Planning a lazy afternoon just relaxing or meeting up with friends? What better place than the Brasserie Les Saveurs on the ground floor of St. Regis Hotel.
Located a stone's throw from the Tanglin Shopping Centre, St. Regis is the perfect sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road. Glowing in elegance, the five-star hotel is welcoming and lavishly decorated.
Sooth your nerves to the strains of classic favourites played by the resident pianist at the Brasserie Les Saveurs.
Enjoy the three-tiered spread of classic sandwiches and sweets and indulge in the spreads of hand-made waffles, scones and mini pizzas.
A lot of my friends and relatives from Penang have since migrated to Kuala Lumpur. And almost inevitably, conversations will turn to how much they miss Penang food.
Well not more! Introducing the Chung Ling Alumni Restaurant. For the uninitiated, Chung Ling is the name of one of the most famous Chinese schools in Penang. Many famous persons hail from Chung Ling, the most notable being Mr. Khaw Boon Wan, the present Transport Minister of Singapore.
So if Penangites cannot go back home to have a taste of their beloved cuisines, they can certainly bring their cuisines back to where they are!
Located at 14 Jalan Utara, PJ, the restaurant serves genuine Penang favourites such as Lobak (see picture below), Jiu Hu Eng Chai and Pulut'kan.
Not for the faint hearted, Pulut'kan or Malay for fish intestines, takes several weeks to ferment to perfection. The restaurant conjures up a fabulous combination of king prawns with Pulut'kan sauce (picture below).
Jiu Hu Eng Chai - cuttlefish salad served with Eng Chai vegetable (Water Spinach, also know as Morning Glory) is another must try in the restaurant. Wrap the salad in the spinach leaves and taste the goodness of this unique Penang delicacy.
And of course, no meal is complete without Penang Hokkien Mee.
Chung Ling Alumni Association Restaurant
14, Jalan Utara
Petaling Jaya 46200
Craving for some Malaysia food when in Singapore? Look no further than Malaysia Boleh!.
Located on the third level of Jurong Point, Malaysia Boleh! has expanded two-fold in a recent renovation. Even then, it is still difficult to find an empty table. The place is always packed any time of the day. And finding a table is just the start. Next comes the challenge of deciding what to eat. The selections are just mind-boggling. And the queue at some of the stalls can tax even the most patient of customers.
Of course, the longest queue is for the Penang Kway Teow. Prices are reasonable and you have a choice of regular (S$4) or large (S$6).
Other favourites include the lobak (below left) and the KL Prawn Mee (Black "Oh" Mee).
For a relaxing afternoon or just about any time you are feeling tired after a hectic day shopping, here are some hipster joints you can put up your feet and take a break.
So what is the definition of "hipster joints"? Well firstly, they are hip, trendy and certainly out of the ordinary . Next they are well hidden or difficult to find. The journey there is as unforgettable as the destination itself. The food served in these joints are also prepared by chefs who are passionate about providing the best, the most delicious or possessing the ability to tease the most out of your taste palettes. Finally the decor. It certainly must be "Instagrammable" to say the least.
That out of the way, here are some interesting hipster joints awaiting you in Ho Chi Minh City.
Located on the second floor, the sign board on the street level is obscure but if you look up the ceiling, it is not difficult to find. Relax as you watch the waiters and waitresses prepare for you a long slow cup of coffee.
Located just round the corner from the Bitexco Tower, Nu Bistro is located on the second floor, on top of Villa Roma. The decor is certainly opulent and definitely Instagrammable. Step out to the French-style balconies and you will be face-to-face with an uncluttered view of the Bitexco Tower in the distance.
The place offers a good selection of teas, snacks and desserts.
Maison Marou, Saigon
Located just round the corner from the Central Ben Thanh market, Maison Marou offers a range of freshly-prepared chocolate masterpieces to delight every palette.
Ho Chi Minh city is an amalgamation of different cultures where east meets west. As such if you so happen to be in HCMC for a visit, here are a few recommendations of some of the fabulous restaurants and eating outlets that I have had the privilege of visiting.
Huong Lai Vietnamese Restaurant
First of is Huong Lai Vietnamese Restaurant. Located just off the shopping street of Dong Khoi, take the stairs up to the first level. The food is very authentic Vietnamese home cooking and some of the kitchen staff are former street children from poor families.
Mien Tay Riverside Restaurant
For the more adventurous, take a Mekong River cruise at My Tho City and choose the option that includes lunch at a local river-side restaurant. The seafood does not disappoint and savour some of the local delicacies.
Be sure to try the stick rice ball.
Nha Hang Ngon
For dinner, the restaurant of choice among the locals is Nha Hang Ngon. Located in the District 1 tourist centre, the restaurant serves a whole array of international cuisines. My advice is to stick with the Vietnamese menu. If you are looking for good ambiance, prompt service and good local food, then Nha Hang Ngon is definitely your best choice.
Royal Saigon Restaurant
A favourite among the tourists is the Royal Saigon Restaurant along the Bui Vien Walking Street.
Notable dishes include the Royal Platter, the Royal Saigon Ban Cha rice noodles and the Vietnamese Pho (pronounced "for").