PEr FYI

August 17, 2019

Maichibo, Chiba, Tokyo…the more is definitely the merrier.

Maichibo is a lovely spot in Chiba specializing in okonomiyaki, the Japanese savoury pancake cooked on a large steel hot-plate. I won’t hold it against you if you’ve never heard of okonomiyaki before. It’s the lesser known of Japan’s delectable dishes, but it’s certainly having a moment.

The Mai Course is made up of Caesar salad and baked romaine lettuce with half boiled egg followed by tonpei-yaki pork omelette. The sauce was not too overpowering, instead, it was a great combination of the pork. Then there were grilled chicken, chiba’s beef steak 50g and Hokkaido’s grilled scallops which was pleasant rather than exciting, cooked just a fraction longer than I would have preferred. Then the main event – the Mix okonomiyaki. Its flavors—sweet and savory, spicy smoky —were instantly recognizable (as they would be to anyone who has been eating casual Japanese food of late), while the texture, simultaneously crunchy and creamy, hit all of my comfort food sweet spots. No wonder they call this stuff Osaka soul food.

If you’ve been to Chiba only to go to Disneyland, this Japanese gem is the perfect reason to return. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 12, 2019

Airbnb, Condo Grand View 360, Johor Bahru…thumbs down for misrepresenting the listing

If you’re like me, you do not know much about Airbnb. But this much I do know…when I show up to my rental, I should find that it is what was advertised.

With my rental of Unit A05-02 at Condo Grand View 360 in Johor Bahru, the listing booked is misrepresented. There were no bath towels (the listing indicated towels are included) and when I reached out to my host, Daniel, he simply blamed it on the Airbnb system. Hence at 9+pm, I had to scramble to the mall to purchase towels before the shops closed. Daniel who had been very responsive prior to that suddenly went very quiet and ignored me twice when I asked if he was going to reimburse me. Mysteriously, the wifi signal disappeared soon after and never came back on for the duration of my stay. The beds were not as comfortable as you would get in a 1* hotel. We woke up with excruciating pain in our backs. The beds are so hard and uncomfortable, I need a chiropractor.

Genuinely the worst Airbnb experience I have ever had. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 9, 2019

Corgi in the Garden, Bangkok…a whole new level of cuteness

Lovers of corgis, beware: you might not want to leave this place. Behold its stubby little legs and equally stubby tail. You can now cuddle with these adorable cuties in a cheerful and homely ambience.

Everything the humans need to know:

You can feed, touch the little cuties while sitting on the floor sipping coffee or tea. A selection of 12 corgis are on hand to be cuddled and offer highly Instagrammable photo opportunities. You need to love that they will climb on your lap and lick your iPhone. The entry fee covers entrance, a drink and a time slot of 120 minutes with your favourite furry friend. Get there early to avoid long queues.

It’s bound to lift your mood, as dogs do. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 3, 2019

Otaru Music Box Museum, Hokkaido…never fail to dazzle

Otaru is home to a brilliant museum that never fail to dazzle visitors.

Comprehensively housing over 25,000 music boxes dating as far back to the 19th century, the museum continues to draw crowds from all over the world. Oh, and forget to check out the roof space where you may design your own music box, with options including music played and external design. Loads to see and do, and thanks to the vast variety of music boxes, it makes for a brilliant day out.

Then of course, there is the building’s 1912 architecture too – Otaru Music Box Museum is definitely worth a visit. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 21, 2019

Hakkasan, Shanghai…bill you’re likely to choke on

It’s going to be love or hate for would-be patrons, even those who can get past its many moments of joylessly expensive dining without rolling their eyes.

We eat some good things. This is remarkably pretty food. They were easy on the eyes to look at and quite nice to eat. The quality of the cooking itself is, at the moment, mixed. Regardless of how otherworldly this meal is, here is a bill you’re likely to choke on. I’m sure no one comes here looking for a bargain, but man, this place is expensive even by tourist-trap standards

And the most depressing thing? It’s full. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 14, 2019

Crab and claw, Bangkok…I tried the C&C lobster roll because you shouldn’t

Let me set the record straight: despite what the reviewers said, this roll is not worth your 950 baht.

The price of the lobster roll seemed a little pricey, even for Bangkok standards, and was pretty standard roll. The C&C Lobster roll’s limp bun was liberally mashed in with globs of chilled maine lobster pulled through drawn butter topped with lemon zest – but none of the succulence of the best of its kind. Overall unimpressive.

Love the lobster roll in burger and lobster, not impressed with this one here. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 7, 2019

Pie Face, Tokyo…It doesn’t look healthy, but it does taste good

Australian pie and pastry chain Pie Face sells warm savory pies with pleasingly flaky crusts. The dense, flavoursome and well-seasoned fillings include steak, ground meat, chicken and curried vegetables, each decorated with a face whose mouth identifies the flavor (an S for steak, M for meat, X for Mexican and so forth). There are sweet pies and other desserts.

If you come here and don’t order a pie, you’ll only have yourself to blame. Don’t let me down. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 6, 2019

Lynn, Shanghai…its glory days are long past

In fairness to Lynn, it was a Sunday night, and when I last visited in March it practically was a ghost town. We had nearly the  entire restaurant to ourselves. It can’t be a good sign.

Indeed, it has an air of style with contemporary dark wooden walls with highceilinged room. The menu, like the restaurant itself, has a solid, timeless quality with a mixture of Shanghainese and Cantonese.

It is only fine. And that’s the thing. It could be a place in which to utter the words: “What the hell; hang the expense. It’s good.” Instead, they’re filling it with the words, “Will this do?”

For me, its glory days were a decade ago. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 30, 2019

People & Places, Johor Bahru…There are things here I want to come back for

Let me tell you that, if you’d care to witness JB’s most mesmerising delivery of all-day breakfast, then this is absolutely the place to come. Two thoughts occur to me, very quickly. The first is that I like this place: I like the buzz. The other thought is: I like the food, very much.

We arrived without a booking, but squeaked on to a table with a  range of cactuses down the middle. ‘Why does it look like a botanical garden?’ I asked half-seriously upon entering.

The food upped the ante. The Signature hotcake – blueberry buttermilk hotcake, double cream, maple syrup, fresh strawberries, organic pea sprouts, mixed seeds and nuts was so good that I spent a long, long time slurping off my fork. Quesadilla Brekkie – fluffy tomyum scrambled eggs, chicken ham, sliced tomatoes, Alexa’s sriracha aioli, coriander, and Belgium cheddar cheese sandwiched between tortilla sheets. Topped with grated parmesan, pomegranate and a drizzle of pesto oil was far better. The Englishman’s breakfast was a generous pile of scrambled kampong eggs, streaky beef bacon, chicken bratwurst sausage, house-made baked beans, grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, toasted brioche. The roasted peanut butter toasts – Alexa’s signature roasted peanut butter on muesli bread topped with sliced banana, cacao nibs, chia seeds & dessicated coconut is also very passable.

Some bucket-list places truly live up to the hype. Most importantly I am left thinking there are things here I want to come back for. This is the true truth and I say it as it is…

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June 29, 2019

Kub Kao Kub Pla, Bangkok…For the sake of doubt this is a positive review

First of all, you should eat here.

Take the pad thai with prawns: springy but pliable, and soft but not mushy. Then, the sauce that coats them: Salty, sour and sweet. The combination is hard to top. Or take the stir fried crab meat in yellow curry: it’s mild, it has decent flavor and it’s smooth. Or the cowslip creeper omelette. I had heard mutterings about this particular dish online for a while. It’s one of those that you just have to try, because if you don’t try it you are missing out. You are less than a complete person. I hate being less than complete.

The menu can be surprisingly wallet-friendly. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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