PEr FYI

May 1, 2019

Restoran Kapal Layar, Langkawi…Not satisfying. Only satisfactory.

Restoran Kapal Layar does not set any new paradigms. It is satisfactory instead of satisfying.

The presentation of almost all the dishes was underwhelming and unremarkable. While it is not the epitome of any particular trend, most of the food coming out of its kitchen is quite ok. If I were to recommend one meal that captures some of the energy in the Langkawi dining scene right now, I might come up with reasons not to mention Restoran Kapal Layar. It is an outlier.

This is essentially an IKEA cafetaria. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 20, 2019

Dragon-I, Johor Bahru…it’s Chinese food done properly

I could not have been more excited. I have enjoyed everything this group has offered whenever I’ve been to one of its KL outposts, and I was thrilled that I would no longer have to travel so far.

The food at Dragon-i is really nice and really distinctive. We ordered the Auspicious Treasure Pot (Poon Choi b/ pencai). What arrived was a sizable bowl of braised Chilean premium abalone, premium sea cucumber, Japanese dried scallops and oysters, premium mushrooms and fresh sea prawns, roast chicken, braised pork belly, pork balls, dried beancurd skin, yam, black moss, chinese cabbage, broccoli, deep fried beancurd skin, radish and pork bone stock. The seafood was fresh and well-seasoned; the pork juicy and tender; and the vegetables soaked up the richly flavoured broth very nicely. Service is extremely efficient in this large operation, but don’t expect it to be cuddly.

Drawbacks? The kitchen occasionally gets things wrong, but when it’s on song – the food is really nice. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 6, 2019

Lemon Tree, Johor Bahru…God damn is it good.

Much like the beef burger, chicken chop in particular is undergoing something of a renaissance in JB at the moment. Johoreans crave simple comfort food made with better ingredients and more thoughtful recipes.

At Lemon Tree, the lip-licking Hawaiian grilled chicken chop is rich, sticky, sweet and intense. It is ravishing enough to render me temporarily speechless. It’s not just good, it’s unmistakably unique. You could close your eyes, taste this dish, and know it didn’t come from anywhere else. The black pepper grilled chicken chop is another fan favourite. Besides its deliciousness, Its affordability is another reason for its popularity – it’s like a money-saving hack for living in JB.

If anything, my love for the place has intensified. The bird is the word. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 16, 2019

Low Yong Moh Restaurant, Melaka…a reliable choice

In Hong Kong, dim sum is almost like a religion. If you’re already a devotee, you are likely to have burned your tongue on many a pork bun and dumpling.

Hidden near antique and vintage Jonker street, spot, opened since 1947, knows a thing or two about dim sum. It’s a very traditional coffeeshop and unsurprisingly the menu consists of resolutely traditional Dim Sum. The fried turnip cakes were competently done, if not especially exciting – and free of excess oil. The skins of the siu mai were a little fragile and there was precious little prawn, but the chunky whole pieces of meaty pork made up for it. The lo mai gai (Chinese Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf) was far more impressive.

Most of the basics are done well and  – some of which are surprisingly good. But despite this Low Yong Moh is still one of the better places to have morning dim sum in Melaka. 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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February 17, 2019

Ee Ji Ban, Melaka…a pleasant surprise

Ask someone to name a typical Melaka food and even a Singaporean will likely suggest chicken ball rice. (otherwise also known as chicken rice ball): fragrant chicken rice you know and love shaped into cute little golf ball sizes. In the entire state of Melaka, only one is halal certified – Ee Ji Ban.

Although I’m generally not a fan of halal Chinese food, I was pleasantly surpised and impressed with the excellent flavor and texture of the rice and dishes. It was busy and almost full when we arrived for dinner which we took to be a good sign. In addition to chicken rice balls, the menu offers nyonya delicacies. The sambal sotong (squid cooked in chili paste) is a crowd-pleaser if you fancy something with extra heat.

It is official, and who knew it: halal chicken rice ball is a thing. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 2, 2019

Bon Ton Restaurant, Langkawi…living on past glory

It’s with a nod toward reality that one realizes Bon Ton Restaurant in Langkawi isn’t as good as it should be.

Everything we ordered ranges from vaguely acceptable to properly naff. Others are forgettable that we eat it without it even registering. The desserts are spectacularly inept. The Local Dessert Plate, unfortunately, are even worse: everything on that plate is simply nasty.

Putting it bluntly, this Bon Ton has none of the charm of the days gone by. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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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January 12, 2019

Restoran Boat Noodle, Melaka…a terrible waste of time

Restoran Boat Noodle isn’t good. It’s a terrible waste of their money and our money and everybody’s time.

Wondering if I’m being very Singaporean by complaining about this place? It starts with the smallest thing. The food is nothing special. It just manages not to be actively offensive. The ‘courses’ are indeed micromini portions. The wait time for the food was incredibly long that I almost died of old age. Only to realise I was serve the wrong dish. Apparently they didn’t have the one I ordered and they took the liberty to prepare something else for me…without checking nor informing.

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but this place sucks. 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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