Tag Archives: restaurant

The Drinking Market have a physical location now!

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Hey peeps!

It’s been a long Long LONG LONG time since i’ve updated the space. Yes i know!

I do apologise for it:(

Now, that’s because we’ve been really busy setting-up the first every Brick & Motar shop by The Drinking Market!

A Thai Kitchen + Bar concept, we have finally launched our very first neighbourhood Thai Kitchen + Bar at the charming area of Katong.

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Placing the emphasis as a neighbourhood Thai Kitchen + Bar, we made sure prices are set affordable and wallet-friendly!

Yes, all our items in the food menu are $10 or below and our prices are ALL nett!

With no Service Charge or GST, we aim to be one of the most wallet and people friendly location for all to be in!

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Introducing you to our whole list of Authentic Thai Food prepared by our Thai Chefs who have been working in Singapore for the past 20 years and counting!

You can’t get more Thai then this mates!

Wanna know more about us?

Check us out on our Facebook link:

https://www.facebook.com/thedrinkingmarket

See you here real soon!

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Add: 226 East Coast Road. Singapore 428923

Call us: 64408939

Opening Hours:

Tuesday – Sunday

12.30pm – 11.30pm

(Last order for food at 10.20pm)

 

Oushin Japanese Steakhouse @ Suntec City

“From Farm to Mouth”, that’s the idea behind Chef Fukushima’s theory to culinary. Drawing his inspirations from his Japanese roots, the Chef was also trained in Tokyo and further his exploration of “fine cuisine” while working for one of the top restaurants in Paris.

Cuts of Beef

Oushin today boast a whole range of meats selected exclusively by their team of professionals in Japan.

Iwate-Gyu – Iwate beef is from IWATE Prefecture, located north of Japan. Iwate faces the Pacific Ocean to the east and on the west is generally formed by the highest points of the Ou Mountains. They grow up in a relaxed environment amidst the great outdoors, grazing on highland pastures that are not treated with agricultural chemicals. Cattles’ feed are rice straw of IWATE JUNJYOU MAI. Under strict control of the monitoring system, they yield a healthy beef with high – quality protein and Omega 3 interspersed fats created the juicy melting texture that blow you away.

Omi-Gyu – (THE EMPEROR’S MEAT) “We keep quality and flavour of Omi Beef along with passion and selfless efforts of our forefathers in the past 400 years during the “Edo” era of Japan.” Said the ranch owners. Omi beef is one of the three most famous type of Japanese Wagyu (Omi, Kobe and Matsuzaka). It was served to the Japanese Emperor as the initial official Japanese Wagyu. Up to this day, Omi beef is the official beef of the Japanese Imperial Household. Each paddock keeps only 2 cattle in order to provide them with a companion and a spacious and stress free environment. Besides, the nature of Shiga Prefecture has contributed the most desirable, unpolluted, tranquil environment and the clear, clean water from the Mother Lake Biwa to raise the cattle. Those are the reasons why Omi Beef is so different from other Wagyu. amous type of Japanese Wagyu (Omi, Kobe and Matsuzaka). amous type of Japanese Wagyu (Omi, Kobe and Matsuzaka).

It was served to the Japanese Emperor as the initial official Japanese Wagyu. Up to this day, Omi beef is the official beef of the Japanese Imperial Household.

U.S Fillet Mignon

Iwate Beef Consumme (Pour 4)

Apart from the specialty beef dishes, Chef Fukushima’s menu also includes one of his signature Pork Belly that is carefully cooked for 48hours before grilling, giving it a tender and mouth-watering flavour.

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If that is not enough to tickle you fine palate, Chef Fukushima also flew in top quality Japanese Charcoal with Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Wood Chips from Japan, The MIBRASA® charcoal oven in layman’s term is the hottest indoor barbeque ever. It is the combination of a charcoal grill and an oven, when closed, ensures none of the natural moisture escapes from the food cooked in it while bringing out a unique taste. Being the hottest toy in town, MIBRASA® charcoal ovens will be grilling steak at more than 900 degrees!!

All in all, it is an experience worth to keep!

*Hint! A great place to bring your other half for a good meal!

CONTACT:

3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Mall,#02-391/392, Singapore 038983 (Suntec Convention Centre) Tel:6884 4805

OPENING HOURS:

Monday – Sunday: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Dinner 6:00 p.m. to 10:00p.m.

BURNOUT – A Tribute to the Food & Beverage Industry

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BURNOUT – physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. (Google)

TDMers, i know that i’m suppose to be blogging about Oushin Japanese Steakhouse, but prior to that, on a more serious note, i’ve got some thoughts that i want to pen down on this blog entry and i sincerely wish that you can share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms.

Last Friday, as i sat on the comfortable chairs with food on my table, many thoughts and memories came through my mind. I thought that it’ll be nice for me to share with you some of my thoughts and i hope that you’ll learn to appreciate and thank the people who are serving your breakfast, lunch or dinner in a restaurant or cafe.

Let me start off by saying…

Singapore’s Service Standards are like SHIT!

No, that’s actually not what i’m trying to bring across, but have you been one of the culprits who said such things before? Or perhaps you might have heard many of your friends and family judging our service standards in Singapore.

Before we jump into any conclusion, allow me to share my personal experience when i started as a junior employee with a restaurant group.

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A typical day working in a restaurant starts at 10am for me, the moment i step into the restaurant, i would have to start doing the daily administrative work, clearing the cellar, setting-up the restaurant and making sure that everything is ready for operations. At about 11am, we would normally start the day with a row call, which the chef would then explain the specials for the day or if there’s anything that is not available.

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11.30am, the restaurant opens for operations, as usual, we would be serving the hungry diners who are rushing in-between work or meeting to catch a quick bite, in fact, the lunch operations is always a challenge as many would require us to serve fast, be quick and hopefully, turnover the table for the next seating.

2.30pm, the last order for lunch, but that’s not it. Diners who are normally a little more free would prefer to stay a while longer to have their tea or desserts slowly, thus, we would be standing-by, waiting, waiting and waiting.

4pm, we finally cleared the restaurant, and that’s almost 6 hours since i started work. This is when i probably would have my 1st meal of the day.

5.30pm, all geared up, dressed in our uniforms, we are back to set-up the restaurant for the dinner service. 6pm, our second row call for the day, and the chef would now explain the items available for dinner as well as the specials for the evening.

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6.30pm, our doors are open again for dinner, this goes all the way till 10pm- 10.30pm, depending on the chef or maitre’d who determines the time for our last order. Once the last order is made for normally desserts, coffee or tea, diners would normally stay a little longer while they sip their tea and chat with their partners or friends. A typical day ends (weekdays) at 11pm or (weekends) 12am – 1am. As usual, we’re not done yet, after all our guest have left the restaurant, it’s time to clear all the plates and wipe the wine glasses so that there will not be water marks. Next up, something that most service staff hates, wiping cutleries… all in all, these takes about an hour or so, depending on the night’s service. Having said that, most of the time when we are back home, it’ll probably be past midnight, or if you might agree with me, the wee hours…

This is not all, with the clamping down on foreign workers and the lack of Singaporeans who are unwilling to go into the service industry, we are facing lesser and lesser manpower counts. This meant that:

  1. Service quality would be affected
  2. It’ll take longer hours to complete the same task
  3. Lesser people doing more job scope

Conclusion? BURNOUT!

We spend up to 14 hours a day working in a restaurant with minimal rest, more often then not, we spend most of our time at work than to be at home. That’s not all, because of the manpower shortage, many restaurant chains are forced to have their employees to be on a six-day work week.

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I challenge any one of you to try being in their shoes. Take a week and try your hands working in a restaurant, then figure out if it’s an easy job.

So, what i’m driving at is for you to try and appreciate these people who are serving you. Many of them like myself started-off with passion, our priority is always to just do our best and provide you with the best service, at no time are we there to make your experience bad. In fact, despite the lack of time to rest, we always try to put a smile on our faces to make our guest feel welcomed and comfortable.

Like yourself, the service staff are just working hard to make ends meet for their families. We are all mature enough and i trust my readers are as well, let’s not complain so much and learn to be more patient and kind with our words. The next time you visit a restaurant or cafe, learn to recognise the employees, fill up the feedback form, be generous with your words, say thank you, these means a lot to them:)

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Have a lovely Sunday:)

Celebrate the love of food at the inaugural RWS Food Affair this September

For the first time ever, six of RWS’s celebrity chefs have come together to create a six-course dinner in a magnificent setting at the S.E.A. Aquarium’s Open Ocean habitat, home to more than 50,000 marine animals. 

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The Month of September seems to be the month for Foodies! In my previous post, i wrote about the Marina Bay Sands Hosting the Inaugural Sands for Singapore Festival in September and concurrently, the Resort World Sentosa is also back for some pumping actions in the kitchen!

*to view my entry on the Sands for Singapore Festival, click HERE

The six chefs, from the world’s most Michelin-starred chef Joël Robuchon to the first female Iron Chef of Iron Chef America fame Cat Cora, have each designed a course for this dinner.  From fine French haute-cuisine to authentic Cantonese soup, diners can feast on the best that RWS has to offer at one seating. In a unique setting like no other, diners will also be enthralled by the magnificent view of manta rays, leopard sharks and goliath groupers before them in the Open Ocean habitat.

Begin the exquisite dinner with Le Caviar Imperial by Joël Robuchon, followed by Steamed Marble Goby with Forest Mushroom sauce by Sam Leong, a nourishing soup of Double Boiled Cordyceps Flower with quail and conch meat by Chef Li Kwok Kwong, Salmon Roulade accompanied with sweet Hokkaido Scallop & Fried Octopus by Cat Cora, Beef Short Rib by Douglas Tay, and a sweet temptation of yuzu mango cremeux by Executive pastry chef Kenny Kong.

OH MY GOODNESS!! HOW CAN YOU MISS THIS!

RWS Celebrity Chefs Dinner

18 September, Wednesday @ the Ocean Gallery @ S.E.A. Aquarium

Six-course dinner at $288++ per person (includes free flow Ayala Brut Majeur NV champagne for pre dinner cocktails and freeflow Penfolds Bin 2 Shariaz Mouverdre and Penfolds Koonunga Hill Autumn Riesling for dinner)

Joël Robuchon Restaurant & L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

From 14th to 22nd September, step into Joël Robuchon’s world and taste the best of French haute-cuisine. During this period, diners may also have the opportunity to meet the legendary chef as he makes his rounds at the restaurants.

Joël Robuchon Restaurant will introduce a ten-course Menu Degustation during the RWS Food Affair boasting exquisite dishes such as ‘Le Homard’ – roasted Lobster in black pepper ‘Malabar’ sauce – and ‘Le Bouef’ – Beef fillet in Rossini interpretation with Vintage Taylors Port and bitter salad sprouts.

At L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, a new six-course Menu Decouverte showcasing dishes such as  ‘Le Crabe’ – seasonal crab meat on thin layers of turnip dressed with sweet and sour vinaigrette;  ‘Le Bar’ – Seared Sea Bass with braised Fennel ‘Provencal’ style; and ‘Le Sensation’ – a pretty and delicate dessert of creamy araguani chocolate with Cocoa Sorbet and Oreo cookie.

Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora – At Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora, a five-course set dinner will feature Iron Chef Cat Cora’s signature Mediterranean-Californian dishes such as Salmon, Scallop & Lobster accompanied with Cauliflower Puree; Sautéed Garden Peas & Shellfish Emulsion and Kurobuta Pork Belly and Fried Octopus with Sauerkraut Puree, Cabbage Roll and Spicy Mustard sauce.   During this period, diners may also catch a glimpse of the friendly chef who has starred in TV shows like Around the World in 80 Plates and The Next Iron Chef.

Osia – Helmed by Celebrity Chef Scott Webster and Chef de Cuisine Douglas Tay, Osia showcases contemporary western dishes characterized by the natural flavours and essence extracted from premium ingredients. For RWS Food Affair, award winning Chef de Cuisine Douglas Tay has set out to create a delectable menu with inspirations from Western Australia combined with Asian influences using fresh Australian produce.  For mains, choose to indulge in grilled sea perch with Sesame Ratte Potatoes or Tasmanian Milk Fed Lamb Short Loin and Rib with Swede Carrot Puree. Along with Chef Douglas’s keen emphasis on precision and meticulous cooking techniques, expect no less than a spectacular feast for both the eyes and palates.

Feng Shui Inn – The Man Han Quan Xi (满汉全席) was an imperial feast served only to emperors during the Qing Dynasty, with more than a hundred delicacies served over three days.   Dine like a king at the RWS Food Affair, as Chinese Head Chef Li Kwok Kwong and his team of chefs have taken inspiration from this imperial feast and recreated traditional dishes with a modern twist.  The six-course dinner menu will feature delicacies such as Double-Boiled “Changbai” Mountain Wild Ginseng with Farm Chicken and Braised Kurobuta Meat with Alaska Crab Claw.

Forest森 – Forest森 redefines the art of Chinese fine dining, with a western approach to the presentation of its dishes.  Local celebrity chef Sam Leong has created a six-course dinner featuring his signature innovative contemporary Chinese dishes such as Hot and Sour Seafood Broth with Hokkaido Sea-Urchin; slow-cooked Wagyu Beef Cheek with Spiced Cumin and Steamed New Zealand Cod with Yuzu Mushroom Sauce.  Sam Leong will also hold a special masterclass that comes with a four-course lunch.

Tangerine – At Tangerine, the spa café located at ESPA at RWS, husband-wife duo Sam and Forest Leong have combined efforts to create dishes using nutritious ingredients and healthy cooking methods without compromising on flavor.

For the RWS Food Affair, Tangerine will feature a lunch and dinner set featuring dishes like the fresh and healthy appetizer of Crisp Summer Green & Cress Salad dressed with Extra Virgin Coconut Vinaigrette, and Chef Forest’s Sous-Vide Salmon accompanied with Olive Dust and Confit Tomato and Green Pea Mash.

EK YAP Creative Director Photographer www.ekyap.com www.flickr.com/ekyap

Ho Chi Minh City – 05/08/2013 to 09/08/2013 (Part 2)

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Good day and welcome back to The Drinking Market

Previously, i was sharing some of the must-visit places in Ho Chi Minh City, this time, as promised, i’m back with more places to go, not just to visit, but for some mouth-watering food!!

To read my previous post, CLICK HERE

Bars & Clubs

Chill Skybar

Possibly one of the most talked about places in Ho Chi Minh City where most of the expats hangout, prices of drinks may be slightly on the high side, nevertheless, if you’re comfortable with a place that is very much like the New Asia Bar we have in Swissotel, Singapore, then you’re in for a treat!

Award winning Skybar that has countless recognition for its property, Chill Skybar is definitely one of the best found treasures with a view overlooking the beautiful skyline in HCMC. They do not only have an indoor area for the many who enjoys the comfort of the air-con, but there’s also an alfresco area that is along the circumference of the lounge which overlooks the city.

You may not be aware that Chill also invites international DJs to spin at their lounge as well, and one of them is Nicole Chen, our native Singaporean DJ and Blogger! So why wait! GO!!

76A Le Lai, District 1 | Rooftop of AB Tower, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam

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Carmen Bar

Adding on to my list of favourite Bars to visit is none other than the Carmen bar, definitely one of the best bars in town! It’s in fact the best of all i’ve visited in HCMC. Housed in the central business area which many claims to be the tourist spot in District 1, Carmen Bar looks like a “cave” from the entrance. In fact, there’s a short “trekking” trip before you enter the main door which honestly, looks like an entrance of a cave!

Once you arrive at the bar, you’ll feel as if you’re sucked-out of the whole busy city in Ho Chi Minh and in a little cave that offers one of the best bands in town, be it English Classics, French, Italian or Latin music, it’ll be a crowd pleaser for any International tourist who hopes to hear something close to their hearts!

“We visited this night club last October and four times again in the last two weeks. The setting, music and musicians are superb. The band are so good and the soloists excellent. I have seen some comments where reviewers have said it is expensive I don’t agree if you consider that there is no entry fee, the quality of the music and musicians. Yes more expensive than your normal cocktail bar but this is a night club. Anyone we have taken here regrets not going sooner. If you like music and still be able to hold a conversation this is an excellent venue and well worth a visit. I checked our bills closely at the end of each evening they were 100% accurate, service excellent and we were made to feel very welcome both by the staff and the artists. Band starts at 9pm, first singer is on about 9.20pm. Singers generally don’t do more than 5-6 songs each per night and there are quite a number of singers. I strongly recommend this place to anyone visiting HCMC.” – Tripadvisor

8 Ly Tu Trong, | District 1,, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Go2 Bar

For some who wants the best of both worlds, try the GO2 bar at the backpackers’ area of HCMC, the ground floor has a pool table and plenty of tables and chairs along the sidewalks that allows you to sit, grab a drink and “people watch”.

While some may complain that the prices at GO2 bar is expensive, honestly, how much lesser would you be paying for another club?! HCMC itself is not cheap either! Unless you wanna grab a beer by the streets and breathe in the fumes from the traffic with no entertainment or music, then you can probably choose otherwise, if not, try it! I spent two days continuously hanging out at the bar till 5.30am in the morning with just a couple of drinks and many great friends that i made along the way! What’s better than having a place where everyone comes together for the common objective of meeting?!

The second level of GO2 Bar is a small space for about 80 people to club while dancing to their R&B beats! I don’t really like clubbing, so i kinda visited the area and walked down after 15 minutes, but from the people i saw dancing and having fun there, i reckon it’s definitely one of the must-go!

Oh yeah, it opens right up to 5am in the morning as written in their opening hours (but they normally close around 6am) !! From my bar and club hopping experience in HCMC for the five days i was there, i reckon this is one of the few that opens till so late…! Or perhaps, EARLY in the morning!

187 De Tham Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

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The other Clubs i visited includes:

Lavish Bar

Lavish is a small Vietnamese nightclub in the city center of Ho Chi Minh City. Located in an alley off a small side street, this is a hidden favorite for both locals and foreign visitors. The decor is that of an upscale lounge and the menu follows the same theme.

Perhaps i was there on a quiet night, it was kinda boring, nevertheless, the music was great!

5 Nguyen Sieu, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Lush Saigon

Though many recommended Lush, our experience there was rather boring… repeated songs, but nonetheless, cheap drinks. I reckon that we were there on a Monday, that might be the reason why it was kinda quiet. But if you wanna enjoy some music and seeing the bar maids dancing with their traditional “cone” hats, do visit them!

2 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Ho CHi Minh City

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Now, enough of Bars and Clubs, we shall be moving on to the food scene!!

You’ll be amazed by how many dishes of both traditional and International cuisines the Vietnamese serve. In fact, because of the rapid expansions, International franchises such as Burger king, Subway, Seoul Garden, Breadtalk, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Starbucks, MOF, KFC and the upcoming, McDonalds are already setting their foot onto the Vietnamese grounds!

Nonetheless, i would be sharing the top 3 choices for my list of restaurants to go!

NUMBER 3 – NGOC SUONG MARINA

Huge space with a warm hospitality, we arrived at NGOC SUONG MARINA restaurant at around 9.30pm, crowds of businessman filled up the restaurant with many who were already enjoying the fresh seafood that they serve. We definitely will not miss this!

Off we went, ordering more than what we could digest, the whole selection of items included Oysters, both fresh and baked, a Steamed Grouper, Lobster Carpaccio, Baked Lobster, Lobster Porridge, Crab Claws and two vegetable dish that i can’t even remember which vegetables we ordered exactly!

We were FULL!

Prices can be on a high side for some, but it is still generally cheaper then Singapore. Come on! 6 Million Vietnamese Dong for so many dishes, it’s only approximately USD284, including the service charge, drinks and government taxes!

Worth the try, but i recommend you to go in big groups so that you all can split the cost and of course, ORDER MORE variety of food like what we did!

17 Le Quy Don, P. 6, Q. 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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NUMBER 2 – THE REFINERY SAIGON

Like many of the restaurant groups, The Refinery Saigon is one of the many restaurants that is a collaboration between a French and a Vietnamese local. A shophouse that very much represents the french architecture and the interior that portray a very traditional Vietnamese influence, the two combination was a hit for me. I liked how simple they tried to keep the whole atmosphere of the restaurant by not trying too hard to impress, while maintaining the standards of their cuisines, the wait staff were just as friendly and welcoming. Unlike Singapore… Our service standards really deserve a drastic change!

Traditional french bistro food such as the Duck Confit, French Onion Soup, Seafood Stew, etc… the menu is kept simple, but full of choices ranging from Soups to Salads, Appetizers, Mains and Desserts, the entire selection of cuisines they have on their menu would already make you drool before you start eating!

I ordered the Seafood Stew and Duck Confit which i thought was made to perfection! Crispy Skin on the outside and flesh that could easily be peeled off by the back of my spoon, this is definitely one of the few good duck confits i have had thus far.

After your meal, sit back, relax, grab a cuppa traditional Vietnamese coffee and reflect on the time you’ve spent running all over the place for work, The Refinery is definitely one of my top choices for a lazy day!

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NUMBER 1 – Guc Gach Quan

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Created with the memory of his Grandmother, this restaurant was not only opened for the love of food, but with a story to tell and an effort to save the heritage.

Guc Gach Quan started with a humble story to begin with, situated within a traditional shophouse that reflects the heritage of Saigon, the Owner made every possible means to beautify the entire space with pieces of wood and plants purchased on his own and designing the entire space all with his idealistic perception of a “countryside”.

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“My “countryside” restaurant is the very source of my inspiration for architecture. This place settled in a French colonial house is my way to keep a piece of Saigon past. My grandmother’s stall was re-created in the staff dining room, giving it a familial turn, switching the working atmosphere for a friendly and intimate one. The pond and the Tram trees set in construction pipes looking alike an oasis, giving the feeling to be lost in wild nature far from the city. A wide space. Imitating my grandmother, I only bought already-used wood when restoring the house as to save money. Taking out the nails, leveling each little wood fragment and putting them together were neither easy nor usual jobs. 4×8 wood pieces, with an average length of 1m, put alongside the central beams for dust not to fall from the ceiling; that is a trick I learnt from my workers, how many architects know it? The stairs are difficult to use, I admit my design being wrong something but I didn’t want to cut the wooden pillar so we had to get used to them; that would be my safest justification – a way to invite people to think twice before cutting deep in anything.” – Owner

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A quick walk into the restaurant, aromas of sizzling hot dishes surrounds the space with hints of lemongrass flavours that calms every excited diner, even the toilets were scented with fresh lemongrass and essence. Many of us who visited the place agreed that the very moment you step into the restaurant, to time you end your meal and walk out of the restaurant, the entire experience is fantastic. It was magical to a certain extend.

Every single dish was carefully thought about by the artisans in the kitchen, it almost seemed that even the dishes have gone through countless hours of thinking process and engineering. Every taste you savour seems to tell a story, a heartwarming story.

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Personally, i was very much touched by the whole thought process put into building this restaurant. As a restauranteur or a hospitality professional, it taught me something valuable, something non-commercial, something memorable and definitely, something new.

My Reflections

This trip to Ho Chi Minh City gave me many mixed emotions. On one hand, I was really happy to see a country develop so quickly, yet holding on to their heritage so dearly. They are proud of what they have achieved, they are protective of what they earned, and they are humble with what they have. This reminded me of the Singapore we once had when we were younger.

On the other hand, understanding the Vietnam War tore me apart, knowing that within a country people can be so vulnerable. Human being from the same “Father” would turn to each other and create war, killing millions of civilians from both the North and South of Vietnam, innocent lives were taken, tragedy was created, an ink marked deeply in every Vietnamese heart. Singaporeans should really read about the Vietnam war to know why our Government is so particular about National Service.

Nevertheless, the most heartwarming part to the trip was the opportunity to make friends from all across the Globe. We sat by the bar, had our beer and chatted about our individual cultures, believes and our country.  We exchanged our e-mails, swore to keep in contact, some of which i have already added on Facebook. It is truly amazing how a trip out of Singapore would bring back so much memories and experiences to me.

Ending this post, i’ll like to thank the many who helped me and my group of friends with the trip. You know who you are, it was indeed a pleasure catching-up with you and i look forward seeing all of you in Singapore. To the group of friends from the Diamond & LV club, you’ve been a great travelling partners, i would never have experienced so much fine-food if not for all of you. I look forward to our next trip and i believe it’ll be another wonderful journey together.

Leaving Vietnam with a big smile on my face, thank you for having me into your country and taught me so much of your heritage and cultures, i am truly amazed by how united you are as a country now. Stay strong, stay firm and enjoy your fruits of labour!

Signing off!

hanoi-girl

Your Virtual Bangkok Guide

Hey all,

First of all, i have to say that this post is gonna be a very very VERY long one. So be patient and take some time to read it, if you’re busy rushing around town, then leave it till you’re home and continue reading.

WHY?

It basically sums up the entire 6 days i had in Bangkok, compliments to the ladies in the trip who prepared the itinerary. In this post i’ll be sharing just some of the MUST GO & MUST VISIT places in Bangkok, probably not the common Pratunam Market or Platinum Fashion Mall that has already been overrated and over-talked about.

*By the way, in some of the post below, you will be seeing “$” signs, well, what it actually means is how expensive the place/food is. They are all out of FIVE. An example would be $$/5, meaning two out of five in terms of pricing.

So here we go! Enjoy your little virtual trip to Bangkok!

As we depart from Changi Airport, remember that the closing time for the counter for Jetstar/ Tiger Airways is forty-five minutes prior to the departure, we kinda missed the time, so we had to buy another set of tickets to catch the next flight to Bangkok via Thai Airways. *Quick facts Note that Bangkok Airways is a much more expensive airliner, so make sure you choose wisely.

Off we go and within 2 hours, we were already in Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok. Do note that there are two main airports in Bangkok and the latter is the Don Muang Airport, so make sure you are at the right place when you arrive or depart!

ACCOMMODATION

Thanks to Airbnb, we had our accommodations settled, an apartment right along Sukhumvit Rd, City Home, just a 3-5 minute walk from the Udomsuk BTS. Quiet, yet convenient, it was one of those places along Sukhumvit road that is less noisy and a little more peaceful. You can easily catch a taxi outside the apartment within a minute or two if you’re too lazy to catch the BTS, having said that, our experience tells us that if you’re going in a group of four, it might even be cheaper to travel via the Taxi, but remember, be firm and make sure they use their metres! A rough gauge for a taxi ride down from the apartment to the Asok BTS (Terminal 21 shopping mall) would be around 100-120Baht.

What’s more to this? Well, if the peace and convenience does not excites you, how about a fully protected building that is monitored closely 24/7 by guards who are situated straight at the entrance of the building?! We went out partying till about five plus to six in the morning and never have i once seen the Guards asleep! If that’s not secured enough, to enter into the tower, you have to register your finger prints at the management office which only then allows you to enter the building. So no worries about security, you’re well covered!

More importantly, for the convenience of the travellers who requires Wifi, you’ll be happy to know that Feb, the owner of the apartment has installed a Wifi connection so that you wouldn’t need to worry if you’ve gotta make any last minute google checks on your travel itinerary!

and lastly, YES! the apartment is child-friendly! So families who are thinking of a vacation out of the ordinary hotels which allows you to do some light cooking or heating-up some late night supper, this is definitely another option for you! $$/5

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TAILORING:

Just right beside the Asok BTS, there’s a whole option of tailors for you to choose from, but after walking the streets, we decided on ZERUTTi Tailor, managed by a family with over five generations of experience in tailoring, we knew instantly that we were at the right place. Focusing on quality versus quantity, i believe they are not the cheapest, nevertheless, they definitely give you an option to choose your fabrics, depending on whether you wanna go down to the low-end fabrics or choose something a little more expensive, but a deserving quality. Something different about them – For the men/ladies, we often choose to have either the buttoned or cuff-links set on our sleeves, but the tailors at ZERRUTTi would make your worries lesser by incorporating both the cuff-links and buttoned-on options onto your sleeves. Meaning, you’ll get two in one!

I decided to make 2 shirts, 2 suits and 1 vest, all in all, i spent 11,500Baht – approximately around 370USD. Definitely worth it! $$$/5

Here’s the link to their shop – click HERE

Shop No. 326/6-7 (Next to Asok BTS station and Sukhumvit MRT station)
SUKHUMVIT SOI 14, BANGKOK 10110 THAILAND

TEL: 66(0) 2229 4299, 66(08) 9504 4207 (Nick)

FAX: 66(0) 22294298

Email: info@zerutti.com

FOOD:

Getting around Bangkok and eating as you walk is definitely not something extra-ordinary, but choosing the places to eat – wisely – is definitely worth sharing. During this trip, we visited more then a handful of restaurants and street-side stalls, but i’ll just share a few that’s worth your time looking for and perhaps you would share it with your friends and maybe call me to join you in time to come!!! Slurps!

1. Gold Bay Leafs – A street stall, perhaps you’ve have had many of them in Bangkok, how about enjoying Thai street food cooked by a Chef who have been spending almost all his life mastering his craft in a 5-star hotel before setting up his own humble cafe/restaurant?!

Yes, you’ve got it and it’s Chef Chai Boonlert, a former hotel chef turned restauranteur who decided to move out of  the corporate ladder in the hotel and create something of his own! Gold Bay Leafs Restaurant, one of the best in the trip we had so far. Affordable price with dishes that is a fusion of both Thai and Western style cooking.

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Chef Chai @ work

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Panang Fettuccine

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Cheesy Eggplant

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Neau Yang (grilled beef) – try asking for Medium-rare of Medium

Address: 21/11 Soi Wachiratham Sathit, Sukhumvit 101/1, Bang Chak, Phra Khanong, Bangkok, Thailand 10260
Hours: Open everyday except Monday from 6 pm – 3 am
Website / Blog: http://goldbayleaves.blogspot.com/
Phone: 089-8135299

2. Ban Khun Mae Thai Cuisine – Situated just in the heart of Siam Square lies Ban Khun Mae that oozes Thainess through its every sculpted wooden panel, its white and blue crockery, its aunties shaping dumplings behind a wall of jars filled with relishes, its display of chuam (vegetables boiled in syrup), its classical musician (daily at 7pm) and its staff in traditional outfits. Tourists love it, and you do get the occasional table of well-to-do Thais, in fact, when we were there, we had a group of Singaporean businessman who were in a private room having dinner. But for Ban Khun Mae to be a hit with locals it would have to seriously overhaul its service and parts of its menu.

I have to admit that the food here is by far the BEST i’ve had in this trip. From the fish and crab cakes to the steamed snapper with lime, not forgetting the deep fried marinated chicken wrapped in pandanus, NOTHING went wrong at all!

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Like what KF Seetoh likes to say, DIE DIE MUST TRY $$$/5

Ban Khun Mae Restaurant
458/6-9 Siam Square Soi 8, Rama 1 Road,
Patumwan District, Bangkok 10330
Tel. (662)250-1952-3, (662)658-4112-3

Opening Hours
Daily 11am – 11pm

3. Roast – Trying hard to find a decent place in Bangkok that offers you perfect poached eggs? You’re in for a treat at ROAST. From the well poached eggs to the artisanal coffee and the huge window-space, there’s probably nothing you can ever complain about other then taking too many pictures of the décor!

Roast combines artisanal coffee-making with excellent brunch and tapas offerings. The pride and joy of this enormous, huge-windowed space is the giant black and gold coffee roaster sat along the back wall, and its hipness appeal can only be described as the caffeine equivalent of a vintage Vespa. The rest of the décor is all straight lines, marble tables and retro café chairs. It is the sort of space where one can seamlessly transition from Wi-Fi-ing with a cup of coffee to brunching with friends, to dining with your special someone.

If you’re in for a lazy weekend or a cuppa to ease your hangover, try heading down to ROAST!

$$/5

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Address: Roast, 2/F, Seenspace, Thonglor Soi 13, Bangkok, Thailand

Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-11pm; Sat 9am-11pm; Sun 9am-10pm

4. Vanilla Brasserie – OH MY CREPES!

Yes, after a long day of shopping at Siam Paragon, why not take a break at Vanilla Brasserie?!

Situated just at first floor stands a brasserie that combines both European sensibilities with a mix of fashionable youngsters. Coming into the restaurant just makes you happy! If you’re in for something hearty, you might wanna try out their savoury crepes or pastas, but if you’re in for a sweet tooth like me, go on and order their DESSERT CREPES, no regrets!

However, having said that, all along Bangkok, you’ll definitely find street stalls that serves crepes for just barely 80 baht, so if you wanna spend a little more and enjoy a little bit more comfort, don’t hesitate to check them out!

$$/5

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Address: Ground Floor, Siam Paragon Shopping Center
991/1 Rama I Road
Pathumwan Bangkok 10330
Ph: +66 02-610 9383

5. Mr. Jones’ Orphanage – just for the fairytale fantasy

Honestly, i must start by saying that if you’re in for a fairytale experience, you could check out Jones Orphanage. Coming into the cafe brings you (ladies) back to your childhood day with soft toys placed on every chair and a fairytale decor. Desserts weren’t exactly great, i thought that the cakes were a little too dry, but just by looking at them would definitely make you salivate!

Whether or not it’s worth a try, it’s entirely up to you, to me… probably i set my expectations pretty high on this, i’ll choose to pass the next time!

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1/F Seenspace, Thong Lor Soi 13
Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: 02 185 2378
BTS Thong Lo

VISIT:

1. Terminal 21 – If you’re into a theme-based shopping mall with food from all across the Globe, you’ve got it now! Terminal 21 brings the dream of traveling the world to downtown Bangkok, with its cutting-edge concept that places several world-famous cities under one roof. Find yourself wandering around a maze of shops in Tokyo City, sauntering down London’s Carnaby Street, bagging a bargain in an Istanbul zouk, or shopping for something to fill your growling stomach at the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

Part of the same building as Grande Centre Point Sukhumvit, Terminal 21’s curvilinear glass-and-steel façade resembles a 21st-century airport, and the theme continues once you step inside. The floor signs that signal the arrivals in particular cities, a crisscrossing network of escalators, electronic display boards that bring to mind flight information displays at an airport terminal and the information desk receptionists donning air hostesses’ uniforms – these are all part of the shopping experience at Terminal 21.

The nine floors at Terminal 21 house some 600 shops, a Cineplex, Gourmet Market (supermarket) and a food court with all kinds of mouthwatering Thai and international fare. The basement level (LG) has a Caribbean theme and is where you will find the Gourmet Market, take-away food outlets, market-style food vendors as well as banks and bookstores. Take an escalator up one level and the ground floor (G) brings you to Rome, with all kinds of international and local fashion labels such as Kipling, Fox, CC:OO, Nike, Jaspal, Adidas, Levi’s, and more.

Paris on M floor takes you to the Champs-Élysées, where more fashion brands await your discovery. The 1st to 3rd floors are home to smaller shops by local independent labels. Women’s fashion is found on the 1st floor (Tokyo) and men’s on the 2nd floor (London). The 3rd floor (Istanbul) is for gifts, jewellery, fashion accessories, toys, beauty products and home décor. With an eclectic collection of shops, this floor has a look and feel of a Middle Eastern zouk but with a modern twist.

Now to the main highlight, San Francisco on the 4th and 5th floors, where you will find more than 50 restaurants and cafés vying for your attention. Both restaurant chains and independent outlets are represented here, among them Pepper Lunch, MK, Chabuton, Dory Seafood Bistro, Secret Recipe, Tohkai Yakiniku, Tony Roma’s, Fuji, Ootoya, The Canton House, Baanying Café and Swensen’s.

If you like a food court experience, head up to Pier 21 on the 5th floor. This is perhaps the best food court in town in terms of price, taste and variety. Find everything from dim sum to grilled seafood (fast food style), Hainanese chicken rice to delicious phad thai, roast duck noodles to vegetarian ready-to-eats. Don’t forget to leave some room for desserts, as there’s mango sticky rice, shaved ice dessert, ice creams, and more.

To complete the lifestyle experience, Terminal 21 also has an eight-screen cineplex on the 6th floor operated by SF Cinema City. Two of these eight cinemas have digital 3D screens.

All in all, Terminal 21 is a delightful shopping and dining experience. It has particular appeal for the younger generation of shoppers, specifically university students to young executives. The diversity is good and price tag even better. When compared to other luxury shopping malls along downtown Sukhumvit Road, Terminal 21 definitely has its own edge and is definitely worth visiting. – all it took was a 10 minute taxi ride from our accommodation, City Home

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Opening Hours: 10:00-22:00
Location: Sukhumvit Road (between Soi 19 and 21)
MRT: Sukhumvit
BTS: Asok (direct access via Skywalk)

2. Rod Fai Night Market – Vintage is the way to go!

An open-air bazaar set beside an abandoned railroad track, the vintage look never goes out of style. Spread on the ground is all kinds of collectibles and memorabilia from the yesteryear, from antique furniture to hippy fashion to Mao kitsch. Rod Fai Market definitely stands out from the hordes of outdoor markets across Bangkok but it could be hard to find, as it’s tucked behind what appears to be an abandoned warehouse near the Chatuchak Weekend Market.

Taxi drivers usually don’t know it exists and will probably give you a blank face if you mention it, so the best way is to start at the MRT underground’s Kamphaeng Phet Station (opposite Or Tor Kor Food Market) and walk about five minutes in the opposite direction of Chatuchak Market.

There are two sections to the market. Facing Kamphaeng Phet Road, the front section occupies a large empty space that looks like a parking lot. Here, market vendors display their collections on the ground or on makeshift props like wooden crates, pallets and retro cars. But don’t just stop there: Venture further in, down a narrow backstreet and you will get to the abandoned warehouse where even more vendors and goods fill the entire area that leads to the old trains and railroad tracks.

The variety of products available is impressive. You will find everything from household goods, old electronic appliances and used auto parts to secondhand clothes, shoes and fashion accessories – all vintage style of course. Many vendors are also collectors of vintage items, so it’s not uncommon to see hobbyist items such as old cameras, bikes, Coca-Cola collectibles and Japanese anime toys on sale as well.

While shopping is the main highlight at Rod Fai Market, you might not want to miss out on street food here. Makeshift bars with cheap cocktails and drinks, barbecue stands with sizzling meats, fried noodle stalls, ice cream parlours, drink stands with foaming Thai iced-tea and coffee are wedged in at random spots among the goods as well as lining the back row next to the train. Each vendor employs various design gimmicks – from classic Volkswagen campers to old train bogeys – to attract potential diners. A few bars are set up in a cosy corner with wooden stools and reggae tunes. Even if you don’t feel hungry or thirsty for a drink, you will find it irresistible to take a few bites.

For many, Rod Fai Market offers a real unique shopping experience. But more important is you don’t even have to be into the vintage goods to enjoy shopping here. The charm of the place, the chilled-out atmosphere and the spirit of the people who gather here will live long in your memory.

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3. Asiatique & Calypso Cabaret – Situated along the banks of the Chao Praya River stands Asiatique The Riverfront. Inspired by the history back to the 1900s of King Chulalongkorn who decided to raise Siam to another level in the World, and decided to establish relations with Denmark. Included in this process was the construction of a pier belonging to the East Asiatic Company, a business dedicated to the export of teak wood and owned by Mr. Hans Nille Andersen, a Danish national.

Today, that same area which the East Asiatic pier occupies is being restored to its original glory under the name “ASIATIQUE The Riverfront,” the first and the biggest lifestyle project in Asia on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, and soon to become Bangkok’s trendiest landmark.

And if you’re already planning to head to Asiatique, don’t hesitate to watch the Calypso Cabaret show for only 900baht!!

Calypso Cabaret Show at Asiatique gives you one of the warmest welcomes you can find in the land of smiles and does so in many different languages. Thailand is well known for ladyboys and Calypso showcases them doing what they love the most: dressing up to the nines and miming to Cher. Some of these ‘ladies’ have features that would make women jealous but this is an attractive illusion; they were all born men. The performers are keen to entertain and put on a good show and the best way to enjoy it is to don your imaginary feather boa and embrace their world of glitz, glamour and over-the-top drama.

To get to Asiatique, you can take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and walk down to the harbour to take a free ferry that brings you to the Pier in Asiatique!

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What i missed and you should check out:

1. Siriraj Medical Museum – 

Skeletons, human deformations, and death from accidents sound interesting to you?

You’ll love Bangkok’s freaky, yet incredibly insightful medical museum.

Among the many interesting things to do in Bangkok, is the Siriraj Medical Museum.

Siriraj is the most famous and one of the best hospitals in all of Bangkok; it’s also a huge training hospital where medical professionals learn, watch, and gain experience.

Located within the hospital is the museum, which is not only used to train soon-to-be-doctors, but is also open to the public.

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2. WTF Cafe & Gallery – WTF Café and Gallery opened after four friends decided that Bangkok was lacking somewhere to eat, drink and be artistic. Its success is down to the relaxing atmosphere they have created – a lot of good things come from working with people you like. WTF has an innovative cocktail list and some tasty tapas comfort food – two more reasons it has become a firm favourite for both locals and visitors. It is a short five-minute walk from Thong Lor BTS on Sukhumvit soi 51 and a great place for drinks and dinner in an unpretentious setting.

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3. Purr Cat Cafe Club – Purr Cat Café was started by celebrity Ploy Rattannarat and a friend. The place has a cat grooming salon, café and gallery with a cat hotel scheduled to open in 2013. Grooming starts from B450 and a signature groom for pageant competitions starts from B500. The café itself serves bakery treats (for us) and cat food. There are actually two zones: one for owners to bring their own cats and one where people can play with the store’s own furry friends. In the gallery, you can purchase cat-themed artworks created by the owner

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Malat tasting @ Buyan Restaurant- Part 2

Finding your way into top houses in France, California and Germany for a search of quality Pinot Noir should be easier then a walk in the park. In fact, the Burgundians are famous for their Pinot Noirs with top houses like Domaine de la Romanee Conti and Armand Rousseau costing over $28,000 euros per bottle during the auction in Sotheby’s London in 1996. Labelled as the benchmark to Pinots. The Californians and Germans have been fast in catching up with the French in terms of quality and prices.

For those of you who have missed the entry about Rieslings from the Malat Family, click HERE

Blauer Spätburgunder or Blauburgunder, as what the Austrians normally relate to Pinot Noir is grown on almost all the red-wine growing regions in Austria, though they seldom market the varietal despite being a cool climate, which is perfect for the Pinot Noir varietal. In fact, a quick check with many wine consumers in Singapore, many were quick to say that they’ve never heard of an Austrian Pinot Noir.

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Today’s topic would be specifically dedicated to the Pinot Noir of Malat Winery, a family-run winery with over 9 generations of winemaking and the most recent addition Michael Malat an avid sportsman and son of Gerald Malat who joined the family business in 2008 . Prior to this, Michael worked at many important wineries in France, New Zealand, California and Argentina.

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A flights of 8 vintages were presented to us starting from the younger 2010 to the older, 2003 vintage of the Pinot Noir Reserve.

Tasting Notes:

2010 Pinot Noir Reserve

Hints of fresh herbs, toasted pine nuts and smoked animal. The palate reminds me of a young Pinot from Cote de Beaune, young and fresh acidity with slight tannic finish. I reckon it’s good to keep for another 8-12 years for optimal experience

2009 Pinot Noir Reserve

A little tight on the nose compared to the 2010 vintage, a swirl in the glass and a little more aeration would present a more earthy notes with light cherries and a slight hint of BBQ sauce. Well-rounded with silky tannins and a mid-long finish. One of the favourites for the day.

2008 Pinot Noir Reserve

Fresh on the nose with earthy, mushrooms notes. Hints of smokiness and vanilla was also present. On the palate was a lively and fresh acidity accompanied with a well structured tannin that holds the wine well. Recommends keeping for another 10 years.

2007 Pinot Noir Reserve

Getting a little more greenish notes, probably due to a hot year, resulting in early harvesting. The fruit structure was a little less approachable, but hints of floral, herbs and earthiness were still apparent. On the palate, a little juicy, but still with a balanced acidity and tannins structure.

2006 Pinot Noir Reserve

Floral and herbaceous on the nose with earthy and smoked mushrooms aromas.  A little higher in acidity and tannin, but very well balanced. Recommends to age for another 8-10 years.

2005 Pinot Noir Reserve

A little tight on the nose, but after a good swirl in the glass, I’m getting notes of vanilla, dried leaves and hints of tobacco. A slight disappointment on the palate with the acidity that is a tad lower as compared to the tannins, nonetheless, definitely good for rich meats!

2004 Pinot Noir Reserve

Hints of Chinese medicinal herbs with a bitter nose, complexity of the wine in interesting and a little hard to describe. I was really going through my wine journey in my brain, trying hard to get a perfect word for the first impression. As expected, the palate didn’t fail me with a well-rounded balance of acidity and tannins that went well together. Med- long finish

2003 Pinot Noir Reserve

One of the hottest summer in Austria, I’m getting a little more greenish notes and ripe fruits. On the palate, it was still fresh and a good balance of acidity and tannins.