This Eatvestigator has recently been investigating the bak kut teh (herbal tea pork ribs soup) scene along Rangoon Road. Among these is the venerable Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh that has been in existence since 1955.
We got started with the selection of Kung Fu Teas (jasmine or oolong) which goes for about $4.50 a pot. Tea is pretty much self service, you will be heaping in your own tea and fetching your own hot water from the water kettles littered around the shop corners.
The star of the show arrived with the premium pork ribs soup. We also ordered a healthy companion of side dishes to go along with the meal including braised bean curds, eggs, and lettuce. The fieriness of the pepper was well balanced out by the tea which actually tasted sweet in contrast. Feel free to ask for free refills of the soup.
Overall a good concoction of pepper and pork. For the heritage experience, the original shop would be my preferred place to visit.
Happy 2019 to all! This eatvestigator has notably been a missing quantity for some time in the recesses of South East Asia. This time our trip took us to the landlocked region of Luang Prabang in Laos, where we had the chance to savor the namesake Beerlao and partake in wholesome food at this establishment by the name of Khaiphaen. It was good enough that we returned twice in the span of 2 days.
Khaiphaen proudly states that it’s a social enterprise, aiming to provide employment and learning opportunities to young people from local tribes like the Hmong. We noticed they were eager to practice English and Chinese with various out-of-towners. The restaurant is quite spacious, containing both an al fresco area and indoors with much necessary air conditioning in the hot afternoons.
Without much further fanfare we jump right into the appetisers. First was the highly recommended Chargrilled Eggplant Dip with Baguette and Local Vegetables (30000KIP).
The raw eggplant was beyond fresh, and had the texture of crisp apples. The dip was a serenade of mushroom with peanut sauce which went really well on the baguette. Next was what seemed to be local variety momo, the River Fish and Monkey Mushroom Dumplings (52000KIP). It was very well balanced by the roasted soybean and peanut dip.
If there’s one dish that defines the national essence of Laos, it definitely has to be larb, which is typically a mixture of fermented minced meat and vegetables. The Chicken and Mint Laap with Roasted Squash, Spring Onions, Chili and Lime (40000KIP) was somewhat sanitized but nevertheless enjoyable and refreshing.
This was then followed by a splatter of mains. In the foreground were the Beer Lao Battered Fish and Chips (54000KIP). The fish was wonderfully battered and came complemented by papaya salad, a definite Laotian twist. On the left was the Lao Pork Sausages with a chutney consisting of spring onion (44000KIP). It wasn’t as meaty as imagined and was quite enjoyable.
A recurring theme were these seaweed crispies that are also found on top of the Khaiphaen and Rice Sticks with Tomato and Hmong Mushroom dips (36000KIP). The eatvestigator found this dish to be somewhat forgettable but the crisps were nice to chew on over Beerlao.
All in all, Khaiphaen does a fabulous job fusing local Lao ingredients with well known foreign dishes. You won’t go wrong dropping by if this is your first visit to Luang Prabang.
While running the course of a 2 day trip in Kamakura, this eatvestigator invariably transversed the ups and downs of Komachi-dori, where all the food action happens. It was definitely a welcome to find this cozy joint for a sip of the local Kamakura beer (¥800).
The local catch is white-bait (shiraishi), which comes as an accompaniment to many local dishes. However the fish are not caught during certain seasons. This particular three styles donburi (¥1380) is shirashi done in 3 styles: raw, dried and fried. Add some soy sauce and you are good to go.
To find the restaurant, look out for this basement on the left as you are walking towards the direction of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine.
The Eatvestigator was over in Lombok island to climb Mount Rinjani in July. For the geographically un-aware, Lombok is a 30 minute flight/4 hour ferry ride away from Bali. In keeping with the Eatvestigator’s mantra, there are less tourists and more undiscovered spots. Direct flights are available from Singapore (Silkair) and Johor (Airasia).
Over at the black sands of Sengigi beach, we found that all the coconut trees were empty. Enterprising vendors have made it their business to sell us coconuts at “local” prices of Rp15,000 (~SGD1.50). We had cheaper ones in Malaysia before.
Satay is available too for less than Rp30,000 for a meager 10 sticks with some rice. Moving on from the beach there was the less than exciting Sengigi Arts Market, there is the Papa Besar Cafe. Most wondrous was the reasonably priced chocolate milkshake (Rp30,000) that 2nd servings were in order. There was also the intriguing choco-bananamilkshake (Rp25,000), but our party found it too thick for our liking.
The first of the mains was the well recommended Prince of Prawns(Rp65,000). Delightfully big prawns simmered in olive oil with tangy sweetness of the kecap manis (sweet sauce), topped on spinach. This was a winner for the eatvestigator.
Somehow alluding to the volcanic nature of the islands was the rice tuft that came with the meatball curry (Rp65,000). It came with a garland of vegetables in curry, but wasn’t too impressionable.
This spicy prawn (Rp65,000) was rich and probably spicy for non-Asians. Goes very well with white rice!
On the Eatvestigator’s way back from Lombok, I caught sight of the culprit delaying our first flight by 5 hours. Neighbouring Mount Raung erupting ashes into the sky.
Papa Besar Cafe Jl Raya Sengigi Kawasan Intan Laguna Galleria Shop Batu Layar, Lombok Barat Nusa Tenggarra Barat, Indonesia +62370692070
Right opposite Singapore’s Sembawang coast is this al fresco seafood restaurant on stilts that offers a somewhat scenic view of the Johor straits and shipyards in Singapore. The restaurant is set amidst a sleepy fishing village of the Orang Asli (Malaysia’s true aboriginals) whom this eatvestigator observed digging the mud for some of the “fresh” catch which are supplied to the restaurant.
The location is a good 30 minutes away from the Causeway by car, single one way taxi fare is approximately RM30-40 depending on your haggling skills. The main reason to venture here is for the reasonably fresh seafood that is about half price of what you get in Singapore. There are in fact a few other restaurants in the vicinity but this was observed to be the most crowded (for good reason).
As with any respectable seafood restaurant, prices are prominently displayed alongside the live produce. It is this eatvestigator’s opinion that restaurants which refuse to prominently display prices have the utmost intentions of fudging their calculations and you often end up with astronomical prices.
Grouper, mud crabs and clams are in great abundance. There are about 4 categories of mud crabs that vary from the smallest to the largest. The cheapest being RM3/100g, upsizing to RM5/100g, RM7/100g, RM10/100g. The cheapest are the first to be gone, so the eatvestigator’s party went with the RM7 ones. Boy they were huge.
First blood was the whole grouper (RM100, ~SGD39), steamed in Teochew style. Very sweet and fresh, well executed.
The obligatory prawns (RM45, ~SGD18) were never particularly impressive every single time that the eatvestigator has been here. Get them if you are not broke and just want some variety.
We also had crabs done in two different styles, the first being salted egg york, the second being chilli. The eatvestigator preferred the former, but both had their merits. Both dishes utilised 3 crabs each, totalling approximately 3.5kg for a grand total of RM231 or SGD90 for both. This is approximately half of Singapore price.
It is obligatory when having chilli crab to also have fried mantous for dipping with the sauce. These were pretty addictive and the party ended up having a second helping.
We arrive at the most pertinent aspect of the venture across the straits. There was crab, fish, prawn, cuttlefish, and assorted vegetable stir fries, even coconuts. For a meal of 11 persons, this worked out into about RM50 ~SGD19 a person. Truly Malaysia boleh value. Beware, cash only and make sure you pre-arrange a ride back if arriving by taxi.
1, Kampung Orang Asli, Telok Jawa, Masai, Johor Baru
11.30am ~ 11.30pm
The story goes that this eatvestigator’s party were mere innocent tourists wandering around Fort Mason where we had stayed. We were then attacked by waves of steaming charcoal interacted with animal fats. That prompted a closer investigation which led to our discovery of this syndicated crime scene: Off The Grid.
These guys organize a weekly gathering of food trucks, renowned and experimental sorts, who get to unleash their sensory overload upon us mere hungry mortals. If you are interested in the economics of food trucks, you may find this article of interest. Behold the formation of food trucks that awaited, alongside of live entertain as we drink and chow down the slaughter into the night.
We were senselessly assaulted by the thugs like “The Chairman” whose long queues mercilessly tormented our bellies. Nor did we fare any better with “The Whole Beast” who held promise that we could chow down an entire animal. Closer examination of their menu revealed that such a prospect was unlikely.
These wonder “Smokey Yukon Potatoes” quickly filled the void that had ensued from our earlier torment, thereby allowing us to slog down bite sizes of ”Cinco de Mayo Nachos”.
Behold, what do we find? Malaysian food, but hell no way is this cheapskate eatvestigator gonna ever pay $10 for laksa. Maybe in 20 years time…
Live music quickly ensues and people chow leisurely on these assorted seats. The performance was pretty good, and the eatvestigator was able to work on a piece of beef ribs (USD4) from “Cedar Hill” tent. You will also be able to find a good racket of alcoholic drinks and desserts being peddled in the background.
This eatvestigator was very pleased with this San Francisco take on organized street food. With a group of friends, it was possible to try a whole assortment of foods for under $20. Do pay this racket a visit if you are ever in the foggy city, you will be robbed smiling.
Lobsters are relatively cheap in New York owing to its proximity to the rich Atlantic coastal waters. The costs of transporting live lobsters halfway around the world mean that prices are prohibitive in this eatvestigator’s hometown. Well, this eatvestigator is in for a treat! Lobster Place is right smacked in the popular Chelsea Market, where you can buy some delis and enjoy some good wines along with your meal. The queues don’t lie, these are some fresh succulent lobsters, and people are here to get a piece of the action!
Prices are in the range of USD12-14/lb depending on whether you are buying live or cooked ones. The cooked ones tend to be pre-cooked, probably to cut down on cooking time. This eatvestigator opted for a small cooked lobster (~USD16), which was pretty huge for one who hardly sees live lobsters. Don’t bother getting a large to share with your friend, it’s gonna get messy later and you know you want one all to yourself! Your order is taken, then you have to make payment at the cashier. Cooking time is about 15 minutes, hurry and find a seat!
Lobster Place is more than just lobsters, instead it’s more like a seafood market. There are other stalls brimming with all kinds of fresh seafood, and even a sashimi counter. Viably, you could stroll around and eat some freshly sliced tuna, but this eatvestigator think its a bad idea! Once you pick up your very own freshly steamed lobster, you realize the enormity of the task ahead.
You excitedly splatter lemon juice over the evidence, pluck up that juicy claw and dab it with some butter oil. You cease to notice all the other patrons sitting around, who are also quiet in their indulgence. As you tear that soft white flesh, you think to yourself: the taste of the ocean is right here in your hands. For the price, it doesn’t get any better than this.
75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
Away from the bustle and hustle of Harbourfront is a cozy little family-run fusion (think French, Middle-Eastern) restaurant that accords you with quiet while treating your purses with dignity. Start your savory journey with some humble Humus Dip (~$6). Or if you are in the mood for something livelier from the garden, there’s also Escargot in White Wine Sauce (~$9). Hearty and honest fare.
No one would go wrong with the Battered Barramundi Fish & Chips ($16) that is done with such hearty servings of chips, cole slaw and a fruit salad. Neither did they cut the fish any slack.
Their concoctions of pastas are likewise otherworldly. Take your pick from a variety in the likes of Bacon in Red Pesto (~$15) and Escargot and Mushroom in Saffron Cream (~$16).
As if that wasn’t sumptuous enough, there’s always some old school desserts like Brownie ($6) topped with ice cream and as if there wasn’t enough cream, a Pinna Cotta ($6).
Definitely a place to return to. Till next time… 103 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore
Tue–Fri: 11.30am–3pm, 6pm–9.30pm
Sat: 6pm – 9.30pm
Sun: 11.30am–3pm, 6pm–9.30pm