JB Eats: Nam Moon Korean BBQ Restaurant

JB’s Taman Pelangi consists of a row of shophouses ranging from reflexology and massage services to eateries serving up Asian and Western fare. On our recent JB trip, we stopped by the Nam Moon Korean BBQ restaurant, owned by Aunty J’s friend. The restaurant has both standard table seating and BBQ-style seating. The menu had a wide range of selection, but for a party of 4 we opted for a set meal, which included BBQ beef, pork, fish, bibimbap and kimchi soup, along with the traditional Korean appetizers (that are seemingly endless).

The appetizers included kimchi, quail eggs (my favourite!), variety of greens, mushrooms, and bean sprouts. The staff rolled them out on carts, and they just kept coming so long as you asked.

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Next up: Onion pancake. Seriously. Who doesn’t leave fried potatoes with onions. Couldn’t get a picture in time before it was devoured.

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Food kept coming to our table; there was barely any time to take it all in. Aunty J is practically the mayor of JB; she knows everyone and everyone’s grandma in town, including the owners of the restaurant. Because of that, they gifted our table with a steamed egg dish, shown below, on the right. A little out of focus on the left is our BBQ beef (here it is). We had the dishes BBQed for us instead of doing it ourselves.

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While waiting for the food the arrive, the owners also gave each of us an aloe vera drink. A little bit sweet, but the aloe vera bits are cooling and feel like a healthier version of bubble tea bubbles.

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Bibimbap is one of my favourite Korean dishes. Served on a hot stone bowl, an assortment of vegetables are arranged by type on top of a bed of rice, topped with a raw egg. There’s a red (sometimes, hot) sauce that you can add, and once the dish arrives, everything should be mixed in.

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Kimchee soup! Full of cabbage, flavour and tofu. The glass noodles go really well with the soup.

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The meal train ended with a ginger cinnamon beverage to aid digestion of loaded bellies.

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And now we can roll on home.

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If you’re in the JB area and want to check out Nam Moon Korean BBQ:

Address: 31 Jalan Perang, Taman Pelangi, 80400 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Phone: +60 12-715 8972

Happy trails erryone!

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Gigs: The National at Hostess Club Weekender Singapore 2014

One of the hardest parts about leaving Milwaukee was knowing I’d be leaving a vibrant music scene. Milwaukee boasts beautiful historic concert venues, namely the Pabst Theater, The Riverside Theater and Turner Hall Ballroom, a vast array of craft local beers with great prices (~US$5.50 per pint) to enjoy your show with, and of course, choice selection of bands passing through. So, before leaving I was excited to find out that my favourites, The National, would be stopping by Singapore for the Hostess Club Weekender. I saw them three times in Milwaukee, three times in Chicago, and this was my first in Singapore (#fangirl4evaaa). Still have regrets over not seeing them in Madison, but I was in the thick of thesis writing. They never get old.

The Hostess Club Weekender, originating in Japan, recently washed up on Southeast Asian shores, including Singapore. I’m not sure why it’s called Hostess Club Weekender, and still haven’t been able to find out why. Escort service first comes to mind when hearing the name. Anyway, the lineup on February 22nd included The National, Mogwai, King Krule, Asegir and Buke & Gase. Tickets were S$118 for the day (+ S$3 processing fee) and Singapore was the last stop of their Asia-Pacific tour. The promoters touted all bands played full sets, which is really nice for a festival setting. The event was held at Fort Canning Park, against the backdrop of a glimmering Singapore skyline.

We only made it in time for Mogwai and The National, because my sister and I were too busy drinking all the wine before the show. This is our first reunion show since catching The National in 2010; the last time she saw them (without me, sniff) in Singapore, she ended up meeting them at a bar.

She flew in from Jakarta to see them.

Mogwai had a pretty chilled out set. The frontman was very polite, thanking the crowd after the applause following each song.

Mogwai at the Hostess Club Weekender Singapore

Inching closer to the front; the promoters gave out fans (1/4 shown here) that said “I’m a Fan Of The National” bahah

The National played 8 songs from their Grammy nominated album Trouble Will Find Me (which should have won, as good as Vampire Weekend are). Unfortunately, their setlist was shorter (19) than usual (25), so a lot of classics were axed, including Apartment Story and All the Wine, amongst others. Nevertheless, there was never a dull moment with what they did play, keeping the crowd energized. Scott Devendorf was missed (he just had a baby), but the bassist did well. The night ended with fan favourites including About Today, Fake Empire, Mr. November, Terrible Love (in which Matt flubbed up some of the lyrics, hee hee), an unplugged version of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks and Matt’s walkabout in the crowd. The thing about The National is, they make beautiful music and are incredible to see perform. There’s a few things I get excited about and they are definitely one of them.

And if you want/To seriously/To see me cry/Don't swallow the cap

And if you want/To seriously/To see me cry/Don’t swallow the cap

What a fun night! Thanks to the roadie who gave me the setlist; I had to keep it close and battle snatchy hands. Also, on a side note to the organizers: please have a better selection of adult beverages! Only canned Bud was available for S$10, which is not the worst price considering Singapore’s ridiculous alcohol prices. But BUD. Some wine would be nice too. Looking forward to next year!

 

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If you haven’t had a chance to see them live yet, check out their full performance recording at the Sydney Opera House earlier this year. And they were on SNL the other night too.

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Exploring: Johor Bahru

I love Singapore for its proximity to neighbouring countries. This past weekend, Aaron and I crossed the border to Johor Bahru, or JB, Malaysia to visit the family I used to live with. Many Singaporeans cross the border and take day trips to JB where good eats are plentiful. The exchange rate for S$1 is approximately RM2.50.

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The trip was maybe a 15 minute bus ride on bus 170 from Kranji MRT station and probably was not more than S$2, if at all. If you’ve never done this before, I’d encourage you to. This is extremely easy (although peak hour traffic is ghastly, so avoid like the plague). We got off the bus at Woodlands checkpoint to immigration. After passport stamping, we hopped on another 170 bus to cross the Causeway. We got off the bus again at the Malaysian immigration to do the same thing, and you can choose to hop on another bus or just walk out of the complex to the city centre.

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We stopped by a kopitiam, the equatorial version of Cheers, where everyone drinks coffee loaded sugar instead of beer. From chatty regulars to the mismatched brightly coloured stools, everything about the kopitiam was charming. Within minutes, our friendly neighbours were chatting us up–‘you just returned from the US?’, ‘how long is the flight?’, ‘oh, 8 hours to London? 24 hours to the US? 2 hours is my maximum!’.

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All conversation accompanied by kopi. Art direction by the kopitiam staff who set up this shot and loaned boiled eggs for this picture.

At the kopitiam, we had the beloved Malaysian classic, Nasi Lemak, and Mee Rebus. The nasi lemak only came with an egg, so you can choose other sides to accompany it as well. And the mee rebus? So good! The tangy aroma from the lime makes it difficult to stop eating.

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Mee rebus

Gained a couple of pounds from in two days, so I’d say it was a successful trip! #fattiesforever

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Happy Trails with Mimi

Mimi is in town briefly, so we did what we always do: take photos and paint the town red. I’ve known Mimi since the eighth grade, and while we may not see each other for extended periods of time (~4 years), it feels as though a day hasn’t even passed (so cheesy, I know). Throughout the years I’ve subjected her to plenty of stupid poses in my wild photography experiments, which she always graciously agrees to do for some reason.

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We have a lot of fun together.

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The Search Continues

Behold, the king of fruits.

Behold, the king of fruits.

My favourite way of eating the durian is after freezing it for a few hours. It’s like eating durian flavoured ice-cream that actually tastes like durian. Getting it home to a freezer is a challenge. Have to figure out how to cart around durians through public transport without getting dirty looks or fines. Hmm.