Sunday, 17 February 2013

A matter of opinion

It's really not that hard to write a review of something... a book, a movie, music, restaurants or anything else. Just put down a few lines of your thoughts on the book you've just read or the restaurant you had dined in and walla... you are a reviewer.

It's writing an objective, balanced and informative review that is hard, unless of course, you don't particularly care what your readers think of your opinion... but then that defeats the purpose of writing in the first place.

Regular readers would know that I have done quite a number of reviews in this blog, mostly on food and food outlets, some reviews on books and one or two on movies. Food reviews are my favourite because I can combine my interests in photography and eating out in one go. I have a very simple grading system when it comes to decide if a particular restaurant or food stall is worth writing about. I just base it on the answer to a question I'd ask myself : Would I come back again to eat at this place? A `yes' would mean that it was a good place (and worth writing about). A `maybe' would mean an average score but possibly still worth writing about. A `no' is something I need not explain.

However, in the more than 20 food outlets I have written about over the past 4 years, none of them fall in the `no' category. This is simply because I have made a rule of not to write on something that does not meet my taste or preference. One man's meat is another man's veggie... and when it comes to food, the variety of opinions is as many as there are colours in a rainbow. I do not eat petai, so I shall not pass judgement if someone says that sambal petai is the best thing there is. I may say that mutton briyani is the best rice dish ever but I should also accept if someone else gives his vote to sushi. Sometimes I cannot understand how certain restaurants come highly recommended but I find the taste of their food to be only so-so. But that's just the way it is with food.

I am writing on this subject of food review because in the past week or so, there was an active discussion about a particular food outlet in my current favourite Facebook page called Johor Sedap. This foodstall sells seafood dinners and had been getting rave reviews from members since a few months back. Some time in December last year I went to the place to check it out. I left with mixed feelings... the food was just okay but it was not as cheap as what some members wrote. To put it simply, I do not concur with the very high ratings that previous reviews had given but I kept my views to myself.

In the weeks that followed, I spotted the first negative review. This was followed by a few more, mostly to do with very slow service. The discussion became quite heated when those who previously recommended the place said that the negative reviewer was simply unlucky to come at a busy time. This prompted other members who had similar experience of poor service to give their views.

Apparently, the stall is a victim of its own success. With the initial good recommendations, people start to come and this resulted in good business and more recommendations. But the increase in customers was not matched by an increase in staff, hence the drop in service quality. And once you have dissatisfied customers, it becomes quite difficult to win them back. Publicity in social network pages can be a double-edged sword.

Anyway, the owner of that particular foodstall is also a member of the group and has taken note of the criticisms. He has promised to improve things and I wish him success. It is good to see the discussions have resulted in a positive response.

I'll end this post with a recommendation of my own. For a few years now, the only place in JB to get a taste of decent kacang pool is at Haji Kacang Pool in Larkin. I have recently found another restaurant that sells tasty kacang pool that can rival HKP's version. The place is called Rose Kopitiam and is located at the Larkin Idaman area near the football stadium.

Kacang pool at Rose Kopitiam in JB. RM4.50 per serving.


Anonymous said...

assalam Oldstock
Samalah kita bab petai tapi kena cakap pelan2 nih nanti orang marah .. petai mmg takde dlm list bila kepasar dan takat nih mmg tak menjadi fav. as opposed to beriani kambing, nyums..

I balik JB dulu singgah pasar Larkin beli rempah n gula melaka asli. Pergi JPO tersangatlah bosan. Sekian terima kasih..CS

Anonymous said...

when i have a case in jb..can i count on you to take me dah terliur..


Oldstock said...

Cik Som,

Macam tak caya je orang perempuan pegi JPO boleh rasa bosan... haha...

Saya pun baru pegi sekali, terbeli kasut Geox sepasang sebab dah lama terbaca reputasinya dan teringin sangat hendak mencuba. Tapi rasanya memang tak pegi lagi lah... still expensive plus some things are cheaper in Spore.

You balik JB apasal takmo bagitau. Boleh kita belanja beriani kambing hyderabad kat Kempas.

Oldstock said...


No prob. Drop me a line whenever you are down here. I'll treat you to kacang pool, or briyani, or mee rebus tulang. My email is in the blogger profile page.

MamaTim said...

I find food reviews interesting to read only when they are accompanied with great food photos. Yours shown here is modest, I actually jumped to the last part to see the pic (tee hee hee, jgn marah ya pakcik).. before I scrolled up again to read all that you wrote, but then that's just me.

I know how some poorly taken photos sometimes do not do justice to the real situation: really good food, great menu offerings, et cetera.. but yours is ok, I drooled.

hmmm... belum pernah sampai Johor lagi....

Oldstock said...

Mama Tim,

Hehe... tak marah, the pic was an after-thought because the post wasn't intended as a food review in the first place. My post on food or restaurant reviews normally has a few photos. Try have a look at some of the old posts and you'll get the idea.

Anyway, if you happen to drop by JB anytime, just drop me a line.

zafi said...

Kacang pool?? I tried it once and I would say great!!!

Reviewing the experiences by a group of people! Well it denotes a positive and negative values. It depend on how other people would use such information (i.e. reviews).This is what we can call as social navigation (Dourish and Chalmers 1994).

auch.. so academic? :D

Tak sabaq nak balik makan! Have a great day Uncle Oldstock.

Nurie said...

Somehow posts about kacang pool always summoned me to write a comment ;)
Looks like you pun dah lama tak update blog... Must been busy. Looking forward to read more stories from you! 
By the way, I "retired" from blogging la, nowadays I juz  instagram my moments! Lol!
High five from another person yang tak makan petai too! 

Oldstock said...


Very sorry for the late response. Too much to do on the work front. Hope you are coping well over there. I see that winter is stretching its influence a bit longer this year. Stay warm my friend.

Oldstock said...


Hahaha... another non-eater of petai.

Ya lah, dah tertinggal lama sangat blog ni. Been terribly busy but I hope not to be totally off-blogging as yet. Posting stories help me sit back and relax from most of the stress I face at work.