25 May 2011
I just realized that the Arab stall in the NUS Business canteen is an offshoot of the Cafe l’ Cairo on Arab St. Now, I definitely have to go back to the Arab St location sober!
Aw poop, there is only one place in Kampong Glam that sells hookahs. And the “a” button on this phone is giving me fits.
Deli Moroccan-The server is gruff, but I tricked him into cracking a smile. Lamb Tajin with Apricots-what a fantastic mix of tender and fatty lamb, french fries, dried apricots (which I was sceptical about), nuts and olives. The apple iced tea was not surprisingly sweet, but refreshing. Boom-I am full. Satiation kind of snuck up on me.
Jibiru Japanese Brewery- the Euro-style beers are passable, but nothing really grabs my attention. They actually ran out of all the craft beers on special before happy hour. Booooooooo. Very not worth the money ($17/beer). The food may be promising. I may have to check out the Paulaner clone next door in 313@Somerset.
Mang Kiko’s Lechon-roast pork belly is always a good call. The sour spicy sauce is solid, but definitely sour.
Botak Jones-American food cheaper than Mickey D’s recommended by locals. YOU can guess how it tasted.
28 May 2011
Kachori-this was nothing special
Ras Malai-always a winner
Pakoda-avoid the packaged stuff, as it gets cold and soggy. Throwing it in the toaster oven helped.
Usman’s-no haleem, booooooooo
Aloo naan-dude, I mean dude this was tasty.
Tandoori chicken-consistently awesome
Aloo methi-I would love this with less aloo and more methi (I usually enjoy leafy greens). The sauce was really special.
We must come back for the bryani.
Hougang 6 miles Famous Muah Chee – oh my gawsh! Fresh mocchi for the win! No gimmicky flavors, just right! This was definitely worth the trip.
RSAF Open House-earlier this week, I read about Singapore’s “queing culture”. MY A$$!
The flyover was not Blue Angels, but still rather cool
Saizeriya Ristorante E Caffe-Western food in a mall-I should have done my homework. At least they had rather cheap wines, although I am not sure why they chilled the reds. The baked spinach, cheese thing was an abject failure. I could have bought frozen spinach and shredded cheese from fairprice and made something better. In general, the cheese in any dish was terrible. The garlic spinach dish was much better. The grilled chicken dorya (spelling) suffered from terrible cheese, truly letting down the rather decent chicken and seasoned rice below. Also, how did they mess up our order so many times when they used PDAs to take them?
Best edamame ever
Chicken katsu curry-next time I will get the curry on the side, as you cannot finish the wonderfully fried chicken before it gets soggy (analogous to the chicken fried steak conundrum), the potato in the accompanying salad was the most delicious potato salad I have ever eaten
Miso-soaked mackerel-the waitress indicated that this would be good but also warned that it was not for everyone. This is some of the best fish I have had in Singapore (even considering some of the sushi I have had). There were no bones and the skin was quite tasty. The waiter’s mother (the cook) was very pleasantly surprised that I loved it.
Miso soup-not an afterthought, this is so much better fresh
Home-made strawberry ice cream: unlike the stuff you buy on the street, this was not loaded down with stabilizers so it actually melted. It was also not overly sweet. I highly recommend saving room for ice cream.
Aspirasi, Fried Chicken Rice with Sambal-vaguely reminiscent of stuff I got on the streets of Bangkok. I am okay with fluffy, steamed rice in lieu of sticky rice. We made mango sticky rice with Basmati rice and that worked out splendidly. The chicken was golden and crispy with very few bones. The sambal is more tomato-centric, versus fish-smelling. It is damn shiok, despite clearing my sinuses. I just learned a new trick from the guy sitting next to me-dump the broth on the rice. Brilliant!
Golden Thai Restaurant-
crispy fried chicken-is fried chicken really ever a bad idea?
green curry chicken fried rice-ooh, they managed to make it without it turning completely soggy
chicken phat see eiu-soooooo good
Old Airport Rd FC
Dim Sum Stall-glutinous rice. This was tastier than I would have guessed. Surprisingly the chicken was more glutinous than the rice.
Hua Kee Hougang Famous Wanton Mee-wanton mee hor fun. There was a queue so I felt obliged to join. The char siew was a bit feeble in size and quantity, but this belied its texture and taste. I may have to make a trip out to Hong Kong for the wantons.
BJ Grill Seafood-ray. Considering the size, it did not have much flesh. I like that they did not drench the wing in sambal, which often overwhelms the taste and texture of the skate flesh.
Soursop juice-I love the fleshy bits of the fruit in the juice. This is not sour, and is quite refreshing.
“Go back to your country.”
Man, this xenophobe walked away too quickly for me to respond “you, too” and blow him a kiss. There is ALWAYS a next time.
1 June 2011
Chilli Padi, babi ponteh-the a la carte here (Singaporeans misuse a la carte, as I have discussed earlier) should be the gold standard for “value for money”. Unfortunately, this phrase usually implies taking a non-cheap dish, substituting poor ingredients, and shoddily preparing it. Pork fat in a mild sauce with the side orders of vegetables. Did you hear that? PORK FAT as an entree! It was all brilliant, especially at $4 and change.
2 June 2011
Cheese Prata shop – I am beginning to work my way through the menu. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask them to make the prata a bit more crispy. Next time! The plain prata was nothing special and the banana prata had syrup drizzled on it. The syrup did not really seem excessive. The curry was also nothing special. I really got the plain prata for dipping in the sup kambing. This is a decent alternative to Ayer Rajah, but for some reason I feel Ayer Rajah is better. I cannot really put my finger on why, though.
Jia Le Herbal Bak Kut Teh (Clementi 24 hr var nice) – I was drawn in by the bak kut teh, but ultimately went with the braised pig trotters. How do trotters have so much fat? Human feet do not have any fat. This was obviously not fresh, but this would have had potential had that not been the case. The you tiao had also been sitting out a while.
Cake History – brownie for a buck. You have to try it. It was not bad at all, although it was much more cake than brownie.
3 June 2011
I just violated a personal rule, never eat at the same place twice in a week. Especially in Singapore, it makes no sense to eat hawker food on back to back days. Oh well, here I am back at the Cheese Prata Shop. I had to try the briyani-it was nothing special. The kopiccino peng hit the spot given the heat, though.
aloe vera juice with lime-tastes like lime juice to me
steamed tilapia with Nonya sauce-I actually ate the whole fish, including the bits behind the eyes. Even the little bones could not stop me. The sauce was sooooo good-like chili crab sauce.
Arts and Science Museum in Marina Bay Sands (the lotus flower looking building). This is the most expensive museum I have ever been to. In Singapore, museums are tourist attractions to profit from and not educational institutions for the broader public. At $30 admission, I can understand why locals would not patronize this. That said, the Dali exhibit was pretty spectacular. The museum is only exhibits, there are no base installments. Somehow, we spent almost two hours covering some of Dali’s greatest works and exploring the themes in his life (and art).
The Van Gogh exhibit was interesting, but overwhelming. They just threw up his art as projections onto many walls of a room. It was too much and we were museumed out by then. The Hidden Treasures (from a sunken ship discovered somewhere in the waters near here) was interesting, too. That said, Dali is why you pay the $30.
Riverfront festival (by the esplanade)-the tent full of food and drinks was pretty cool. The Estrella Spanish beer was not bad and neither was the paella (getting an extra portion free as they were closing down did not hurt). The guy playing a piano suspended from a pole was just weird. There was a video screen on the piano and the pianist was had his back facing down and seemed to play some sort of interactive video game through playing music. Definite points for originality, but still very strange.
Paulaner, Brunch-Even at $65 (after tax, title, and license) this is a spectacular deal. You can eat sans FREE FLOW beer to save yourself $10, but then I will have earned the right to call you stupid. The lighter and darker ales were both tasty and reminded me of the greatness of Bavarian beer. While on the surface this set-up would not seem Muslim-friendly (beer and brats), there are plenty of other amazing German foods to keep you pre-occupied. Some highlights include the roasted potatos, FRESH pretzels, some sort of orange-colored sausages, spread of cheese and smoked salmon, and tender roasted chicken. The desserts were epic, too, including apple streudel with vanilla cream, blueberry cheesecake, and other cakes and mousses. Despite taking breaks between rounds at the buffet, I could not muster the wherewithal to attack the chocolate fountain. My food baby was a very happy camper!
Al-Ameen Makan House
Tandoori mixed platter-how can you look at the hanging meats in the display and not order it. I wish they would have brought the heat a bit more.
Sambal fried rice-it comes with a piece of fried chicken! This will satisfy my nasi goreng cravings and then some. It far exceeded my expectations.
6 June 2011
Formosa Delights-super buttery Kaya toast for the first time. I am not sure that this is any better than what I make at home. Definitely not bad. The steamed dumplings are also not bad.
Barossa (HV)-$25 free flow of Archipelago beer. Why do more people not do this? The Limited (wheat) and the Czech lager were quite good and the Summer Ale was pretty refreshing. I postulated that we could do a free flow every day of the week if we so desired. All of our livers died a little bit.
Al-Hamra-overpriced Middle Eastern food in Holland Village. Nothing spectacular at all.
Overtime – for the same price as free flow at Barossa, I received one mediocre beer here. I must remember the name of this place so I never make the mistake of coming back.
Wala Wala-Shevy is definitely on fire. I am surprised I did not lose my voice with the cover band. Always a good time here.
On the cab ride home, one of my friends insists on practicing Singlish with the cabbie. I am not sure why we were not kicked out. After the friend gets out, the cabbie proceeds to show me pictures of him and his family all around the world (including in the US). He even had a picture with Lee Kuan Yew. Random.
North Korean BBQ-I finally sank my teeth into bibimbab. This is resolutely delicious! I heartily approve. Nothing bad ever comes from a claypot. The BBQ chicken is pretty phenomenal! I saw people doing bulgogi bacon . . . next time. The kimchi soup was not bad, but nothing special.
El Toro-Easily the best service in Singapore and on par with some of the best that I have had in the States. I wish they sold alcohol. They go for too much by trying to encompass so many Latin cuisines (including Spanish). They would be better served focusing their menu on one or two cuisines. The Mexican food was of high quality and tasty, but not at all authentic. Sadly, Senor Taco is still superior in this department.
Winebos freeflow-”bubbly” is an option, too
Geylang, Lor 9 – I need to come here more often! Bak kut the was rock solid! The skate was okay, but the flesh was a bit skimpy. The beef kway teow was epic. The noodles were soft, the beef was tender, and the sauce was delicious.
Wow, one French dude just slapped another one on the Clarke Quay bridge. “I challenge you to a duelle.”
Rupee Room-two hours of my life I will never get back. I hope I never get dragged here again.
Guang Dong Wanton Mee, Fried dumpling ramen-They had no beef brisket, as IeatIshootIpost suggested. That said, this ramen is rather tasty. The wantons were fried to perfectly crisp. I liked that this was not soupy at all.
Drinks & Desserts corner-I felt so bamboozled when I ordered the mango/longan dessert. It ended up being an overiced kacang, although the mango and longan bits were tasty
Lim Kee Banana Fritters-rajah pisang goreng for the win!
Asian Civilizations Museum-Free for local students!!! This is deceptively big and I had to sprint and still did not make it into all the galleries. I shall be back!
I am going on a week long vacation with only a backpack. This is even lighter packing than when I went to Oz/NZ.
Changi Airport, Texas Chicken-the tenders were tasty and the gravy was tasty.
Mama’s German Food-decent local food does not happen at 2 in the morning, so we are here.
The Island Hotel is a bit pricy and quite a walk from the more touristed bits of Kuta, but it is well worth it. Truly “boutique” for a hostel.
Our 6 hour stay in Bali comes to an end
“Do you only know how to say food words in Malay?”
Well, I know how to say taxi, too (teksi)
Mushroom? . . . Moo???
Passed out in a bungalow on the beach at the Beach Club (our hotel). Life is not shabby. The room is not too bad, either.
Pura Batu Bolong (Hindu temple on the ocean)-very high level of detail and well maintained. Not only is it gorgeous, but it was in a picturesque location. Why do statues all wear real sarongs in Indonesia?
We stumbled onto the locals beach. Everyone is so happy here. Lombok – “almost easy”. So true. Not anywhere near as depressing as Singapore.
We bought food from some local vendors. Tofu with sambal, grilled and marinaded corn, sate kambing, lontong (rice cooked in a banana leaf), whatever-it is all good! The sauce the corn was in was particularly awesome. I wish they sold that marinade in bottles
New Surya-crazy live music with locals. Very cool bartender. Lots of sketch working girls.
Papaya-birthday shots! . . . of Cuervo-doh!
Oxygen Bar-”strong” long island ice teas-I am well on my way . . .
Happy Cafe-bikini shot, flaming shot of terribleness
Random stall-super hospitable uncle with delicious food that I do not remember. Even though he said 24 hours, I am pretty sure we woke him up at 2 in the morning. My tapeworm and I are douchebags. I cannot believe he has a proper laminated menu sign in full English.
On the public boat out here, we met most of the hawkers and their wares (including raw fish). We ended up buying trinkets from some of them later in the trip.
This place is easily the most off-the-grid place I have been to. The horse-drawn tuk tuk was not as awesome as I thought it would be. I am okay with the prohibition of motorized vehicles.
Amber house-no fresh water, toilet paper, no problems. Amenities include 2 light bulbs, a fan, mosquito nets, and a squatter toilet. But the beachfront view . . . EPIC!!!
Ana Warung-not so sweet banana pancakes and tofu/tempeh curry. Tempeh is like the love child of tofu and rice-not too shabby.
Too bad there is no infrastructure here, as we destroyed quite a bit of coral to wade into the ocean to snorkel. As long as Meno remains an undeveloped paradise, the corals may be okay. So many beautiful fish and many sizes and shapes of coral. I dove right in with several schools and swam with them and they did not flinch. They were probably like, “eh, check out that retarded big fish.”
at 9pm this place is absolutely deserted
Bibi’s Cafe-ayam pelecing. Not bad-the sauce has a nice little kick to it. The chicken consisted of bones with plump pieces of meat, considering the chicken is not fed growth hormones or mechanically processed.
Contiki bar, mie goreng something or ‘nother-this was not bad. In Indonesia, they toss a fried egg on top. I am okay with this. More watermelon juice for the win!
While running back to the hotel to retrieve this phone, I see two cats mating. The female cat did not seem particularly thrilled about this. At least even the stray cats are pretty clean.
turtle sanctuary-we ran into the guy that works here at the internet cafe last night. He took us around some spectacular places to snorkel and we actually swam with some loggerheads.
Looked for surfing at low tide-terrible idea. After wandering for who knows how long, we gave up.
Scallywags-amazing “barbecue spread”. The cheese sandwich was just silly good. I got swordfish steak and an amazing free flow salad for the equivalent of 1.80USD more. I am the big winner, although the swordfish reminded me of the swordfish steak I had at Dino’s in DC. Dino’s version may be the best I ever have. The watermelon salad and banana tempura were also stellar.
The cats must be well-fed, as they thumb their nose at french fries. How did they get on the islands?
There are some seriously ginormous cockroaches here. Although some bugs have made me their b!tch, it is really not much worse than Singapore (which is not bad compared to its less developed neighbors).
Pondok Lita-nice place, convenient location, western toilet . . . but no fresh water. Dammit.
Dude-I see Big Dipper!
Surf Point Bar-It started with some really awesome music: David Guetta, Fragma, etc. They are on the beach and were doing a full moon party-it was straight out of a beer commercial with a bonfire, people dancing, fire show. Really amazing scene that just could not happen in the States. Even in the dark, Lombok looks epic in the distance. The music started getting poppy as the place started filling up. The scene started getting weird as local secondary school kids came out and (attempted to) dance around the bonfire. Very weird. . .
Arnott’s (maker of Tim Tams), cheese cookies – absolutely dreadful. I tossed these in the trash after half a cookie. Thank god for the Tim Tams. Choco strawberry for the win.
Although waking up at sunrise was pretty miserable, it was totally worth it. Watching the sun rise over the Lombok mountains was pretty spectacular.
Pretty unexpectedly awesome free breakfast at Pondok Lita-omelettes, fruit salad, pancakes. I support this.
We definitely experienced Trawangan in an untraditional way. Still, very cool. We did not think this through.
The process of getting a boat back to Ubud is an absolute pain. I am tired of all the haggling and middlemen BS. I miss being able to just compare prices online and click on the best one. The fact that the two hour ride initiates queesiness is not helpful.
Sweet sesame ball things from the random dude on the street. Somewhat sweet and not bad. Ondeh ondeh?
Warung Laba Laba-The cap cay was a pretty healthy alternative. The vegetables were crisp, but the portions of meat were scant. It was still pretty tasty. The strawberry mint shake was the bomb diggety.
There is lots of cool art and handicrafts here. Of course I bought a new bracelet.
Clear Cafe-hummus triple plate-the avocado/hummus, black bean, and red something or other were all good. The warm tortillas were a good accompaniment, but the blue cornmeal chips were disappointing. The cucumber infused water was refreshing. The strawberry almond cake tasted great, but I was not a fan of the frozen strawberry texture. I cannot believe they let me borrow a laptop and keep it until after the cafe closed and all the workers left. The funny thing is we were not the only customers left in there. This must be a super safe place.
Dewey Anwara-This hotel blows. How did we not initially notice how dingy it was and the lack of a bathroom sink? You get what you pay for.
16 June 2011
The hotel breakfast was not too shabby. Scrambled eggs and fruit are always a safe bet.
You have to love when an art gallery comes to you. Ida Bagus Svardana came to my doorstep with a portfolio of work. I ended up getting suckered into buying a battle scene between Rama and Ravayana (?) where a poor deer takes an arrow in the crossfire. I believe this is a scene from the Vedas. Ida also gave me a brief introduction into Balinese Hindu art. Considering I convinced him to sell at half of what he originally wanted, I am overall very happy.
Post-script: I should have paid half for this. It is hard to negotiate when you have no idea what something is worth. Plus, the house ALWAYS wins.
Cafe Lotus-ginger fizz: Sprite and ginger ale with a sprig of mint-I can dig it
bebek-The duck was a ton of work and took me forever to get through. I am not sure that it was honestly worth it. The leafy vegetable dish was delectable.
The main reason you come here is to sit by a stunning temple.
Blanco Museum – Michael Jackson is a fan of Antonio Blanco art. The sexually charged themes are in your face. Dude has skills with the brush, though. Very excellent garden with lots of large exotic birds. It is a serene getaway from the main drag.
Ubud Market-Rama and Sita. What an exciting maze of stuff! Why did the kimono lady see me and immediately go for the pink kimono? A little solo shopping spree may or may not have occurred. I did NOT buy anything from the penis carving store.
Ubud Palace-great exterior design, but nothing really to see. Is it closed?
Legong Trance and Paradise Dance (by Sekehe Gong Panca Artha)-getting my culture on.
Casa Luna-Indonesian laksa: This is very Thai (and mild) in flavor. It is very solid.
arak attack-I am thinking that nothing with arak in it will ever make it into my daily repertoire. I can see this stuff causing blindness. We shall leave this to the locals.
Returning to Sucik’s House (Bangkiam Sidem, right before the hill with the big goose out front) was a disaster. It does not show up on Google Maps and a review online with a map was absolutely wrong. It does not help that transport in Ubud consists of self-powered options or paying a local resident to take you around. The latter is terrible because the locals (much like elsewhere in Asia) have never ventured off the block they were conceived. At least I did not pass out in the rice paddies.
Despite, the out-of-the way location, the place is pretty spectacular. The couple that runs it is incredibly hospitable.
Bali bicycle eco-tour
Mama Africa-NUS cheap drinks
66- righthander, high tide
Ceking Rice Terrace-so much brilliant green!
There was a Jakartan Muslim couple exploring Hindu culture. Why we travel moment: We later asked the Jakartan couple how much we should tip the tour guide. They reminded us that it was different for local versus Western travellers. I forget that this is a very expensive trip for them.
Puncak Sari restaurant on Gunung Batuk-Black Rice pudding with sticky rice, banana pancakes, fried rice
Batuk actually had fresh lava on it. Nothing here was eye-poppingly good here except for the view.
Grand Bas-Coffee plantation-celebrity/poop coffee
ginger, cacao, mangosteen, cardamon, coffee (balinese, arabica, robusta), green snake, snakeskin fruit, coconut, turmeric, galangal (for sambal), cinnamon, gold crown fruit, jack fruit, papaya
cevit: luwak-coffee bean pooper. Poop hunters – people who look for cevit poop
Ginseng coffee is quite sweet.
The local tobacco is quite smooth-no awful tar
Betel leaf and nut-narcotic (halal?)
I think I disrespected their holy temple. Crap . . .
500 year old banyan tree
these Indonesians sure love burning stuff!
“You look like us.” So many times. When I tell them that I am at NUS, I get this look that says “you made it!” I have never been welcomed as one of their own before.
Dreamland, south of Seminyak, is supposed to have great surf/breaks.
I feel terrible for the kampung children begging for school supplies. I did not have so much as a pen to give.
Uma Kuta Village feast. Wow, I mean WOW! The bebek here was much easier to deal with than Lotus-much fewer bones and skin and more tender flesh. The tofu and noodle/vegetable combo were also solid. I am stuffed. Game. Set. Match.
Bali Eco Cycling is a win. The optional uphill bit was murder, but I am glad I chose to do it.
Carnegie’s Bar in Singapore
Pejangaji-noon, cremation, must have Balinese clothes
085237121291 (weda’s cousin, wera)
Our hotel overlooks Gunung Lebah.
I have absolutely no business eating again, but here I am at Naughty Nuri’s. When Anthony Bourdain said their martini is the best he has had outside of New York, I was stunned to find such a low brow watering hole (in the world’s largest Muslim country, no less). That man is my idol. Not only can I see where he is coming from on the gin martini, I would say their ribs might be the best I have had outdise of Memphis, TN (did I mention I was in a Muslim country?). The meat was so tender, I could have eaten it with a disposable spork. If you are an unapolegetic carnivore, you owe it to yourself to come here. I might be ready to die now. Interstate BBQ, you are on notice. (I am not going to lie, though. That was mighty pricy for a developing nation: 213K IDR.) I am a happy camper, nonetheless!
My driver is half German and does not have a license. I am instructed to tell polisi that he is my uncle if we get pulled over. Oh boy . . .
“Chinese package tourists (which is in fact all Chinese tourists) are like ducks. Wherever one goes, the rest follow.”
Made Kolu Surfing on 66 Beach-this beach is not anywhere as nice as the beaches in Lombok, but the surf is not bad. Surfing here was way easier than navigating the choppy waters caused by Hurricane Katrina. Snowboarding skills helped a little for carving (do you say that for surfing?) and balance.
I came to the realization that I in fact was redoing a college lifestyle. I never could afford to get into backpacking and did not want the added debt, so I am doing it now. At 29, I went camping for the first time. At the ripe age of 30 I went scuba diving for the first time. There are still so many firsts to knock out and the bucket list only gets longer.
Carliz Art & Cafe, chicken soup-like Campbell’s with fresh ingredients
Ku De Ta-fundraiser with a band. I wonder how it normally is. Seems like a chill ambience.
Kokoya-curry chicken udon. It is open and it accepts credit card. Good enough.
Despasar Airport, Cafe, chicken sandwich-I believe that we have differing views on what passes as chicken.
CNN with some hard-hitting news on Casey Anthony. My mind feels so nourished right now. (This is why 24 hour news is terrible.)
This is the second time I have made it through a country after stretching every last dollar without having access to cash. Whew!
Cugini-they definitely love turquoise here!
Bruschetta – very tasty starter
Lobster risotto – not bad, but it seemed some of the textures were to firm for my taste. I am by no means a risotto lover.
Lamb ravioli – after growing up on Chef Boyardee, I always love freshly made ravioli. The sauce was superb!