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.
This Eatvestigator needed a quick place for lunch right after landing in Bangkok. We found The Never Ending Summer, located amidst an art district called the Jam Factory.
Situated along the Chao Phraya river (5-10 minutes walk away from the newly opened Icon Siam), the restaurant occupies 2 warehouses which were decked out in an airy and lush interior. The main offerings are mod-Thai cuisine.
The first order of business was the Larb Gai with fried kale (THB380). This savoury and chunky meat concoction paired well with white rice. For the fibre conscious crowd, brown rice is available too.
Next up was the beef rump steak (THB480) which was presented with tropical garnish and chili fish sauce. Although medium well, it wasn’t much to shout about for this eatvestigator. Get your steak cravings satisfied elsewhere.
The sweet and sour cashew chicken (THB380) was easily a winner. The chicken had just the right amount of breading and the sauce was neither too dry or too sweet. Plentiful cashews are always welcome.
We had the chance to also try their fried flowers with egg but it didn’t leave much of an impression.
The Never Ending Summer hits the right spots for an intimate meal with outstanding Thai flavors. There is an outdoor sitting area that is perfect in the evenings for dinner with a riverside view. If you are in the vicinity for a date, consider taking a 5 minute public ferry over from Sheraton Orchid Hotel to the Millennium Hilton, and then saunter over along the river.
The Never Ending Summer 41/5 Charoen Nakorn Khlong San, Bangkok, Thailand Daily – 11am – 11pm
Stacked behind habitat by honestbee, is this unassuming little distillery brewing up Singapore-made gin. You would never guess from the pair of lone brass lion that adorns its entrance.
We flitter up the stairs, and arrived at this old world bar on L2.
The bartender introduced us to the Three Musketeers of the house. These spirits are born and bottled in this very building.
The Butterfly Pea and Singapore Dry are both available for sale at $88 a bottle, and we are told that the Pink Pahit will be available soon once production is up to scratch. These are small batch production, therefore you won’t be finding them in volume at any duty free. A quick look at the menu reveals their spiritual possibilities:
We decide to summon for a trio of Brass Lion ($16), Butterfly ($16), and Pahit ($16), the latter which was had on the rocks. Our attention quickly turned to the bartender’s quick work. The bartender first doses the glass with some Butterfly Pea gin, which has a distinctive peaflower blue glow. Upon touching the Indian Tonic water, it quickly morphs into purple.
The end result is both alien and mesmerising. The Butterfly takes on grapefruit with subtle floral hints.
The next of our companions, the Brass Lion, is slightly more laid back in appearance and tone. It makes up for that understatement with a ginger flower and juniper berries, which add quite a spice. The favourite for this eatvestigator was the Pahit, which reminded one of an Old Fashioned contorted out of gin. This was certainly an interesting experience and we hope to be back to check out the rest of the menu. Until then…
We were also told about an alternate hands-on experience, a certain gin school, where one can concoct up your own gin flavours.
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.
Situated away from the hustle and bustle of Johor Bahru downtown, Openwork Coffee stands alone. By far, it is the only gyoza and coffee joint in town. When a reason behind this quirky pairing was sought from the proprietor, this eatvestigator was told that Johorians loved to chat over coffee and gyoza. Hmmm, not that there are many gyoza joints around. The location is a mere 5 minutes walking distance away from DoubleTree JB.
The cafe features clean lines and rustic furniture, while overlooking a forest valley. The proprietors offered up a serving of original gyoza (RM12) and namesake coffee.
The Papaya Milk Yakult Foam (RM14) was yet another curiosity on the menu. It was light on the palette and refreshing after a hot day’s walk. They also dished up a heaping good donburi in this Chicken Bowl (RM17) that consisted of fried chicken and yolk laid over fluffy rice and whole grains with vegetables.
The accompanying appetiser Prawn And Squid Salad (RM14) was another winner, reminiscent of Peranakan tones,with its fried taukee slices paired with a cooling salsa medley.
Despite the diminutive range of food on the menu, this eatvestigator welcomed the inventiveness and subtle tones of the available food pairings. Perhaps if you have an afternoon in JB to spare, make your way here for some coffee and gyoza.
Hidden in bowels of the SMU compound is this recently opened donburi shop called Kenboru. It features customisable rice and soba bowls, with flame-grilled mains ranging from tofu to smoked duck and beef, all at less than $15. No wonder the place is raging with the student crowd on a weekday afternoon.
This Eatvestigator made a dash for the smoked duck breast bow ($7.90), well you get another $1 off if you are somehow related to SMU. Here are the results with a heapful of complementary mentaiko sauce. The result is appealing to the pseudo health conscious while being full of intense wafu flavours.
While sojourning across the Japanese countryside on the Enoden railway, this Eatvestigator was pleasantly surprised by curious onlookers in a shack having their sit-down daily brew as the train passed by. They were mere meters away from the track. This Eatvestigator got off the next station and set out to find this curiosity. Behold, it was next to the beaten track and serves simple breakfast of raw egg over rice (¥500) and Aji fish with rice (¥1000) for lunch.
Here, the onlooked became the onlooker. The entrance ticket being a cheesecake (¥580) and an ice coffee (¥420), allowing one to enjoy an afternoon of train-watching with front row seats.
Simple joys indeed. But do be careful when taking photos out front near the train tracks. This Eatvestigator definitely hopes to be back again for breakfast.
1-12-16 Inamuragasaki, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa, 248-0024, JAPAN
7am-6pm Closed on Wednesdays
5 minutes walk from Inamuragasaki Station on Enoshima Electric Railway (Enoden)
Someone asked this Eatvestigator where they could find some decent chai tea at decent prices. This Eatvestigator had to first point out the redundancy of the phrase “chai tea” because the word chai essentially means tea in India (which was itself derived from the Chinese word “cha/茶”). However this chai is typically infused with spices. A “Chaiwalla” is very much the Indian version of a barista who makes tea for you.
Thoroughly disappointed by the chai latte offered at a certain famous Seattle coffee chain, this Eatvestigator decided to seek out some chai that wasn’t exorbitantly priced or watery. Here lies this gem of a Chaiwalla Container Cafe in the Little India of Singapore Johor Bahru. The shop operates out of an actual container, providing a scenic view of a car park with al fresco seating. The locals do NOT appeared to be concerned with any sort of outdoor daylight muggings. There is of course safety when gathering in numbers. It is located at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, which is a mere stone throw away from City Square.
You get reasonably priced chai at around RM3.8-5.8, with choice of original or additive flavours, done hot or cold. (If you can’t decide, just get the hot chai) This Eatvestigator tried both the original hot chai and cold chai, and can attest that it has not been diluted watery like certain overpopulated establishments. There were other beverage choices such as milk, thai milk tea to suit your mood. Pies were also on offer but this Eatvestigator didn’t have the time or stomach to try them.
Nearby, there were also various venerable old eateries, ranging from a coffeeshop to a bakery. As of writing, they have opened a second outlet at The Curve in Kuala Lumpur. (No love for tea drinkers in Singapore).
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
From the makers of Faculty of Caffeine comes The Replacement. No idea if this means the original is being closed down, or merely an extension. There are hints of a bed and breakfast operation being run upstairs.
The clean white exteriors and interiors is striking from the brownish dust hues that pervades Johor city. Even the menu is a clean white.
To detox, the eatvestigator was happy to chug a Green Hornet (RM15) pressed juice. The eatvestigator wonders if they will ever serve cold pressed coffee in the future.
After what was half an hour on a busy Saturday morning, the food calvary arrived. A croque madame (RM18.90), with very nice runny hues. Look at that yolk running off the bread, is that seductive or what.
The breakfast platter (RM25.90) was practically out of the same nest as that Generous Breakfast from Faculty of Caffeine, albeit at an even higher price for a few more toppings. Not a terribly compelling proposition.
Rounding off the desserts were a healthy serving of Double Ice Cream Churros (RM19.90). This were really crusty on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. Imagine eating Mcdonald’s fries for the first time, that’s what they have done here. They got the dough done right. If anything, the eatvestigator would be back here simply for their desserts. It appears that the owners are big fans of desserts.
Perhaps inspired by the folks at Bev C, there are cactuses littered across each table in this establishment. Look closely and you will find coffee beans being used as the base, but why not coffee grounds though?