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BuildingMyBento's Profile

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Kuala Lumpur - A&W: The First Fast Food Brand in Malaysia

The first place I saw an A&W outlet was Springfield, Virginia.

Years later, I noticed them a bunch while living in Jakarta, but only caved in last December for a meal.

My burger was not good- it had a coarse, salty square of beef bacon on top of a sad circle of more beef. Indeed, the root beer was heavy on the sweet.

In Malaysia though, I'd probably err on the side of satu teh tarik and dua roti canai...

Jonathan
http://buildingmybento.com

about 16 hours ago
BuildingMyBento in China & Southeast Asia

Chipotle is going seatless...

Recently, I noticed a lot of McDonald's take-out only windows on various Chinese pedestrian shopping streets.

Bad news for my taro pie addiction.

Jonathan
http://buildingmybento.com

about 16 hours ago
BuildingMyBento in Chains

Fancy Food Show-next week

Did anyone try the lablabi in the Tunisian section? It's a chickpea stew, if you're interested.

Jun 30, 2014
BuildingMyBento in Manhattan

Help me identify these fruits

have you tried the purple flesh ones too?

Jun 30, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Why do chinese restaurants insist on having "secret" Chinese menus their English-Speaking customers can't decipher?

My former boss hired a driver in Shenzhen for a couple of days. When we invited the driver out for a meal - in the expat gulch called Shekou - I remember hearing him ask staff at the Mexican restaurant if there was anything on the menu suitable for Chinese people.

On a side note, our next driver didn't care what we fed him, and he introduced us to some delightful Zhanjiang-style chicken.

Jun 30, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Foodie or Gourmet?

I got carried away with truffle'd brie at the fancy food show in NY today, but I'd be loathe to slice street food and holes-in-the-wall out of my travel routine all the same.

I'm no fan of either word - if you've been to Manhattan, have you ever noticed that many of the lunch buffet-by-the-pound places include the word "gourmet" in their title? riiiiight - so I'll carry on doing what we can all relate to, that is, eating.

Jonathan
http://buildingmybento.com

Jun 30, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Best Sandwich at Subway?

Although the odors at the US outlets disgust me, I'll chime in and say that my favorite has been the shrimp and avocado in Japan.

Jun 27, 2014
BuildingMyBento in Chains

Which restaurants/stores have rewards for repeat customers?

Do you know if Potbelly has one too?

Jun 25, 2014
BuildingMyBento in Manhattan

Why do people like sea urchin?

I used to hate it, but then for some reason just a couple of years ago I forgot that I hated it. Something like that.

At that time, I bought soy sauce from Narita Airport (Tokyo) and had some uni from a restaurant in New York, and the two had a blast.

Then, a brief trip to Sicily introduced me to uni and pasta, and it has since become a regular take-out item (at least in gunkan form, it's more palatable with soy sauce than by its lonesome).

Jonathan
http://buildingmybento.com

Jun 24, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Which restaurants/stores have rewards for repeat customers?

Doesn't The Palm have a member's card in a similar vein?

Minamoto Kitchoan on Mad in the low 50s and Woorijip in Ktown do.

Jonathan
http://buildingmybento.com

Jun 24, 2014
BuildingMyBento in Manhattan

Regrets -- I've had a few.

If you have the chance, check out Karato market in Shimonoseki and Jagalchi market in Busan (RoK). Neither is quite as hectic as Tsukiji, but they are much more relaxed about visitors.

Jun 23, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

You Tiao and soy milk breakfast in HK

永和大王 hasn't opened up yet in HK?

Jun 22, 2014
BuildingMyBento in China & Southeast Asia

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Manhattan Memories

Yes, it was a townhouse! Did you like it? Do you remember when it opened?

Jun 22, 2014
BuildingMyBento in Manhattan

Millennial Dining Trends: What Have You Noticed?

I've been tempted by the "sourced" technique since my first visit to Japan fourteen years ago.

Oysters from Itsukushima!

Green tea from Shizuoka!

Berkshire pork from Kagoshima!

All of that and more from places I'd never heard of before my first visit.

Yet, my fondness for geography, food, languages, and eventually a unique appreciation for Japanese marketing, all contributed to keeping my wallet svelte...

Jonathan
http://buildingmybento.com

Jun 22, 2014
BuildingMyBento in Not About Food

Any Chowhounders in Shenyang?

Unfortunately I don't recall the name, but I remember eating a rather heavy dish containing twice-fried eggplant. Haven't found it anywhere else (in southern China, anyway).

Also, Shenyang had at least one decent Italian restaurant...

Jun 22, 2014
BuildingMyBento in China & Southeast Asia

What food items have you only had canned but never fresh?

I never really liked water chestnuts until I started buying them from a street vendor in China. The canned versions always tasted salty to me. Either way, they pack a great crunch.

Jun 20, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Manhattan Memories

Gee, haven't seen Hamburger Harry's mentioned in a looong time!

Does anyone remember a restaurant called Girafe? It might have been in Midtown East. I had some quality white asparagus with melted parmiggiano each time I went.

Jun 20, 2014
BuildingMyBento in Manhattan

What Is the Hottest Cuisine on the Planet?

The first picture is right up my alley (do you have the Chinese name?). In China, I'd regularly eat at places serving food from Hunan, Gansu and Guizhou. Guizhou dishes are particularly interesting because they have a sour and spicy trend.

If anyone's ever in Shenzhen, I could attempt to find my usual Guizhou place on a map (it's near the Vanguard on Chunfeng Lu).

Jonathan
http://buildingmybento.com

Jun 17, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Confession

My favorite neighborhood tonkatsu place in Tokyo served salads with Thousand Island dressing and paprika.

It's not something I eat at any other time though...

Jun 17, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Curry Rules the Food World!!

On my second visit to Japan, I instantly took to Japanese curry, beni shouga (pickled red ginger) and rakkyo (pickled pearl onions). Although Coco Ichibanya was ok, I preferred to get it at Matsuya (they are a much larger chain/they have other good, cheap meals to get too).

In fact, although it's no longer in business, I visited the curry museum in Yokohama (http://buildingmybento.com/2012/10/21...). Just like the (still operating) Yokohama ramen museum and its soups, you could order any of a variety of curries.

Jun 17, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Manhattan Memories

I've never really enjoyed Americanized Chinese food, except at a place called Dish of Salt. I can't remember the address - somewhere in Midtown West, maybe by Radio City - and the decor was rather welcoming.

I have good memories of Peppermint Park (evidence of it is by the current front entrance, it might be a Baskin' Robbins) too. It was on 1st in the upper 60s.

Jonathan
http://buildingmybento.com

Jun 17, 2014
BuildingMyBento in Manhattan

New Haven CT top foodie city?

I've had two good pizzas and a decent Italian meal in New Haven, out of three restaurants. That's a good streak, but if they have quality Lebanese and Korean it would be an easier sell.

Jonathan
http://buildingmybento.com

Jun 16, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Favorite dessert by nationality?

Why not count the egg tarts as Portuguese so that you can add another for China?

As for murtabak, even though it's not originally from Indonesia, it's good both in savory and sweet forms. I am rarely able to finish it all, which is in stark contrast to the usual fate of my meals.

(I'm only being pedantic because I'm curious as to which other Indonesian desserts you've tried).

Jonathan
http://buildingmybento.com

Jun 15, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Why do people find it so strange to take photos of your food?

I took a photo of a food truck meal of pap and fried chicken in South Africa, and the two people sitting across from me were agitated and confused as to why. One man said something to the effect of "it's just food," and the other agreed.

I can't recall my response, but I do remember that it was a good meal.

Jun 10, 2014
BuildingMyBento in Not About Food

Why isn't there a peanut butter drink?

How about peanut tea? I tried it in Ethiopia.

Jun 10, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Why do chinese restaurants insist on having "secret" Chinese menus their English-Speaking customers can't decipher?

This may sound trite, but any menu where I can't read/understand the items (and where I can't communicate with waitstaff) might as well be secret.

Most recently, it was only through my nano-lexical knowledge of Ethiopian restaurant staples that I was able to order anything at random Addis Ababa dives. Otherwise, I would've been stuck sipping on mango syrup and coffee grounds.

Jun 10, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Cheap Foods that Become Popular

Kimbap?

Bottled water?

Jun 10, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Where would you go for the food?

Twice as large as your desired city-size, but how about Burgas, Bulgaria?

Jun 08, 2014
BuildingMyBento in General Topics

Katagiri to reopen this Thursday

Oh, do you mean Boloniya bread will now be available at Katagiri? That's a bonus.

Can't say I ever cared for the service at Katagiri though.

Jun 08, 2014
BuildingMyBento in Manhattan

(My personal) Best chain pizza rankings

I liked the broccoli lemon pepper pie at Bertucci's a long time ago. Can't think of any in the NYC-area, and fortunately, don't need to.

Also, I used to frequently order the Sante Fe pizza at CPK in Jakarta, until I learned of a better "local" Italian place called Trattoria.

Jonathan
http://buildingmybento.com

Jun 08, 2014
BuildingMyBento in Chains