PEr FYI

September 16, 2017

Fa So La Tax free Akihabara, Tokyo…top stop to shop for Japanese specialties

Few globetrotters set off for an overseas trip without a shopping list either for themselves or usually for friends, family and work colleagues.

Tokyo Banana is probably the most common snack most people will buy back from Japan. Choose either the banana caramel or strawberry cake. Royce, Kit Kats, Matcha cookies, the lot. Let’s not forget Calbee Jaga Pokkuru, the combination of french fries and potato chips, but much much better!

But where to buy?

Many frequent flyers to Tokyo will agree with me that Fa So La Tax free Akihabara remains one of the favourite airport shops when it comes to sheer availability of all the Japanese specialties under one roof. Moreover, with the short expiry dates on those Tokyo Bananas, it’s best to grab them last minute at the airport on the way out of the country.

stop by if you didn’t have a chance to stop by the electronics area, Akihabara in Tokyo or if you’re looking for TOKYO BANANA! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 9, 2017

Les Bouchons Rive Gauche, Singapore…deliciously affordable steak

Eating steaks can be an expensive business, but you needn’t spend big money to eat good ones.

Although not cheap-as-chips, Les Bouchons Rive Gauche is a quaint little French restaurant at Robertson Quay. Although I had a placed a reservation, the table I was allocated was in a twilight zone spot of the restaurant….partially inside and partially outside the restaurant. I ended up being moved to three different tables that one evening. That would have, on a normal night, spoiled my mood and appetite but the restaurant manager – Valentine, was absolutely gracious throughout and did his best to ensure we have a good experience.

Now about the food…you can demolish either the grilled rib eye steak with “vigneron” butter or grilled sirloin steak with herbs, both served with Mixed Salad & Free Flow of Home Made French Fries. Either one and you will end the evening feeling pretty damn satisfied.

I need to tell you about the fries. They are cooked in duck fat. Duck, fat and fries are three words that please most people. Combining them is a very beautiful thing. There’s no looking back once you have tried these brown and crispy fries.

While not quite as revelatory as the hype might suggest, Les Bouchons Rive Gauche certainly dishes out good steaks. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 29, 2017

Minetta Tavern Restaurant and Bar, New York City…The black label burger renders other burgers meaningless

This place opened in the 30’s so it’s wonderful to see the vintage décor of the old saloon-era interior intact. Being a full house, I sat at the refinished oak bar in the front of the room, elbow to elbow with other diners. The vibe is buzzy, exclusive, and properly chaotic.

The food rocks as much as the scene. The US$33 Black Label Burger – selection of prime dry-aged beef cuts with caramelized onions and pomme frites is without question a mind-blowing rivetingly intense experience. Named the best burger in America by CNBC, a continent full of burger connoisseurs, The Daily Meal,  calls it “the stuff of legend.”  The beef is a blend of four different cuts—short rib, skirt, brisket and rib-eye. It’s like eating a dry-aged steak in burger format. The bun was airy but not spongy. There is a chewiness and lushness in the same bite. Each bite of this burger was lingered over and savored. Even the fries were perfectly seasoned, and nicely crisped. It held to the quality of the burger.

This is now my must-go place in NYC, but frequent Minetta too often and I’ll be broke and really fat. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 2, 2016

Morton’s The Steakhouse, Macau…it was so hit and miss

I have been to several Mortons and was excited to see that there was one in Macau. Like all other Morton’s Steakhouses, the restaurant’s interior is elegantly layered in dark hues, white linens and eye-catching light fixtures.

Morton’s prime burger – choice of cheese, crisp bacon, sauteed mushrooms or onions served with french fries was good but the Filet mignon trio – three mini filet steaks topped with Bearnaise, Blue Cheese Butter and au Poivre Sauce was subpar. I expected much higher end food. In the end, it was a case of a hit and a miss. I wasn’t wild about it.

Have eaten at Morton’s in other locations and this isn’t it – just go somewhere else. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 17, 2015

Ngoc Hieu, Hanoi…great no-frills Vietnamese beefsteak

Ngoc Hieu was packed with locals the night I dined there — a good sign for any Hanoi restaurant. This steakhouse offers a different and interesting variation on steak and eggs. The food quality is good, the portions fair and for the price, what you get is a great deal.

The Original Steak is Hanoi beef steak with omelette, beef sausage ball, French fries, green onion, tomatoes served in oil spitting sizzle plates. Best to sit away from the table and wait a minute or two before lifting the lid on the mini-eruption. I see the local diners around me getting their bread to soak up any grease that may have accidentally slipped off their fried meat or fried eggs or fried fries or something. The healthy bit of the meal were the accompanying plate of cucumber pickle and the tomato on top of the meat. The beef pate was minced beef with eggs and original sauces. There’s also French fries, salad mix with ranch and thousand island dressing to accompany. In both plates, the beef was well marinated and somewhat tasty.

Beware — wear shoes that have plenty of traction, as the greasy floors here double as skating rinks. Overall, the workers and cooks are very clean and hygienic (all the cooks wear gloves). The waitstaff are efficient (although very little English) but the menu is in English and Vietnamese so pointing works quite well.

It’s so addicting I wanted to buy some more to go!  This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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