PEr FYI

May 25, 2019

ShanNaNa, Shanghai…never again

Filed under: Activities, China, Massage, spa, Travel, tui na — Tags: , , — PEr @ 3:48 pm

Have you ever had a bad massage? Have you ever felt so unsatisfied/uncomfortable throughout a massage experience that you just wished the time away, but you were too embarrassed/uncomfortable to say anything or stop the treatment? You are not alone!

My masseur at ShanNaNa barely did anything at all.  She lacked the hand/arm strength to give the type of deep tissue massage I craved. My mother gave better bedtime backrubs when I was a tot! The masseur clearly had no idea what she was doing, I was about ready to leave 10 minutes into the massage.

Massage is such a highly personal thing… everyone has different needs and while it is my responsibility as the client to select the appropriate type of massage technique or tell the masseur what I like, the front desk folks need to assign the appropriately-skilled masseur.

If you want to go for an hour long back tickle then this is the spot, but if you are looking for anything that even resembles a massage, stay away. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 19, 2019

Teshikaga, Sapporo…cure your ramen cravings.

In the heart of Sapporo’s red light district, Ganso Ramen Yokocho, the “original alley”  – a long narrow alley which features 17 popular shops offering different flavours of miso ramen. There are mutterings about noodle strengths, and the mammarian wobble of one soft-boiled egg over another. The problem is that, as with so much in Japanese culture, once you get past a certain quality threshold it’s very hard to distinguish one thing from another.

The one I ordered – the all the shoes  miso ramen – snow crab, barbecued pork topped ramen with miso (bean paste based soup) is a vivid flash of colour. The broth is a lovely shade of rust with a kick. The barbecued pork meat is soft, the fat beginning to melt away into the broth and respectable noodles come with a lovely bite.

With the kitchen directly in front of you, you can watch your bowl get assembled from start to finish. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 18, 2019

Tsui Wah, Singapore…covers all the bases

This iconic cha chaan teng (tea café) from Hong Kong that had humble beginnings as a bing sutt (ice cafe) at Mongkok in 1967 has landed in Singapore.

The taste combination of the signature sweet condensed milk and the fragrant crispy bun was fantastic, but the weak crispiness was a bit of a let down. King prawns with XO sauce in tossed noodles is the one to go for here. The noodles were springy and the prawns were super-fresh. Wantons with shrimp roe in fish soup is also a favourite. Within the simple delicious broth, the wantons – fat, plump, and bursting with shrimp – are a winner.

What to avoid: Seafood curry with steamed rice & stir-fried instant noodles with pork chop and assorted vegetables on sizzling plate. Unless you really need to satisfy the sudden urge for curry, there are much better places to go that won’t leave you full of regret. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 11, 2019

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai…a coffee-lover’s Disneyland

Once upon a time, Starbucks prompted millions of consumers to do away with cheaper instant coffee for a more expensive specialty product. With this Reserve Roastery, it is third-wave coffee.

Upscale, and they feature cocktail bars, bakeries, snake-like tubes that transport beans across the store and unique elements, this roastery is completely unlike a typical Starbucks. There are tons of food and coffee options, plus plenty of places to sit and stay for a while with staffers navigating selections the way a sommelier might do with a wine list.

Indeed the food and drinks are, well, a few stars better than your standard Starbucks offerings. My personal favorite is the dark chocolate mocha, which is just sweet enough with a good bitter bite from the espresso. Milanese bakery Princi provides the food, notable ones are cheesecake lampone, carrot loaf cake and torta princi.

Looking around, I see coffee fiends pilgrimage here from all over. You’ll hear different languages, see a spectrum of generations, and many different styles of clothing. If you’re a coffee lover, you won’t want to miss this stop.

This massive, gleaming roastery is the Starbucks Mecca. Translation: Be prepared to be awed and overwhelmed. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 5, 2019

Snow activity Land, Rusutsu, Hokkaido…hits and misses

So what if temperatures are plummeting? Your excitement level life is heating up with exciting things to do in the powdery snow of Rusutsu. Rusutsu in the snow is a spectacular sight and whether you prefer to take to the slopes on skis or simply mosey on through the snow-dusted fields, there’s usually something for everyone to enjoy.

Snow Activity Land is a one-stop shop for dog-sledding, snowmobile tours, etc. The most disappointing activity was the dog-sledding. I don’t know if I have ever been more personally disappointed by any activity at Rusutsu than I was with Snow Activity Land’s dog-sledding. It wasn’t as long as I thought it would be. For a one hour activity as advertised for JPY3,780, the ride was over in 30 seconds. It’s a total rip-off, not worth the money. On the other end of the scale the snowmobile Adventure Course is worth every dollar. Conquering the snowy terrain as you zoom along on a snowmobile is the best way to enjoy a wintry landscape. If you’re a thrill seeker, you can zip up and down through the woods; if you prefer something more relaxed, you can opt for a scenic tour of the well-groomed trails. Nabin Tamang (email: paddletamang@gmail.com), our guide the best there can be, bringing with him hot coffee for a pit stop on the powdery snow.

Hit and misses with Snow Activity Land. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 1, 2019

Restoran Kapal Layar, Langkawi…Not satisfying. Only satisfactory.

Restoran Kapal Layar does not set any new paradigms. It is satisfactory instead of satisfying.

The presentation of almost all the dishes was underwhelming and unremarkable. While it is not the epitome of any particular trend, most of the food coming out of its kitchen is quite ok. If I were to recommend one meal that captures some of the energy in the Langkawi dining scene right now, I might come up with reasons not to mention Restoran Kapal Layar. It is an outlier.

This is essentially an IKEA cafetaria. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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