PEr FYI

August 12, 2017

East and West Rendezvous, Melaka…overpriced, overhyped and over-rated

I’m often a little nervous when visiting ultrahyped eating places found online, and East and West Rendezvous proved why. It was a complete fiasco. The food looked good from a distance but turned out to be rather unappetising

Nyonya dumpling (Nyonya chang) is the only type of bak chang I eat, so I know a tasty one when I eat it. The ones you get here are pretty average. To rub salt in the wound, the staff here wear their rudeness on their sleeves.

Get this place off your list. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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east west melaka2

April 15, 2017

Donald & Lily Nyonya Food, Melaka…overrated 100 times

If nobody’s told you yet, it’s average food and unjustifiably pricey. Save yourself the wait and the drive.

And the food is not even that good! The food looked good from a distance but on closer inspection turned out to be rather unappetizing. I had nasi ketuk ayam rendang and taukua rojak. Neither dish was as good as their equivalents in any food court. Both were decent and edible, but as has been mentioned, was ordinary at best.

Honestly, there are many other underrated, inexpensive places to grab nyonya food in Melaka– just take my word for it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 18, 2017

Candlenut, Singapore…a study in average

Last year, Candlenut was awarded one-Michelin-star status, an accolade that means its cuisine is “a very good restaurant in its category.”

So I went.

It being the world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant, I was really looking forward to my dinner – expectations were high but realistic. My meal at Candlenut was a study in average, unevenly cooked fare, a tough sell in a city like Singapore. The kitchen seemed to try too hard to be “different” but the food was often too bland. None of the plates served barring the homemade kueh pie tie shell, crab meat, yeye curry, pickled shallot, laksa leaf – were, in any way, remarkable. When you are paying good money for a meal you expect at least a few dishes to be memorable.

Overpriced. A one-star disappointment. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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candlenut-sin1

January 29, 2017

Amy Heritage Nyonya Cuisine, Melaka…This is damn shiok

Nyonya cuisine is intensely rich, gutsy and accented with tangy, pungent and sour flavors. What makes Amy Heritage Nyonya Cuisine so fascinating and different is that it exemplifies the tenets of Slow Food. Peranakan recipes do require time-consuming preparation.

The food at Amy Heritage Nyonya Cuisine bears the hallmarks of the best of home cooking. The extraordinary kangkung kobis keledek masak titik lemak (water convolvulus, cabbage and sweet potatoes in coconut milk) was a superb dish which has a flavor quite unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. The ikan geram asam (fish cooked in aromatic spicy tamarind gravy with ladies finger) was well balanced and deliciously rich. The udang goreng asam (succulent prawns sautéed in thick tamarind juice) was heavenly with a nice asam dressing to finish it off.

This is damn shiok. Shiok translates as conveying strong pleasure or tingling of the taste buds.  This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 25, 2015

Jonker 88 (Museum Café) , Melaka…think twice about ever waiting on this queue

At any given moment in Melaka, you’ll find locals and tourists waiting in line outside Jonker 88. It’s a tourist’s rite of passage to stand on that line. Peranakan style food – Baba Laksa (a cross between curry mee and laksa) and chendol – as well as home-made kuih are among the delicacies served in this habitually packed little café. But the lines and the hype aren’t fully warranted.

Part cafe and part museum, it’s still fun to have a bite in there, however, the blending of the coconut with the gula Melaka which is what makes cendol so good, disappointingly, was anaemic and lacked fragrance here. Chendol-loving purists are left with one reality: The chendol at Jonker88 is overrated.

I’m not saying that the chendol or food at this place are bad by any means, just overexposed and maybe a bit overhyped. You should think twice about ever waiting on this Jonker 88 line. This is the true truth as I say it as it is… jonker88

July 20, 2013

Baba Charlie Nyonya Cake, Melaka…hit and miss

Influenced by the local Malay cuisines and spices, the Nyonya cuisine incorporates both Malay and Chinese recipes to create an array of delightful dishes and desserts. Nyonya cakes are known for their vibrant colors, exquisite presentation, aroma and scrumptious taste, making it difficult not to fall in love with them. They can be eaten at any time of the day, usually during morning or afternoon teas.

The decor at Baba Charlie Nyonya Cake is nothing to be inspired about, but place is very clean and food is always fresh. On a wall, it lists the kuih with pictures (helpful for those new to the cuisine, as well as helpful for those who know this cuisine but remember appearance rather than names). The kuih can be a hit and miss. Let’s start with the kuih for which you should consider visiting Baba Charlie Nyonya Cake – the kuih dadar (rolled pandan flavoured crepe filled with dessicated coconut steeped in palm sugar syrup) This sinful delight simply melts in the mouth. Such bliss! The kuih lapis and kuih talam are also notable and not to be missed. But don’t succumb to the commercialized pineapple tarts. I am not sure what ingredient they use but it leaves a weird after taste.

Even the simplest food can be expensive. When it comes to nyonya cakes, the ones at Baba Charlie Nyonya Cake  are some of the priciest. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 28, 2013

Dapur Babah, Jakarta…food that doesn’t match up to the ambience

Dapur Babah is truly an eye-opener. The bustle of modern Jakarta disappeared as we stepped through the doors of this restaurant, to find ourselves in a borderline kitsch but cosy old-style tea shop, with antique tea sets, and photographs of Babah families on the walls. Babah is the term used to describe the Chinese migrants who intermarried with the locals and settled here during the early 1400s. Over time, they assimilated Malaycustoms into their lives, and created a fusion culture of their own. Malay influence is very strong in their clothing and food, but they have also retained their Chinese heritage.

 I honestly wasn’t that impressed by the food. We ordered a host of dishes, but nothing stood out for me. For instance, we tried the Nasi Goerih Bebek which was fried rice with duck. The duck… was… well… DUCK! I really think you could just put duck over a fire without any accompaniments and it would still taste great.

More than just a restaurant, Dapur Babah also brings to life an all-round experience of the rich Peranakan culture,  providing an even more complete feast for the senses. However, it’s not the place to get the best meal in Jakarta. This is the true truth as  I say it as it is…

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April 13, 2013

Restoran Ole Sayang Nyonya Food, Melaka…the worst nyonya food in Melaka

This restaurant serves the worst nyonya food in Melaka. The worst of the worst. I rather endure physical pain than come here again.

The sambal prawns and chicken rendang were disappointing. Just spicy and lack of flavour. Very small portions and not worth the price too. The barley drink has definitely seen better days. There was a hair in it. The chendol is tasteless and flat with no hint of any gula melaka. Don’t waste your money. Despite the taste and smell of the assam, it was still distinctively clear that the fish was not fresh. Not fresh would have been an understatement coz it’s like hours away from getting rotten.

If this ain’t the worse nyonya restaurant, I don’t know what is. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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