PEr FYI

August 3, 2019

Otaru Music Box Museum, Hokkaido…never fail to dazzle

Otaru is home to a brilliant museum that never fail to dazzle visitors.

Comprehensively housing over 25,000 music boxes dating as far back to the 19th century, the museum continues to draw crowds from all over the world. Oh, and forget to check out the roof space where you may design your own music box, with options including music played and external design. Loads to see and do, and thanks to the vast variety of music boxes, it makes for a brilliant day out.

Then of course, there is the building’s 1912 architecture too – Otaru Music Box Museum is definitely worth a visit. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 16, 2019

Habitat by Honestbee, Singapore…the future of dining – for better or for worse

Singapore’s food and beverage scene has entered a new era of hitech gizmos and geekery that’s about to revolutionise dining out. Habitat is a beautiful sight to behold. Menu-wise it’s a moderately predictable but decently executed list of dependable pan-Asian and western dishes. Technology-wise, it’s remarkably unique.

Your entire journey in the restaurant is fully machine-automated. You place your orders through your mobile phones. You will be notified via the app once your food is ready. Then, just collect your food and enjoy!

You’ll find the char siew noodles at Char checks all the boxes (look at it in all its saucy glory). The Tiger Beer Battered Fish & Chips – Haddock is further reasons to be cheerful – delicate golden batter, succulent fish, breaking the surface was like piercing the lid on a perfect crème brûlée. The Little Neck Clams And Bacon Linguine is a very classic one, too. Bacon and pasta, I mean, do I really need to go into it? Let’s just say this little bowl of delicious can make you happy. Poofy Pancakes – a trio of large, fluffy soft, pillowy gluten-free pancakes is a thumbs up. I leave feeling giddy, as if I have spent the afternoon inhaling candyfloss.

In addition to dining, it is also the convenience store of the future. No lines, no cash registers, and no checking out. You just grab what you want, and you … go. It will not be long before the hypermarkets wake up one day and wonder what it in the hell it was that hit them.

It’s probably the future of retail and dining. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 4, 2018

Lotte Outlets, Seoul… Avoid, avoid

In Seoul it is easy to shop ’til you drop. With so many options, how can you know where to go first?

I can’t answer that question for you but I do know the one not to go at all would be Lotte Outlets. It is by far the saddest mall experience in Seoul. Good luck to anyone trying to find great value stuff to buy.

Lotte Outlets is forgettable. Next. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 17, 2018

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Hua Hin…Uber-touristy.

The idea of eating at a tourist hotspot in our hometown is laughable. On holiday we endure plastic croque monsieurs under the Eiffel Tower, misshapen bratwurst by the Berlin Wall and food and fruits on the floating markets in Thailand, like Damnoen Saduak.

Damnoen Saduak has been Thailand’s best known floating market for a very long time but it is also the most touristy one. It’s lively, full of boats selling food and fruits, and it’s colourful. But you can’t turn your head without being sold something. Everything is expensive.

In sum – don’t go here if you hate cliches, and don’t eat here unless you like paying three times more for your food. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 22, 2018

Bicester Village, London…Who needs the sale when you can shop here year round?

First, get the pronunciation right. It’s like “blister” without the “l”.

This rural England shopping centre – more than 160 stores and precisely 46 minutes by train from London’s Marylebone station – is almost as popular among Chinese tourists as Buckingham Palace.

This is the place to find deep discounts on designer and name brands. You will find everything you need from head to toe and from kitchen to living room. It is chockful of popular brands and perennial favorites, so anyone who is a loyal fan of any particular brands will want to check ahead to scope out their choices.

You will have saved so much. Even if you go in the poorhouse, you’ve spent your money wisely. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 16, 2017

Fa So La Tax free Akihabara, Tokyo…top stop to shop for Japanese specialties

Few globetrotters set off for an overseas trip without a shopping list either for themselves or usually for friends, family and work colleagues.

Tokyo Banana is probably the most common snack most people will buy back from Japan. Choose either the banana caramel or strawberry cake. Royce, Kit Kats, Matcha cookies, the lot. Let’s not forget Calbee Jaga Pokkuru, the combination of french fries and potato chips, but much much better!

But where to buy?

Many frequent flyers to Tokyo will agree with me that Fa So La Tax free Akihabara remains one of the favourite airport shops when it comes to sheer availability of all the Japanese specialties under one roof. Moreover, with the short expiry dates on those Tokyo Bananas, it’s best to grab them last minute at the airport on the way out of the country.

stop by if you didn’t have a chance to stop by the electronics area, Akihabara in Tokyo or if you’re looking for TOKYO BANANA! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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