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Lake Toya, Japan

Spot of Tranquility.

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Little India, Singapore

Spices, gold and splashes of colour!

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Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay

Garden City, City in a Garden.

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Bryce Canyon, USA

Thor's Hammer

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Chocolate Test, Singapore

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." -Charles M Schulz

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May's Fusion and Cuisine (Boston)

I went there all the way to try the food, after it got highly rated on a blog that I read. And it wasn't disappointing at all.

It's a little out of the way, although if you happen to be in the Grigg T station area, just drop by this place! I'd prefer to walk here when it's still bright though, somehow the location doesn't feel too safe.

I was the only customer when i went there on a weekday for dinner. The owner was playing with her niece. I asked her to recommend the best choice amongst three dishes. She immediately answered the udon with chicken, calamari and shrimp. I'm not sure whether if that's because it was the most expensive amongst the three choices, or whether because she genuinely thought so.

The udon came with three giant shrimps and they were very fresh. The soup base was also piping hot and healthy- no floating oil around. Just a refreshing taste. However, the good stuff stops there. The chicken and the calamari are nearly non-existent. I had to fish around, before I managed to find two pieces of calamari.

The dish sure tastes good, but for this price and the amount of ingredients I was given, I'm not sure whether it was only this dish that quality ingredients was skimped on.

Worth a try, because the food is good. Not sure whether the skimping on ingredients is across the board though!

Rating: 3.9/5

May's Fusion and Cuisine
95 Glenville Ave
Allston, MA 02134

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hei La Moon (Boston)

This is actually my favourite dim sum place in Boston, although it's still nothing compared to REAL dimsum in other countries. But, make do with it, it's by far the BEST in boston.

The interior looks just like a chinese banquet restaurant- big, spacious and red. There are waitresses who are wheeling the carts around for you to pick your dimsum. I have gone there five times. Sometimes, I get disappointed because they don't have my favourite egg tarts. Do not go too late, (i.e. 2 pm) because the dimsum starts to dwindle and you might not be able to get all the good stuff.

So the stuff I always order include the siew mai, har gow (shrimp dumpling), char siew sou (bbq pork rolls), porridge with century egg, egg tarts (if they even have it), glutinous rice wrapped in leaf, and black bean pork. The ingredients are usually fresh!

The more adventurous can try the chicken feet.

I don't really fancy their soy beancurd, nor their mango puddings. So this probably isn't a place i would go for dessert!

For the price, this place is also great value. Gather a large group of friends, and you will see how much fun you can have, when paying so little money!

Rating: 3.8/5

Hei La Moon
88 Beach St
Boston, MA 02111

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jojo Taipei (Boston)

Jojo Taipei is a place in Boston you should totally go if you are craving for Taiwanese food or more generally, Chinese food. I had been there twice and both times, the meals were really comforting, as though transporting you miles home. 

The first time, we ordered Spicy Smelly Tofu Hotpot ($10.99). According to my friend from China, it's still not that smelly, until we tried those from Hunan in China. I'm not a fan of smelly tofu, but the spiciness of the broth managed to tone down the smelliness of the tofu.

And then there was the Sauteed String Beans ($8.99), which was pricey considering that it's just vegetables, but yummy nonetheless.

Everybody loved the Three Cups Chicken ($10.99) as well as the 小龙汤包 ($6.99).

However, views were divergent about the salted crispy pork ribs. While I loved eating the salty crispy stuff surrounding the pork ribs, my friends didn't like it at all.

Even for a person who doesn't eat scallions, I actually loved the Scallion Pancake ($3.99) because it was crispy on the outside and chewy in the outside. (Of course, after removing all the unfriendly green things in it.)

It's good to go in a big group, so that the costs can be shared out to try a little of each dish! It's not cheap, but definitely worth a try!

Jo Jo Taipei
103 Brighton Ave
Allston, MA 02134
Tel No: 617 254 8889 

Chef Chow's House (Boston)

I came to this place three times. my first opinion of it was, wow what good food! But the second time, it was like, hmm not bad. The third time, i was rather disappointed with the lunchtime special. I suppose it has to do with the price differentials. Lunch time special is a lot cheaper compared to dinner.

I think the quality of the food fluctuates a lot, depending on what you order. For example, the mandarin crispy shrimps were really good, but the sweet and sour chicken wasn't that good. I would rather they used the sauce for the shrimps, for the chicken as well.

The lunchtime specials are also nothing to rave about. we ordered a chicken and cashew nuts and shrimp with assorted vegetables. They were nothing compared to the dinner options, although I won't say that they tasted bad.

the soups (hot drop) and appetizers (crab rangoon) were not bad though.

for this value (approximately $7 before taxes and tips) it's rather worth it.

Rating: 3.5/5

Chef Chow's House
230 Harvard St
Brookline, MA 02446

King's Noodle (Toronto)

I came here at 2.30 pm after several recommendations. I saw the dough fritters at the front of the store and decided to get one. Besides that, I also ordered the bbq pork noodle (char siew noodle).

The dough fritters were horrible: oil was oozing out of it and it was not crispy at all. it was so bad, i left half the plate alone.

the bbq pork noodle was much better. the meat was just right- not too tough, with some fats but not fatty. the broth was also light, and not oily.

but i had a problem with the service in this restaurant. one particular waitress was really rude. so one of the waitresses placed a tray of three bowls of bbq pork noodle on the table, then rested her arms on the table. i assumed that she wanted me to take it, cos she wasn't taking any action. turns out that she was resting, and pushed my hands away when i tried to take a bowl. seriously??

but for the food, fine!

Rating: 3.8/5

King's Noodle
296 Spadina Ave
Toronto, ON M5T 2E7

Fugakyu (Boston)

Fugakyu is known for its expensive food. However, few know that they have a great set lunch to offer! They are both delicious and cheap, such that i've gone there 6 times. It's just $10 (excluding taxes and tips) for lunchtime!

My favourite order is the lunchtime special of tempura udon. The tempura is deep fried to just the right amount, not like some places where the tempura becomes a dark orange, instead of a light yellow. Therefore, there is no bitter charred taste, instead the batter's just fluffy and crispy. The only issue is that everytime I order spicy soup, it just isn't spicy.

I also like the decor of the place, and how there are private rooms with tatamis. Everything is really elaborate, even the way they cut the oranges is an art on its own.

Rating: 4.2/5

1280 Beacon St
Brookline, MA 02446

Gourmet Dumpling House (Boston)

everything we ordered here was great, minus the kungpao chicken. it was very not authentic, with celery bits in it. everybody hated it. who has ever seen a kungpao chicken with celery bits in it?

nonetheless, the 水煮鱼(fish)! in general, the portions are really huge, so it's ideal to share the food. everyone especially loved the 水煮鱼- there was plenty of fresh fish in that spicy broth!

the mapo tofu was not bad, but nothing really out of the ordinary.

the eggplant was a little spicy, and it's appetising. But there is a mountain of eggplant, and it took a large struggle for 4 of us to finish it.

there's always a queue no matter what time you go, so if possible, make a reservation!

Rating: 4/5

Gourmet Dumpling House
52 Beach St
Boston, MA 02111

Messini Authentic Gyros (Toronto)

Disclaimer: This is the first time I'm trying Greek food. Therefore, i don't know how AUTHENTIC greek food tastes like. Nonetheless, i loved what i ate today!

The service was bad. It took five minutes before somebody bothered looking in my direction, and it was finally then that I could ask for a menu. I would have expected that the menu would come once I was seated. But from a fastfood style restaurant, I supposed I shouldn't have expected too much anyway.

That aside, I ordered the chicken pita gyros. The meat was done just right, not too dry. I also loved how the tzatziki complemented the meat well. And surprisingly, the fries were a welcome addition as well! The potato taste added to the richness of the gyros. Just that, six hours after eating that and after brushing my teeth, the taste still lingers.

In total, I paid $6 including taxes and tips- a real deal!

Rating: 3.8/5

Messini Authentic Gyros
445 Danforth Ave
Toronto, ON M4K 1P1

Hodo Kwaja (Toronto)

I've heard great reviews about the walnut cakes, but seeing is believing, or rather tasting is believing!
ordered 6 walnut cakes (that's the minimum number) for $2. I sat down there, and slowly enjoyed six pieces all by myself, while looking at the guy at the counter make these wonderful tasting walnut cakes.

I ordered the red beans one- the red bean was not too sweet, and the outer "shell" was done at just the right consistency. it was served warm. it was in a walnut shape, plus there were some subtle additions of walnuts in the walnut cake.

mmm, delicious!

Rating: 4.5/5

Hodo Kwaja
656 Bloor St W
Toronto, ON M6G 1K9

Shanghai Gate (Boston)

i went to this place with a couple of friends because another friend was totally raving about it.

well, i judge a place based on how good it's dough fritters (youtiao) are. i absolutely love the dough fritters here. they are just like what i ate at home, and are not exceedingly oily, like many i have eaten in boston. furthermore, it doesn't have that weird taste that many dimsum shops have.

i have gone there twice. the first time, we ordered xiaolongbao, wonton, mapo tofu, sliced ginger fish and paradise chicken. note: i don't like ginger, but i loved the sliced ginger fish! everything else was also very tasty! the xiaolongbaos were the highlight of the day- my japanese friends totally lost it after taking a bite of it. it's a popular dish that's very often ordered in the restaurant.

the paradise chicken was also a hit because anything deep fried tastes nice right? i'd think an overdose of deep fried chicken can be rather scary though!

the wontons were ordered were good as well!

the second experience, while still good, was not as good as the first. perhaps because there was only two of us, and we couldn't order as much as we would have liked to. the fish tofu had very little slices of fish. as for the crispy tofu, i didn't really like the pink sauce that accompanied it.

tip: pay in cash if you don't want to pay 10% more!

Rating: 4/5

Shanghai Gate
204 Harvard Avenue
Boston, MA 02134-4619

the first entry

so... i decided to set up a new blog because I was writing many reviews, and decided to consolidate it at the same place! this blog will be nothing personal, just reviews about food, books, movies, exhibitions, etc! at the same time, if I manage to carry on with my cooking experiments, i'll post good recipes up here too!