Category: Lists

10 Must Eats in Sabah, Borneo

As you may have seen from my instagram feed, we have been relaxing and enjoying a fabulous vacation on the beautiful island of Borneo. Borneo is famed for its luscious rain-forests, wildlife, and monkeys, but it also has some incredible food. While our time was short and we didn’t get to try as many dishes as we would have liked, we were lucky to have more than enough to make a top ten.

1. Satay – Satay is probably one of Malaysia’s most famous dishes, and for very good reason, it’s bloody delicious! You can find good satay pretty much everywhere but we were lucky enough to have our resort’s head chef prepare some us specially. The delicious little sticks of meat, usually chicken or beef, are cooked with handful of spices and lemongrass and then barbecued to give them their unique flavour. They are then served with a scrummy dipping sauce usually made with coconut and peanuts among other things.

2. Butter Tiger Prawns – Tiger prawns are a specialty in Sabah, because they are found locally. They also grow to a humungous size, thanks to the great conditions of the Mengkabong river.  We tried them two ways, wet and dry. While the wet sauce was absolutely divine, it did make them very hard to eat if you didn’t want to spit out the shells. I have no idea what the etiquette of eating them is, but I preferred to get my hands messy and de-shell them before eating them.

3. Sota – At both of our fantastic hotels, they offered Sota for breakfast which was a delicious local noodle dish. A selection of different noodles were available then we added the different vegetables and meats. If you are fan of noodle soups then you are sure to want to give this Indonesian classic one a try.

4. Nasi Goreng- This fried rice dish is again one the most popular dishes to eat and you should come across it in many varieties, usually served with crackers and topped with a fried egg. This can be eaten anywhere from street food stalls to high end restaurants.

5. Tuaran Mee – Tuaran Mee is Sabah’s signature noodle dish, so you can’t leave the area without giving this fried noodle dish a try. We were lucky enough to be able to make them during our cooking class it is made from egg noodles, shrimp or chicken, and stir fried vegetables. Again we found this pretty much everywhere we went and never turned down an opportunity to eat it.

6. Soft Shell Crabs – Soft shell crabs are always one of my favourite things to eat although they aren’t so popular in England where I am from. So when I found out that they are one of the specialties at the Welcome Seafood restaurants in Kota Kinabalu, I was very eager to give them a try. There were delightfully small and I think we all know how I feel about deep fried anything. A huge pile came with a sweet and sour dipping sauce and were the perfect snack while we supped a few afternoon beers.

7. Bajaus Coffee and Teacakes – This is not widely available but if you get the chance to take a tour down the Mengkabong river to visit the Bajaus ‘sea gypsy’ village then you do not want to miss out on trying their delicious sweet rich coffee and little fried pancakes. We also had a sweet young coconut to refresh us. Click here to see a full video of our amazing experience along the river.

8. Tuhau Fried Chicken – If there is one dish that is found in abundance in Borneo, it’s fried chicken. Man I thought South Korea loved its chicken shops but that was before I came to KK, there is one on practically every street corner. There are many different varieties, but we were lucky enough to find a local Tuhau version. Not too dissimilar to the Korean one as the chicken is cut into small pieces, bones included, battered and deep fried. It seemed extra dry and and extra crispy, we ate ours with a side of sambal which was the the perfect spicy dipping sauce.

9. D’Place – If you want to try a whole host of local Sabah food then the buffet at D’Place is not to be missed. They have an incredible range of meat dishes, curries, sides, salads, sauces and desserts all of which make great use of the local produce. Some of the dishes we tried wrapped red barrio rice, wild mango chicken, fried basung fish, sago, and stir fried Borneo fern leaves with garlic. The food was full of flavour and unlike anything I’ve ever tried before. We were even lucky enough to catch the dance show which happens each evening. The menu changes daily, but you wont be disappointed, especially as it only cost around $10 per person.

10. Butod – One of the most famous local specialties are the little wiggly wormy sago grubs. We had heard about these babies throughout our trip and finally got to face our fears when we visited D’Place who actually have a tank filled with them. After seeing them up close and personal I had to wimp out. Sorry guys, but they were still alive and I just couldn’t.  Most people eat them raw but they also offered as a pizza topping, but even that wasn’t enough to persuade me to give them a try.

Seoul’s Best Burger

Move over Fashion week, it is time for Seoul’s most important event, American Burger Week! Well technically it’s burger fortnight. From April 14th –  28th, 13 of Seoul’s burger restaurants will be participating in the special event which is being hosted by the US Beef Council. The restaurants involved are Gony’s, Gilbert’s Burger & Fries, NY B&B, The Melting Pot, Devils door, Rye Post, Meat & Bun, Burger B, Say cheese, Itaewon the Burger, Kinders, Firebell, and Fingertips. I’m told that all the restaurants in question use American beef and will be running promotions and giveaways for the two weeks. Now I  haven’t been to all of the restaurants in question,  but I have been to a fair few, some I was in love with, some not so much. So as it’s burger week and all, I thought I would use this opportunity to list my favourite places in Seoul to get a burger.

1. Itaewon the Burger – This baby while still quite new is absolutely top of my list, number one because the burgers are flame grilled hunks of deliciousness but also because it’s in my neigbourhood. There are two burgers that I love here. The Big Double Burger (12,900) which includes two meat patties, bacon and cheese, or the Avocadict burger (13,800), which includes a mountain of avocado, a beef patty, cheese, bacon, pickles, special sauce, lettuce and tomato. The prize for number one probably has to go to the Big Double, as the Avocadict although delicious fails at being a burger slightly by being so impossible to eat.

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2. NY B&B – This place is my Gangnam go to. Again this place is fairly new, but they have really came up with some awesome homemade burgers. The Wasabi Burger (11,500) is probably my favourite. This delight is topped with Pepper Jack cheese, grilled onion, shiitake mushroom, and wasabi mayo. As much as I love wasabi I was first a little skeptical about this meaty treat but it has ended up being my favourite on their menu. The menu is pretty large, so there is something for everyone. Special mentions for the Once in a Bleu Moon and the Bubba Gump which were both pretty good too.

3. Gony’s – Gony’s is a new comer to me and I was kinda torn between this one and Gilbert for third place but I decided to give Gony’s the edge because they also serve a mean chicken burger and that is pretty hard thing to find in Seoul. On the beef front the Bacon Cheeseburger (9,800) is pure perfection and everything you are looking for in a good old fashioned burger.

4. Gilbert’s Burgers & Fries – Gilbert’s always serves a good burger and they have quite a few locations too, making it the most accessible on the list. My favourite burger on their menu is the 5oz Gilbert (10,500). This one is topped with American cheese, red onion, tomato, lettuce, bacon, fried egg, and a homemade sauce. As you can see from above the egg yolk oozes out of the side of the burger which really gets my motor running and adds an extra richness to the burger.

5. WinK – Last place on this list goes to WinK who have been making some really solid burgers for the past year. I’m kinda torn when it comes to choosing my favourite though. I adore The Mega Burger (14,000), which has everything but the kitchen sink on it but it really works. Inside the buttered bun is a 150g whole beef patty, pulled pork, several kinds of cheese, egg, avocado, lettuce onions, tomato, and mayo. However I’m also partial to the brand new Mushroom & Emmental burger (11,500), which I tried on my last brunch visit. So I guess it depends on whether you like mushrooms or not.

Do you agree or disagree? Have I missed out your favourite? Please comment below with your thoughts about Seoul’s best burger.  For more details about Korea Burger Week  check out their website. For full reviews and directions of the restaurants please click the links above.

10 must eats in Siem Reap

If you have been following my Instagram account then you will know that for the past week or so I’ve been living in up in Cambodia. I have have spent the past week and half eating everything in site while sunning myself in the gorgeous Pavillion D’Orient Hotel in Siem Reap. If you’ve never visited the home of Angkor Wat before, then you should know that this place is filled to the brim with all kinds of delicious treats and that Khmer cuisine has been seriously over looked in favour of its neighbours’. The best part about Cambodian food is that it is insanely affordable, everything is at most a third of the price that it is in Seoul, if not cheaper. So for that alone it makes the perfect holiday destination.

1 – Fire Ants – When researching what to eat in Siem Reap, I came across many recommendations for Marum Restaurant which is a profit free place dedicated to helping the local community by training their staff how to cook. One of their most famous dishes is the Spicy Beef with Fire Ants ($6.60), a delicious stir fried beef dish which is strewn with crispy ants. This dish was scrumptious and I wasn’t at all creeped out eating ants, you can have it by itself or add a side of rice to make it a meal. They also have a fab happy hour from 4pm-7pm which we took full advantage of while enjoying their lovely garden setting.

2 – Noodle Soup – I adore a big bowl of noodle soup which regular readers will know about from my tonkotsu ramen obsession. The Khmer noodle soup is slightly different from its other Asian counterparts but no less delicious.  A huge bowl of tasty broth is filled with thick handmade noodles and garnished with fresh herbs, chillies and lime. This particular bowl was served as  part of the breakfast at the  60s inspired Viroth Hotel. The meatballs inside were a bit on the strange side, but he noodles were incredible and I happily scarfed down a bowl each morning.

3 – Lok Lak– Beef Lok lak is one of Cambodias most famous dishes,  and you will see it on virtually every menu in the city. The beef dish comes served with salad for you to eat alongside the meat. The meal is then either rounded our with rice or with french fries. This dish is from Our favourite cheap eatery The Red Angkor. A brother and sister team own the place and always give a warm welcome while serving incredibly tasty food at rock bottom prices. Nothing on the menu costs over $4 and this Lok Lak was a mere $2.50 they also offer 50 cent beers which pretty much guaranteed that we visited the place frequently throughout our trip.

4 – BBQ Skewers – Another dish that you must try in Cambodia is their BBQ. Not that different to the style we have here in Korea, but the meat selection is usually a wee bit more adventerous. We unfortunately didn’t have time to to make it a meal and have the full shebang but we did enjoy these fantastic Beef Skewers ($3) at the Khmer Grill. Yes, that’s right, they were a dollar a piece. The chunks of beef were sandwiched between slices of carrot, onion and paprika, cooked on the outdoor bbq and served with a lime and pepper dip. Suffice to say, it was three dollars very well spent!

5 – Amok Curry – The amok curry is probably the other most famed Cambodian dish. We tried a couple of varieties during the course of our trip, including one served in a coconut. The curry itself is very mild, and those who enjoy Thai curries may want to amp up the flavour a little. This is a version that we made in our cooking class at Phum Baitang which was filled with the snake fish we had bought at the local market. Again this is a dish you can expect to see on menus everywhere, there are also versions with chicken and pork if you don’t like fish.

6 – Fresh Juice & Smoothies – Cambodia is filled to the brim with delicious fresh fruits and veggies, you only need to take a look around the local markets to see the bounty of fresh produce available and many of the newer western restaurants are taking advantage of this to make refreshing fruit juices and smoothies. We came across several Balinese-type, healthy places which along with drinks had a variety of dishes catering to vegans, vegetarians and those with dietary restrictions. The juices at ARTillery Cafe were some of our favourites, and it was conveniently located right next to our hotel. Pictured is the Ginger Aid and Mango Madness ( both $3).

7 – Chicken cashew – We enjoyed this dish in virtually every restaurant we went to, as it is a pretty much a favourite of mine and TFBs in South East Asia. The cream of the crop of these cashew chicken dishes  was at the New Leaf Eatery for $6. Other than the Red Angkor this was probably our favourite place to eat. It’s another non profit restaurant and the food was just incredible. It was one of the few places we ate western food too, their steak baguette was knock out and well worth a try if you are in the mood for a sandwich.

8 – Frog – Kermit and his loved ones are a pretty popular dish on the menus of Khmer cuisine, and find them cooked in a variety of different ways. We tried this spicy stir fried version at the Khmer Grill ($3), but you can also get them deep fried. This was my first time eating frog, and I have to say it’s just a lot like a tiny chicken wing. If you really want to go crazy, some of the street stalls serve tarantula, cockroach, lizard, and snakes for 50 cents a piece. I couldn’t bring myself to try them though, it made be shudder every time I gazed upon those deep fried cockroaches. I know that’s lame as hell for a food blogger but I just didn’t have the stomach for it.

9 – Rice Soup (Bawbaw) –  Of all the new dishes that I tried the Bawbaw was probably top of my list. Similar to the Khmer noodles, the broth is full of rice, rice noodles, meal and veggies. It is a little similar to Vietnamese pho, but in a totally different way. The broth is so simple and clean, yet studded with flavour. If I was feeling sick this would be my absolute go to soup. At our beautiful hotel Pavillion D’Orient they served this bowl of magical goodness for breakfast though they also had it on their restaurant menu for ($5) and it is an absolute must try.

10 – Angkor Beer & Nuts – You cant leave Cambodia without trying the local beer and there are two varieties, Angkor beer and Cambodia beer, TFB preferred the Angkor and I tend to agree with him. The beers can be purchased for as little as 50 cents on draft and about 60 cents a can in the supermarket. When buying a beer in a bar you’ll also be given a bowl full of nuts that are seasoned with chili, lime leaves and garlic. Those babies are insanely addictive and I even took to buying extra beers just so I could eat the nuts. I am going to have to have a go at recreating these myself because I have already eaten my way through the humble supply I bought before I left. If anyone is in Cambodia right now, I’ll love you forever if you bring me back a bag or two!

Cornwall’s best Eats!

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If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know how fond I am of travelling. I have written and shared articles about almost all of my travels over the years, but I have yet to write anything about Cornwall. Although I didn’t grow up there, that acolade belongs to Somerset, I have spent years going there ever since my parents moved there in my late teens. After London, Cornwall is one of the best locations in the country for foodies. Not only is it filled with beautiful beaches and country side it’s got dozens of fantastic restaurants and world renowned chefs. In most south west corner of the UK there are hundreds of delicous things to eat but these are the five that I believe shouldn’t be missed. (more…)

7 under 7,000 won

Finding great cheap food in this city is actually pretty damn easy, most Korean food won’t really run you over 10,000 if you don’t want anything too fancy, some rice, veggies, and a little meat will always fall into this budget, but finding great foreign foods for under that figure is fraught with a little bit more difficulty. But just because you have the budget of a pauper, doesn’t mean you can’t eat like a king. Below are my favourite 7 under 7,000 won, the best economical eats in Seoul.

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