PEr FYI

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…

av-gyoza-sin

September 4, 2016

Shilin Market, Taipei…bring an appetite

Taiwanese night markets are a not-to-be-missed experience. Flying the flag for night markets is Shilin – perhaps the most famous and biggest Taiwanese night market.

Crowded and squeezy, the maze of alleyways is filled with clusters of hundreds of small stalls and street vendors selling a variety of local delicacies. Try everything  from skewered cuttlefish to fresh fruit to Taiwanese sausages to two of the market’s most iconic dishes: pan-fried buns and slabs of fried chicken cutlets. To decide what to eat, wander around and let your eyes and nose make the selection for you. This vibrant and colourful market blends street food with local souvenirs, designers, textiles, homeware and jewellery for a well-rounded market experience.

If you’re food-obsessed but don’t have the disposable income for Taipei’s best restaurants, Shilin is your saviour. Entry is free. The food, of course, is not. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

shilin taipei

August 28, 2016

Hiang Ji Roasted Meat Noodle House, Singapore…a blatant rip-off

So what makes a bad restaurant? Obviously dreadful food is a hurdle, then there’s surly waiting staff, a dingy atmosphere, woeful decor and the crucial litmus–value for money. If there’s something that really niggles, it’s being ripped off.

To be fair, Hiang Ji in Toa Payoh, which I’ve taken a dislike to clearly isn’t the worst in Singapore. Rather, it’s the most disappointing.

I do believe in paying the proper price for food. So I’m not advocating dirt-cheap restaurants. Likewise, as I said, the very best restaurants are worth their huge bills, which is why I and many other people save up to go to them. But when places like Hiang Ji charge full whack for extreme portions, it really annoys me. A small sharing platter can be of different sizes and prices, depending on the kitchen’s whims and fancies. No amount of feedback nor complain will get them to change it for you.

A meal here could cost the price of rent in some cities. While that’s an exaggeration, it’s best to avoid this place and just go with the others if you’re going to spend the money and get the best roast meat possible. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

worst of the worst sin tpy

August 27, 2016

Jiu Fen Old Street, Taipei…winning combination of crazy good food vendors and a bustling stretch of shopping

Jiufen is a great mini-trip out of Taipei, less than an hour away. With gorgeous views of the ocean, quaint streets and beautiful tea houses, Jiufen thrives as a trousit spot for a taste of Taiwan culture and history. When it first formed, there were only nine families, so the city would always request “nine portions” when shipments came in, hence the name.

Jiu Fen Old Street is series of narrow alleys which feature stand after stand of local snacks and handmade souvenirs. Be prepared to shove past throngs of tourists crammed into the narrow alleys. The offer samples of ginger tea which brings with it a host of powerful health benefits. Another popular food item is the mochi – glutinous rice balls which are as soft as marshmallows.

Don’t worry, there alleys are all covered by awning should the heavens open. It’s worth planning an adventure to Jiufen as well as an obligatory stroll down Old Street. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

jiu fen taipei3

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…

muffin sin

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 19, 2015

Wow Wow West, Singapore…if you walked away with one regret, it will be that you didn’t experience the pork cheese sausage sooner

This is one of the best Western food hawker stalls I have ever come across in Singapore. You get lots of food for a pretty cheap price here. The food comes out relatively quickly here

We ordered the chicken chop and pork cheese sausages, and liked them both.  We’re too full to even get up from the table. The thick chicken chop, almost jellylike in its tenderness and with homemade coleslaw and French fries sitting politely by the side, looks positively delightful. The uniquely ultra-delicious pork cheese sausages have a smooth and creamy texture. it had that serious punch and kick and you get that cheese also in the same bite and it had a nice snap when you cut into it and bit. Hands down my favorite.

Only catch is, be prepared to queue. If you’re reading this then you’re just one of thousands trying to work out when is the best time to go and how on earth you can avoid that god forsaken queue.

A friend of mine always raved about this place & I finally got around to trying it. Now I  understand what all the hype is about! It’s a worthy stop when you just want a piece of sausage, flawlessly prepared. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

wow wow west sin

December 6, 2015

Lot 10 Hutong Food Gallery, The Shore, Melaka…my most expensive food court meal of the year

Lot 10 Hutong Food Gallery is a food court which comprises different well-known food stalls. This Melaka outpost of the famed Kuala Lumpur eatery is a major dud. The prices are unconscionable. They are ludicrous, a poke in the eye from a chopstick dipped in salty Korean chilli sauce.

Here’s the chronicles of a lunch gone very wrong. The “thick and bland” Xiao long bao and har kow which flavour is akin to that of an overcooked McDonald’s chicken nuggets. The cost of the micro-mini siew mai, har kow and Xiao long bao is RM25. Meanwhile the very sour glass of RM10.50 apple juice would be a find…in a vending machine. This very expensive glass of apple juice has the honour of being the worst thing I have put in my mouth since the incident with the washing liquid when I was seven.

This food court is only affordable if you wear underwear lined in baby panda fur on a daily basis. Ultimately, this place is just “terribly, terribly sad”, “wallet-lightening” and a new kill-me-now low. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

lot 10 hutong melaka 1

Malaysian food street, Singapore…quality has markedly declined

I loved this place when it first opened…not sure if my taste buds matured or the quality has markedly declined?

Despite its name and marketing, nothing about Malaysian Food Street, is Malaysian anymore. Lest anyone think me an unbiased observer, let me dissuade you of that notion. The whole concept of Malaysian Food Street is an affront to me. Malaysia is my country of birth and I’ll admit I’m touchier than most.

Using udon noodle makes the KL hokkien mee no longer brilliant and the Penang Prawn Noodle Soup has absolutely lost its magic. The Penang char koay teow has seen better days.

Those who remember its glory days, though, may be particularly prone to thinking it “doesn’t sparkle” nowadays. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

rws sin

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