEVER stop craving for it. The deep fried wanton from a nearby stall in the same eatery is equally unmissable. Both are perplexingly cheap and  insanely economical.

Take friends, and order big. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 26, 2017

Restoran Ming Huat, Melaka …mee kahwin is a mash-up you don’t want to miss

Mee kahwin, crudely translated is married noodles. It is – excuse me while I use the f-word – a fusion dish. The dish may sound frighteningly exotic and confused, but the marriage of mee rebus and Indian rojak has innate cohesion.

The mee kahwin here at one of the stalls at Restaurant Ming Huat is well executed, inventive Malay cooking served with sweet, sour, salty, spicy and peanuty flavour combinations. Yellow noodles are topped with taukua (fried beancurd), hard-boiled egg, potato cubes, fresh bean sprouts, crunchy cucur udang (prawn fritters), and cut green chillies, bathed in generous ladles the lip-smacking gravy.

It’s a mash-up you don’t want to miss. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 13, 2017

Shang hai la mian Xiao long bao, Singapore…pan fried dumplings are like xiao long bao on steroids

If xiao long bao are the Rolls Royce of the dumpling world, the Toyota must be the pan fried dumplings here in Alexandra Village Food Centre. They’re usually the reason for massive queues.

Sporting a thicker, chewier wheat dough, these little vibrant bullets of pleasure with their generous filling of succulent pork, come with a healthy slick of grease from their crispy, irresistible bottoms. The filling LITERALLY explodes with pork juices, but the sturdier wrapper holds up to some serious pan-frying. Best appreciated with chilli and vinegar, they’re cheap and by default, cheerful.

Dig into these babies as soon as they arrive — it’ll be well worth the scorched tongue.This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 6, 2016

Chocolat N’Spice, Singapore…A wonderful way to start the day!

Honestly, I’m not a big muffin fan.  I don’t hate muffins, but I don’t love them either.

These coffee walnut, mocha and chocolate chip muffins at Chocolat N’Spice are rich and tender, high-rising, and deep coffee and chocolate colour respectively. Bursting with flavours with a light, airy and cakey crumb, these really are amazing.Very enjoyable with just the right amount of sweetness without being overbearing. Again, great size and not at all dry!

As it turns out, I do enjoy muffins.  Fresh Chocolat N’Spice Muffins. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 5, 2016

Eathai, Bangkok…Thai food theme park

The Marche experience awaits diners at Eathai. Chart your own course, select your meals, watch a cook prepare your food, get your card stamped, and then relax in an upscale setting.The never-ending variety of regional dishes are offered from stalls and carts so it has elements of the culture and camaraderie of street food stalls.

The noodle soup with yentafo sauce is a deep pink-orange noodle dish with an assortment of tasty toppings – chunks of pork, fish balls, fried tofu, rectangles of coagulated blood, and a big crispy chip. Yentafo sure is something different. It’s all sweet, all pink, like Hello Kitty.

I like to refer to it as a food theme park. If you are looking for a place with a nice ambience, this place is a good bet! For food that is unforgettable – this will not be the place. It was nice, but definitely not a place, where you will go on and on about the food to your friends. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 10, 2016

New Lane hawker centre, Penang…avoid this place like a leech-infested swamp

People usually don’t have high expectations from hawker centres. Hot and delicious will do.

New Lane used to be a street food paradise with concentrations of about 50 street side food vendors. USED TO BE!! By all that is holy and good in the world, I say unto you, eat anywhere else in Penang, except at New Lane. For nostalgia reason, I went there recently, and, oh my, I paid the price. The food is, simply, diabolical. It is probably the worst, most overpriced and inedible food I’ve endured in all my visits to Penang since my first trip twenty eight years ago.

The good: the congee with pigs innards was decent. But lest we get lulled into complacency, the texture of the congee was more like porridge than congee.

The bad: The char kway teow was perversely bad, chewy and insipid and completely devoid of “wok hei”- the flavour imparted by a flaming wok.

The bladdy horrible: The gummy or chien (oyster omelette) contained a lot of starch but hardly any egg and very few oysters. One spoonful of it and you realise it was probably not intended for human consumption. The viciously overcooked ikan bakar (chargrilled fish) was dry and totally inedible that I took one bite and then leave untouched.

I have to stop writing this review, my blood pressure is thru the roof just thinking about that pathetic place. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 31, 2015

Chipotle, Orlando…a blast of spice

I usually avoid places like Chipotle, but seeing how this fast-casual Mexican restaurant has torn like wildfire across the United States and beyond with over 1,800 locations and beyond, while McDonald’s – which sold off Chipotle – is battling declining sales and traffic, I decided to find out for myself, what the buzz is all about.

Perhaps Mexican food just isn’t one of the world’s great cuisines. I am not actually partial to burritos. The huge portion and the number of ingredients slapped together, too often irrationally, make most burritos hard slogging. This place is a mecca for those want to eat healthy because the food is cooked fresh and there are a whole bunch of vegetables! About the only thing wrong with the burrito was the firm, rubbery flour tortilla, which posed a sturdy shield. One thing I learned here is that if I ever needed to test myself to prove my masculinity, I’ll take up boxing. Definitely no obliterating hot sauces packed with naga and habaneros for me in the future.

Well, now I can say I’ve tried the fad for Mexican, but on this evidence I won’t be revising my opinion of it. Thankfully, I was spared the dreaded “Chipotle stomach.” This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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