Tag Archives: Travel

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)

 

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Halloween @ Platters Bistro & Wine Bar – Advertorial

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Platters Bistro & Wine Bar celebrates Halloween with late-night supper and drinks revelry!

Drawing inspiration from the olden days in France, when champagne was labelled as “the devil’s wine” (le vin du diable) for its popping corks during the time it was first discovered, Platters Bistro & Wine Bar has rolled out a Halloween promotion that will make you merry this October!

Together with its neighbour, Bartini, Platters Bistro & Bar is launching the 2-for-1 Devil’s Drink Promotion, comprising mainly of a selection of Champagne, Cremant and special cocktails for the night.

Guests will enjoy 1 free Champagne/Cremant with every 2 drinks purchased at Platters Bistro & Bar or 1 free Champagne, Cremant or special cocktail (based on a limited selection) at Bartini with every 2 purchased. The promotion is only valid on 31st October from 10pm to 2am at both locations.

To get into the Halloween theme, Platters has launched its supper menu, a selection of ‘ghoulish’ snacks to fill the hunger while you indulge in the night. Look forward to a selection of comforting bar bites such as Skeletor’s Fingers (Crispy Fish Fingers with Special Thai Sauce and Mixed Greens), Frankenstein (French Fries with Nori Mix), The Ripper’s Feast (Succulent Chicken Wings à la “Buffalo” served with Celery Sticks and Creamy Ranch Dip), The Corpse Bride (Gruyere Cheese Crepe filled with Asparagus, Jamon Serrano, and Mushroom Ragout), and Jackie-Os (Almond-Crusted Pumpkin Fritters on the Bed of Spinach, Feta and Dried Cranberry Salad).

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The supper menu items will only be available in half board size and prices will range from $19++ for choice of any three bar bites to $29++ for choice of any five bar bites on a board. Bar bites selection also include the popular House Platters such as the Charcuterie and Cheese boards. These will be available for order until 1am on 31st Oct. 

For this night, Platters Bistro & Wine Bar is also open from 12- 3pm & 5pm to 2am.

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We Flew to Manila!

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There are probably thousand and one things you can do in Manila, but i’ve streamlined to a couple of things and places to go that perhaps could shorten your need to research!

This trip to Manila was a little impromptu, in fact, unplanned for. Like mentioned in my previous posts, i’ve seen and met many Filipinos while i was working for the restaurants in Singapore, interviewed and spoken to them many times, but i’ve never had the chance to visit their motherland. For once i had the opportunity, so i took my bags, passport and off i flew!

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Less then 4 hours from Singapore, i arrived in Manila, Ninoy Aquino International Airport T1, the oldest airport in the Manila, and perhaps (mentioned by our driver), the busiest airport because most international airlines still choose to land at terminal 1 instead of 2 or 3.

Man! This was indeed an experience, as i enter the country with fear, especially when many of my friends told me to be careful because Manila is really dangerous, i beg to differ! It’s perhaps safer than many other countries across the globe! I’ll tell you why later:) Meanwhile, i’ve collated some places of interest that i visited and perhaps it could give you a rough idea of where to visit when you do happen to be in Manila:)

To VISIT

Taal Volcano – Taal volcano is located in the southern part of Luzon in the Philippines. It is about 50km from the capital, Manila. Right in the center of the island is the main crater that holds a sulfuric lake. It is famous for having an island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island in the Pacific Ocean. Named as the second most active Volcano in the Philippines, i understand that the last minor activity was dated five years ago with hints of smoke and rumbling sounds heard by the residents living close to the area. To get to  the Taal Volcano you have to travel across by boat from Talisay, Batangas and hike up to the crater. On the other hand, for the travellers who wish to have a little more comfort, there’s always a horse-ride available that brings you all the way up to the crater:)

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The Archdiocesan Shrine of Jesus – The Way, the Truth, and the Life
Central Business Park – Located right in front of the SM Mall of Asia and beside the SMX Convention Center, the church holds regular mass sessions and if you’re lucky – like me, you probably can catch a glimpse of a traditional wedding ceremony!

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Museum of the Filipino PeopleDO NOT BE FOOLED! Tell the driver the National Museum and he will bring you to the art gallery which is currently undergoing a major renovation (my personal experience). Make sure you tell your driver that you want to head to the Museum of the Filipino People, a division of the National Museum. Over here, you will be able to understand a little more about the cultures and history of the Philippines. Also, this is where over one million archeological treasures and masterpieces are kept from the remains of the San Diego Sinks. pambansang museo

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SHOPPING & FOOD

168 Shopping Mall – It’s perhaps THE MALL to go to if you visit Manila. Think about Platinum, MBK and Chatuchak Market in Bangkok combined into one in an air-conditioned complex, that is 168 shopping mall. You can almost get anything you want! Most importantly, it is much cheaper compared to the rest of the places. Nevertheless, if you are cool with the heat during the day, try the Divisoria Market which is located just outside of the 168 Shopping center, i heard that you might get the same item for a cheaper price, not much cheaper though, but perhaps you’ll enjoy the thrill! *One tip, as most of the shops are owned by Chinese Nationals, if you happen to speak Mandarin, my experience shopping there proves that you’ll probably get almost half the retail price! What i understand from my driver is that if you were to speak in English, they’ll mark-up the prices to a hefty price tag, if you speak Tagalog, they’ll mark-up by just a little more above cost, but if you speak MANDARIN, like i’ve mentioned, almost cost price! So remember to BARGAIN!!

999 Shopping Mall – Situated just beside 168 shopping center, 999 sells relatively the same items as what 168 offers, i personally prefer to shop at 168 because of the wide variety of items available. Nevertheless, 999 is where the ladies can shop for their cheap accessories such as hair bands, clips, etc… for the guys, just stay at 168, you’ll probably be able to get a lot more stuff there:)

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168 Mall, 999 Mall & Divisoria Market

SM Mall of Asia – A huge mall that is worth to visit, you’ll be able to get many locally-made products and International brands here in the mall. Opened by a group of Chinese businessman (one of which is the richest man in the Philippines), you’ll definitely see a lot of SM malls all around Manila, but the one that you should really visit is the SM Mall of Asia, the biggest mall in the Philippines and also apparently, the World’s third largest malls with 4 hectares of shopping, leisure and entertainment facilities such as an ice-skating ring, IMAX theatre, bowling alley, hypermart, departmental store, etc…  all in one location!

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Bonifacio High Street – Food, Shopping, Shopping and Food, these are probably the two main things you’ll enjoy in Bonifacio High Street. A heightened experience of gallery-designed offices, avant-garde/fashion forward boutiques, and chef-based restaurants it offers consumers a variety of International brands such as MUJI, La Senza, Springfield, Topshop, etc… and for the Singaporeans, if you think that Charles and Keith is the only Singaporean brand at Bonifacio High Street, you are wrong! Guess what i saw? WEE NAM KEE HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE! Lol!!

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TRANSPORT

There are probably more public transport than you can actually think of, you’ll see a lot of Taxi, Jeepney, Tricycles (Motorbikes/ Bicycles with sidecars), Tranvia (horse trams), LRT, MRT and PNP (which are basically acronyms for train services.

But for your own security and comfort purpose, just go ahead with the taxi services, they start at 40Peso (SGD1.16) and increases about 15 Peso/KM

Most importantly, you need not squeeze with the crowd on the Trains and Jeepney which in my honest opinion is almost unbearable.

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SECURITY

Security is perhaps one of the most important thing on all of your minds before travelling. But don’t worry too much, because in all major malls, banks, restaurants and hotels, there’ll be security guards on duty. Armed with pistols, rifles and handcuffs, you’ll perhaps worry more for the robbers and burglars then yourself! Oh! Also, most malls have only one entrance and exit point, and they are taken care of by the well-trained security guards. Holding a drum stick on their hands, all bags have to be checked by them prior to you entering the building:)

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Sneak peak into The Philippines

Sneak peak into The Philippines!  I’m so excited to write about it!!

See all ya’ soon!!

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OFF to Manila in 24hours!

OFF to Manila in 24hours!

Finally, all i’ve been wanting and waiting for, my VIRGIN experience to the Philippines after working with so many of the locals since i started running restaurants!

Looking forward to the many good food and kind people!

Woots~~!!

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TDM-ASIA makes your trip PAID for!

Seen that? Yes, it’s all true! TDM-ASIA alongside WorldVentures and Rovia, an award winning travel agent is bringing you to travel to be paid!

Let’s see what has ROVIA achieved, just in 2012!

  • Honoured with the Golden Apple. Premier Apple and Platinum Apple award for exceptional quality & service
  • Recognised by TRAVEL WEEKLY in 2012 with a GOLD Megellan Award for best community involvement programme
  • Recognised by TRAVEL WEEKLY in 2012 with a SILVER Megellan Award for best travel guides, ratings & reviews

Unheard of? You’ve seen the video, by now you would have realised how many people in the WORLD, yes WORLD have joined us in this PAID to TRAVEL lifestyle programme!

Interested to join us in this journey of travelling to be paid?

Don’t hurry to do it! Like all businesses, there’s always a term and condition. Let’s meet-up over SKYPE, VIBER, FACE-to-FACE, whatever! I just want you to know the whole idea of TDM-ASIA & WV!

Before you leave, let’s see another video of what some others are doing NOW!

CLICK on the PHOTO to view!

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Now, what’s your idea of fun? If you’re a self-confessed travel fanatic, LIKE ME, fill up the form at the bottom of this page and let’s keep in contact.

But… If you’re certain of joining the team of travellers, sign-up NOW !

 

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!

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