PEr FYI

May 6, 2017

PlearnWan, Hua Hin…traditional charm

A stroll in PlearnWan is an exercise in time travel, with many buildings recreating the 1950s feel. The atmosphere is casual and uncrowded.

Explore everything from liquor, inexpensive plastic-and-tin toys, snacks as well as a beauty salon, photo studio, outdoor cinema screen and a 20-room guesthouse or ‘Piman Plern Wan. Hard-to-find snacks, such as ‘tong muan sod’ (sweetened pancake) and ‘ka lor jee’ (similar to Japanese mochi), are cooked up a’la minute at one of the hawker carts lining the walkway along with typical fare such as noodles and barbecued pork over rice

It’s not all chocolate box perfection but while in Hua Hin, there’s nothing better than strolling through the unheralded but absurdly charming streets of PlearnWan. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

plearnwan huahin2

plearnwan huahin1

February 18, 2017

Asia Tour MICE and Leisure Co, Bangkok…fixer – par excellence

The popularity of escorted tours is on the rise.

Asia Tour MICE and Leisure Co, led by Panyawat Peter Tongprasert (CEO – Chief Entertainment Officer) has proven itself to my evident satisfaction. Its portfolio is wide-ranging: from Fototastic Challenges and party vehicles to team building activities and golf tournaments and police escort services. They customize sophisticated itineraries which cater for every type of traveler. With excellent planning, good contacts on the ground and close attention to detail, they set extremely high standards of customer service and his staff have consistently delivered.

If you are looking to book anywhere in Thailand – either a detailed itinerary or a fairly straightforward trip – you won’t do better than to get quotes from Peter and Asia Tour MICE. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

asia-tour-bkk

January 7, 2017

Premium outlet Cha-Am, Hua Hin…..a ghost town disguised as an outlet mall

If you are a seasoned shopper, you would probably love to shop in outlet malls.

There is not enough big names to pull the shoppers into this premium outlet. Although it has names like GEOX, Billabong, ECCO, Triumph, Samsonite, Lacoste, everything isn’t a bargain, finding a deal in here requires a little work – and it sorely lacks the appeal of outlet malls. It’s simply just dull and very quiet. Practically deserted.The staff standing by idly while they wait for something to do. Very dull with no atmosphere. Zero, ziltch, nil, nothing, nada.

It’s just a vast expanse of brick and mortar emporiums that many Thai and tourists no longer visit. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

premium-outlet-huahin

November 6, 2016

Koi Kee Bakery, Macau…you can bet your last dollar on the crunchy peanut candy and almond cookies

If you have a sweet tooth for pastries, Koi Kei Bakery will be a kick in the snackpants for you. This purveyor of cookies, candies is probably one of the few things Macau is famed for apart from gambling.

The crunchy peanut candy is a winner! It is a frivolous thing with no other purpose than to delight, and that’s why it’s so wonderful. There is a pleasing lightness and truly brittle so it breaks when you bite it. They’re crunchy, they’re crispy, they’re almost flaky and they’re truly addictive. The delectably light and flavorsome, melt-in-your-mouth almond cookies are not to be missed either. Another Koi Kee sure win bet is the phoenix egg roll with seaweed and pork floss. Though seaweed, pork floss and egg may not seem to be the most congenial culinary combination, this unassuming threesome packs a truly appetizing punch

If you’re in Macau, or even Hong Kong, take advantage and buy as much as you can because it’s good. Very good. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

koi-kee-macau1

koi-kee-macau2

October 15, 2016

Orcs Nest, London…This is the best place to go to get board games in London

An incredibly tiny store with an undeniably superb and rich range of board game stock and role playing books. Although deceptively small, it’s compact, with each shelf inside jammed with a vast variety of board games. This place has a ton of stuff.  The walls are bursting with games. It’s unmatched in this regard in London.

In terms of atmosphere, it has none of the buzz of other London game stores like Forbidden Planet. It’s pretty close to a tube station so just a few minutes walk.

The guy who worked there was very helpful, knowledgeable and friendly.He was very approachable when I asked for some recommendations.Believe me, it was difficult to decide what to buy, there was so much on offer here. He asked what games I already played and liked, then made some great suggestions. If I had the luggage space, trust me, I would have bought more than the just one.

Bottomline is: fantastic store, excellent selection, but will burn through your wallet! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

orcs-nest-lhr

September 4, 2016

Shilin Market, Taipei…bring an appetite

Taiwanese night markets are a not-to-be-missed experience. Flying the flag for night markets is Shilin – perhaps the most famous and biggest Taiwanese night market.

Crowded and squeezy, the maze of alleyways is filled with clusters of hundreds of small stalls and street vendors selling a variety of local delicacies. Try everything  from skewered cuttlefish to fresh fruit to Taiwanese sausages to two of the market’s most iconic dishes: pan-fried buns and slabs of fried chicken cutlets. To decide what to eat, wander around and let your eyes and nose make the selection for you. This vibrant and colourful market blends street food with local souvenirs, designers, textiles, homeware and jewellery for a well-rounded market experience.

If you’re food-obsessed but don’t have the disposable income for Taipei’s best restaurants, Shilin is your saviour. Entry is free. The food, of course, is not. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

shilin taipei

August 27, 2016

Jiu Fen Old Street, Taipei…winning combination of crazy good food vendors and a bustling stretch of shopping

Jiufen is a great mini-trip out of Taipei, less than an hour away. With gorgeous views of the ocean, quaint streets and beautiful tea houses, Jiufen thrives as a trousit spot for a taste of Taiwan culture and history. When it first formed, there were only nine families, so the city would always request “nine portions” when shipments came in, hence the name.

Jiu Fen Old Street is series of narrow alleys which feature stand after stand of local snacks and handmade souvenirs. Be prepared to shove past throngs of tourists crammed into the narrow alleys. The offer samples of ginger tea which brings with it a host of powerful health benefits. Another popular food item is the mochi – glutinous rice balls which are as soft as marshmallows.

Don’t worry, there alleys are all covered by awning should the heavens open. It’s worth planning an adventure to Jiufen as well as an obligatory stroll down Old Street. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

jiu fen taipei3

August 20, 2016

Forbidden Planet, London…A visually amazing giant store to satisfy your inner geek

Ah, nerd mecca. They have things ranging from Pokemon to Magic of the Gathering. There’s a little geek in all of us and there’s something for everyone here especially Marvel induced euphoria. Don’t judge me.

This is probably a great treasure trove when it comes to comic books, movie memorabilia and everything that’s geeky – from collectibles and action figures over toys and fashion to stickers. Upstairs you’ll find all the merchandise, including the glass wall of statues that I’ll always want, but never need or own. Dr Who seems to be the fat cash cow together with Marvel superheroes. Star Wars fans will find their heads spinning from the galaxy of merchandizes to choose from. Then downstairs are the comics, graphic novels, dvds and books and more books and comics.

A visually amazing giant store to satisfy your inner geek. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

forbidden planet lhr

July 6, 2016

The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4, London…a Potter fan’s paradise

Harry Potter’s Platform 9 and three quarters is real and it’s at London’s Kings Cross Station.

The store packs a large variety of different merchandise – wands, clothing, snowglobe, plush white owls, unique art, sweets, and recreations of artifacts from the books – into a very small space. This looks like a cheap disney store (I do love Disney stores). No magic, just a display of merchandising to capitalise on some of the best books and movies out there. It is small and does get quite overcrowded and quite hard to navigate through.

One very good thing is that outside, there’s the cart filled with suitcases and an owl cage halfway through the wall. There’s a snaking queue to pose for a photo opportunity: while you’re holding on to the cart, a member of staff gives you a scarf and swings the scarf up to make you look like you were really flying through the platform, while another takes a picture.

Be ready to get really uber-nerdy here but you’ll be surrounded by the equally nerdy, so no worries. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

934 lhr1

934 lhr2

June 19, 2016

Sing Thang Yeng, Bangkok…totally gaga on these aroi mak mak crunchy Thai snacks

“Aroi mak mak”. That’s delicious in Thai. Thailand does not need any introduction when it comes to its food and snacks. It is loved by many of us.

I am a kid in a candy (or Thai snacks) store when I’m here!! It’s a tiny place in MBK. But the crammed racks heavy with imported Thai crackers, cookies, and other goods reveal just the beginning of its epic selection of Thai snacks and sweets. You would be familiar with the flavors here:  coconut, taro, savory/sweet/salt/tart dried fruit, the fragile and luscious texture of the coconut cakes.

My personal favourites are the pork floss egg rolls and the rice cracker with pork floss. Dry, subtly sweet and satisfyingly crunchy. You get that crispy oomph!

Go totally gaga on these aroi mak mak crunchy Thai snacks. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

sing bkk

 

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