PEr FYI

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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February 23, 2020

Eneko Shop, Sansaku market, Otaru…serious about seafood?

No trip to Hokkaido would be complete without sampling Japan’s most prized resource – allergies permitting. A stone’s throw from Otaru stations, the Sansaku market  presents a terrifically seductive dance of fresh, gorgeously prepared seafood and shellfish, tucked in one of Hokkaido’s most beloved neighbourhoods – Otaru.

Eneko Shop offers the kind of food you have to work for. It’s virtually impossible to avoid a queue, and you’re likely to be elbow-to-elbow with strangers. Stunning seafood dishes like octopus are profound in their simplicity, bringing out clean, startlingly robust flavors. Make sure you have the more ambitious dishes like the Seafood rice bowl with Hokkaido specialty, ikura (salmon roe) for a total experience which is dizzying and unforgettable. Everything is exceptional. It’ll leave seafood enthusiasts bragging for weeks.

You’d be advised to come with an appetite. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 25, 2019

Cheung Fat Kitchen, Hong Kong…the food here is worth the guilt

I am well eaten (and equally well travelled) and still managed to come a cropper in a review of Cheng Fat Kitchen, a cheap, boisterous restaurant in Hong Kong’s North Point. The food is really nice, and really distinctive, reliably tasty — and cheap

Everything about the char-grilled beef short ribs (thick cut, house special pepper sauce) is great.  Meaty, juicy, lick-your-fingers clean amazing. Save room for some of the best steamed clam with wine & lotus leaf. Don’t leave without trying the sweet and sour pork (sauce served separately). There are thousands of Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong, but few have sweet and sour pork like this. Savoury and crunchy, sweet and tangy: it’s addictive stuff. Treat with caution.

Your best bet here is to come with a big group of friends and order as much as you can. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 18, 2018

Dean & Deluca, Bangkok…worth visiting whether you’re in the mood to eat or not

Famed for its appearances in Hannibal and American Psycho, celebrity customers and fancy food, New York City’s gourmet grocer, the quintessential lifestyle brand, Dean & DeLuca is now a massive multi-channel retailer of gourmet foods, drinks and kitchenware.

The Lobster avocado poached egg toast – lobster salad, avocado, poached egg on toasted sourdough, rocket, balsamic – is as Instagrammable as it gets. It certainly takes poached eggs to a new level. Most importantly I am left thinking there are things here I want to come back for.

Any place with that sort of thing like the lobster avocado poached egg toast on the menu surely deserves my deep respect. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 27, 2017

Walrus & Carpenter Oyster Bar, Boston…damn delicious lobster roll

In Singapore, people treat lobsters like celebrities, and Boston has no shortage of them.

Named after the Lewis Carroll poem, The Walrus and the Carpenter Oyster Bar in Quincy Market Food Colonnade at Fanueil Hall Marketplace specializes in oysters, lobsters and other delicious seafood dishes. So, yes, these very public eating places, I’m all for them. I love the public — and can spend up to two or three occasions a month in close proximity to them without panic, vomiting or assault

The heart and soul of the menu and the reason to come eat here (or take out) is the pure and simple and elegantly delicious lobster roll. Order a lobster roll with a cup of chowder and the split top bun will arrive stuffed with chunks of impeccably cooked lobster meat which is ample, firm, tender and sweet, spot-on seasoning, and a meat-to-bun ratio that works. The winning key here is that the sandwich taste like lobster and not mayo. The creamy and comforting clam chowder also shines.

The downside? This teeny lobster roll is just enough to make you wish you had more. Just don’t try to share it…in fact, perhaps order two just for yourself.

This is the kind of lobster roll dreams are made of. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 13, 2017

Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market, Seoul…there’s a world of crustaceans in here

Whoever invented the fish market with attached restaurant was a genius. Because what better way to entice customers into consuming a highly perishable food than offering to cook it right then and there?

Here’s a fish market with the luscious lobster, springy calamari and plump shrimp I want on my lunch plate or dinner table tonight. This Seoul destination also functions as a eatery, complete with floor seating and table service on the upper level. What you’re buying here may or may not be, but it’s high quality and a worthy splurge.

The most remarkable part of the market is its expansive selection of whole fish as well as live seafood, including eels, crabs, lobsters and sea urchin. Browsing the colorful, enticing sea creatures is irreplaceable. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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…

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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…

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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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May 3, 2015

Hiong Hiong Char Kway Teow @ Batu Lanchang Food Complex, Penang…shadow char kway teow

Whip me with a wet noodle, if you must. I suppose I deserve some kind of penance for the following confessions: It looks OK, and tastes OK, but it’s shadow char kway teow.  It really isn’t the same char kway teow from Lorong Selamat or MacAlister Roundabout.  It’s a shadow of that char kway teow. In a word, it was LOUSY.

The good stir-fried flat rice noodles, popularly called char kway teow, usually has a robust flavour, smoky aroma and is low in oil. The cockles and prawns are well-fried but not rubbery, and the thick noodles pack bounce and spring. The one at Hiong Hiong is none of the above. Not good. There is an extreme lack of flavour.

I’m pretty sure I won’t ever be going back.  There are plenty of better locations for solid mediocre and above average char kway teow in Penang. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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