Review: Tuck Kee @ Ipoh

Ipoh is a foodie haven, and there are many decades-old institutions in town – like Tuck Kee, a famous noodle house along Jalan Yau Tet Shin, which has been in operation since 1963 (Not to be confused with Sun Tuck Kee a couple of doors away, and also the Tuck Kee in Taman Hoover which serves roasties).

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Basic and no-frills, the resto’s decor is typical of Chinese kopitiams – very much a dine-and-dash kind of place. Specialising in wat tarn hor (stir-fried flat noodles in an egg drop sauce/soup) and moonlight kuey teow (same but topped with an egg), it is a popular dinner spot with local families as much as tourists. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the wat tarn hor, but it was tasty – full of wok hei (breath of fire) and well flavoured. Can’t say I’m a big fan though, but that’s just me.

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Another one of their popular dishes is the boiled baby octopus (RM18). The price is pretty steep, and the portion is not that big either, but you’ll be rewarded with springy, chewy pieces of baby octopi, drizzled in a light soy sauce and fragrant fried shallots.

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Giant pork balls are among the new offerings on the menu. Had a nice bite to it, and no overwhelmingly porky smell.

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Another new offering – featuring the same egg drop sauce, but with fish paste shaped into ‘noodle’ strands.

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You can also order fried gyoza from the stall across the road !

TUCK KEE 

61, Jalan Yau Tet Shin, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak

Opening hours: 5PM – 2AM (Daily)

We Ate At A Random Resto In Tokyo : Out-Of-This-World Gyoza + Fatty Hotpot

Tokyo is home to an abundance of eateries, and it’s not unusual to stumble upon a hidden gem while walking through a narrow alleyway at night. Like this one:  

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Heavy on the tech noir feels.

I must be the worst food/travel blogger ever, because I snapped pictures of the place thinking it’d be easy to find later on Google Maps.

How. Utterly. Mistaken.  

Googling the few Romanised shop signs in the area yielded no results, but after much sleuthing, I managed to find the resto we dined at through the Street View function – I still dunno what it’s called because the sign is in Japanese, but it’s at the same row as An-Deux Kitchen (アンドゥーズキッチン) in Shimbashi.

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Store front. If anyone reads Japanese, I’d greatly appreciate if you could tell me what the name is!

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The menu was designed to look like a broadsheet newspaper, complete with ‘ads’ promoting special items. There were some pictures, but everything else was in Japanese, so we let Ken-san do the ordering. For appetisers, there was a spicy fish roe of some sort, served in a bamboo wicker tray. It was spicy and salty with an almost overwhelmingly fishy taste – might not be the best dish to order if you’re not familiar with pungent dishes.

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I think these were cream cheese cubes with a fermented bean sauce. Surprisingly addictive!

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The pork gyoza was served in a sizzling deep-dish pan, shaped like a blooming flower. Despite being quite oily, it did not feel greasy or cloying. The skin had perfect crispness, enveloping each gyoza’s juicy, meaty insides. Easily the star of the night!

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Ken-san said this is a local specialty – hotpot with very fatty pork. If you’re a fan of fatty pork then this will be right up your alley. I liked the pork, but not the massive amount of kow choi (chives) in it. After you’re done with the pork, they add tonkotsu (pork bone broth) into the pot and a round of ramen so you can enjoy the noodles with the soup.

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The soup was very hearty and comforting, and I liked the chewy, fatty pork. Not so much a fan of chives, and you know how chives can be – the flavour permeates through everything.

Ken-san ordered way too much ramen and we were practically rolling out of the door by the end of dinner.. but yeah. If you’re in the Shimbashi neighbourhood, look out for this resto ! The gyozas are to die for. Address below is the one for An-Deux Kitchen; the resto is just a few steps away.

Address: 〒105-0004 Tokyo, Minato City, 9, 新橋2-9-14三浦ビル3F

 

Review: Osaka Ohsho, SM Megamall – Good Gyoza, Terrible “Flying Noodles”

On my last night in Manila, N and I went to SM Megamall in Ortigas for some shopping and dinner. I was craving for some soba, but the first Japanese resto we went to didn’t serve any, so ended up at this place called Osaka Ohsho.

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Founded in the Osaka region of Japan (hence the name), the franchise is popular in its native Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea and Singapore, and has since added the Philippines to its repertoire. It boasts a warm, casual dining ambience and cosy Japanese-themed decor.

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Despite being only moderately packed, our orders took more than half an hour to arrive. Improvements can be done with the service.

Now, there’s a reason for my blog title, lol. Let’s start with the good stuff – their gyoza, also their specialty. There are several types on offer, including traditional ones and flavours with a twist such as bacon/cheese and truffle. We opted for the latter, which came in a serving of six for PHP280 (RM22).

It was good. I’d give it an 8/10. Crisp, slightly translucent skin enveloped a generous amount of filling within, topped with a distinct aroma of truffle. It embodied what good gyoza should be: Crunchy on the outside, juicy and succulent on the inside. Now, if I had only been eating this, I would have no complaints, but my grouse is with the two mains.

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They were having a promotion with seasonal dishes called ‘Flying Noodles’, and since I was craving soba, I ordered one with black squid ink and fried ebi tempura. I specifically asked the server if there was a chilled light broth for dipping. And he said yes. He must not have understood me because what came was an inky black concoction made of squid ink. I was under the impression that only the noodles were made from squid ink, and not the sauce. That would have been fine if it tasted good, but it was not so, as I would find out shortly.

Do not be fooled by its beautiful presentation. I’d give this a -100. That’s how bad it was. There was basically nothing good about the dish, other than the tempura, its only saving grace.

Since soba is tasteless, what really makes or breaks the dish is the dipping sauce. The squid ink sauce was TERIBBLE. It was like drinking salt. Pointed it out to the server and she told me it was like that (??) pls don’t give me that. I’ve eaten plenty of squid ink pastas before and nothing comes close to how bad it was. I ate two bites of the soba and left the sauce untouched after that first dip. It was extremely frustrating as a paying customer to shell out this much money for substandard, sub par food.

PS: I looked up reviews by bloggers on the Internet, singing praises about the noodles. I’m just like ??? Is it me? Maybe it’s me? But then I’ve eaten at a relatively modest number of nice Japanese establishments in my life and I’ve never come across something as bad as this before. So maybe it isn’t me? 

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At least N’s “Special Fuwatoro Tenshin Han” was merely underwhelming rather than being outright terrible. Egg was okay but again, sauce was its downfall – watery, starchy, tasteless. I guess all the salt went into the squid ink soba dip lol. Not worth the price we paid one iota.

I was disappointed that my last meal in Manila ended on such a sour note. Would I come back here again? Maybe, but purely for the gyoza and nothing else. If you’re planning on trying the Flying Noodles anyway, perhaps you will have better luck with their other variants like bacon and cheese and matcha teriyaki.

The monstrosity that is the Squid Ink Flying Noodles will only be available until January 15, so if you’re feeling brave and you distrust a Malaysian who might not have the same taste buds, then yeah. Feel free to shell out PHP350++.

PS: This is not a paid review. But a spade is a spade, even if it is. Opinions are entirely my own.

  • Food: Gyoza 8/10. That squid ink abomination, -100.
  • Service: 6/10.
  • Ambience: 7/10
  • Price: Expect everything to be upwards of PHP300 for mains.

OSAKA OHSHO 

Building D SM Megamall, EDSA Cor Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, 1550 Metro Manila, Philippines

Phone number: +63 9178285011

Opening hours: 10AM- 10PM (daily)