Monday, December 15, 2014

Taco Bell's Steak Quesarito

I'm just about finished processing my recent three months in India and let me tell you – things are crazy out there. When I left the country in late August I was pretty ready to return to the West and we'd all be joking if we pretended that I was more excited about eating anything on my return than I was about Taco Bell. I'd actually been separated from the sweet, sweet Mexi-junkfood for 17 months since I was in Australia for a year before India and that isolated country has yet to be enlightened. Seriously, I had dreams about nacho cheese while I was gone. It's finally time to get acquainted with all of the exciting new menu items I've been missing over the last year and a half. I.e., an entire breakfast menu. I started with the highly anticipated quesarito. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hawker Centers and Chilli Crab in Singapore

Singapore's hawker centers are possibly the best thing to happen to the urban island nation. The country is remarkably expensive in comparison to its neighbors in the region and the culinary response to that is the hawker center, a place where local people can go for a cheap meal – those who can't afford the city's Western chains, those who value the tradition behind this communal cafeteria style of eating, the elderly, students and everyone in between can be found queuing patiently (and sometimes not so patiently, cutting is always a threat) at small stalls that are almost all famous for one thing or another. Because we wanted the city's best food and because we were being cheap, hawker centers are where Charlie and I found ourselves eating again and again in Singapore. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tim Ho Wan: A Safe Place for Food Nerds

Skipping Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong is one of my biggest regrets in life along with overfeeding my childhood cat to the point of diabetes (#YOLO, life's too short, RIP Curtis) and being too lazy to become a marine biologist. When I was there on my way to Australia in April 2013, I should have bit the bullet and made Charlie get out of bed early enough to line up outside the Mongkok location hours before it opened so that I could experience the world's least-expensive Michelin-starred restaurant for myself, but I didn't. I gave into jet-lag and a lazy boyfriend. I clearly didn't want it enough, so I'm not sure how or why I got so lucky as to have one more chance to eat the famous dim sum when I got to Singapore almost a year later. Tim Ho Wan now has four Singapore locations. Obv wasn't going to pass it up again, line or no line.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Georgetown is Malaysia's Grazing Ground

My arrival in Georgetown is about when I realized that I'd temporarily lost the will to spend hours pouring over the Internet to research where exactly the best rendition of every dish is served in the city before walking for miles in the heat/trying to explain destinations to tuk tuk/cab/bus drivers to get there. And that's crazy because Georgetown is one of the best little places in Southeast Asia for eaters. Malay cuisine is a mix of Indian, Chinese and traditional Peranakan dishes and flavours, and the small city of Georgetown is known for both its street hawker stalls and restaurants that dish up every Malaysian meal you could ask for. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

La Pasta World: Impressive Italian in India

Going to make a bold statement: on two recent (yes, consecutive) evenings spent at La Pasta World in Pondicherry, India, the tiny restaurant's open kitchen churned out some of the best pasta I've ever had. I've been to Italy, I live in New York and I love me some pasta – clearly I'm the most qualified pasta judge in all the land. La Pasta World is magic. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Almost Certainly Singapore's Best Wurst

**DISCLAIMER: Just because I'm writing about German food during the USA v Germany World Cup game doesn't mean my soccer allegiances are towards my semi-European heritage. I do love a good German meal, though.

Charlie had some serious food poisoning in Malaysia and by the time we left Malaka for Singapore, we were ready for some Western food. But by Western food, I don't mean the awful pizza and pasta you can get in any tourist destination in the region. I mean sausages. German ones. Ironically located in one of Singapore's iconic hawker centers where almost 100% of stalls sling Asian food, Erich's Wuerstelstand provides just that: German classics as offered by the country's next-door neighbor, Austria. Erich's premise may seem out of place, but he's actually got a real corner on the market considering his claim that his is the last sausage kiosk before the equator. That's hard to contest.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bali's Famous Babi Guling

India has changed my relationship with food. While in Bali about two months ago I was prepared and pumped to search for good local dishes like babi guling, now I kind of just dread meal time because I know that after one bite I'll be full and kind of want to vom, then for the next few hours I'll have indigestion. It's a good time here in India, you should all try it! I mean, of course there have been some really nice things to eat, but right about now my cravings are only for things like a McDonalds hamburger (no beef in India, though) and, like, that chili/cream cheese/cheddar dip that your mom serves with tortilla chips. SO that's where we stand currently. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tek Sen Restaurant: Great Chinese in Penang

George Town is about eating, so if you happen to wander past Tek Sen and see that they have an empty table, don't even consider whether you're hungry or not. Just sit down. It's for the best. We did so during lunch time when we were in Malaysia last month and although other customers protested that we didn't have a reservation, we were whisked to a metal table in the back of the restaurant and given menus. If Tek Sen is open, it's busy.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Backpacking Komodo by Boat

Komodo dragons are creatures that you see in zoos but don't really think about where they're from. Well, Komodo, of course, but that could be anywhere. To me, at least. I was probably alone in my ignorance of where Komodo actually is in the world, but until I started researching possible stops in Indonesia, it didn't all come together for me. But then, when it did and I heard tales of a four day boat trip to these mystical islands teeming with giant lizards and manta rays, I instantly knew we needed to go. I needed to convince Charlie, though, because all he could visualize was a sinking boat (his vision was backed up by articles from a recent incident, but we ultimately managed to look forward instead of to the past. It helped that our boat stayed within sight of land for the whole trip. And that our crew was superstitious).

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Malaysia's Ramly Burgers are Life Changing

Ramly burgers have changed my life (and my waistline, but let's focus on life, k?). People would probably generally tell you to focus on the diverse Chinese, Indian and Malay food in Malaysia, but I'm here to tell you to focus on burgers. Ramly burgers. Focus on at least one Ramly burger in each city you go to and then decide if you should refocus on other versions of Ramly burgers in those same cities. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Two Street-Seafood Stops in Chinatown, Bangkok

An obvious theme in Asia is the ability to eat cheap to reasonably priced seafood on the streets. We did it in Hong Kong and in Chiang Mai, and now in Bangkok. If you Google Bangkok's Chinatown and dig in to the results a bit you're bound to read about Nai Mong Hoi Thod and Lek & Rut. These two stands are just around the corner from each other in the area around busy Yaowarat Road and make a great, mini Chinatown food crawl.

Friday, March 28, 2014

$4 Fish in Chiang Mai: Lert Ros

During a two-day stay in Chiang Mai, we visited Lert Ros for dinner twice. That's how good this Isaan-style restaurant is. Lert Ros' main attraction is red tilapia that's grilled right on the street. They kind of heckle you a little when you approach which is annoying but typical, but atypical is that at this place they're actually heckling you to do something that's in your best interest. Because their bbq fish is bangin'.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bangkok's "Best" Pad Thai

It's on the street, of course, but I put "best" in quotes because I'm really just trusting that superlative from other sources.  When I was in Bangkok for the first time three years ago I was a little hesitant to dig in to street food, and this time I've only been here for one day so far (don't worry – I'm hitting the streets hard). But word on the street is that Lueng Pha Phad Thai dishes up the real thing. I took a 20 minute tuk-tuk ride past smashed, overturned mini-busses to find out.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Feast at Hellenic Republic

The other night Charlie and I went to Hellenic Republic with Brad and Katie and were served by Eric Northman, a handsome vampire with a somewhat unpredictable, yet lovable, temperament and a history of memory loss. Luckily our waiter (Alex, in real life) did not have memory loss. He did look a hell of a lot like Eric Northman, though. Like, imagine if Eric Northman was bringing you course after course of delicious greek food –  pretty sure this is what dreams are made of.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Miso Udon with Pipi Clams, Wakame and Mushrooms

I was really craving clams (weirdo) and had a ton of miso left over from that time when I went healthy for a week after visiting a health retreat and made miso tempeh rice balls, so the natural answer was miso soup with clams, which, apparently, is a thing. A very pretty thing.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Brutale Can Cook

Only vommed once on the day after my birthday this year and that's great because it meant that I was totally in the clear and ready to consume more than just Annie's mac and cheese by the time dinner time came around. I feel like I'm really growing up. I even felt well enough to drink some wine with my cheese before we went to dinner, but don't do that, because Brutale is a Croatian/Eastern European restaurant that lets you order a ton of food and then doesn't let you bring leftovers home.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Good Value: Dolan Uyghur Food Heaven

It was a few weeks ago during Chinese New Year that we tried Dolan Uyghur (wee-gur) Food Heaven, after a friend attested it was cheap, unusual and delicioussomething different than the the typical Chinese restaurants that inhabit the area of Melb's CBD. Today the Uyghurs have communities across central Asia and China but apparently they used to mainly hang around near present-day Mongolia and they draw ancestry from both Europe and East Asia. Makes sense, then, that Uyghur cuisine draws influence from both China and the Middle East. I'd never heard of the Uyghur people before I discovered their food but my main point is that if you're looking for lamb, homemade noodles, some heat and full flavor, Dolan Uyghur on Little Lonsdale can be your main squeeze.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Mr. Earl is Fun

That Mr. Earl contacted me to try their monthly tea delivery service directly after I purchased a very exciting manatee tea strainer (mana-tea) for Charlie for Christmas may just have been a small miracle and major photographic fate: tea to use in Charlie's Floridian strainer, and an excuse to show off said strainer. Bingo. That my sample January box arrived in the middle of a four-day 111F/44C (gotta keep both camps happy) heatwave was not a miracle. I wanted to die; hot tea was not a priority. Just thinking about tea made me melt. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pizza, Beer and a Movie at the Abbotsford Convent

My sister and I grew up to the soundtrack from The Big Chill, so when I saw it was playing at the Shadow Electric while she was visiting, I booked tickets immediately. I'd heard really nice things about the Abbotsford Convent, now an art and community space where the outdoor cinema is held, so I was pretty psyched by the time our evening rolled around. We headed up to the area early to grab food from the trucks that convene inside the convent walls–the movie was set to start at sundown. Little did we know that those savvy to the scene stake out their cinema seats early by planting blankets and sweaters before going back out for dinner. Cheeky.

Monday, January 6, 2014

My Personal Paradise: Bowery to Williamsburg

I'm not saying I'm happy that Bowery to Williamsburg's sister restaurant, Hardware Societe, recently sustained damage in a fire. Nothing fun about fire. But, in a way, I kind of am saying that*, because the closure of HS has led the cafe's owners to open their homage to NYC on the weekends. That means that I finally had a chance to visit and shove my face with blog-worthy bagels. 

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