PEr FYI

September 8, 2018

3 Geori Butchers Blue, Seoul…meat mecca

Sleek without being imposing, this Korean barbecue restaurant is the real deal. When a Korean barbecue place wants to set itself apart from all the other Korean barbecue places, it has essentially three variables to play with: meat, heat and sides

The meat is luscious black iberico pork from Spain. The pork belly – a cut with the perfect balance of fat and protein is the true star. The other meat that really steals the spotlight is Korean beef sirloin – premium Korean beef sirloin that has nice marbling with natural flavor. They don’t try to be overly clever, or self-consciously modern, rather concentrate on getting the fundamentals right.

Oh, for a table-top barbeque place, 3 Geori Butchers Blue is not smoky at all. This way, your happy dining memories can live on in your social media, and not on your clothes.

If you’ve got that BBQ craving, then you’ve come to the right place. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 5, 2018

979 Nine Seven Nine Kopitiam, Penang…salted vegetable minced pork bihun soup is unmissable.

Penang is replete with high quality dining options that won’t break the bank, it just takes a little local knowledge to sort the wheat from the chaff. NSN is a super cheap local eat where you can stay stuffed without emptying your wallet. It may be a simple, humble little joint, but it’s astoundingly satisfying.

The star of the show?

The real deal comfortingly basic  salted vegetable minced pork bihun soup is remarkably deep, savoury and a wonderful depth of flavour. It is a contender for “best food in Penang” and I was told it regularly attracts long queues of devotees. It succours the old school and the hungry. It is no beauty but a winner. Seriously incredible, now I can NEVER stop craving for it. The deep fried wanton from a nearby stall in the same eatery is equally unmissable. Both are perplexingly cheap and  insanely economical.

Take friends, and order big. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 15, 2018

Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen, Singapore…man, this pork cutlet is good

Ton Katsu or Pork Cutlet shares a semblance with schnitzels.

Here at Hajime, the premium pork loin is the star, a perfectly fried cutlet coated with crunchy Japanese bread crumbs. And what meat it is—luxurious, thick, juicy and packed with porky flavor. Dipped into the sauce, the meat is moist and delicious. his isn‘t a taste of what tonkatsu has been—it‘s a taste of what it‘s become. The stock at Hajime is very good. It is a deep, rich, intensely life-affirming thing (albeit not for the pigs that must die in its making). The ingredients are simmered long and slow in water. Think 12 hours.

Go to Hajime to experience the religious power of properly fried pork. It is the way to make a bad day good. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 17, 2018

Druckwasserwerk, Frankfurt…hearty German cuisine that hits the spot

To the uninformed first-timers, Druckwasserwerk might be dismissed as a huge 19th-century machine hall. Indeed it once housed the steam engines needed to operate the elevators and cranes in the nearby port. Today, what makes it special is the industrial-scale ambience.

The beautifully fried wiener schnitzel – wiener veal schnitzel, potato, cucumber, wild cranberries – stands out. The Schnitzel is perfectly crisp on the outside and inside, filled with cut-with-a fork meat. It’s a monumental plateful, as in you could use it as a headstone when the time comes. There are always specials, and they are always worth considering. The kleine pastasackchen –  truffle filling, Roquefort cream was comfort-food heaven. The small cake of conched Swiss chocolate with liquid core, blueberry cream and chocolate fondant dessert was very good too.

Nothing sophisticated. Just good bourgeois food. And sometimes that is exactly what is needed. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 1, 2018

El Cerdo, Kuala Lumpur…make me want to roll my eyes

Precisely five minutes into the first dish, I realised that this heavily romanticized chopping of piglet with a plate experience was a bona fide tourist trap. Me, I’m all about taste and that’s why El Cerdo just doesn’t do it for me.

The food is grotesquely overvalued. I’m brashly oversimplifying things here, but all that we’d ordered – frito de queso (cheese), toger prawns (wrapped in bacon), guiness ribs, deep fried squid, half a roasted suckling piglet and champinonless angelo were only mediocre.

El Cerdo is overpriced, underwhelming and easily wayyyyyy overrated. Plus, there are plenty of better restaurants nearby. Avoid. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 10, 2018

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London…100% worth a visit

If you are already planning your year end holidays, here’s how you can make your Christmas extra special and magical.

If you fancy some festive atmosphere, Winter Wonderland is an annual event in London’s Hyde park with fairground rides, Christmas stalls, markets and entertainment for all ages. Entry is free. This is truly a wonderful wonderland thanks to the sheer volume of what’s on offer. There are pre-bookable attractions that you can book online.

Wrap up warm for The Magical Ice Kingdom as it’s -8C in there! Last year the Magical Ice Kingdom presents an ‘Deep Sea Adventure’ – an immersive walk through experience filled with ice, snow sculptures and a bubble wall. Bar Ice is next to the Magical Ice Kingdom and this time it’s about -10C. Here, you’ll be given a winter cloak and gloves. That’s because the seats, tables, walls and even your glass are made of ice.

As it gets really dark the whole place seems to shimmer with light and it does indeed feel very festive. The food on offer looked tempting – including the usual bratwurst and German beer, to fish and chips, hog roast, minced pies and mulled wine.

They’ve got every kind of ride imaginable… Christmas coasters, carousels, waltzers and dodgems. They’ve got a Fun House which is four storeys tall! The Haunted Mansion is actually a mansion. Of all the thrill rides, highlight for me was Air Maxx. G’s all the way. My inner adrenalin junkie was truly satiated.

The Grinch would have a real challenge stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 19, 2018

Oink, Edinburgh…Insanely cheap and lip-smackingly delicious

If pork is not your meal of choice, then Oink is not for you. If you are a “gourmet”, go for these hog roasts. And if you simply like good food, run to Oink and buy a couple of pulled pork roast rolls! Oink, as its name suggests serves only one thing and that’s pork.

There is only two choices on the menu – a roll stuffed with slow roast pork with / without crackling ! These tasty treats come in three sizes : Piglet (80 gms of meat), Oink (160 gms of meat) and Grunter (250 gms of meat). Oink size was just right for me. The pig is salted and tray-roasted, to retain its juices, and then shredded and served on bread rolls and customers can add a selection of toppings including sage and onion stuffing, apple sauce and chilli relish. The bread rolls are cheap, flimsy things, but you get a generous mound of quite majestic meat.

Simplicity itself, this. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 29, 2017

Neurin Maeul Brewery & Pub, Seoul…fruit makgeolli madness paired with flavor-bursting food

I’ve read that makgeolli is a growing trend among the youth in Asia and I can see why. This fragrant milky goodness or “rice wine”, is sweet and smooth with a little tang and the right amount of carbonation to make it refreshing.

Neurin Maeul is an urban brew pub in Jongno Center One Building with an in-house brewery that you can examine through its plate-glass walls. A pub run by one of the country’s top brewers, you will find food and drinks for you to “enjoy slowly”.

The pan fried Korean style seafood pancake was incredible. It had a nice crisp all throughout. The seafood was anything but sparse and retained the perfect texture, without being overcooked or rubbery. Spicy seafood tteok-bok-ki with cheese is one of the hardest to spell Korean street foods but if you’re a tteokbokki fan the chewy rice cakes and fiery chili paste here are impossible to put down. The brewery’s pork plate marinated in house makgeolli was stunning. The meat was amazingly tender and seasoned perfectly. The assorted savory fishcake soup was refreshing, tasty and so comforting.

Needless to say, the main draw of Neurin Maeul is that it offers a wide range of makgeollis flavoured with fruits. You can get out of there nicely drunk and feeling very satiated with the good food. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 23, 2017

EN Washoku-sake, Tokyo…pork is the thing

Tonkatsu is one of the most popular meat dishes in Japan although a dish like deep-fried pork may not seem to fit the Japanese reputation for clean, healthful foods.

Mugifuji-pork cutlet dish which comes with three kinds of small dishes, salad, rice, pickles and miso soup. The cutlet is crispy, incredibly light, not oily and absolutely appetising

There might be better examples of classic pork katsu around town.  But if you want to experience the bustling intimacy of a populist Tokyo meal, then this is the place for you. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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