July 8, 2017

Madam Zhu’s Kitchen, Shanghai…an absolute gem

Across its many regions China encompasses so many different cuisines that lumping them all together under one banner is akin to talking about ‘European food’. Madam Zhu’s Kitchen specializes in Sichuan and Shanghainese cuisines.

Make sure you sample Specialty: No1. Madam Zhu’s Peking Duck. Immaculately carved at the table by gloved cooks, it is worth it. Both the meat and the skin were excellent. The pancakes were wonders—light, delicate, strong. If you’re looking for Sichuan Province’s famous ‘hot and numbing’ dishes, this is the place to come. The gritty fried shrimp balls with chilli and pepper really is lip-tinglingly good. True to Sichuanese form, red is present in this dish –  in lashings of sliced or whole chillies. It made my scalp sweat. Boom.

The food comes quickly, the food is excellent, and the food is not very expensive. It is a busy restaurant, yet it feels intimate. Right now Madam Zhu’s Kitchen is an absolute gem, a true collector’s piece. I just hope it stays that way. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 20, 2013

Beijing QuanJuDe Wangfujing Restaurant, Beijing…..Peking roast duck restaurant gets a roasting. Duck off!

This is the first time I’ve dined at QuanJuDe, but there will not be a second!  Don’t get me wrong the duck was good, but honestly, I’ve had roast duck thats up to par, if not better.  Duck skin was crispy and greasy. For half a duck, I had very few pieces of skin.

We’ve all fallen for them; food places the guidebooks say you absolutely must try when visiting a certain city. So we join all the other tourists who’ve read the same guides and wait on long lines for what turns out to be overrated, mediocre, and often overpriced food. Apparently founded during the Qing Dynasty, QuanJuDe is a the longest-running Peking roast duck restaurant brand in China. I went to the outlet at Wangfujing and it is a big place, and yes they serve so many ducks it could resemble a food factory rather than a restaurant. This tourist trap charges more for the duck than any other Peking duck restaurant in Beijing, and then they charge you separately for each plate of sauce & onion, cucumber, basket of wraps for the duck, etc! This makes it the worst value of Peking ducks in Beijing

I strongly recommend you get your peking duck experience somewhere else since most places do as good or better of a job. The way I can sum this up is…keep walking…don’t look back…find another place. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…


November 18, 2012

Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant, Singapore…spectacularly bad

After reading reviews, I was excited to try this place, having eaten peking Ducks in Beijing. Sadly, I was disappointed.

There aren’t many places that serve good  Peking duck and we were hoping it would be good here. What a disappointment. The Peking Duck, the dish they’re named after was grossly over-priced and over-rated. When the duck came out, it was carved up casually with no fanfare. What amazed me was that the amount of crispy skin which is supposed to be the star of the show was cut too small to be appreciated and was oily. The underside of the skin still had a layer of fat and meat on it. The pancake was cold and stiff, duck was ordinary, uninspired and lack flavour.  

After eating here, I felt greasy and gross; the food just sat there in my stomach.  It might be also worth mentioning that the service was not the best; it was hard to get the attention of any waiter (they just seemed nonexistent),

I do not even want to waste that much time with a review on this place. To sum it up (Stay Away). This is the true truthas I say it as it is…

October 5, 2010

Made in China, Beijing…if you want to go to one restaurant in Beijing, this is it!

No trip to Beijing would be complete without Peking Duck, which I ate with great abandon. After intense discussion with travel industry friends, a uniform opinion emerged: the best Peking duck in all of Beijing, and perhaps the whole world, is at the restaurant “Made in China” in the Grand Hyatt hotel. The Hyatt!?! How could it be that an American hotel chain could have the best traditional Peking duck?

The decor is very funky and modern. You walk past a cabinet of attractively displayed vegetable produce, past wood-fired ovens and through into an open kitchen area. Absolutely enthralling. The cuisine is topnotch. The presentation and flavours are impeccable. In addition to the Peking duck, the fried dumplings are also recommended.

I was so impressed that I went back on my last day and it was no fluke: I had the duck again and it was also perfect.  If you only go to one restaurant in Beijing, go to this one.  Go there early in your trip, as you may not want to go anywhere else. This is the true truth. I say it as it is…

October 3, 2010

Grand Hyatt Beijing…5 star hotel with 6 star service and an amazing pool

A great experience from start to finish. The staff are extremely friendlly, well-trained and helpful. Whatever you need, there is someone there to fill it for you….whether it be dining, business needs, or just directions.

The hotel is so well situated – Wangfujing Street (the capital’s most famous shopping street) and other top sites – are within walking distance. It houses my favorite Beijing restaurant “Made in China,” a buzzing open-kitchen concept where you can see your Peking Duck get cooked and prepared feet away.

I was also enchanted by this Hyatt’s Fitness Centre and Spa, which features an amazing pool. One MUST make time to visit the swimming pool at Grand Hyatt. Do not miss it….even if you have no plans to swim. It’s an immense indoor tropical pool rimmed by palm trees, caves, waterfalls, trees, two alcoves with hot tubs and a dazzling evening sky.  It is the type of pool that makes you want to laze by the pool all day long.  (see photo below). It’s called the Oasis….need i say more?

If I have something to grouse about, it’s that at 35 sq meters, the rooms are smaller than what I am used to at 5-star hotels. Having said that, I must admit, however, it was hard to leave this stunning Hyatt. This is the true truth and I say it as it is…

October 2, 2010

Da Dong, Beijing…the go-to choice for delicious Peking duck

Filed under: China, Food & Beverage, restaurant — Tags: , , , , , — PEr @ 9:00 pm

This restaurant is famous for roasting its ducks over a traditional wood fire. The ambience is decidedly modern, with an impressive open show kitchen, good for watching the duck being prepared.

These ducks are low-fat and crispy but not oily with a tasty, moist and juicy inside. The skin is popcorn-puffy and exceptionally super crispy and does not have so much fat. It was cooked in a such a way that there is no extra grease (they called it “Superlean” actually) but the skin of the duck is glistening like it is glazed with honey. Oh yes…I learned a new way of eating  Peking duck here. The top layer of skin should be dipped  in sugar. It tastes like candy when you do that – surprisingly abominably good.

Service staff really concentrate on a holistic duck experience, taking the time to show us several ways to consume the delicacy. The duck is carved tableside and each piece was perfectly sliced and layered.

I will always recommend Da Dong without any hesitation. The duck was absolutely fab. The only downside is that after our heavy meal, we waddled, duck-wise outside the restaurant to the road but try as we might, we just couldn’t hail a taxi for a good 25 minutes. This is the true truth because I say it as it is…

September 29, 2010

Quan Ju De Roast Duck Restaurant, Beijing…they slaughter you if you are an unaware foreigner

Quan Jude Roast Duck is the oldest (but it does not necessarily mean the best) Peking Duck restaurant and has many branches .  The location we ate at is 309 Huizhong Beili, Chaoyang. The ambience and decor is quite traditional Chinese.

The essence of the Peking duck is all in the crispy delightful skin. Here at Quan Ju De, the skin was not as crispy and nowhere as good as Da Dong nor Made in China. The meat is also not as juicy nor flavourful. Prices here are absurb (either that or we got slaughtered as we paid close to RMB500 for one duck). By any means this is an astronomically expensive duck. I later found out that locals get the meal at a cheaper price. BUT if foreigners anywhere from RMB200+  to RMB500!!! Depending on the colour of your skin or how aware you are (or otherwise), you will be taken for a ride in this place, price-wise)

The non duck dishes were not good too.

Normally Peking Duck in Beijing is one of the greatest foods on earth, but Quan Ju De’s version with the unceremonious pricing isn’t. This is still the true truth because I am still saying it as it is…

September 14, 2010

My Humble House, Singapore…food like works of art, if you can overlook the uninspired service

The interior décor was trendy, chic and slick. The ambience there is really very stylish, classy and unique. There is a vast amount of space between tables, and the background music complements the experience without becoming a distraction. Equally entertaining is the menu with its florid descriptions and names.

The food is delicious, quite creative and beautifully plated. All the food comes packaged like a work of art. It’s a feast for the eyes and the palates. I love their coconut seafood soup which was served in a coconut shell. It could have been a lot nicer if it was served hot. The fish maw and shark cartilage soup was excellent. Fresh with the memories of having the delightful Peking duck at Da Dong and Made in China (both renowned restaurants in Beijing), I found Humble House’s rendition, though very nice, unfortunately, was served up cold and it didn’t help that the skin wasn’t the least bit crispy. The cod and pork ribs were amazingly good. Both the tofu with crab meat and tofu in superior broth were not up to their expected standard. The texture of the tofu was disappointing and it would have tasted a lot nicer if they were more flavourful.

If there are faults, Shirley – the Bar Manager – who is temporary in charge of the establishment since the resignation of the restaurant manager, is a pure misfit. She was very distant, unfriendly and cold. She would have fitted in very well in a construction site or a mortuary, but certainly not in the service industry.

Overall service was shockingly lazy and uninspired. There seems to be only one service staff – Maria – who was interested in working and caring for the diners. One service staff was so engrossed setting up a table at 9pm for a next-day booking that she was totally oblivious to the fact that there were guests at 3 tables around her requiring service. It took forever for the bill to arrive. One family of three from another table gave up waiting for it and walked to settle their bill at the cashier. This is the true truth, as I always say it as it is…

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