PEr FYI

November 5, 2017

Oyster Bar Restaurant, New York…Manhattan clam chowder hits all the right notes

Grand Central Station isn’t in the greatest food neighborhood, but there’s a spot worthy of mention. The century-old Oyster Bar Restaurant is where you’ll get the best atmosphere, not to mention the best views of oyster after oyster being shucked at impressive speed.

There are dozens of oyster varieties line its epic menu. I picked out the roasted Bluepoint oysters with grilled pineapple-citrus-ginger butter to go with my grilled shrimp with garlic herb butter and coconut rice. The BIG reason, though to go to Oyster Bar Restaurant is for their zesty Manhattan clam chowder. This distinguishable red-colored broth is a great change of pace from the creamy New England version. With its base of stock and tomatoes, it’s lighter, a bit healthier and loaded with flavor. It hits all the right notes.

The service can be downright awful. Want that wedge of lemon you asked for 20 minutes ago? You’ll have better luck flagging a cab during a rush hour rainstorm. 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 9, 2017

Atlantic Fish Co, Boston…(not) the best in Boston

When it comes to lobsters, Boston leads the way. Now for the hard part.  Who has the best lobster in Boston?

A Boston staple, Atlantic Fish Company is an upscale seafood centric restaurant that focuses on traditional preparations.

No prizes for guessing the main attraction – it’s all about the lobster. I enjoyed the lobster, corn on the cob, potatoes 1/4 lbs and have never felt happier. A well-matched accompaniment is the award winning new England clam chowder cup. Overall, this was a good find. It’s still better than most seafood restaurants I’ve tried in the USA but I don’t think it’s the best in Boston.

The way I see it as a layman, a steamed or boiled lobster is not some fine art of cooking.  Even my seven-year-old niece can cook you up a great steamed lobster.  All you are doing is dropping the poor bastard(s) in a pot of water for about ten minutes and that is it.

Unless it is some crazy lobster pie dish, then it doesn’t really matter where you get it if you just want it steamed or boiled. 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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August 20, 2017

Kruvit Raft, Phuket…plentiful fresh and cheap seafood on a floating restaurant

This place is spectacular! Not once did I feel like a tourist, just a Singaporean walking on water.

Kruvit Raft is modest, unassuming, endearingly awkward; its ugliness and limitations only make it the more likeable. Built on wooden pontoons and having floating wood and net fish enclosures, it is only accessible by longtail boats off the coast of Phuket. Part of the fun is walking around and peering into the different nets to see what’s on offer.   You get to pick the exact fish, crab or lobster that you want for the meal. The plates are affordable here, so the only guilt you’ll feel after scarfing down all those prawns, crabs, fish and lobsters is over your waistline.

If you can’t get Venice organised… have your date night here. 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 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 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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April 30, 2017

Chin Huat Live Seafood, Singapore…pumpkin crab is definitely something to savor.

There’s a lot to love about the not-so-humble crab. Singaporeans will travel to great lengths searching for the perfect plate.

You know the fish is fresh when you can spy it all glistening in the cases up front. At Chin Huat, bountiful seafood tanks packed with live produce tempts you on arrival. The menu extends to a full carte with lobster, elephant clam, bamboo clam, Dungeness crab, prawns, shell items. The pumpkin crab features the sweet and refined earthy flavor of pumpkin all umami thick, and orangey-yellow creamy, accented with tender crab meat. Second best is the stir fried crab with salted egg where the salted egg creates a lovely golden crust  – crisp and rich.

Whether you’re craving a simple clam  or an ornate plate of crabs, this is one of the better seafood restaurants in Singapore. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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