April 13, 2019

Tsui Wah, Shenzhen…failed to impress me

Tsui Wah is the Shenzhen outpost of a revered restaurant of the same name in Hong Kong. Let’s cut to the chase: this is the place if you want to visit a giant, super-sized neon version of Hong Kong’s humble coffee shop cafes (called a cha chaan teng, literally a tea food hall).

The dishes are pure Hong Kong comfort food, an eclectic and inexpensive assortment of Cantonese, Asian, and Western fare prepared for the Chinese palate. Start your meal with a local favorite—milk tea—followed, perhaps Lamb Chop Curry, King Prawns in XO Sauce with Tossed Noodles and wonton with fish roe in fish soup. And you’ll be missing out if you don’t try the famous crispy bun topped with sweet condensed milk.

Although there wasn’t much wrong, it failed to impress me. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 14, 2017

Gu Yi Wan, Shanghai…comforting, delicious and cheap

Shanghai’s Chinese food scene is a diverse beast. This tiny Gu Yi Wan does a lot of things well but I’m all over it just for its modest braise in soy sauce beef noodle. It is rich and restorative in texture and taste, a kind of mental health food. Apart of that, other worthy mentions are their wantons, shaomai and shaobing

The restaurant is both the simplest and most marvelous of discoveries in a city that is filled with gastronomic delights. Trust me: you need to try it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 6, 2017

Lee Noodle, Bangkok…cheap (and astonishing) duck noodle

Between cafés, street food stalls and lesser-known restaurant deals, Bangkok has a host of bargain bites that don’t cut back on flavour or finesse.

Lee Noodle, on Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thong Lor BTS station) is a budget-friendly hole in the wall guaranteed to whet your appetite without leaving a gaping hole in your wallet. Small and simple, this coffee-shop may be tiny but its purse-friendly homemade noodles which can be accompanied by moist succulent duck or crispy roasted pork belly or crab or charsiew or wanton (or all of it for 80 baht) is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Dangerously good, and it won’t cost you much more than 100 baht for the biggest, most delicious bowl of noodle you’ve ever tasted. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 14, 2015

Soi 19, Thai Wanton Mee, Singapore…simple, plain and unassuming

Thai wanton mee is a simple dish: dumplings are made with sweet tasting pork held together by a delicate wrapper and served with springy egg noodles. I have discovered that when done right, Thai wonton mee need not be the cheap appetizer of choice, but a worthy dish unto itself.

Truth be told, there is really nothing extraordinary about Soi 19 in Singapore. These wonton are nice, delicate and lightly crunchy with sweet tasting pork. Those who must have condiments can load up on chilli flakes, sliced chillies and fish sauce, laid out at the stall. Overall, the unadorned bowl which included some extremely thinly, sliced char siu is simple, plain and unassuming. Lunchtime queues attest to the popularity of this place. The stall is low on character, but the crowds of locals and an open kitchen keep things buzzing.

Those who are fans of the Cantonese Hong Kong style of wanton noodles would frown at this but given Singaporeans’ familiarity with Thai street food, this is as good as it gets to the real thing. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 13, 2015

Wong Chi Kei Noodle & Congee Restaurant, Hong Kong…The thick, creamy and delicious congee here is a “5 Stars Plus” rated meal

There are hundreds of noodle and congee restaurants in Hong Kong, and they’re only getting better. Thank more discerning diners with higher standards for good food. And a growing sense of competition among restaurants to win us over. But for those of us who love digging into real good congee, the question remains: Where should I eat?

When friends go to Hong Kong and ask me where to go for a congee meal, Wong Chi Kei is where I send them. That’s not to say it’s perfect—to be honest, the cooking can be pretty uneven—but if you’re looking for the classic Cantonese congee meal that’s a better and beyond some of the competition, Wong Chi Kei is the place for you. Though the wonton noodle soup, made with big, juicy wontons, is not bad, the real banger here is the thick, creamy and delicious congee.

There is comfort (and folk-medicinal healing properties) in congee. This Cantonese rice porridge is light and suitable on hot days especially when you want to eat something non-oily. It can be cooked with many different types of ingredients. Actually, the types of ingredients are only limited by one’s imagination. The unparalleled dried oyster and pork congee must be given special mention.

The congee here is a “5 Stars Plus” rated meal. If I could add a few more stars I would! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…


May 19, 2011

Mak’s Noodle, Hong Kong… the shrimp roe noodles misses the mark

Anthony Bourdain had raved about it. It  was featured in Times magazine for being “one of the top 3 best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Hong Kong. There’s Lonely Planet write-ups of this restaurant on every table. Michelin recommended restaurant 2009, 2010 and 2011.

The wanton were not bad but not brilliant as claimed by many. The soup and noodles are only just so-so. The noodles were not crunchy nor springy enough. I tried the supposedly famous prawn roe with dry noodles. Each shrimp roe was obviously quite small granularly, but I failed to detect how it add any flavour. The noodles are too firm and dry. No “wow”.

 Overall, it was an interesting dish but it misses the mark. More suited for the western palette, most likely. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

January 10, 2011

Pontian Wantan Noodles, Johor Baru, Malaysia…deep fried wantons are a rip-off

The noodles were quite elastic. The sweet and spicy sauce consisting a mix of chili sauce and ketchup take a bit of getting used to. The fried wantons were a rip-off. Almost devoid of any fillings, it lacked anything substantial. You could be forgiven for mistaking this as a bowl of rubberband and deep fried paper.

This is the true truth because I say it as it is…

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