PEr FYI

August 12, 2019

Airbnb, Condo Grand View 360, Johor Bahru…thumbs down for misrepresenting the listing

If you’re like me, you do not know much about Airbnb. But this much I do know…when I show up to my rental, I should find that it is what was advertised.

With my rental of Unit A05-02 at Condo Grand View 360 in Johor Bahru, the listing booked is misrepresented. There were no bath towels (the listing indicated towels are included) and when I reached out to my host, Daniel, he simply blamed it on the Airbnb system. Hence at 9+pm, I had to scramble to the mall to purchase towels before the shops closed. Daniel who had been very responsive prior to that suddenly went very quiet and ignored me twice when I asked if he was going to reimburse me. Mysteriously, the wifi signal disappeared soon after and never came back on for the duration of my stay. The beds were not as comfortable as you would get in a 1* hotel. We woke up with excruciating pain in our backs. The beds are so hard and uncomfortable, I need a chiropractor.

Genuinely the worst Airbnb experience I have ever had. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 30, 2019

People & Places, Johor Bahru…There are things here I want to come back for

Let me tell you that, if you’d care to witness JB’s most mesmerising delivery of all-day breakfast, then this is absolutely the place to come. Two thoughts occur to me, very quickly. The first is that I like this place: I like the buzz. The other thought is: I like the food, very much.

We arrived without a booking, but squeaked on to a table with a  range of cactuses down the middle. ‘Why does it look like a botanical garden?’ I asked half-seriously upon entering.

The food upped the ante. The Signature hotcake – blueberry buttermilk hotcake, double cream, maple syrup, fresh strawberries, organic pea sprouts, mixed seeds and nuts was so good that I spent a long, long time slurping off my fork. Quesadilla Brekkie – fluffy tomyum scrambled eggs, chicken ham, sliced tomatoes, Alexa’s sriracha aioli, coriander, and Belgium cheddar cheese sandwiched between tortilla sheets. Topped with grated parmesan, pomegranate and a drizzle of pesto oil was far better. The Englishman’s breakfast was a generous pile of scrambled kampong eggs, streaky beef bacon, chicken bratwurst sausage, house-made baked beans, grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, toasted brioche. The roasted peanut butter toasts – Alexa’s signature roasted peanut butter on muesli bread topped with sliced banana, cacao nibs, chia seeds & dessicated coconut is also very passable.

Some bucket-list places truly live up to the hype. Most importantly I am left thinking there are things here I want to come back for. This is the true truth and I say it as it is…

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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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