PEr FYI

June 18, 2017

Picnic, Singapore…Don’t waste your money!

Overpriced, food average, service was poor, lack of atmosphere. The rosti is bland, the pizza is like school lunch fare, and it’s best to pretend that the signature pork belly prata never existed at all.

A critic’s job is to be unbiased. I get that. I try to ignore all the peripheral aspects of a restaurant—just focus on the food. But then, I have as moral obligation to cross that line for the greater good.

If I think you can have a better dining experience at the same price eating somewhere else, it’s my duty to say so.

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Picnic isn’t a bad restaurant. Some people might even love it. I just doubt I’ll ever be one of them. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

June 17, 2017

No Idea Café Gastropub, Bangkok…. pub with something special on the menu

Pubs only used to care about serving up the perfect pint, but now a good number of them are creating gourmet menus that go above and beyond your basic pub grub.

No Idea Café presents modern and inventive takes on traditional European fare. There’s the tasting board – salami, parma ham, cheese, chorizo, caper berries, olives, baguette, roasted garlic aioli which is comforting and satisfying. The twice cooked pork belly – fennel apple slaw, braised red cabbage- worked surprisingly well. Although parts of the meat was a little tough and the dish would have benefited from a little balanced cooking. The atmosphere is casual and the beer flows fast. Naturally, as a gastropub, most of No Idea’s interesting drinks are alcoholic.

This is not a trendy spot. Rather, it’s inviting and unpretentious. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 11, 2017

Nam Heong Vintage, Kuala Lumpur…chicken hor fun is amongst the league of legends

As Asians, we’re constantly searching for the newest and hottest restaurants with innovative cuisines and are adorned with the latest, most stylish decor. Yes, being up to date on the restaurant scene is fun – and a Singapore necessity- but at times we forget about the historical gems.

Nam Heong Vintage’s unique and retro feel will transport you back in history and keep you wanting to stop time to cherish their delicious eats.

Order this: The egg tarts make a good start. The filling is delicate and sweet. The shell is crispy, flaky and buttery. The Nam Heong chicken hor fun aka kai see hor fun consisting of super smooth flat rice noodles (kuey teow) and shredded tender poached chicken. The awesomeness lies in the incredibly flavoursome soup with that vivid layer of orange oil that comes from boiling the prawn heads. I downed the bowl in record time; slurping up every strand of the noodles and drinking up every drop of soup.

Don’t order this: signature chicken rice with steamed chicken. Nam Heong used to be famous for its chicken rice, but sadly it’s a dish which should finally be laid to rest here.

You would not want to miss the chicken hor fun, though. It’s way up there amongst the league of legends. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

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June 10, 2017

Gllfarm Eel Restaurant, Paju, Seoul…you have to eat here

Eel is referred to as the one of Korea’s healthiest foods. If you are daring and want to opt for eel, Paju is is a hedonistic eel paradise.

The scene here is serene with a Zen detachment. Everything is good… most of it is exceptional. The seductively grilled eel will be one of the plumpest and softest fish dishes to touch your lips, and is drenched in one of the tastiest and most addictive sauces you’ll ever want to lick clean off your plate. (Don’t though, that would be vile.)

I have always loved Japanese unagi, but Korean eel? That’s right, my friend, someone should have told me about this decades ago…This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 4, 2017

Samy’s Curry, Singapore…curry fish head is not going to blow your mind, but you won’t be disappointed

While Singapore’s Indian food scene is typically associated with a hub of Indian restaurants in Little India area, there are other spots that can hold their own.

What this no-frills eatery in Dempsey lacks in atmosphere it makes up for with cooking. Quite old school in its touches, Samy’s Curry is deservedly popular.

There are the traditional items – chicken masala, etc – but for something different, try the butter chicken and biryanis.  Worth mentioning is the curry fish head with its delightfully delicate meat that only Singapore gourmets and American cats know much about. It’s not going to blow your mind, but you won’t be disappointed while the still-warm freshness of the popadoms and naan breads provides the icing on the cake. Wash it down with an Indian-style thick lassi to balance out the heat.

Some like it hot, some are born to be mild, but everyone loves a decent curry. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 3, 2017

Platoo, Hua Hin… 4 of us fell ill with diarrhoea and vomiting

We’ve all been there, and none of us have enjoyed it. It starts with a shudder. A little ‘something is not right’-ness. And then, three minutes later you’re shaking and sweating, your body is revolting, literally and physically, and the cool ceramic surface of the toilet is your only friend.

Was it something in the air? Was it something in the food? Was it some unspeakable organism lurking evilly on a tabletop or skulking under a plate?

Whatever it was, it has caused 4 people in our group to report becoming violently sick with projectile vomiting and sudden diarrhea after eating at this Hua Hin restaurant.

Our group of 25 stopped at Platoo for lunch. We had ordered beforehand and by the time we arrived at the restaurant at 12.15pm, all the food was already laid out on the tables. It was no longer hot and there were some flies seen hovering around the table. By 7pm in the evening, four members of my party became seriously ill with food poisoning following the meal. They suffered “horrific” diarrhoea and vomiting throughout the night. The symptoms went away and the four recovered after receiving treatment at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok the next evening

Proving who is responsible may be difficult, but if more than one person is affected, you really have to think. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 24, 2017

Loco Loco Seafood, Seoul…seafood lover’s paradise

The clue to what this casual Seoul restaurant serves is in its name – it’s all about the seafood. Diners in the know head to Loco Loco for its impressive seafood dishes.

Try the sliced raw octopus – octopus that’s served raw and sometimes still squirming. Rubbery, bland and wiggling in the mouth. There’s no denying it’s an interesting experience. For less adventurous eaters, the restaurant has plenty of other options. The Loco Loco steamed clam is also worth a try.

There’s plenty to enjoy here and all for reasonable prices that will keep you coming back for more raw octopus. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 21, 2017

Va Fung, Macau…it’s surprisingly affordable and lip-tinglingly good

Dim Sum is arguably one of Cantonese cuisine’s finest contributions to the world. It’s one of the few types of foods I can eat repeatedly without tiring of it, because of its endless variety.

Don’t be put off by the nondescript appearance of Va Fung, this Macau number prepares Cantonese- food fit for a banquet and it’s surprisingly affordable. If you have a big group, this is the place to come. All the classics are done very well here — prawn dumplings (ha gau), siew mai and Cheong Fun with shrimps and char siu – and quite a number of the items are really lip-tinglingly good.

What more could you need? This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 20, 2017

Tsuta, Singapore…I’ll be honest: this is not worth the wait

Ramen is all the rage at the moment, and it’s easy to see why: there’s nothing finer for a light dinner than a bowl of noodles and delicious homemade broth.

The “world’s first and only Michelin-starred ramen joint” doesn’t sell ramen. It sells only soba…made primarily (but not exclusively) of buckwheat (soba), which gives it a different, stronger flavor.

A queue of ramen-lovers is normally snaking down the street waiting patiently for their noodle fix. The setting of Tsuta is low key. Ordering and payment is made at a touch-screen machine. The broth is enhanced by the richness of an infusion of truffle oil. The slice of roasted pork char sui on the surface is, although tender, not deeply tender enough. The noodles are firm and slurpable.

Time is precious. I’m getting old. I might be dead soon. The food is good but is not worth the wait. 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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