Photo: Patibutkan Singsoot
After writing about food and reviewing restaurants for more than 30 years, I have learnt to read between the lines when it comes to menus.
Reading a menu is not as easy as it seems. Sometimes it is so bare that you have no idea what you will be getting. Dishes are described with just one word - Beef, for example - and you are left with no clue how it is cooked and what it comes with.
The good thing is, restaurants that do this are usually fine-dining establishments with very skilful chefs confident enough to ask you to leave everything in their hands. These are also often omakase menus, so you do not need to choose anyway, other than to ask for things you do not eat to be swopped.
At the other extreme are menus with such convoluted descriptions that you have no idea how the dishes would turn out. And don't think that the more ingredients listed, the more substantial the dish. It is often the opposite. Some ingredients may appear as just a few specks on the plate.
In between are the more comprehensible ones, but even then, you may have to be careful navigating a menu if you do not want to get a shock when you receive the bill. Or feel like you have been made a fool of.
Here are just a few things to look out for.
This article was first published in The Straits Times, February 26, 2016.