Sunday, July 6

Penang Street Eats


I spent four days and most of the waking hours during this visit, eating my way though this island, famed for its chilled out lifestyle and the most incredible street eats.

What is hidden beneath all that fresh lettuce is a very tasty pot of ba kut teh, a pork rib dish cooked in a fabulous herbal soup. Unlike the versions served in Singapore which are clear and peppery, the Malaysian style uses a dark soup base and is chocked full of herbs. Yums!

There is no such thing as "bad food" in Penang. Even the most ubiquitous looking stalls serve the most amazing meals. We stopped by this food centre on Ferringhi Beach and found the most amazing prawn noodle soup, fishball noodles and Penang style fried kway teow (flat rice noodles stir fried with sprouts and seafood).

I am not a fan of lor mee - noodles served with a dark sticky sauce and eaten with a dash of vinegar, fresh garlic and chilli paste, but a taste of this dish at a roadside stall (where else?!) made me a convert.

We had what the locals called Hokkien char - thick noodles stir fried with a sweet dark sauce with veggies and seafood. It was pretty fragrant, and tastes even better with sambal blachan (a spicy chilli dip).

We stopped by this roadside stall that serves fresh coconut - of the drink variety - the coconut is just cut up with a very deft hand and parang; and sea coconut - which you carve out with your fingers!

A drink that I was just introduced to - a pickled nutmeg juice. Part sour, part sweet, but altogether great for that hot afternoon. Aha! The Penang version of chee cheong fun (steamed rice sheets) is served with a prawn paste sauce unlike the sweet sauce in Singapore. It's somewhat of an acquired taste. The savoury flavours work pretty well with the silky soft rice rolls.
A fresh skin popiah (roll stuffed with stewed turnip and flavoured with sweet sauce, chilli and garlic), only the Penang version is eaten quite damp, with a little soup at the bottom of the dish.
The most refreshing ice kachang - shaved ice coloured by a variety of syrups (including sarsi!) and the freshest of corn, with many other hidden delights under the ice. Delish!
As you can tell, this is an extremely late post since I had lo hei (Chinese salad tossed with raw fish), which is typically served over Chinese New Year. And in true Singaporean fashion, I had to combine it with nothing less than a chilli crab dish, of course!
Nasi Lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk) often served with fried ikan billis (anchovies), a fried egg and sambal blacan (a chilli dip). Fab meal for breakfast or lunch (and some say dinner!)

Siem Reap Eats

Though not a regular visitor to Cambodia, the very mild and delicate flavours of Cambodian dishes have left quite an impression on me. Being in the Indochina region, the dishes shares traits of Thai and Vietnamese cooking though in a very different way. The spices used are generally very delicate, and layed in flavours. Also, the curries tend to be milder and have a hint of sweetness in them. Lemongrass is predominant in most dishes. Here are some of my favourites ones.Noodles in a light broth.

The signature fish curry.

Chicken salad.

Bagels and Cream Cheese, NYC

One of my favourite ways to start the day in the Big Apple. Preferably toasted!

Lombardi’s, NYC

32 Spring Street, Manhattan

A SOHO institution I was told. Yummy slices of thin crust pizza just the way I like it. I am starting to get the impression that in NY, you simply have to queue for a good meal.

Burgers, NYC


Le Parker Meridien
118W 57th Street

We spotted this burger joint tucked in a corner, hidden behind thick velvety curtains. But that which was unveiled was an absolute dive, complete with a “please order only from the items written on the board” and grab your own seat policy. The burgers were juicy though the fries were a tad ordinary. But it was delicious and very affordable for NY nonetheless.

Be prepared to stand in line for your lunch.

Norma’s, NYC


Le Parker Meridien
118W 57th Street

I had two very memorable brunches here. It’s not easy to get a seat and they don’t take reservations. The average wait is about an hour for the table but it’s well worth the wait.

Breakfast favorites are given a way delicious twist, just like the blueberry pancakes flooded with the freshest of blueberry sauces (homemade no less), enchiladas filled with piquant egg and mince mix with spicy salsa… The experience is made all the more enjoyable with its little treat before the dishes arrive of a mixed fruit shot and that never ending glass of fresh squeeze oj. I can have breakfast here, everyday.