flavours of asia

pardon the radio silence. please ignore the rumours – we have not killed each other, nor have we killed our producer mike foong… yet. muahaha.

you’ll be happy to hear that despite the lack of action on this blog, our gastronomic shenanigans have not ceased. to prove this, i wanted to share some food-related highlights from my recent travels this year.

1) taipei – dozo izakaya

a super sexy japanese restaurant and bar inspired by the ‘izakaya concept’ – primarily a drinking place which also serves food. as you walk in for dinner you’ll be wowed by how sensual the whole place is. dim lights, lounge music n modern japanese decor featuring cherry blossom trees n lanterns drape an open dining hall which is usually packed on weekends. a runway platform comes up to the centre of the dining area, n sets the stage for entertaining live acts through dinner such as shirtless drummers n singers decked in traditional geisha wear.

dozo izakaya on a friday night

hungry hippo

this is a perfect place for a pre-clubbing meal on a weekend – a mysterious vibe with the right music to put you in the mood, delicious cocktails (try their specialty sake- and shochu-based cocktails) n the menu is ideal for sharing amongst friends. the sashimi wasn’t as fresh as i’d like, but the assorted yakitori set didn’t disappoint. a must-try is their award-winning boneless chicken stuffed with cod roe. they also do a mean hokkaido-style steamed rice with roe n raw salmon.

if you’re feeling like something a lil’ more soupy, hotpot is also available as an option.

best part is, the price is right. 5 people can have a comfortable meal for about SGD 200 – 250 in total.

dozo izakaya
102, guangfu south road, 1F
02-2778-1135

2. ho chi minh – pho quynh

having had countless bowls of shitty pho in singapore, i was really looking forward to savouring some good vietnamese beef noodles on my trip to ho chi minh. i’ve had some good pho bo in melbourne, but people always say you can’t replicate the pho you get in vietnam.

i’d randomly checked out a few vietnamese food blogs ahead of the trip, n there seemed to be a resounding recommendation for pho quynh. we were ambitious n had decided to walk most of the time about ho chi minh, but little did we know that the little haunt we were hunting for was located close to the end of pham ngu lao street. we ended up walking about 30-45 minutes in the rain before we finally found the place.

on hindsight this is probably why the next half hour felt like heaven in slow-motion. there is nothing quite like dipping crispy, flaky french loaf in a bowl of phenomenal bho ko. bho ko, or vietnamese beef stew, is actually what pho quynh is famous for. this was my first time tasting vietnamese beef stew n it was love at first slurp. bho ko is a deep red stew – a lot less thick than the traditional western stew – n with tender chunks of beef that dissipate in your mouth.

bho ko

apparently the ingredients that make bho ko so different from western stews incude lemongrass, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, curry powder n chinese 5-spice powder. n the deep red color is mostly due to the use of annatto seeds.

needless to say, the pho bo was also pretty darn amazing as well. i tried the specialty combo of beef slices and beef balls, complete with what had to be level 8.5/10 chilli rings. FIRE.

i loved the fact that this was pretty much a street-side stall. low-profile, humble decor, despite being crowded on the both times we visited (yes, meals like these call for an encore). made the whole experience complete.

the works @ pho quynh

pho quynh
17, Tôn Thất Tùng, P.Phạm Ngũ Lão, Q.1
Vietnam

3. shanghai – the waterhouse

a new kid on the block at the south bund, near the old docks at huangpu river, the waterhouse is a new boutique hotel by singapore’s loh lik peng. he is also the dude behind new majestic hotel back home. originally a warehouse n factory, a lot of the original look n feel of the place (flooring, walls, stairs) was retained, n accentuated by quirky, striking pieces of furniture. from a design perspective, it’s a must-see.

the waterhouse, south bund shanghai

it’s also a great place for drinks – either at the trendy lobby bar or at the rooftop terrace, where you can get a spectacular view of the city skyline.

waterhouse lobby bar

view of city skyline from the waterhouse rooftop terrace bar

the waterhouse shanghai
1号 Maojiayuan Rd Huangpu, Shanghai, 中国, 200011
021-60802988

– juicy

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