Saturday, December 31, 2005

UAL Filet Mignon - another variation

Applewood smoked bacon wrapped filet mignon with wild mushrooms, oven-roasted fingerling potatoes and sauteed green beans with shallots and almonds

It seems like UAL is always offering filet mignon as one of its business class meal selections, which can get a bit tiring after a while. But today for lunch, I noticed that they offered another variation: "applewood smoked bacon wrapped filet mignon with wild mushrooms, oven-roasted fingerling potatoes and sauteed green beans with shallots and almonds." Although one can't complain about bacon, the filet was still a bit boring until dousing the sauce on it (I usually don't like sauces on my steaks), after which it wasn't too bad. But the green beans were overdone, and I hardly touched the potatoes.

Smoked salmon and Black Forest ham with olive and feta cheese stuffed mushrooms, balsamic Dijon vinaigrette, fresh seasonal greens, country ranch dressing

There were some interesting starters though: "smoked salmon and Black Forest ham with olive and feta cheese stuffed mushrooms, balsamic Dijon vinaigrette, fresh seasonal greens, country ranch dressing." In particular, the olive and feta cheese mushroom was pretty good, although I guess I'm always a sucker for mushrooms, as well as for cheese. By putting the two together, it became a no-brainer.

It's also kinda funny how United keeps putting little advertisements in your food trays too. I guess they can use all the revenue they can get.

Chicago Vienna Beef Hot Dogs

A Chicago hot dog - sans relish

With their celery salt, tomatoes, onions, pickle, and peppers, Chicago hot dogs are much better than New York hot dogs in my opinion. (Pink's hot dogs in LA are still the king for me though.) The only thing I dislike about Chicago hot dogs is the relish, which doesn't sit well with a guy who doesn't really like sweet-tasting things. But put it aside, and these things are great. Here's one without relish from a quick layover at O'Hare airport, featuring Vienna Beef hot dogs, conveniently located right in front of the gate where I exited the plane.

Dan Ryans in Singapore used to serve Chicago style hot dogs, complete with a Vienna Beef neon sign in the window, but for some reason, they removed it from the menu about 2-3 years ago. What a shame.

"Plane Snacks" on a United Express regional jet

Plane Snacks

SQ easily has some of the best food in the skies, but I really hate how they give you plain old peanuts with your drinks. Many of the American airlines will serve something much better; usually some pretzel mixes with tasty crackers or something, like Delyse Gourmet Supreme Mix (I think part of the reason they do so is to satisfy people allergic to peanuts though). Today on my short flight out of Columbia, I got something I had never seen before: "Plane Snacks," which were crackers shaped like little planes. Actually, the faux ranch-dressing powder taste got a bit annoying after a few nibbles (and it gives you a nasty dragon breath), but it still beats SQ's plain old peanuts any day.

Here's to hoping that SQ starts serving some better in-flight drink accompaniments soon; my vote is for a pretzel and cracker mix - or maybe make a unique localized cracker or something. (Or simply start serving satay in all flights and cabins.)

Breakfast at Columbia Airport

Clockwise from upper left: biscuit, scrambled eggs, grits, and bacon

This is just another airport breakfast here in Columbia, South Carolina. Obviously there is nothing special about the bacon and eggs, but of course there are some Southern twists here like the grits and biscuit. The grits were, not surprisingly, rather tasteless. And the biscuit was fluffy, but not that much different from the Colonel's buttermilk biscuits. I wish I had some good Southern hot sauce to go with this, but alas, there was nothing available.

Oh well. I'm not much of a breakfast person anyway, so this was just to get food in my belly.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Buffalo Wings, Clams, and Crab Legs

Buffalo Wings

Mmm...I love Buffalo wings, and the wings today here in South Carolina were great: naked without any breading and with a good hot sauce. It got nasty when it was cold, but this was leagues better than what I could get back in Singapore.


And of course, I love American seafood too. The clams were surprisingly served without any broth, but they came with a side of cold clam juice. That was a bit weird, but the butter was awesome as it had a bit of a lemony twist to it.

Crab Legs

Finally, we got the crab legs, which were easy to crack open and also benefitted from the lemony-butter. Yum - I love this stuff. This is real American food that I've got to get while I'm out here.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A few random snacks from South Carolina

Little Joe

Here is a "Little Joe" sandwich from Maurice's Gourmet Barbeque Pit-Stop, a chain around this area. It's just pulled pork sitting in a bun with some sort of mustard-based sauce. It was pretty straightforward with no major surprises. If it had a BBQ sauce with a little more kick though, I would probably show a little more interest. Is mustard more of a Carolinan thing (versus Texan)?

Pork Rinds

At the supermarket, I found some Mexican pork rinds, which of course are always good (you gotta love the description on the label: "fried out pork fat with attached skin"). I think the last time I ate such sinful rinds were in Chiang Mai, of all places, where they also deep fry pork rinds just like this.

Frozen Whitecastle BurgersFinally, here are some frozen Whitecastle burgers that I also found at the supermarket. These are not really hamburgers, but rather thin slices of meat with diced onions steamed in a little bun. They are so small that they sell them in bulk packs since you'll usually down tons of them (and hence, they are called "sliders" since they go right down your throat). I remember on my first trip to Chicago, I asked some locals about Whitecastle and they told me that no one really eats it as an actual meal, but that they are great as post-drinking snacks.

OK, so these last two items aren't really from South Carolina, but I was happy to find Whitecastle here since my turnaround time in Chicago yesterday was too short to be able to run out to get the real thing. Besides, the frozen version done in the microwave is pretty darned close, given that I think the shops just steam theirs (at least, from what I can remember). Interestingly, Tanglin Marketplace in Singapore had frozen Whitecastles four years ago, which I got so happy about considering that I couldn't even get them at my local supermarket in California. But to my dismay, the Tanglin guys long since stopped carrying them, probably since there aren't enough slider lovers out in Asia. What a shame.

Chick-fil-A Sandwiches


This is a fast food chain from Georgia that allegedly invented the chicken sandwich (their slogan is "we didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich"). And true to its Southern roots, the shop is closed on Sundays for church. The sandwich is actually very simple: just a chicken breast cooked in peanut oil with two pickles on a bun; not much else unless you want to add some of their optional sauces. The chicken was surprisingly savory and nice to have when piping hot, especially when complemented with an ice cold Coke.

I'm not a huge fan of chicken though (it bores me), so I won't be getting many cravings for this. But judging by the huge drive-thru lines at a shop out here in South Carolina today, it looks like many Southerners are hooked.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

UAL Domestic First Class to Chicago

Chicken Caesar Salad

We were given two choices today: either the turkey wrap or the chicken Caesar salad. Since I hate wraps, the choice tonight was obvious. And I'm glad that I picked it. The chicken was huge, and it was surprisingly warm, moist, and tasty. The salad dressing was pre-made (and hence nowhere close to the "real" Caesar salad), but at least the lettuce was fresh. Wow - nice one on that.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Taco Bravo in Campbell, CA

A taco, tostada, and root beer

This taco stand at 1950 Bascom Avenue is always popular in the evenings for post-drinking grub. Like Roberto's in San Diego and Taco Shack in Austin, it is more American than Mexican, but it still does the job with its cheap tacos, tostadas, burritos, frijoles, etc. The thinly shredded cheese, tasty hot sauce, and crunchy shells in particular keep me coming back here.

Honestly, I still prefer Roberto's over Taco Bravo as it is greasier (and hence tastier). But given that Roberto's is largely confined to the San Diego area, Taco Bravo will have to do for times spent up here.

Gochi in Cupertino, California

From top: furufuki daikon, potato mentaiko, daikon sarada

One of my old faves in San Jose was an izakaya called Tanto, a very crowded place that, in my experiences at least, had better food than many izakaya in Japan. Well, it'd been years since I'd been there, and tonight, my friend recommended that we try a new spot called Gochi (19980 Homestead Road in Cupertino, 408-725-0542), which is run by one of the former chefs at Tanto. When I first arrived, I was a bit worried as the signs called the food "Japanese Fusion Tapas," which to me rang panic bells all over, especially considering how much I dislike fusion (and I'm not a big fan of modern Japanese either). But, with Tanto being one of my favorite places ever, I figured that "tapas" was maybe just an easy way to describe the little izakaya plates to a population accustomed to so many Spanish places up in SF. Fortunately, this place was indeed pretty good and close to Tanto.

A rice-based beer as well as Orion, an Okinawan beerAlthough the menu was a bit different, there were still quite a few of our old Tanto favorites here, including the daikon sarada, potato mentaiko, and gyutan shioyaki, and they were all largely prepared just as well as at Tanto (I would have liked the gyutan to be cut a bit thinner, but it was pretty well grilled like Tanto did though). They also had a ribeye with garlic flakes similar to Tanto's gariku suteki and just as tasty, although the meat had a few too many chunks of fat in it. Drinkwise, they had some of my favorite sake, including Oni Goroshi. We also picked up a bottle of Orion, an Okinawan beer, as well as some rice-based beer, which I originally expected to taste more sake-like due to its rice, but it ended up tasting just like most other beers.

From left: kare korokke, gyutan shioyaki

Some things that we ventured into though included the kare korokke (curry croquettes), which were surprisingly light and fluffy, as well as the yaki onigiri chazuke. The latter was an interesting but simple concept that I'm surprised no one ever really though of before: combine two popular Japanese closers, yaki onigiri and ochazuke, thus making a decently good dish, especially if you like crispy burnt rice). In addition, we grabbed the furufuki daikon, which, with its simple miso paste and sprouts was definitely not as exquisite as the one at Shiro, but it was also much much cheaper (US$5.50 here compared to S$18 or US$10.50 at Shiro).

Yaki Onigiri ChazukeSo in the end, this place was definitely worth the while, and, as with Tanto, still in many ways better than some places that I've been to in Japan. But if I had to choose between the two, I'd have still stick to Tanto. From what I can remember from four years ago, Tanto did an even better job of many of these already very-well-done dishes. I just hope that they haven't changed since they got more popular (apparently they have expanded to three locations now).

Tung Kee Noodle House

#2: Beef Sate Rice Stick - with the spoon fallen in

Ah yes - welcome to Tung Kee Noodle House, a local establishment since 1983 that apparently now simply calls itself "TK Noodle," and has expanded to 14 locations across the Bay Area, albeit mainly in San Jose. One might wonder why one would travel all the way to California to get a bowl of noodles when one lives among good bowls in Singapore already. The reason is because there are a couple dishes that are pretty unique, and definitely very tasty. My favorite is "number 2," or "Beef Sate Rice Stick," which features flat rice noodles in a very good sauce. It's a bit like satay sauce from Singapore in that it's peanuty, but it is definitely not as thick in consistency, nor is it sweet at all. Indeed, it tastes a bit more like a savory sa cha sauce from Taiwan rather than satay sauce from Singapore. The bowl also features thin slices of meat, shreds of cucumber, and basil, all combined into a bowl that you add a squeeze of lemon into for a killer yet refreshing taste. Yum.

Another cool thing they have here is a "combination crispy fried noodle" (number 23), where noodles are deep fried into a bed on top of which lie some random American chop suey-like veggies and corn starch-based sauce. This place also has a decent "combination rice stick soup" (number 1) with thin slices of meat, but when it comes to deep fried bits of pork fat, it still can't beat bak chor mee from Tai Wah Pork Noodle. That's why I'll stick to my "sate #2" here at Tung Kee.

#1: Combination Rice Stick Soup

#40: Soda ChanhIt doesn't sound too great when I describe it in words, especially since it sounds like an identity-crisis-type restaurant that I usually shun. I still can't figure this place out, actually. It is supposedly Teochew-style noodles, but there is a clear Vietnamese influence here (witness the soda chanh - number 40 - I got today), as well as the American-Chinese use of stir-fried broccoli and shrimp on top of the crispy fried noodles. And yes, in typical American-Vietnamese fashion, you order by number here ("I want a large number 2 and a number 40"), and then you pay up after you're finished by walking up to the counter and citing your table number (cash only, mind you, and with a "tips" jar conveniently placed there).

Despite all this, I still love that "sate #2." Today's bowl was a little too salty and a little less spicy than I remember it at its prime, but I sure haven't been able to find "sate #2" anywhere else in the world (I once got excited when I first got to Singapore and found a lady selling "satay noodles" in Tanjong Pagar market, only to find that it was the sweet satay sauce instead of my old favorite Tung Kee's number 2).

Monday, December 26, 2005

Champion Teppanyaki, Fremont

Slicing up shrimp

I've always hated Taiwanese localization of food, with the one exception of Taiwanese teppanyaki, which has usually been really good, be it done in Taipei or here in Silicon Valley. And I had pretty fond memories of when I came to this place about five years ago (46851 Warm Springs Blvd in Fremont, 510-770-0918).

But for some reason, tonight was a total bummer. The meal started with a number of Westernized plates, including a salad with some sort of mayonnaise dressing, lox sitting on a huge pile of onions, and "Russian" vegetable soup (sounds like Shashlik in Singapore?) with garlic bread. I didn't really care for any of these, but I was willing to sit through them in order to get to the main pieces of meat and bean sprouts that I remembered being so good. Unfortunately, even when we got to those, they were just so blah and boring. The seasoning was lacking, the sauces didn't help, and the fried rice was not the tasty grease bomb that I remembered.

Some bits left from my $24 Special Combination with Ribeye SteakWhat the heck happened to this place? Maybe it was just our chef, but this food was so bland and boring that it only reinforced my dislike for localized Taiwanese food rather than debunking it. Yuck. At least the ribeye was tender, but even the bean sprouts were boring. (On a quick side note, I heard that Kingswood in Cupertino has shut down.)

Taqueria La Bamba, Mountain View

Clockwise from bottom: Carnitas Plate, extra tortillas, a pupusa, and orchata

When one goes to California, one has to get Mexican food...or, in this case, Mexican food with a Salvadorean slant. This is one of my favorite places (2058 Old Middlefield Way, 650-965-2755), and I always liked it better than their more famous neighbor La Costena (the Mexican grocery store with the burrito bar in the back that was patronized by famous Silicon Valley titans like Jerry Yang of Yahoo for its cheap $3 burritos despite the billions of dollars to his name) as I was never a big fan of burritos. But La Bamba has a killer carnitas plate that I fall prey to, with its crispy bits of tasty pork fat yet without being greasy. Yum.

A Salvadorean dish they offer here is the pupusa, which is kinda like a small cheese & pork stuffed tortilla. But unlike quesadillas, these are fused whole and served with some pickled veggies underneath, all for only $1 each.

My favorite condimentsI also love the fresh radish, lime, and jalapeno garnishes at your disposal too, as well as the orchata rice drink. Mmm...this sure beats what we can get back in Singapore.

UAL Biz Class Breakfast with Boursin

Boursin cheese omelette with red pepper sauce, sauteed spinach, Canadian bacon, and fresh fruit

Mmm...I love Boursin cheese. And what do you know - today's breakfast was a "Boursin cheese omelette with red pepper sauce, sauteed spinach, Canadian bacon, and fresh fruit." And the omelette was done surprisingly well (much better than the crepe this morning). It was warm, mildly crispy on the edges, and of course, with that yummy Boursin cheese in the middle. Just as with dinner, I stayed away from the sauce; it just overpowered the natural taste of the cheese and the omelette.

UAL Biz Class Dinner: Cod

Sauteed herb shrimp, honey glazed ham, and zucchini, leek and feta cheese fritatta with an orange vinaigrette

Hey this was pretty good. The meal started with "sauteed herb shrimp, honey glazed ham, and zucchini, leek and feta cheese frittata with an orange vinaigrette," and unlike previous experiences with their shrimp, tonight's was decently fresh. I couldn't complain about the garlic ranch dressing on the salad either.

Herb-crusted cod fillet with fresh tomato basil sauce; orzo risotto with vegetables and stir-fried sugar snap peas

Next we moved onto the "herb-crusted cod fillet with fresh tomato basil sauce; orzo risotto with vegetables and stir-fried sugar snap peas." This was very impressively fresh and tender, while the orzo had a mildy lemon-y yet rich taste. Rock on - this was really good. It was so good that I didn't even bother with that tomato basil sauce - it just ended up overpowering the herbs on the cod. The peas were a bit soggy, but it didn't matter in light of how good the fish was. I'm glad I didn't order the usual filet mignon, which they usually offer every time on this trip (today's came in some "oven-roasted garlic sauce").

United Instant NoodlesA little Danish blue and gouda cheese to close the meal never hurt either. I also grabbed a bowl of instant "Chinese Noodles" later for a snack; they were a bit bland, but adding a little chili sauce helped.

UAL Biz Class Breakfast to HK

Scrambled eggs in crepe gratinee

Today's breakfast was "scrambled eggs in crepe gratinee: Mornay sauce, Parmesan cheese, bacon, and a spinach souffle with a fresh fruit appetizer." It wasn't quite what I was expecting as the scrambled eggs were pretty well packed into the crepe, and there wasn't much sauce or cheese that I could detect. But nonetheless, it was decently good, especially with the scallion slivers on top as well as the tomato. The bacon was pretty soggy and the spinach could have been a tad better, but I still ate both given my affinity to those things. It was a bit heavy though, which I find is a recurring theme in UAL biz class meals. But hey, I can't complain. This is airline food, after all.

Looking back at an old entry, I just realized that I had this before, although that was on a connecting flight via Japan. I guess UA serves the same breakfast menu out of Singapore to the US, regardless if you're going through HK or Japan.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Pho Hoa Singapore

Large J3 Tai Nam Gau

Pho Hoa is a big chain in the US, and we're fortunate enough to have a branch out here in Singapore (18 Lorong Mambong, 6467-3662). I find the light broth here much more satisfying than some of the other Vietnamese places around town. And this place has a great oily lemongrass chili sauce that is quite unique. It's too bad their goi cuon fresh rice paper rolls are so pathetically limp though - that's where Indochine comes in much better.

Goi CuonAnd in case anyone back in California is wondering how different Pho Hoa is out here, the broth is pretty much the same great taste we've come to love. They also apparently use the same marketing logos and bowls. The only differences are subtle: instead of California jalapenos, they give bits of a local red chili pepper (in addition to the lemongrass chili oil, which I believe is a bit unique to this shop in Holland V). I'm also having trouble finding soda chanh here (which I do miss), as they tend to provide the local lime juice so common across Singapore instead. But otherwise, Pho Hoa seems pretty consistent - broth-wise, anyway.

"Sichuan Flosss Supreme" at Bread Talk


Someone once mentioned to me that Bread Talk, a local chain of bakeries across the island, is a bit like the Krispy Kreme of Singapore. I suppose that is not far from the truth, although obviously the goods here have a more Asian taste to it. Today I noticed a sign promoting a "wickedly spicy Sichuan Flosss [sic] Supreme," which sounded interesting.

At first I was a bit dismayed by the appearance and the mildly sweet sauce sitting underneath the floss (BTW, "floss" is what they call this fluffy dry shredded pork stuff here - it's a revolting way to describe it, but it tastes much better than it sounds). It also wasn't "wickedly spicy" ("mildly spicy" is more like it), and it hardly had the numbingness of traditional Sichuan. But after digging into it, I was still pretty satisfied, as the roll underneath was light and airy with the right combination of sweet (a bit like King's Hawaiian bread) and savory flavors. I actually liked it enough that I almost went back for another one...and this is coming from a guy who normally doesn't eat too much bread.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Shiro Japanese Haute Cuisine

Sashimi Moriwase

Nasu DengakuShiro is a reservations-only place at 24 Greenwood Avenue (6462-2774), where ringing the doorbell is required for them to open the door from the inside for you (after which, they check your name at the door a bit akin to an A-list bouncer). I had never been here before, so I wasn't too sure if the food was going to be any good, but the mystique alone certainly piqued the curiosity enough to want to try it. Fortunately, the food pulled through in almost every way.

Gyu TatakiThey had prix fixe kaiseki deals here, but we went a la carte tonight, as there were quite a few things on the menu that looked really good. One was the kamo rosu-ni sliced duck, which is apparently a house special, and was done in thin tender slices with a nice mustard sauce to complement. The gyu tataki was done with wagyu beef, which of course made these thin slices of seared delight very tender (the wasabi and light dipping sauce went well with it too). The scoops of nasu dengaku eggplant with its delicately sweet miso was better done than at Nanjya Monjya. I was also impressed with the furufuki daikon, which was simply a stewed turnip vertically topped with a citrus sauce (and some sort of a greyish seaweed that looked almost like mold but was nearly tasteless). Then again, I'm a sucker for daikon of any kind; raw, stewed, what have you.

Gyutan no ShioyakiThe highlight of the meal for me though was the gyutan, which was full of the richness that grilled tongue usually provides, despite not exhibiting any grill marks like shioyaki should. But they go the extra mile here with mushrooms to be wrapped in the thin slices of gyutan and a pinch of ginger for a little extra kick. My eyes also lit up at the tastiness and freshness of the scallops in the sashimi moriwase.

Ebi TempuraWas there anything not to like? The shrimp used in the ebi tempura weren't as fresh as they could have been. The batter was very delicate though (as any top-notch place should make it), thus making this leagues beyond most places' tempura. But it still falls a bit short of Tenshin Tempura at the Regent. In addition, the broth in the nyu-men was a bit boring to me, but at least the thin flat noodles were tasty.

Furufuki DaikonIn a room so small with only a limited number of reservations-only tables, the service was impeccable, with plates being replaced constantly and instant attention at your beck-and-call. Of course, it's at kaiseki-like prices, so it's something one can only do a limited number of times in a lifetime, but it is worth it. This was indeed a really good meal.

Kaya Toast from Wah Yen

Kaya toast and teh

Check out all that butterThis place (23 Sin Ming Road #01-01) is interesting. Rather than using the usual sliced bread for kaya toast, these guys offer a thick French bread version with the crusts and all. And if that is not enough for you, check out the excessive butter that they load on these things - whoa. There is so much butter that it's nearly "juicy" inside (and it does taste good), but it's probably not the healthiest thing in the world; I could nearly feel my arteries clogging on the spot (then again, I'm the psycho who loves putting a stick of butter in his ramen, so I'm probably not one to talk).

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Tapas Tree, Clarke Quay

Paella Valenciana

Sangria, Chorizos Fritos, and GazpachoThis was a bit of a letdown. I had heard about this for a while, and I finally made it there tonight (Clarke Quay #01-08, 6837-2938). It was consistent, but it still fell short of Via Mar. It mainly came down to the quality of the ingredients and preparation: the chorizo, while greasy, lacked bite and just seemed like plain old sausages. The ham used on the tostadas was a bore, and the shrimp in the gambas al ajillo were not as fresh as they could have been. The paella was a bit mushier than I would have liked, and I prefer my gazpacho with more breadcrumbs - this was more tomato-ey.

ChurrosIn the end, it was all still very edible (and it's always fun to eat churros in chocolate), and the service was better than average. But next time, I'll definitely be hitting Via Mar instead. Even though I haven't had their paella yet, at least the tapas have proven themselves worthy.

Hae Bok's Korean Restaurant


Actually, there isn't much to say about this place (44-45 Tanjong Pagar Road, 6223-9003). The bulgogi (that they cooked in the back) was a bit dry and the kimchee was a bit boring. They had some interesting things like stuffed mushrooms but it was a bit greasy, while the raw fish in another dish were still practically frozen. Still, it wasn't so horrible that I won't come back - it was all still tasty overall, and I would like to try some of the other dishes. But I have yawned at a lot of these Korean restaurants in Singapore lately as they still seem not much better than a few places that I've found in food courts.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Oishi Japanese Pizza

Teriyaki Beef Pizza

Ugh. This just did not resonate with me. This place here in Singapore (9 Lock Road #02-01, 6555-5656) serves pizza but with Japanese ingredients (claiming to be famous in Japan), featuring things like wasabi seafood, Japanese curry chicken, and ika (squid) on pizza. It sounded a bit sketchy to me, but the convenience of home delivery was required tonight, so I made the call.

Although it looked interesting with its drizzled mayonnaise and nori & bonito flakes for toppings instead of cheese and chili peppers, the unagi and leek pizza just hit me in the face with that fishy taste - whoa. I guess I should have expected that knowing that it was unagi, but still, it was very unnatural to have a fishy taste on pizza (maybe because my brain is so accustomed to thinking of a more traditional pizza). Even though the teriyaki beef pizza (actually, it was ground beef) tasted much better, the fishy taste of the unagi just ruined the entire thing for me. The delivery service didn't make things any better: they told me on the phone that they would require 45-60 minutes; the delivery guy took 1 hour and 40 minutes, took cash only, and then didn't have small change to give me (thus forcing him to run down to the convenience store to get change). Yuck. I don't think I'm ordering from these guys again - I'll stick to Sarpino's.

That's really too bad. With the one exception of Mos Burger, I've found Japanese localization to usually produce food that is in many ways even better than the original: witness ramen/chahan/gyoza, Japanese curry, and yakiniku. I guess Mos Burger and Oishi Pizza stay off that list for me - ugh!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

SQ's Iranian Chicken and Lamb Kofta Kebabs

Iranian chicken and lamb kofta kebabs with sweet and sour Barberry rice

Hey this was a lot better than I thought it would be. The "Iranian chicken and lamb kofta kebabs with sweet and sour Barberry rice" platter is available via the Book the Cook program - but I think only out of Dubai, so I made sure to order this. It didn't look like much when it first came out with that sauce drizzled on it, but then later I realized that - hey - that ground kofta kebab meat is like my favorite kubideh! Granted, it wasn't Shamshiri or Shabestan (and no, the little onions and tomatoes were not grilled on a fire), but for airplane food, this was impressive. The chicken wasn't too dry either, and the rice wasn't too fruity or anything - and of course it was nice to add some butter to it. It's too bad this isn't available on all SQ flights.

Gravadlax with gherkin and new potatoes

The starter tonight was "gravadlax with gherkin and new potatoes," which was decently fresh too, and a refreshing starter to have after all these kebabs lately.

A Shawarma off Al Rigga Road, Dubai


Just before leaving for the airport, I went for a walk down Al Rigga and found a shop on the street called Beirut that had ridiculously small shawarma sandwiches for only 4 Dirham (US$1). Since they were really cheap and small (you could wolf one down in less than a minute), I grabbed one just as a "taster." It didn't look too promising at first glance – not only since it was chicken, but also since it had no veggies in it (unlike those doner kebaps off the streets of Berlin). But I was a bit surprised when taking a bite as a burst of nearly stinging garlic mayo erupted into my mouth. This made it taste much better than I thought it would be, although I suppose anything with garlic is going to taste good (like snails – ha ha).

Shawarma SandwichThey also shoved French fries into this thing for a bit of a crispy texture. Well, this isn't healthy by any means (and yeah, the garlic was a bit excessive), but I can see why one would want one of these after a drinking session.