PEr FYI

September 15, 2019

Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh, Kota Kinabalu…decent enough

Oohs and aahs went up as the waiter placed all the plates and bowls in rapid fire across the two tables we’d joined together. And so begins a classic game of everyone’s favourite bak kut the (pork rib soup) pastime: how much can you eat before it gets cold? You’ll attempt to pop some pork ribs into your mouth at the same time as some you tiao and your pork belly. It’s the constant pressure to eat faster that keeps things interesting, right?

The food rundown. Decent enough.

The best I’ve had in Malaysia? No. The second best I’ve had in Malaysia? Still no. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 2, 2019

Wang Dae Bak, Singapore…at last, a Korean with real Seoul

It is an expression of Korean culture and Wang Dae Bak delivers that in spades. It has amazingly authentic K-ambience where the food arrives rapidly and the bill doesn’t faintly depress you. It feels like a rare, special place, offering familiar Korean flavours.

The menu covers a tight edit of all the things you’d expect to see. The marinated prime rib and marinated shoulder were incredible renderings. The spicy chicken is a little greasy, but satisfying for all that. The seafood pancake is bang on. The downside is that the very hard and tough pork rib didn’t reach the heights of everything else.

Over the speakers, K-pop boys sing on, but I only have ears for this shameless pork. A visit to Wang Dae Bak is dinner deep in Seoul where the smoke gets in your eyes, your hair and your memory. And I like it there.

If you are ever nearby, you know what to do. 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 10, 2019

Abe, Manila…a bit meh

It’s fair to say Filipino cuisine is not on the map internationally. The food is a medley between Malay, Chinese, South American and Spanish. In short it’s a mixture of cuisines from any country who has invaded or attempted to colonise the islands.

For everything under one roof, Abe serves up a hearty (sometimes hefty) array of traditional Pinoy fare from biringhe to knockout knuckles – Ang Hang take on the traditional fried crispy pata to sugpo sa gata – prawn simmered in coconut milk and spices. I ate these things on your behalf. I know. I am selfless.

But I’ve had more inspiring food – character, taste – from a bag of nuts. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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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June 15, 2018

Mr Rocky, Shenzhen…like having a cheesy version of Nashville in Shenzhen

Inspired by the wild wild west of the USA, this American bar in Shenzhen is your go-to spot only if you are desperately in need of some cheesy cowboy-style atmosphere and dying to tuck into burgers, steaks and pizzas and hit the dance floor for an evening featuring live bands and DJ sets.

Food is profoundly awful. The steak was tough as nails and disappointingly taste like the bovine equivalent of chicken breast, the pizza was chewy as bubble gum and the hot pumpkin soup was anything but.

An out-of-touch and bungled attempt to create a themed restaurant. 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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January 30, 2017

6 Round, Pangyo, Seoul…the argument-ending KBBQ

KBBQ = a roll-your-shirtsleeves eating ritual in which diners grill different cuts of meat themselves over a tabletop grill, to be enjoyed with complimentary sides

In true Korean style, 6 Rounds offer their table top BBQ to allow you to cook your own meat, you can have everything from beef ribs to pork belly marinated in their house sauce, and scorched to your liking. The marinated beef, a Korean barbeque classic, marinated into an unmistakable tenderness, is much-lauded here.

Happy eating, people. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 16, 2016

Wolfgang Puck Kitchen & Bar, Shanghai…food here is average – nothing compared to Wolfgang Puck everywhere else

The Austrian-born Wolfgang Puck is arguably the most successful chef moguls in history. The man was a celebrity chef before that term even existed. Shanghai has seen a slow and steady trickle of celebrity chef like Jean Georges, ventures over the past decade. And now, Wolfgang Puck has thrown his hat into the ring.

Less formal than Spago, but a step up from the Wolfgang Puck Cafe, the concept of Kitchen & Bar is one of offering dishes that Chef Puck enjoys cooking at home, and everything is shared family style.

The menu is what you’d expect and quite frankly very well priced. You’ll find a blend of the familiar and less familiar but all will come out beautifully constructed. The seafood in the lobster and shrimp roll is finely chopped, the vibrantly fresh seafood mingled happily with sweet curry, apples and dill. However, I usually have a love affair with BBQ ribs but then again, not all ribs are created equal. Hence it is with great disappointment that the BBQ pork ribs here at WP was below average.

Service has always been A+- it’s nice when a restaurant seems well managed.

WP would get 5 stars from me except for that BBQ ribs. I would give Wolfgang Puck another chance since I’m fan of the chef and I know he has high standards. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 12, 2016

Cafe de Hong Kong, Singapore…It can be good, but it’s not going to blow your mind or anything

Cafe de Hong Kong sounds like the name of a char chaan teng and it looks like one, too, with bare functional tables.This is, after all, a zi char place full of Cantonese staples.

From that menu we ordered bonito flavoured spare rib which arrived as something intense and deep and savoury and powerful and, to be more precise, thoroughly yum. As dish descriptions go, braised pan fried prawn and mushroom omelette is never going to win a literary prize. Mind you, it was accurate and tasted compelling. There was another thing to try: garlic flavoured roast chicken. And… oh, you get the idea.

The extensive menu at Cafe de Hong Kong remains unexplored. I’ll leave it for another day. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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