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.
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?
Fancy yourself some affordable all-day brunch, Faculty of Caffeine (FOC) has it. It won’t break the wallet and the Ringgit is a wonderful all-time low to the SGD. Not that you will care. This place has rustic food and industrial served together on a plate.
Drum roll for the (not too) Generous Breakfast (RM17.5) which the eatvestigator managed to wipe clean. You get a whole tomato and sautéed mushrooms, it was more the delicatessen department that was lacking. A sausage or some proper cold cuts would have helped.
Space is pretty tight, with some room at the bar. Luckily no one is being chased away even after you finish your coffee. That leaves plenty of time and room for desserts! The real redeeming part about of FOC are the experimental desserts that are rotated for the day.
This Salted Caramel Affogato (RM11.5) sure melted away fast. That was one crunchy pretzel. The sea salt didn’t really stand out much.
The croissant with banana split made for good coffee time snack. All told, brunch and dessert can be had for the price of a main in Singapore. Let’s hope not too many people find out about this.
The team behind FOC has also launched a new establishment by the name of The Replacement. This will be next on the Eatvestigation.
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
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
Little Part One is a perennial long time favorite of this eatvestigator, but strangely it is only now that a review is being written. Tucked away in the row of shophouses behind Thomson Plaza, is this gem of a cafe where one could simply order a pot of tea while reading a book the entire afternoon.
Whilst reading, you could order some nibbles like the curried fries or buffalo wings to share with your companions. The fries were tamed by the accompanying mayonaise and great finger food. The wings were available in 3 levels, and came with some cucumbers to quench the heat. However the size and spiciness paled in comparison to places that do wings as their specialities, plus it was a tad expensive near $12.
After working on these appetizers and resisting the urge to lick your fingers, you would be strolling to the restroom. Perhaps you might want to check out the al fresco area at the back. Behold an entire shelf of emptied beers and spirits. No doubt from nights of indulgences.
So if you are in for some main courses, there’s chicken kiev and beef stew that apparently had traces of Guinness stout. They did decent mains, but not particularly impressive that I would head there for them. If anything, its for the drinks and laid back ambience.
Thereafter as nightfall approaches, drinks are in order. Now this is what I like the cafe and the ambience it offers, a place for good company and a good chat over drinks. They have a hearty selection of Belgian trappist beers you would never expect to find all the out of town from the likes of Rochefort 10 to belgian wit beers. If you are not in the know, Belgian beers are typically artisan beers that have a more flavorful expression of fruits and spices and even chocolate! Definitely a change from the common man’s lager. Ladies may like the Delirium Tremens for its sweetness.
The artisan beers here are just perfect accompanions for desserts. For your sweet tooth, there is a rendition of apple crumble which is brimming with apple chunks and not just cheap sugar, topped off with vanilla ice cream. Or you could also choose from the daily cakes selection that go for around $6.
I can’t emphasize how much I love this place and its cozy embrace. I always wonder when I will be back, since as it nicely sums up on the way out, I’m almost always hungry!