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Bangkok's Top Restaurants Guide 2014

For Thai food: Though Nahm definitely exudes luxury (inside the Metropolitan hotel), I thought the food at Bo.Lan was a bit more interesting, and also a nice environment. Most Thai restaurants are very vegetarian friendly.

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May 29, 2014
heydana in China & Southeast Asia

Best foodie spots in Rio de Janeiro

Yeah, it's surprising but Rio (and Brazil in general) isn't cheap! It'll help if I know where you're staying.

A couple quick suggestions:
Though I highly recommend Casa da Feijoada for trying feijoada (Brazil's national dish), it is more expensive. The Botequim Informal offers a feijoada that's probably 70% as good, but half the price (there are also many all over Rio).

Toca do Siri in Copacabana is more affordable and also a really cute dining experience. The acarajé there is a specialty (deep fried black-eyed pea fritters with a special shrimp sauce).

Pavao Azul is my absolute favorite boteco/botequim - they have fantastic "bolinho de bacalhau" (deep fried codfish fritters, tastes way better than it sounds) and they also serve more full meals like arroz (a Brazilian style risotto) and escondidinho (like a Brazilian shepherds pie). The weekends especially are good, they'll have rabada (braised oxtail).

Talho Capixaba in Leblon has an upstairs dining room and nice sandwiches (they're known for their bread).

Also, grabbing snacks and food at the many many lanchonette/suco bars (fruit smoothies, açaí) is quick, relatively inexpensive and tasty. They'll have sandwiches or other snacks there too. Some, but not all, have places to sit.

For splurge meals, I highly recommend Espirito Santa!

May 29, 2014
heydana in Latin America & Caribbean

visiting singapore for a couple of days in Feb

Yes - the kaya I bought at Ya Kun Kaya Toast - they had small airplane friendly jars, too!

Good tip about the laksa - yes the chili paste is essential (and delicious).

Unfortunately, no idea about the chicken chili sauce - though I agree with you it's definitely a highlight. I had a similar experience with Hainanese chicken rice in Chiang Mai where the soy/chili sauce (almost like a marinade?) really made the dish.

Apr 11, 2014
heydana in China & Southeast Asia

Three days of eating in Singapore

I spent 3 weeks searching high and low for those street food gems and I'd have to agree with both of you - there's much better street food in other countries (Vietnam, Thailand) and the government intervention has perhaps increased convenience but at a cost of the "soul" of the food. I also wonder if there's no real incentive for the vendors to be outstanding since there's that guaranteed worker lunch. If it's easier, why try so hard?

My other theory is that street food benefits from the regional agriculture - a cuisine that's been built on local vegetables/fruits/grains etc. Since these days almost everything is imported, I wonder if that has impacted the food as well - the ingredients are less fresh (from what i heard, even the seafood is imported though Singapore was originally a fishing village).

I had high expectations for Singapore and was left mostly disappointed with lackluster fish head curries, average hawker center food and overly expensive chili crab.

That said, I did have a few stand out experiences - the bak kuh teh at song fa was superb, I loved the murtabak at Zam Zam, the laksa at 328 laksa and ya kun kaya toast - but considering I ate at 70+ places, it's a very small list...

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Apr 11, 2014
heydana in China & Southeast Asia

Best foodie spots in Rio de Janeiro

Rio is ridiculously beautiful and fun city, but just to set expectations, it's not as far along in the innovative/creative food scene as São Paulo (or any other European/American city).

That being said, there's still some great food to be had! I spent 3 weeks eating nonstop and the things I absolutely recommend:

Feijoada at Casa da Feijoada
- the national dish of Brazil! Served every day of the week here (traditionally only served on the weekends or weds/thurs depending on where you are in Brazil), it's really really good. but it is a little on the pricey side. The other food there is not very good at all, so only stick with the feijoada (and with 8 dishes included, you definitely won't need to order anything else.)
- If you want to try Feijoada that's about 70% as good for 50% of the price, check out Botequim Informal.

Açaí and sucos at suco bars/lanchonettes
- far and away one of my favorite things about Rio is getting a fruit smoothie every day. And the açaí na tigela (açaí in the bowl) are delicious at any time of the day. Everyone has their own favorite suco bars, but I really liked BB Lanches and Polis Sucos. That said, Bibi Sucos and Big Polis are also solid. Most suco bars are stand at the counter/take-away but Bibi sucos has places to sit

Yummy dinner option - definitely second the recommendation for Espírito Santa in Santa Teresa. Awesome view and really delicious and unique food (Amazonian inspired)
Another one that's more in town (Leblon) is Zuka - more generic contemporary cuisine, but it's still a nice place to go out.

Pavao Azul has hands down the best bolinhos de bacalhau in all of Rio - I tried at least a 15 different places and theirs was the best. They also have other great bar food (pastel) and on the weekends have some really great hearty meals.

If you haven't had brigadeiro before, you should definitely try it as well - it's a chocolate candy/truffle and very Brazilian. I really loved the ones at Colher de Pau (and their torta de brigadeiro is awesome as well).

The other helpful advice I'd give is to NOT go to antiquarius - it's supposed to be fine dining but the food was expensive and literally inedible. Terrible experience.

I put together a whole food guide for Rio on my website (http://firstbite.tv/rio) that has a map of these places and a few others. Also made videos about all of these places (www.youtube.com/firstbitetv

)

Hope that helps!
Dana

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Apr 02, 2014
heydana in Latin America & Caribbean

Best Khao Soi in Chiang Mai?

I tried the Khao Soi at Andy Ricker's original Portland Pok Pok and was pleasantly surprised. It's def a ripoff (think of Charles Phan Slanted Door for Vietnamese food - it breaks my heart) but it's a fairly good representation. Doesn't hold a candle to SamerJai. It's probably the best khao soi you'll find in the US, and even better than a lot of the sorry khao soi's you'll find in Thai restaurants, but still not nearly as good as the people who've been perfecting their curry mixes for decades.

The interesting thing about Pok Pok is that there's a lot of vietnamese influence in the thai food. Not a bad thing (the result is very delicious) but it's a creative interpretation. The Vietnamese fish-sauce fried chicken wings there were incredible.

Jan 18, 2014
heydana in China & Southeast Asia

Chiang Mai

Unfortunately no recommendations for guides - I'm a little embarrassed to say all we did was eat our entire trip and didn't actually go to see the sights! ><

Some food notes in general - Southern thai food uses more coconut milk (close to the ocean where the coconut groves are) and is much sweeter (more sugar cane grown), so you're better off not ordering coconut-milk based curries/soups in Chiang Mai (they're not very good, although if you have a really strong craving, Lemon Tree has a good red curry). You'll also see more steamed rice since that's more native to the region.

Sticky rice is grown in northern thailand, which is why it's more often the accompaniment for the food (served in the little bamboo baskets). It's also very spicy (although I've also had some very spicy southern food in Bangkok). You'll also see far less seafood (far away from the sea) and more chicken/pork/duck.

For a good food education in northern food I'd recommend trying:
- Khao Soi (Chiang mai signature soup)
- Som tam (spicy green papaya salad)
- Laab (minced meat spicy salad)
- Sai Ua (Chiang mai spicy sausage)
- Nam Priks (dips served with veggies and cabbage - my fav was the nam prik ong, a bit like an asian bolognese)
- Khanom Jeen (fermented rice noodle, usually in some sort of soup - doesn't taste fermeneted, but has a softer texture i thought)
- Hang Lay / hung lay (burmese style pork curry - one of my fav dishes in all of thailand)

Jan 18, 2014
heydana in China & Southeast Asia

Chiang Mai

I did go to Huen Muan Jai but wasn't that impressed with the food there... Perhaps it was worth going to again.

I went to Tong twice but didn't think it was worth the wait, personally, but if I had to choose one more general northern thai restaurant It'd probably be that one.

The Ruen Tamarind in the old town (part of a hotel) was a good place for a "nice" meal - but better to order their "fusion" style dishes than any thai classics.

Jan 18, 2014
heydana in China & Southeast Asia

Best Khao Soi in Chiang Mai?

Actually didn't try Lert Rot - the locals who were guiding me around didn't put it in their top lists. I liked Khao Soi Khun Yai 2nd best (The entrance is on the inner side of the north moat between the temples of Wat Monthian and Wat Kuan Kama).

Lam Duan Fah was a distant third or fourth.

Kao Soy Nimman was also pretty good, though the rest of the food there was average. Convenient since we were staying in the Nimman area.

Overall, though, the khao soi specialty shops were 10x better than getting khao soi at any restaurant - even local ones. The amount of work that goes into making the curry paste is just not something average restaurants will go through.

Jan 17, 2014
heydana in China & Southeast Asia

Sao Paulo

Attimo is FANTASTIC. In the top 5 meals of my entire life. We ate at 50+ places in Sao Paulo and it's still one of the most memorable. The chef, Jefferson Rueda, just won the chef of the year award. He cooks Italian-Brazilian food and does magic with the most humble ingredients - anything you order there will be amazing. It's very true to the roots of the Italian immigrants and is definitely different from your standard Italian restaurant. We actually just made a video about our experience there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u84ihL...

Other top picks by us are Brasil a Gosto (as Toog already listed) and Epice - a really innovative french/local cuisine.

And more international cuisine would be Kinoshita for Japanese (they have a really reasonable executive lunch menu) and Ici bistro for french (also good executive lunch menu

)

Enjoy!
Dana

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Jan 17, 2014
heydana in Latin America & Caribbean

visiting singapore for a couple of days in Feb

Hey there!

Singapore is a fantastic place for foodies :) I spent almost 3 weeks there trying to eat everything and found some really amazing dishes. One thing to note is that the Singaporeans really like waiting in lines. So a lot of the best places have long queues. I almost wondered at some point if the cooks deliberately cooked slower so there would be a longer line and thus indicate better food... So lunch at some of my fav hawker places may not end up being all that quick (though they're worth it)

**Hawker/Street food**
- 328 Katong Laksa - the best place to try the classic Singaporean Laksa soup

- Ya Kun Kaya Toast - more of a breakfast spot, Kaya Toast is a super singaporean place and the original one at 18 china street is the best (and most scenic). Kaya is a really delicious coconut jam (i brought several jars home as gifts)

- Maxwell Road Hawker center has several very popular (and very good) stalls including Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice (featured on just about any Singapore eats list - it really was worth the hype. I recommend trying to get there right before it opens to avoid the lines) and Zhen Zhen porridge - it's rice porridge (congee) with fish and very very good. Long lines at both of these places. And while you're there, also go to Lao Ban for their soya pudding (SO GOOD.)

- Geylang Lorong 29 fried hokkien mee are delicious friend hokkien style noodles.

- Song Fa Bak Kuh Te is another traditional Singaporean food and the best of all the bak kuh te chains. Also get the braised pork trotters - heavenly. Not street food, this place would be a great lunch or more casual dinner.

**There's also some great Indian food in Little India due to the large Indian population**
- Bismillah Biryani is a really really good Dom Biryani (the rice and meat are all cooked together)

- Singapore Zam Zam has a really delicious murtabak

- Tekka Center is the Indian hawker food stall and has some really good indian food

**Splurge**
For singaporean crab, I recommend Melben Seafood or Uncle Leong - the other places (Long Beach, No Signboard, etc) were more expensive and just meh. Roland restaurant was also pretty good, though it's weirdly located on a floor of a parking garage (looks nice inside, but was so empty when we went it felt a little sterile).

The interesting thing about Singapore is that they have to import everything - nothing grows on the island. So for high end restaurants, all the ingredients will be imported... which means that they're all very similar to high end restaurants in other cities. You'll be fine picking any place on a list of the top restaurants. We did go to Iggy's which was good (in the same way a restaurant is good in NYC or San Francisco) but not particularly "Singaporean." All their ingredients were flown in from Japan, which made me think that the food in Japan would probably be way better since it wouldn't be traveling over the ocean...

Happy eating and have a great trip!
Dana

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Jan 17, 2014
heydana in China & Southeast Asia
1

Bangkok street food and thai restaurants

Hey there!

Already responded to your post on Chiang Mai, but I also spent several weeks in Bangkok doing the same food research :)

the BEST restaurant that we at at was krua apsorn: especially the crab curry (it was my favorite dish!) but all the things on the menu are delicious. There are 2 locations, we went to the one on Thanon Dinso (GPS: 13.755234,100.501603) other things we liked there were the fried chicken wings and the southern style crab curry (one is spicy and one is not, they are both delicious), the crab omelette is good as well, giant juicy pieces of crab

Also, just down the street from Krua Apsorn (on thanon dinso)
- mont bakery - they serve a traditional thai snack/dessert of toast with custard on top - and it's amazing. the chocolate and the original green coconut one are awesome

For street-ish food:
- we loved mango sticky rice at two locations in particular (though really, it's always pretty tasty): Ko Panit on Thanon Tanao (13.752058,100.498386) and Mae Waree off of Sukhumvit Soi 55 (really close to the four points, just a couple MRT stops away) also called Thong Lo or Thonglor open 5am - 11pm for mango sticky rice, right off of the BTS (13.724072,100.579317)
- the dry beef sukiyaki noodles at Elvis Suki are also amazing (13.748945,100.514578) - they also have good fruit juice/smoothies. seriously one of my favorite dishes from bangkok
- boat noodles are delicious at this place (13.768408,100.536114), there are actually places on both sides of the river and we liked them both
- we loved all the sweets at old siam plaza on the ground floor (13.74658,100.500624), especially the khanom krok (little mini pancake things), the khanom buang (looks like tacos), and the che-like stall at the end (you can get one that's mixed with brown sweet noodle-dumplings and white sweet-salty coconut milk, but you can also get any combination)
- the noodles at leng ki are excellent, but they run out so get there when they open! (13.73457,100.525718) i think they open at 11am to 2pm - the pad thai, pad see-ew, and "rad na" are what is famous. personally, i don't like rad na, i find it overly oyster-saucy but the pad see-ew is great.
- nearby leng ki has khao moo daeng (roasted pork, soft boiled egg, rice with sweet sauce) at 13.734314,100.52713 is good. there are several places that serve it, look for a cart that has hanging roast pork pieces.

For restaurant settings:
- Taling Pling is one of our favorite all around restaurants and there several branches (including one in the mall at central world and at siam plaza), the nicest one is here:https://foursquare.com/v/%E0%B8%95%E0... - the curries are very good there (green curry, panang curry, massaman curry - we especially like the appetizer that came with roti) as is the tom kha soup. there is the signature miang taling pling appetizer, which is like minced meat that you wrap in lettuce and herbs (like vietnamese food!) with the special taling fruit, we also like the mee grob or mee krob, which is sweet fried noodle
- Methavalai Sorndaeng is another of our favorite all around restaurants (some of the best curries there, and the mee krob was one of our favorites, mango sticky rice very good
)- if you want to try southern thai food, very spicy, than you can try Khua Kling Pak Sod and try the fried bailiang with egg (vegetable), the fried sa-tor with crispy pork, southern green curry, the yellow curry with fish is VERy spicy, khua kling appetizer is the famous one - location is a little bit off the main road (13.728963,100.579298)
- For a splurge, we preferred Sra Bua over nahm and bo.lan. The lunch tasting menu is reasonable and their signature red curry foam or ice cream with lobster is actually very good.

There are several good places to try in Chinatown
- Nai Mong has an excellent hoy thod or oyster omelette (13.742218,100.510724) open 11am-9:30pm, but closed on sundays
- Tang Ngee Huat (13.740802,100.509775 - across from the temple) has a good khao tom pet, a boiled rice soup with duck, open 10am-9pm
- in the evening, we tried most of the vendors on yaowarot road (main street in chinatown) and really only one is worth eating, the koay jap oun stand (13.740683,100.509331) - it's handrolled noodles in a spicy pork broth (do you like pork intestine? if not, you can ask for it without intestine)

Just one thing - try not to eat pad thai! There's so much better food to try :)

Have a great trip!
Dana

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Jan 17, 2014
heydana in China & Southeast Asia

Chiang Mai

Hey there!

I spent a few weeks eating my way through Chiang Mai and learned a ton about the cuisine.

A few tips - in general "northern" thai food is actually northeastern thai food. There are a few places that serve it in Chiang Mai, but the Chiang Mai food is more burmese in nature (Chiang Mai was occupied by the Burmese for a while) and the 5 foods you'll find everywhere are Khao Soai (coconut chicken soup), Hang Lay (Pork curry), Nam prik ong (nam prik is a dip - ong = a tomato-pork dip, other nam priks also available) and Sai Ua (chiang mai spicy sausage). You'll also find some good laab.

Here are my absolute favs overall:
Khao Soi Samerjai ข้าวซอยเสมอใจ (Kao Soi Samer Jai) @18.804588,99.005463
Khao Soi is the signature dish of chiang mai - a type of coconut curry noodle soup that is unlike anything I've had before and incredibly delicious. Samer Jai is the absolute BEST one out there. It's a little out of the way to get there, but worth the taxi/red wagon (if you tell them Khao Soi Samerjai they'll nod in approval). Get it with chicken. The other food on the menu is fine, but the khao soi is the highlight. Street-food esque ambiance, there are seats but it's a dusty little shop for locals.

Sornchan @18.787174,98.993602
Totally unassuming little shop next to a pharmacy and across from the Tha Pae Gate that has maybe 3 tables inside? They sell smoothies outside which most people get and don't notice they have plates of food inside. It's one of the best places to try the classic Chiang Mai dishes like hang lay (pork curry), nam prik ong (a tomato dip that is reminiscient of a bolognese but delicious), and sai ua (chiang mai spicy sausage). You can also try the laab khua muu (spicy pork laab or larb salad) but it has a bit of an offal-y taste (very authentic). The Som Tam (green papaya salad) is good, but there's a better issan style place in the nimman area that's the best som tam. Owned by 3 sisters, they make the food in the morning and sell it until the afternoon when it's done.

If I went back, I'd probably eat exclusively at those two places, but since you requested northern food:

Solao @18.797811,98.970967
This is the place for green papaya salad (som tam) - issan style restaurant that sears your tongue! The fried chicken wings are also delicious. No english here, just point at the pictures on the menu (or the pictures i send you!)

Veera laab ped @18.797964,98.970696
I think i read somewhere that Veera might be moving, but it's located near Solao and has very authentic laab ped (duck laab). The grilled pork was tasty too, but it's really all about the laab here.
- according to another chow post, it seems like this might be moving

And for more chiang-mai specific food:

Khao soi khun yai @18.795358,98.983249
This was our second favorite khao soi, and it's a little more conveniently located if you don't want to trek out to samerjai for your khao soi fix. It's open 10-2, mon-sat and kinda weirdly located on the innerside of the north moat between Wat Monthian and Wat Kuan Kama. You kind of walk down a driveway like path with an arrow pointing to walk in

Kiet ocha @18.789737,98.986387
Kiet Ocha is in the old city and had our favorite hainanese chicken rice (khao man gai). Very conveniently located next to a temple or some other tourist attraction. They also serve chicken satay and fried chicken but the chicken rice is the best thing on the menu.

mango sticky rice @18.790715,98.9892
This place is in the old city and is famous for their mango sticky rice. Tiny shop window, you eat outside but very delicious! Classic thai dessert.

Nam Ngiaw Thapae @18.788417,98.996135
Totally unassuming little shop down an alley outside the old city. They best serve a special kind of noodle called kanoom jeen nam ngiaw - a northern style noodle with pork. The noodles are fermented and the soup is a pork and tomato broth that's delicious. Very local

And for a general travel tip, I'd recommend trying to use the red trucks instead of tuk tuks (the tuk tuks are a rip off). You shouldn't pay more than 20-30 baht per person for a ride just about anywhere in chiang mai.

Hope you have a fantastic trip!
Dana

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Jan 17, 2014
heydana in China & Southeast Asia

Best Khao Soi in Chiang Mai?

A bit late - but I tried just about every khao soi on any list and Khao Soi Samer Jai was my absolute fav by far!

We would always get a nod of approval from the red truck drivers when we told them where we wanted to eat (and never had to tell them an address).

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Jan 17, 2014
heydana in China & Southeast Asia

Christmas in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hi Amy!

While in general I recommend the street food in Hanoi (it's amazing) one restaurant that was pretty good and has a nice ambiance is Bobby Chinn. It's not the most authentic Vietnamese food (compared to the street), but it's the closest that I found and has a bit of an upscale twist, i.e. using filet mignon beef.

Ly Club is a french inspired vietnamese restaurant that's not bad and has a pretty dining room (feels very special).

Some pretty restaurants with so-so food are Madame Hien (beautiful patio area) and Don's a chef bistro (pretty lake view)

I'm not sure what the holiday schedules are like for any of those, but I'm sure one of them is bound to be available for you.

Good luck!
Dana

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Dec 18, 2013
heydana in China & Southeast Asia

Thailand Restaurant recs in Koh Jum, Koh Lanta and Chiang Mai

I spent 3 weeks in Chiang Mai and struggled to find any good sit down food in the city (and we ate at over 75 places!). The locals have basically moved out of old town - all that are left are tourist restaurants and accommodations.

Here are the places I absolutely loved:
- Khao Soi Samerjai ข้าวซอยเสมอใจ (Kao Soi Samer Jai) - the absolute best khao soi we had in all of chiang mai (and we tried at least a dozen different places). It's next to Wat Faham. The grilled chicken there is tasty too. Not a fancy sit-down meal, but... there are chairs and tables (if that counts)
- Sornchan - the absolute best chiang mai signature food. It's next to a drugstore (GPS coordinates - 18.787174,98.993602). It's a TINY TINY restaurant owned by sisters who live upstairs and make all the food in the morning and go until they sell out. Amaaazing nam prik ong (they've been there for over 50 years and apparently this is what they're known for) which is a Chiang Mai specailty. Also superb hung lay (another chiang mai specialty) and great laab. They have a super small menu, but try everything. Also, they have smoothies out front which are the best. Basically you're eating in someone's home, so there's 4 tables maybe?

Here are places that were very good, though not as good as the two above:
- Ruen Tamarind at the Tamarind Village Spa - the lone pick we had in the old town for meals, it may satisfy your requirement of a nice sit down meal. It's in a hotel, next to a pool and is beautifully decorated (naturally, it costs more too). They have traditional and fusion food and the fusion food is actually better here (the fried tom yum goong, coffee custard were particularly memorable). But you can also get traditional food here if you want a nice place to eat.
- W by Wanlamun (18.789546,98.996086) - this is a nice sit down restaurant. The Thai food is decent (the red duck curry and tom yum goong were good) but they're pastries are spectacular. We had spent a long time in SE Asia at that point and it was nice to have some European desserts
- Solao (18.797811,98.970967) has the best green papaya salad in town. and great chicken wings. It's issan style, but limited menu (limited english, too) and while there are chairs and tables, def not a "sit-down" meal kind of ambiance.
- Lemon Tree (18.798052,98.974296): Again, not much ambiance here, but it serves traditional thai food and the shop is air conditioned and has tables (lots of positive notes from tourists on the tables and walls). Really good curries.
- Kiet Ocha (18.789737,98.986387) is in old town and is more of more street food shop style but really good khao man gai (chicken rice) - skip the stay and fried chicken.
- The Chang Phuak night market is good, but again, more street food style. Good mango sticky rice, and a very good khao kha moo (rice with stewed pork - usually has a long line)
- If you're in teh Nimman area, Kao Soy Nimman has a decent Khao Soy and also an Issan menu - it also has a nice restaurant sit-down area.

Eventually I'll be writing these up in more detail with photos and videos, but this should get you started for now!

Regards,
Dana

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Dec 11, 2013
heydana in China & Southeast Asia

Lima Trip Report

Fantastic list! I'm planning on going to Lima next year and will definitely hit up your recommendations!

Dec 09, 2013
heydana in Latin America & Caribbean

Top 10 Singapore

Hi manbeard! I spent 3 weeks in Singapore this year eating my way through the city - lucky you! And you're on the right track - we ate at a couple of the fancy restaurants and they weren't really that special. You probably know this already since you live in KL but Singapore has to import everything - produce, meat, seafood, etc. I was surprised when we ate at Iggy's and they kept referencing Japanese farms...

Anyway, top eats that we found:
- Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, 11 New Bridge Rd - this was our favorite bak kuh te - the braised pork rib dish that's classic singaporean fare. Fantastic! The pork trotters were a dream here too
- 328 Katong Laksa - our favorite singaporean laksa
- Melben Seafood and Uncle Leong Seafood for crab - owned by brothers, similar in style. especially their signature crab (it was buttery and delicious)
- Ya Kun Kaya Toast - I'm sure you hava kaya in KL but the original shop on 18 China St is the best kaya toast I had
- Singapore Zam Zam had fantastic murtabak
- Bismillah Biryani was very good Biryani
- The Tekka Hawker Center in Little India had some amazing stalls for Indian food - biryani, naan, pratha, rojak
- Zhen Zhen porridge is in Maxwell and really did have amazing congee with fish
- Also in Maxwell, the Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice is very delicious, although not necessarily worth a really long wait
- Geylang Lorong 29 has very good fried hokkien mee - address 396 E. Coast Road
- Lao Ban at Maxwell - i love the soya pudding, but it's not technically the traditional soft tofu, but it's still really tasty...
- The fish curry at Ocean Curry was pretty good, it's not indian style, more chinese style, but it was the only fish head curry I liked

Places I thought were just okay or overrated:
- Founder Bak Kuh Teh - (Song Fa is much better)
- Lau Pa Sat (the skewers are just grilled meat, nothing special, and the hawker center is not really much better than anywhere else)
- No Signboard And Long Beach were expensive and really not that tasty for crab - melben or uncle leong were better
- We ate a ton of fish head curry and none of them were very good (muthu's curry, a few others). It usually tasted too "fishy" - a sign of not very fresh fish...
- East Coast Food Village was a pain to get to, super crowded, and just okay food
- Food Republic are just sanitized hawker centers, not that great

And there were others - if you have any specific questions, ask away! I'm planning on putting up a blogpost with more specifics and photos sometime in the future...

Enjoy your time in Singapore!

Dana
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Dec 06, 2013
heydana in China & Southeast Asia
1

Where to eat in Vietnam???

So I may be a litttttle biased (my dad's vietnamese) but Vietnam has pretty much the best food in the world. You're in for a treat!

Words of advice:
The best food in Vietnam is on the street. Locals actually have very discerning taste and vote with their feet so if it's not any good, they don't eat there. And they don't eat in restaurants... Almost every restaurant we went to was a flop, especially compared to the amazing street food culture.

I could overwhelm you with options for Vietnam (I spent several months traveling finding all the best food) so I'll start with a few (let me know if you want more!)

Hanoi
* Bánh Cuốn Gia Truyen - 14 Hang Ga: this is the "stuffed" version of soft, thin rice "crepes". just sit down and they'll bring over a plate. dip it in the fish sauce (nuoc mam/cham) and enjoy!

* Banh mi kebap - 48 nguyen huu huan: a new fusion take on vietnamese sandwiches and surprisingly delicious

* bun bo nam bo - 67 Hang Dieu: my fav place, seriously ate there at least 3x! it's noodles with sauteed beef, herbs, and peanuts - mix it all up before yous tart eating

* bun dau - only at lunch from 11am-1pm, Ngo Trang Tien near corner of phan chu trinh: simple dish of fried tofu, bun (rice noodles), and either fish sauce (nuoc mam) or the more pungent mam tom (shrimp sauce). dip the tofu into the shrimp sauce (be careful, it's a bit of an acquired taste, it's the purple colored sauce with lime). tofu in vietnam is outstanding, just way better than you'll ever try outside of asia. you can also see bun dau on the streets and other people serving it, but we really liked this place the best.

* Bun rieu - 48 phan boi chau st (however, it's actually on the odd side of the street, across from 48 phan boi chau): this is a soup made with a crab-based broth, tomato, and pork. this is my favorite shop, but it's only open in the mornings (6am i think) until 2pm.

* kem caramen and sua chua nep cam - 29 hang than st - super amazing, sua chua nep cam a new fav. kem caramen is basically creme caramel, but they steam it in vietnam since they don't have ovens which gives it a distinct flavor. sua chua nep cam is a sweetened homemade yogurt with a special fermented rice - reallllly delicious!

* Phở Sướng - 24 Trung Yen lane, off of Dinh Liet st. This is the BEST pho we had in all of Vietnam! Also ask for the "Quay" (kway) - it's a fried breadstick that you can soak in the pho broth.

* Xoi Yen - 35B Nguyen Huu Huan Street: Xoi is sticky rice. Here you can get Xoi Xeo, which is the yellow sticky rice that has mung bean and peanuts. I recommend getting Xoi Xeo Thap Cam, which will give you a bit of everything. You might also try a plain Xoi thap cam (not xeo) for just the plain white sticky rice

* Quan An Ngon - Phan Boi Chau Street: this is the only restaurant that I would recommend going to. most restaurants in Hanoi are very disappointing, because Vietnamese eat on the street the standards are lower in restaurants. Quan an ngon will have most of the street food I listed above (and below) but will be at maybe 30-40% less flavor/taste. However, the advantage is a pleasant environment and you can try many things all in one place.

Hoi an:
* com ga ba buoi at 22 Phan Chu Trinh St. most famous and best com ga hoi an!! seriously so good i ate there 3x! it's rice and chicken, but they do something magical to it...

* Morning Glory at 106 Nguyễn Thái Học: this is a fantastic restaurant, you're not going to go wrong ordering anything here but the fish in banana leaf is outstanding. all other hoi an specialties done very well as well, in general, all menu items are high quality

* cao lau is the quintessential hoi an dish, you can't get it nearly as good outside hoi an. it's good at morning glory, in the central food market at stall #34, and on the street in the morning at the corner of Cnr of Trân Phú & Hoàng Diệu Street
mi quang is excellent right next to the cao lau place on the corner of tran phu and hoang dieu st: it's similar to cao lau, but with less broth and has shrimp.

* son restaurant is very picturesque on the river between hoi an city and the beach. very nice food and relaxing environment. tamarind crab and stuffed squid are good.

Ho Chi Minh City:
* Phở Anh - 8 Kỳ Đồng -or Phở Hoa - 260 Pasteur - extremely delicious pho!

* Cục Gạch Quán - 10 Dang Tat, Tân Định, Quận 1: one of the best restaurants in vietnam. really excellent homestyle cooked food. highlights include the fried tofu with lemongrass (heavenly, they make the tofu in house), the thit kho to (pork in claypot), chicken with lemongrass in claypot (amazing), the canh chua ca loc (although my favorite is an an vietn, below), the morning glory (simple, common side, but they do it really well here), and anything else that looks interesting they'll do well here.

* An Vien - 178A, Đường Hai Bà Trưng: it's down the alley at 178. more upscale restaurant but has delicious food. recommend the xoi chien with pork (fried sticky rice pockets with grilled pork, really delicious), chao tom (shrimp "meatball" on sugar cane that you wrap up with herbs and lettuce and dip in fish sauce), canh chua ca loc (my FAVORITE sweet and sour soup, but beware, it's spicy! take the fish out of the soup and debone it), there's also another dish with sauteed pork and really tiny rice noodles that's excellent but i don't remember the name - it's on the bottom right corner of one of the pages in the menu. The coconut flan is quite special and delicious as well

* Hu tieu Nhan Quan - 72 Nguyen Thuong Hien: classic southern vietnamese noodle dish that's very delicious. ask for "hu tieu nam vang" to get the broth on the side. pour some of the broth in with the noodles and enjoy!

* Cha ca la vong - 3 Ho Xuan Huong: technically, this is a northern dish, but I find that it's overly greasy in Hanoi. This restaurant, related to the original one in Hanoi, is much nicer (air conditioning, new building) and I actually believe the quality of the fish is much better due to overall higher quality seafood in HCMC

* Banh khot co Ba vung tau - a couple locations but we went to 258 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, 8, District 3: a kind of bite sized fried rice cake with shrimp that you wrap up in lettuce leaves and herbs and dip in fish sauce. really delicious

My boyfriend and I ate alllll over vietnam (seriously, hundreds of places) and these are some of the stand outs. We're going to be making videos about them, we loved them so much.

ENJOY your trip to Vietnam!!

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www.firstbite.tv / youtube.com/firstbitetv

Nov 21, 2013
heydana in China & Southeast Asia

Rio de Janeiro - anything new that we shouldn't miss?

I know you said you already got back, but if you haven't tried Roberta Sudbrack it's definitely one of the top places to grab a meal in all of Brazil. I also adore Espirito Santa (in Santa Teresa) - the chef is Amazonian and she does her own twist on Brazilian classics like moqueca, acarajé - she even does mini feijoada rolls, though I prefer her collard green rolls with vatapá and her grilled namorado fish (and the maracatú dessert with cupuaçu is incredible)

The Botequim Informal chains have surprisingly good Feijoada for a really good price. Zuka (in leblon) is also interesting contemporary cuisine.

If you're willing to trek out a bit:
Aconchega Carioca is a real local's foodie place, very good. I also liked Adego Timao (out in the old town/downtown) for their octopus and Novela Capela (in Lapa) has excellent goat.

If you're interested, my boyfriend and I actually made a video about our favorite dishes at espírito santa and interviewed the chef (Natacha Fink) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFU0x...

I'm jealous you get to go back to Brazil every year! If you ever make it to SP there are some phenomenal restaurants there (Like Brasil a Gosto as Toot mentioned, but our all time favorite restaurant in Brazil is the somewhat newly opened Attimo...

)

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www.firstbite.tv

Nov 21, 2013
heydana in Latin America & Caribbean

Suggestions for eating out in Puerto Rico

I went to PR about 1.5 years ago and my favorite restaurants were:

Casa dante:
The churrasco (grilled skirt steak) is great. Homey restaurant with really friendly service. I also liked the corn stick appetizer (like corn dogs, but without the hot dog. in other words - awesome). And sweet plantains (although, I don't think anyone can mess up sweet plantains). The shrimp dish and desserts were meh, but def try the steak! I also really enjoyed the mixed mofongo (green plantain, sweet plantain, and yucca). While I was in PR I noticed there were two styles of mofongo - one that had a more fried crispy exterior and one that was more like hearty mashed potatoes. Casa Dante had the latter and it was very good.

Jose Enrique
Not as fancy as Jam Rum Bar & Bistro (see below) in terms of decor, but the food is better conceived. Kind of a modern Puerto Rican cuisine. There's no sign, but it's the only bright yellow building on the street. They also have complimentary valet parking. Recommend: cangrejo (pastry cups in crab), chillo deshuesado (whole fish with bones) sweet potato puree, papaya and avocado salsa) - our favorite dish of the evening - it's a whole fish, relatively deboned, lightly deep fried with a delicious "salsa" of papaya and avocado and a sweet potato mash. Tembleque for dessert - a typical puerto rican dessert made of coconut cream. The chocolate bomb was fine, and if you're a big chocolate fan you'll like it, but not particularly special.

Jam Rum Bar & Bistro
This could qualify more as your "fancy"restaurant - and a big plus is that it's 50% on Mondays (or was when I went). I wouldn't pay full price for it, but it was definitely worth it at the discount. Very hip kind of restaurant, lots of attention to plating. What we enjoyed most were the mango salad, seared grouper, red snapper and chocolate mousse

Lechonera Los Pinos
Lived up to the hype for the lechon (roast pig). Recommend: Lechon (roast pork) - super crispy skin, tender and ridiculously flavorful meat, sweet plantains, yellow rice and beans - best rice and beans i had in puerto rico, tostones - like crispy plaintain chips. The sweet potato/yam was simple but somehow it tasted better than sweet potatoes i've had stateside. I also tried the blood and sausage but honestly found them a bit dry. I'd skip them and just get more lechon.

Panadería Espana
Huge selection of sweet and savory baked goodness. Mallorca was delicious. They also had this cheese danish thing (that wasn't a cheese danish) that had real chunks of cheese in it. Tembleque is awesome (traditional coconut cream pudding spiced with cinnamon). We also enjoyed the coconut flan, guava cheesecake, empanadillas and pastelillos (meat-filled pastry things). We went a few different times ;)

Nov 21, 2013
heydana in Latin America & Caribbean