PEr FYI

November 19, 2017

Nasi Lemak Bumbung, Petaling Jaya… it’s never short of utterly delicious

If you’re food-obsessed but don’t have the disposable income for Kuala Lumpur’s top end restaurants, you want to pay nasi lemak bumbung a mealtime visit. It is truly a cheap eat of an exceptional standard. You can tell, with every mouthful.

Nasi Lemak Bumbung is an odd name because the stall does not have a roof (bumbung) over it. It is hidden in a narrow alley.

The combination of coconut rice, crispy anchovies, peanuts, cucumber, egg and spiced fried chicken (ayam goreng berempah) hits all the right spots of flavour and texture. These were doused in an incredibly shrimpy sambal that I couldn’t get enough of—the funkiest, most powerful flavors of the meal. And all for less than ten ringgit.

A billion times better than plane food. 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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February 13, 2017

Shang hai la mian Xiao long bao, Singapore…pan fried dumplings are like xiao long bao on steroids

If xiao long bao are the Rolls Royce of the dumpling world, the Toyota must be the pan fried dumplings here in Alexandra Village Food Centre. They’re usually the reason for massive queues.

Sporting a thicker, chewier wheat dough, these little vibrant bullets of pleasure with their generous filling of succulent pork, come with a healthy slick of grease from their crispy, irresistible bottoms. The filling LITERALLY explodes with pork juices, but the sturdier wrapper holds up to some serious pan-frying. Best appreciated with chilli and vinegar, they’re cheap and by default, cheerful.

Dig into these babies as soon as they arrive — it’ll be well worth the scorched tongue.This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 12, 2017

Putu Bambu Juriah, Ayer Hitam, Johor…the putu bambu goes down easy

The first thing you need to know about is that putu bamboo is a traditional Malay delicacy…rice flour filled with gula Melaka (palm sugar), steamed in hollow bamboo casings (word bambu is a Malay word of bamboo) to form a cylindrical shape. It is served with grated coconut.

Eaten hot, the mouth-watering putu bamboo at juriah will satisfy those mid-day munchies, with its soft, fluffy and cottony texture and appealing aroma and sweetness. It is undoubtedly the neatest thing to eat in Ayer Hitam, the border town famous for ceramic crafts between Batu Pahat and Kluang district in Johor.

By the time you’ve munched on Juriah’s putu bamboo, you’ll be entranced. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 6, 2016

Koi Kee Bakery, Macau…you can bet your last dollar on the crunchy peanut candy and almond cookies

If you have a sweet tooth for pastries, Koi Kei Bakery will be a kick in the snackpants for you. This purveyor of cookies, candies is probably one of the few things Macau is famed for apart from gambling.

The crunchy peanut candy is a winner! It is a frivolous thing with no other purpose than to delight, and that’s why it’s so wonderful. There is a pleasing lightness and truly brittle so it breaks when you bite it. They’re crunchy, they’re crispy, they’re almost flaky and they’re truly addictive. The delectably light and flavorsome, melt-in-your-mouth almond cookies are not to be missed either. Another Koi Kee sure win bet is the phoenix egg roll with seaweed and pork floss. Though seaweed, pork floss and egg may not seem to be the most congenial culinary combination, this unassuming threesome packs a truly appetizing punch

If you’re in Macau, or even Hong Kong, take advantage and buy as much as you can because it’s good. Very good. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 5, 2016

Lai Lai Dow Jang, Taipei…Small eats, and a lot of them, are the big thing here

Venture into Lai Lai Dow Jang and first-timers like me will undoubtedly be intimidated. Here you will find a huge variety of street foods, snacks that are both sweet and savory. Expect to stare at foods you’ve NEVER seen before and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

I played it safe and opted for freshly made hot soymilk, you tiao along with an egg pancake.Those with no language skills like me, simply stand in front of the stall, point to what you want and use your digits to say how many.

Here you can overcome your fear and try as many new Taiwanese foods as possible. I’m not saying you will like every dish. But I can guarantee that you will have some surprises and you might crave for some snacks when you’re back home. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 4, 2016

Shilin Market, Taipei…bring an appetite

Taiwanese night markets are a not-to-be-missed experience. Flying the flag for night markets is Shilin – perhaps the most famous and biggest Taiwanese night market.

Crowded and squeezy, the maze of alleyways is filled with clusters of hundreds of small stalls and street vendors selling a variety of local delicacies. Try everything  from skewered cuttlefish to fresh fruit to Taiwanese sausages to two of the market’s most iconic dishes: pan-fried buns and slabs of fried chicken cutlets. To decide what to eat, wander around and let your eyes and nose make the selection for you. This vibrant and colourful market blends street food with local souvenirs, designers, textiles, homeware and jewellery for a well-rounded market experience.

If you’re food-obsessed but don’t have the disposable income for Taipei’s best restaurants, Shilin is your saviour. Entry is free. The food, of course, is not. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 27, 2016

Jiu Fen Old Street, Taipei…winning combination of crazy good food vendors and a bustling stretch of shopping

Jiufen is a great mini-trip out of Taipei, less than an hour away. With gorgeous views of the ocean, quaint streets and beautiful tea houses, Jiufen thrives as a trousit spot for a taste of Taiwan culture and history. When it first formed, there were only nine families, so the city would always request “nine portions” when shipments came in, hence the name.

Jiu Fen Old Street is series of narrow alleys which feature stand after stand of local snacks and handmade souvenirs. Be prepared to shove past throngs of tourists crammed into the narrow alleys. The offer samples of ginger tea which brings with it a host of powerful health benefits. Another popular food item is the mochi – glutinous rice balls which are as soft as marshmallows.

Don’t worry, there alleys are all covered by awning should the heavens open. It’s worth planning an adventure to Jiufen as well as an obligatory stroll down Old Street. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 5, 2016

Eathai, Bangkok…Thai food theme park

The Marche experience awaits diners at Eathai. Chart your own course, select your meals, watch a cook prepare your food, get your card stamped, and then relax in an upscale setting.The never-ending variety of regional dishes are offered from stalls and carts so it has elements of the culture and camaraderie of street food stalls.

The noodle soup with yentafo sauce is a deep pink-orange noodle dish with an assortment of tasty toppings – chunks of pork, fish balls, fried tofu, rectangles of coagulated blood, and a big crispy chip. Yentafo sure is something different. It’s all sweet, all pink, like Hello Kitty.

I like to refer to it as a food theme park. If you are looking for a place with a nice ambience, this place is a good bet! For food that is unforgettable – this will not be the place. It was nice, but definitely not a place, where you will go on and on about the food to your friends. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 20, 2016

Nasi Lemak Tanglin, Kuala Lumpur…Number one? Surely not in my books!

Allow me to use a metaphor.  Nasi Lemak Tanglin is like Manchester United…the team looks good on paper, but it does not deliver during the regular season.  I was disappointed to say the least.

Everyone is talking about it and everyone is recommending it…I was expecting something big. Having been voted Food Wars Asia Nasi Lemak Champion, everyone seem to be raving that its one of the best nasi lemaks in town.

The sambal sotong and beef rendang were a real let down. These are the two basic staple accompanying dishes to nasi lemak, and they can’t get basics right. Definite skip.

So what’s the big fuss behind it? Number one? Surely not in my books! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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