PEr FYI

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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April 29, 2016

Bandar Djakarta, Jakarta…perfect setting by night, sauna by day

There are few more satisfying experiences than eating good food by the sea. Sitting on the water’s edge overlooking a jetty, this informal place has amazingly fresh fish and macho barbecuing.

Kerang kampak steam bawang putih (steamed scallop with garlic) was a simple, delicious and low fat dish. The udang bakar madu pedas (spicy honey grilled prawn) were succulent, tender, mouthwatering. The glaze perfectly complements the natural sweetness in the shrimp. Cumi saus telur asin (squid with salted egg sauce) was simple yet flavoursome although a tad dry.

The atmosphere is truly perfect at night. At lunch, it can be stark contrast. You can dine indoors in the airconditioned room, but why woud you come to a place like this to do that? This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 31, 2016

Laem Cha-Roen Seafood, Bangkok…tasty and satisfying but not as good as Somboon Seafood

Every seafood classic is here. In the broadest terms, the food is very good rather than excellent, slightly too pricey, not as good value as Somboon Seafood – still the best seafood restaurant in the country. But should you be in CentralWorld, you really should pay a visit.

The food for the most part hard to fault, and the venue’s charming vibe makes it worthy of your time. But there are a few shortcomings – and at these prices, you have to be famous to get away with them.

The steamed sea bass with chili, garlic and lime sauce has fragrant and light flavours while the deep fried dry squid isn’t quite the real deal. However, the prawn salad with sweet lemon dressing in taro basket has an extra burst of flavours and the fried shrimp cake are delicious. The ever so famous tom yum goong here has all the tanginess and spiciness that defines Thai flavour.

It was tasty and satisfying but not as good as Somboon Seafood down the road. This is the true truth as  say it as it is…

Laem-charoen-seafood bkk

April 3, 2015

Dapur Sunda, Jakarta…surprising, simple and flavourful food

Sunda is a race mainly in western Java, whereas inhabitants in other parts of Java are known as Javanese. Needless to say, Dapur Sunda (Sundanese Kitchen) is well known for its traditional West Javanese menu. That just means it’s saltier than in the east. It’s not much on ambiance, but the food is surprising, simple and flavourful, and the price is reasonable.

This restaurant at Bellagio Boutique Mall closes at 8pm and we arrived at 7.30pm. So the dinner was fast, fast, fast.

Gurame (Gourami) is a freshwater fish native to South East Asia. The crispy dish here was of an acceptable standard. The cumi bakar (Grilled squid) was charred from the grill, giving it that magical barbecue taste. It was soft, tender and clearly as fresh as could be. Also worthy of notable mentions are the udang mentega(butter shrimp) and tahu telor (Bean Curd Omelettes).

Though the dishes in Dapur Sunda can’t necessarily be categorized as refined restaurant cooking, they do serve hearty dishes that taste like great, home-cooked meals. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 14, 2015

Crab in da bag, Singapore…No, this ain’t the place for restraint

When it comes to food, I suffer from multiple personality disorder. Sometimes, I crave refinement, creativity and some extravagance. And other times, I just want to pig out. When those urges get too strong, when I want the culinary equivalent of “dancing like nobody’s watching,” I can’t imagine a better way to set them free than to sit down and start cracking shells and stuffing face at Crab in da bag. It is crowded, messy and plenty fun.

Each table is covered with a large sheet of coated paper. The crab arrives in plastic bags…. set in the middle of the table sheathed in clear plastic loaded with the sauce of your choice. The best dish was definitely tiger prawns in garlic butter. Sri Lankan crab in caboodle mix – a combo of local and Cajun spices – is out of this world….they combined beautifully. The crab farci was delightfully delicious. The word farci, when used in the description of a dish, means to ‘stuff’ or to ‘pad out’ (from the Latin,farcire). The prawns are first cleaned out and then cooked in their shells, ensuring maximum flavour. The sweetness of the prawns complemented the garlic sauce perfectly. Whenever I need a prawn-fix, I know where to go. The squid in curry had a very intense and specific flavour.
If you don’t like eating with your hands, you should not even think about going there. No, this ain’t the place for restraint. It’s for anyone who speaks the international language of crab done right, and who wants to enjoy good seafood in a casual atmosphere. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

crab in da bag

September 7, 2014

Waterbar, San Francisco…go for the oysters and the view

Waterbar is a grand restaurant along the Embarcadero with a sweeping view of the Bay Bridge. I opted for the patio and had to be patient but was eventually seated with a gorgeous view of the Western span of the Bay Bridge. The ambience exceeded my expectations and I would return in a heartbeat.

I had the Marin Miyagi oysters (rack and bag grown by marin oyster co; briny, crisp lettuce and bitter herb finish) and Grilled Monterey Squid (green chili harissa, black eyed pea salad). The oysters are beautiful to look at and exquisite to eat. The meats are full and plump, firm and mild flavored. And most importantly, the taste of these oysters cannot be beat. The flavorful squid with its fine texture truly nails it too.

For all my fellow oyster lovers who believe in aphrodisiacs then bring your date here for happy hour and load up for a happy ending! You will leave oyster wasted! Happy shucking! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

waterbar

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