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.
80 Stamford Road #B1-65
SMU, School of Information Systems
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).
Lot 2810, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee
80000 Johor Bahru
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-banana milkshake (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
Coffee, eggs and kaya toast are the definitive breakfast classic in Malaysia & Singapore, ranking alongside nasi lemak. Here in this alley spot along Lebuh Campbell in Georgetown Penang, this classic alley dining eatery harking back to the 50s. This eatvestigator spent a good 10 minutes trying to find the lane.
You know the ritual, it starts with the soft boiled eggs, dabbled with pepper and dark soy sauce. Stir those in and break up those yolks!
Toast is fired up over an old school oven, which gives that airy and crispy crunch that the eatvestigator likes of Vietnamese baguette. Smear them with kaya, and sandwich them with a handsome slice of butter!
Lastly, coffee with condensed milk. The total set barely costs RM4. On the sidelines, there are also nasi lemak and curry puffs being sold, but this eatvestigator wolfed them down before pictures could be taken.
Toh Soon Cafe 多春茶室
184 Campbell Street
Off Penang Road, George Town, 10100 Penang
8am-6pm (Closed on Sundays)
If you are looking for authentic fat dripping char-siew on Hong Kong Island, this nicely glazed char-siew is the one. This family run business apparently dates all the way back to the late Qing dynastry, surviving through the WW2 Japanese occupation and into post-1997 Hong Kong. That’s a heck lot of history and loyal customers. I hear you crying, omg fat fat drip drip slurp slurp. Yes but you gotta eat it once, else you will go home with that thought of regret at the back of your head. Your brain is composed of fats anyway, surely a little more will do it some good!
One bite and you know you are vindicated as the juices oozes into your mouth. The meat was nicely glazed with chewy charred texture, something you can never find in Singapore. But the next thing you know, they also do a crispy roasted pork. Golly, look at that meat.
The meats/fat go very well with white rice. Next thing we know, they were all tucked into our tummies. Damage was HKD126 (~SGD21) for 3 persons. Crowded little place with not much room to move. But after eating all that, you definitely want to move your legs as much as possible! Satisfying!
265 Hennessy Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
This entry has been long overdue. If you know me in real life, you probably would have heard me raving about the Saigon Lunch Lady and her amazing concoction.
Away from the tourist wrecks of Ho Chi Minh City, next to the river at the intersection of three roads under a tree lies this unassuming little stall without a signboard or real roof. Everyday, a lady by the name of Nguyen Thi Thanh prepares a boiling cauldron of broth that alternates daily (from bases like pork ribs to crab) to satisfy the rumbling stomachs of hungry locals.
Amazingly, this little stall is not just host to locals but also well-informed backpackers from afar whom have heard about the Saigon Lunch Lady whom is a celebrity of sorts on the blogosphere (Go ahead, google her!). This is partly thanks to her being featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation show. She is no stranger to foreigners and comes out to greet us. She does a variant of Bun Bo Hue, which is rice noodles and a generous variety of ingredients like prawns, quail eggs, meat balls, fish cake, pork, pig’s blood (that black pudding thing) bathed in that fresh flavorful soup of the day, all for about $1.
Throw in some spring rolls and dough sticks for a tummy filling walkaway! Thirsty? Her sister runs a drink stall right next to hers that peddles cool soya milk.
That’s us posing with her! Might I daresay (for such a price) its the best bowl of soup in Vietnam and even South East Asia. This is one soup not to miss when in Ho Chi Minh.
23 Hoang Sa St.,
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Leave the chocolate behind… to be at a cafe like vanilla in the small cleavage behind Ang Siang Hill is like discovering that perfect perfume or cologne. We arrived on a quiet afternoon, no customers around to disturb our romance with coffee. Going beyond our affair with those java beans, we couldn’t help but order ourselves some pumpkin soup ($4.90) and a pulled pork sandwich ($13) in handsome foccacia bread.
For dessert, don’t be taken aback by the dirt cake ($6.90) when you see it. The chef has some humour: chocolate in a mini flower pot topped with gummy worms and a flower stalk. A case of still life mimicking real life.
Next door you will find a French bookshop with ragged and amusing titles such as this… You can’t help but be charmed and taken aback by the timeless quality of Ang Siang Hill on it’s surroundings.
3 Boon Tat Street #01-01
Mon–Thu: 10.30am – 11pm
Fri–Sat: 11am – 12am
(Closed on Sun & PH)