Tony Johor Kaki Travels for Food · Heritage · Culture · History

Travel, people & food storyteller with 63 million+ reads since 2012 🇸🇬 johorkaki@gmail

Minca Ramen Factory in NYC New York

After trying the midnight ramen at Takashi, I suddenly wanted to try other famous ramen joints in New York ;-p

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The name Minca ramen kept coming up in discussions among locals in the know about the City's best and value for money ramen.

History of General Tso's Chicken & Where to Eat it in NYC New York 左宗棠雞

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General Tso's chicken 左宗棠雞 is on the menu of most Chinese restaurants in the USA. General Tso's is quintessentially American; it is not found in restaurants outside of USA (not in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore or anywhere else).


Battered chicken cubes deep fried and bathed in a starchy sweet, salty, sour and sometimes spicy sauce with blanched broccoli side and eaten with steamed white rice.

Peter Luger Steak House, Brooklyn NYC New York

Peter Luger Steak House.

To many New Yorkers, this over 100 year old steak house established in 1887 is the City's best.

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The One Michelin Star steak house is renowned for their Porterhouse Steak. The steak comes with a T bone - on one side the premium New York strip (fillet) and the other the tenderloin.


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Peter Luger Steak House has been here near the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn for 127 years.

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The line at opening time on Sunday lunch. It is best to make a reservation at least a couple of weeks ahead.



Based on casual observation while at the restaurant, tourists make up a substantial portion of Peter Luger's customers.

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Inside Peter Luger there were several dining sections, all well appointed with lots of wood furnishings, panels and flooring, though nothing overly opulent. With lots of windows, the restaurant is quite bright during the day.

The dress code states coat for gentlemen but I did see some customers in more casual clothes. Peter Luger is a cash only establishment.

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We requested for (what else?) Peter Luger's famed Porterhouse Steak (for two), USD89 (before tax and tips).

Peter Luger uses hand picked USDA prime beef and age their steaks in their own dry-aging room in the restaurant's basement. The number of days of aging a Peter Luger steak is a trade secret. No marinade is used to cook the steak. The steaks are just seasoned with a sprinkle of salt and given splashes of clarified butter after broiling.

There were some comments online that the level of service at Peter Luger was sometimes below expectations. I am glad that our waiter Armand was all smiles and his attentiveness added much to our enjoyment :-D

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Our medium rare Porterhouse Steak - seared on the outside while the inside was pink and dripping crimson juices.

The steak come sizzling in clarified butter and pre-sliced in thick chunks.



The choice New York strip (fillet) was oh so marshmallow tender and dripping with natural savoury sweet beefy juices. The slight crisp and smokiness from the seared outside and charred edges added layers of flavour and texture to the steak.

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The tenderloin was tender though firmer than the New York strip, was just as enjoyable.

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I love dipping the pieces of steak in this golden blend of clarified butter and beefy juices. It's added more layers of savouriness to the steak enhancing it's already great flavours.

I enjoyed the steak very much. It's one of the best that I have tasted.

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The steak was served with Peter Lugers' own signature sauce. It was a blend of savoury, sweet and tangy, and served chilled. I didn't use the sauce much (beyond tasting it) because I prefer to taste the natural flavours in my steak.

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We also tried the sizzling thick-cut Canadian bacon appetiser.

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Thick, moist, the pork belly meat was firm and intensely savoury.

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A bit of Peter Luger's slightly tangy sauce balances the bacon's savouriness. This appetiser is a full meal for small eaters 😄



Peter Luger is near the Brooklyn end of the Williamsburg Bridge and just a stone's throw from the Marcy Ave subway station.

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Peter Luger is right across Broadway Ave from Weylin B. Seymour's event hall in the imposing restored Williamsburg Saving's Bank building.

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We took the J Train to Brooklyn from Manhattan. It was very convenient and the ride took about 20 minutes.

Next time, the Peter Luger burger which was named the best burger in New York City 2014 by Zagat.


Restaurant name: Peter Luger Steak House

Address178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NYC New York
Maphttp://bit.ly/PeterLugers
Hours: 10:45 am – 10:45 pm
Tel(718) 387-7400



Date visited: 28 Dec 2014 (Sunday)





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Cinnamon Snail Food Truck in NYC New York (Donuts)

Cinnamon Snail Food Truck is the winner of the Vendy Cup for Best Food Truck in New York City in 2014.

So, I had to track them down and try out their food ;-D

Finding the Cinnamon Snail truck is easy - just check out their Facebook Page, Twitter or give them a telephone call to ask for their current location.

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Today, the Cinnamon Snail truck was near the junction of 14th Street and 3rd Avenue in East Village in Manhattan.

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Lots of locals and tourists were out to enjoy the beautiful weather.

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The people manning the Cinnamon Snail truck were enthusiastic, friendly and as bright and cheery as the sun on this sunny December Saturday.

I tried only the vegan donuts at USD2 each. Cinnamon Snail also serves other cakes and pastries as well as cooked food like tofu and tempeh (soy bean cakes) sandwiches and burgers.

Lots more in the extensive menu and everything on Cinnamon Snail's menu is vegan and organic.

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Both the small donuts were dense, doughy, pasty and slightly moist. The flavours come mainly from the sugary icing.

Though I personally didn't enjoy the donuts, there were some rave reviews on the web - so, you have to try it for yourself to see if it is for you.

Next time, Cinnamon Snail sandwiches and burgers.

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Restaurant name: Cinnamon Snail Food Truck

Address: Check FB | Twitter | Phone: 862-246-6431 for location
Map: Check FB | Twitter | Phone: 862-246-6431 for location
Hours: Thurs: 11:00 pm - 8:00 pm | Fri - Weds: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Date visited: 27 Dec 2014


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NY Dosas in NYC New York Washington Square Park

Johor Kaki Facebook fan Murugesh tipped me off about a dosa food cart in New York City and suggested that I give it a try. Thank you, Murugesh ;-D

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NY Dosas truck is located at Washington Square Park at the junction of West 4th Street and Sullivan Street. It's just a stone's throw from New York University (NYU).

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So, on a beautiful Boxing Day morning I walked 30 minutes from the Financial District to Washington Square Park. It was a surprisingly bright and sunny December day, so the walk was a breeze.

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The park honours George Washington, the USA's first President.

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The Washington Memorial Arch, made of marble, was built in 1892.




Washington Square Park is a little idyllic oasis in the electric City of New York. The City is dotted with little neighbourhood parks like this, plus one giant green lung, the legendary Central Park.



A great day doesn't need to be complicated or expensive. It just takes quality time playing fetch with your best friend.

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The park flows with beautiful, inspired creative energy.

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Children can have a lot of fun without going to expensive commercial theme parks.

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I spotted NY Dosas food cart easily.

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NY Dosas is run by Thiru Kumar.

Thiru hails from Sri Lanka and had worked as a driver and mechanic in NYC before starting NY Dosas in 2001. That was 13 years ago.

Thiru was never in the food business. With just experience in his kitchen at home and his grandmother's recipes, Thiru just winged it and gave it his best shot. All that hard work and perseverance is paying off. NY Dosas won the Vendy Awards for the best food cart in NYC in 2007. Food writers from out of state and from as far as France, UK, China and Japan sought him out. Thiru's daughter is now studying in Ivy League Columbia University in New York City.

It's a classic American immigrant success story.

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NY Dosas serves sadha dosa, rava dosa, masala dosa, uthappam and Thiru's own creation, the Pondicherry Dosa. Every dosa is freshly made personally by Thiru in that tiny cart. 

NY Dosas' menu is vegan (all plant and vegetable ingredients only).

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Thiru making a Pondicherry Dosa which is a lentil and rice crepe filled with curried potatoes and fresh vegetables like lettuce, onions and carrots.

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Thiru is proud of everything he serves and is always smiling.

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My Styrofoam box of dosa, uthappam, sambar, chutney and samosa looked like a colourful Christmas present.

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Enjoying NY Dosas like a local on a park bench and didn't realise that I was joined by these buddies until I saw this picture.

I don't mind ;-D

I had to eat pretty fast as the food cooled down fast at 5º C outside temperature.

I love it that Thiru's dosas are made with fresh ingredients and not greasy at all. NY Dosas serves vegan food only. It's a healthful option. Thiru also gives customers options of levels of spiciness - just let Thiru know how much sting you like on your tongue ;-p  I told Thiru that I am from Singapore and he knows how much we like our food super hot as he has family in our sunny island ;-D

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I love this huge samosa (USD2) choked full of mildly spicy curried potatoes and some peas. It's perfect for pick up and go.

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Restaurant name: NY Dosas
Address: T-junction of West 4th Street & Sullivan Street (at Washington Square Park), NYC, New York
Hours: 11.00 am to 4.00 pm (Closed on Sunday)
Tel9177102092

Date visited: 26 Dec 2014

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Singapore Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner BLD Picks #1

I am often asked to suggest where to eat in Singapore and JB (Johor Bahru). Johor Kaki's archive has grown a little bloated and readers ask for some help in sifting through the pile.

I am listening ;-D

So, I've come up with occasional BLD quick picks to narrow the options a little, to make deciding a little easier.

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The BLD quick picks have no particular theme, just whatever flavour of the month that catches my fancy for the moment ;-D  You know, the way many of us decide at a restaurant or food centre.

Here it is, the first of Johor Kaki's occasional BLD quick picks. More quick BLD picks coming up ;-D

(Note: Clicking the photo takes you to the full details of the respective eatery.)

Breakfast

Yap Kee Wanton Mee 葉记全蛋云吞面

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Yap Kee Wanton Mee | Holland Drive Food Centre, 44 Holland Drive, #02-04 | 6:30am to 2:00pm

Slender blonde angel hair whole egg noodles, tender yet has a core that resists slightly before breaking softly to the bite. Old school blended sauce of soy, oil and lard that barely coats the noodles, allowing us to taste the noodle's egginess along with the sauce's savouriness and aroma.

Ru Ji Kitchen Handmade Fish Ball 如记小厨

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Ru Ji Kitchen | 44 Holland Dr, Holland Drive Food Centre | Hours: 6:30am to 1:00pm (Closed Monday)

Ru Ji hand makes their ping pong size fish balls that are tender capsules of delicate Yellow Tail fish flavours and aromas. Eaten with broad egg noodles or mee pok 面薄 which the boss expertly cooks by flash boiling to impart that just right, still alive texture to the noodles. (Yes, I believe that there is such a thing as dead noodles, tortured by slow boiling and murdered by drowning.)

Lunch

Yan Ji Wei Wei Seafood Soup 炎记威威食品

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Yan Ji Wei Wei Food Stall | Blk 4A #02-11 Woodlands Centre Road Food Centre | Hours: 11:00am to 4:00pm (Closed Mondays)

Large fresh prawns, small cakes of tender pork mince, snow white nuggets of dory in a savoury broth. The seafood soup is round bodied, rich, deep, layered, and balanced with juicy sweet tart tomatoes. There are crayfish and pomfret fish options which I found equally delicious. Widely copied in all corners of the island, this stall in Singapore's far north is where it all started.

Lau Ah Tee Bak Kut Teh 老亚弟肉骨茶

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Lau Ah Tee Bak Kut Teh | Blk 34, Whampoa West, #01-67 | Hours: 7:00am to 3:00pm

Old school bak kut teh or literally "meat bone tea" prepared in the classic Teochew style with just prime pork rib, garlic halves, pepper and water. Just the right natural flavour in the meaty firmness and tenderness of the pork and fat.

Dinner

Liang Kee Teochew Restaurant 亮记餐馆

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Liang Kee Teochew Restaurant | Blk 34, Whampoa West, #01-27 | Hours: 11.30am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm

Liang Kee serves many excellent Teochew classics but do call ahead at (+65) 62977789 to reserve your Teochew Double Shell Cold Crab. It's a steamed moulting crab served chilled and the coveted part is the soft shell emerging from under the hard outer shell. The texture is similar to but a little stiffer than salted egg white, and the flavour is briny and naturally sweet.

Serenity Spanish Bar & Restaurant

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Serenity Spanish Bar & Restaurant | 391 Orchard Road, #05-32 Ngee Ann City Takashimaya Shopping Centre | Hours: 11.30am to 10pm

Serenity serves many Spanish signatures like paellas and sangrias but I suggest also booking a Spanish Suckling Pig at (+65) 62359989. The golden brown skin is paper thin and crackly crisp reminding me of that caramelised sugar crust on a creme brulee. (I exaggerate but you get the idea ;-p ). The flesh is tender, fine and moist like roast chicken. The fibres are deeply infused with finely balanced savoury and naturally sweet porcine flavours.

Carpe Diem (Seize the day).

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