Monthly Archives: June 2012

Oodles of Noodles!

Brunch @ Gerai Seria, Brunei

Ko Lo Mee, Char Kuay Tiao, Chinese rice dumplings and traditional Malay cakes such as sari muka were part of my Sunday staples when I was a growing child and teenager. Unfortunately, the pursuit of higher education abroad has interrupted this weekly tradition but seeing as it is summer and I am back in my favourite island, it is time to revive this tradition again.

Gerai Seria (Seria food court) is the home to many of the town’s best dishes and deals which makes it a popular food destination in the vicinity. I was still in the process of re-familiarizing myself to the lower cost of living in Brunei when I went to Gerai Seria so I could not refrain from expressing my surprise at how cheap food is over here. Wan Tan Ko Lo Mee that would probably sell for at least USD 6 in the States for only BND 1.80? Unbelievably awesome. Hello cheap and delicious Asian food, get ready to be devoured.

Tea Time

No scones or biscuits for afternoon tea. Satu roti telur please 🙂

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I miss everything about this Indian pancake — its soft and chewy texture, its tissue-like layers, and the egg sandwiched in the middle. No doubt that I will be hunting for more of this outside of WYWY. Perhaps House of Curry in Lambak as my next roti stop?

Love for Laksa

328 Katong Laksa @ Changi International Airport

I have gotten too used to expecting food with rip-off prices in airports, thanks to the likes of SFO and Heathrow. At SGD $7, this Katong Laksa is a relatively good deal for ‘airport’ food that is not fast food.

This laksa was joy in a bowl to me; the noodles were nice and thick and there was a decent amount of seafood, although I have to admit that the cockles were too fishy for my liking. However, the best part was the soup and its coconut milk goodiness. Perfect way to conclude my four day layover in Singapore!

Dim Sum

Dim Sum @ Wah Lok Restaurant, Singapore

The bo lo bao is exceptionally delightful and is my favourite dish from that meal. The bun and the sweet BBQ pork filling are just perfect.

I also love  their har gao (shrimp dumpling). It is always so hard for me to find har gao with the right skin thickness and with fresh shrimp that does not fall out when I try to eat it. Wah Lok’s har gao simply hits the spot.

My family and I ordered a whole bunch of other dishes too but the bo lo bao and har gao were my favourites. Overall a great dim sum experience. It will be a long time until I get to eat dim sum this good.

Seafood in Singapore

Seafood @ No Signboard, Singapore

Finally tried Singapore’s signature chilli crab!

Macaron Madness

Tea-infused flavours like Earl Grey Fortune & Chocolate, Napoleon Tea & Caramel, and  Camelot Tea & Praline. Soft and delicate almond biscuits with super smooth ganaches in the middle. Now, these are what I call good macarons. I have been spoilt by macarons from Pierre Herme and TWG. I do not think I can go back to eating macarons from Masse’s ever again.

Takoyaki

Takoyaki @ Tsukiji Gindaco, ION Orchard

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The sauce and shaved bonito on top of the takoyaki tastes as good as it looks.

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My picture does not do the takoyaki justice but the octopus and the warm molten filling are so savoury and good. This was my third time eating takoyaki and they are the best I have had by far. I guess third time’s the charm!

For Meat Lovers

Smokey J’s BBQ @ Shattuck Ave near Ashby, Berkeley

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Baby back ribs were so savoury and tender — it nearly felt as if the ribs were melting in my mouth. The beef brisket was pretty good too and the corn bread? Well, so soft and sweet that I could eat four of those.

The ultimate treat for meat lovers who don’t wanna blow too much cash.

Banana Leaf

Banana Leaf at Milpitas, CA

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Recently, I was told about a restaurant named Banana Leaf that had pretty good meat skewers and some sort of Indian roti and curry sauce. It immediately hit me that this place is probably some Malaysian or Singaporean restaurant. Although I cannot quite put my finger on it, Banana Leaf simply stood out to me as a name that only a Southeast Asian restaurant would go for. Also, the description of the meat skewers and the roti from my friend sounded a lot like the satays and roti prata that are so common where I am from.

Roti prata, to those who are not acquainted with this appetizer, is a type of Indian pancake typically served with curry sauce. The roti prata, which I did not take a picture of because I ate it so quickly, was pretty good.

I also ordered Hainan chicken rice but was greatly disappointed. The presentation of the chicken rice was great but the rice that was coloured yellow did not make up for its lack of flavour. The chicken was also not as tender and flavourful as it should be. It was in fact the worst and least flavourful Hainan chicken rice I have ever had. It paled in comparison  to the one I had in Savoy Kitchen when I was in Alhambra, CA.

The Wa Tan Ho (which was spelled ‘Huat Tan Ho’ on the menu), on the other hand, was great and tasted like the ones that I had in Asia. The restaurant did this dish justice and I had no regrets ordering it.

Banana Leaf, which has been described by some as one of the best restaurants in Milpitas, will not fail to impress if you are new to Malaysian cuisine. The roti prata and satay will blow you away. If you are a fellow Malaysian or Singaporean looking for some decent Hainan chicken rice, this is the wrong place to go but their roti prata can probably satisfy you if you have cravings for it.

Brenda’s French Soul Food

With too much time to spare and a desire to pick up from where I left off at Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen, I made a trip to San Francisco for brunch to delve deeper into the world of Southern cuisine. Brenda’s French Soul Food has been acknowledged as one of the best brunch spots in San Francisco by many fellow Yelpers and SF Weekly (if you consider those credible sources) so I came in with pretty high expectations. My friends and I made our orders based on online recommendations and ended up ordering their refillable watermelon tea, crawfish beignets, grillades & grits, hash on the side and catfish po’ boy.

Sweet Watermelon House Tea: This tea is extremely refreshing, which is what you would expect from a beverage derived from watermelons. I like the watermelon pulp in the tea and the lightness of the drink as a whole — I could still drink a lot of this after I was done with my meal without feeling any more bloated. It is also not too sweet which makes it a great thirst quencher.

Crawfish Beignets: I was excited to try Louisiana’s official state doughnut for the first time in my life. Beignets are usually served sweet as desserts but I decided to go for Brenda’s famous savoury beignets.

Warm cheese, crawfish and scallions oozed out of the heavily peppered beignet. I wish the stuffing to dough ratio was greater though because the filling was the best part of the beignet and the dense dough stuffed me up pretty quickly. That aside, the crawfish beignets are pretty good stuff.

Grillades & Grit: 

“Anything I could do? I could make a tea, or is that not American enough? How about some grits? What are grits anyway?”                                                                  –  Doctor Who to the American President

Exactly my thoughts. Yelpers say them grits are the bomb but this corn slash cheese porridge left me very confused. I think I will stick to rice and oatmeal porridges.

On the bright side, the spicy creole gravy that came with the beef was tasty and I love the soft and crumbly biscuit. Definitely go for the biscuit if given a choice between the biscuit and toast of your choice.

 Hash: Pretty good.

Catfish Po’ Boy: Customers get to choose between cornmeal-fried shrimp, oyster and catfish. At $9.75, this Louisiana sandwich is hardly a poor boy’s meal as its name may imply but it sure is worth every penny. The fried catfish was so delicate and flaky on the inside and the chipotle remoulade complemented the catfish very well and beats traditional tartar sauce any day. This lunch  sandwich is by far my favourite at Brenda’s!

My friend mentioned that the fish fillet sandwich at Bette’s Oceanview Diner in Berkeley is comparable to this po’ boy so it looks like I’ll be going back to Bette’s for their sandwich, and perhaps their souffle pancakes too if I have a sweet tooth that day and feel like splurging.

On my way in and out of the restaurant, I could not help but eye other customers’ meals. The brunch and lunch menu at Brenda’s looks amazing and there are at least six other items that I would try. This place is definitely worth stopping by if you happen to be within the vicinity of Civic Centre, SF, or if you are on a food adventure and are willing to do a little bit of travelling to try out some pretty great Southern food.