Monday, August 31, 2015

Chic-A-Boo Fried Chicken @ Sembawang Shopping Centre [Singapore]

Fried chicken from Texas Chicken, Arnolds, Popeyes, KFC and even Waffletown has taken root in Singapore over the past few years (in some cases, decades) and with so many dining establishments serving the same kind of meat in the same style with varying flavouring and seasoning, it's hard to imagine that another one had entered into the foray! 

Chic-A-Boo Fried Chicken - okay, i don't think it's that new but for me, it's the first time i am actually checking it out after hearing pretty good reviews from a Facebook friend whom i have yet to meet, face to face. 

The decor for the fast food restaurant at Sembawang Shopping Centre appeared to be quite familiar and it's after a few seconds that it dawned on me what it was supposed to be! 

In direct relation to the poultry that made up its menu, the decoration at Chic-A-Boo was to visualise dining in a chicken barn! In real life, i doubt any of you would want to be caught digging into a fried chicken drumstick while being surrounded by possibly thousands of live chickens. 

Aside from ordering at the counter, do try the fuss free method over the self service kiosk! It was a breeze to use and i can even make payment using NETS! 

Note your order number and collect your food from the pickup counter once the number is reflected on the LED display. This shall help to circumvent the issue of manpower shortage faced by many food outlets. 

Cheezy Fries
After having endured the usually soggy cheese fries from KFC, i must say i am darn satisfied with the ones here. It had the right thickness, the optimal crunch and although better than KFC, i would have enjoyed them even more if mayo was included!

Onion Rings
Too thick a batter and even though i have always enjoyed the crispier texture, it overshadowed the pungency of onions which i placed strong emphasis on when it comes to onion rings. 

Favourite & Hot N Spicy Fried Chicken
Now coming to the star of the shop, we had half a dozen with three favourites and three hot and spicy. p.s. no choosing of parts. Since i ordered via the self service counter, i am assuming favourite means "original" in the KFC context. 

The spicy fried chicken in KFC was really nothing to scream about when you compared them to the hot and spicy from Chic-A-Boo! "Favourites" had a more manageable peppery aftertaste and it's strange that the one snack that came to mind was "twisties".

I couldn't quite decide if i like the fried chicken or not as there were advantages and disadvantages; chicken meat was fresh, juicy yet not as oily as Arnolds but the sinful skin was a tad less flavourful vis-à-vis Arnolds.

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Location
604 Sembawang Road,
#01-02, Sembawang Shopping Centre

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Cheezy Fries - S$3.50
Onion Rings - S$2.00
Favourite & Hot N Spicy Fried Chicken - S$12 (six pieces)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Taking the Airport Rail Link and Arriving at the City in Less than 30 Minutes @ Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport [Thailand]

Like many tourists, i used to make a beeline for the taxi queue once i arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport at Bangkok and pray very hard for a jam-free journey to the capital's downtown.

With the opening of the Airport Rail Link in 2010, many passengers now have a way more economical, faster and jam-free option. This post today shall focus on my personal experience and i hope you would find it useful. :)

Arrivals are on the second floor of the airport and you may take the lift / escalators to basement one where the Airport Rail Link is situated. Note: those who wish to visit the washrooms should note that there wasn't any on basement one (i checked with the info counter). 

Fare structure - the most i would pay from the start to the end (eight stations in total) would only be about 45 baht (less than S$2) and you may contrast this with the likely 400-450 baht you have to fork out for the taxi! I would recommend you save the taxi fare for your return trip back to the airport instead! 

Let me explain why. The train carriage was extremely narrow and unlike Seoul's Airport Railroad Express (AREX), you will have issues placing your baggage as the train service was popular with both locals and tourists, and larger baggage would definitely block the crowded aisle! 

Train frequency was about ten minutes and at the present moment, only the blue city line was operational. The red express line has been suspended indefinitely due to a lack of trains. Operational hours for the City Line are from 6am till 12 midnight. 

Without any place to sit and a big suitcase to manage, i wouldn't say my journey was comfortable. Frankly, i don't need to rest my legs over the short period of time but it would be nice to have a baggage corner where i know my suitcase would be safely immobilised. 

Suvarnabhumi Airport in front of me - the track is mostly above ground and runs for 28.6 kilometers at a maximum of 160 kilometers per hour. End point is Phaya Thai which is near to the tourist-filled Pratunam area and connected to a BTS station of the same name. 

An observation; two elderly ladies were behind me and no one offered their seats to them! How could that be?! Has Thailand changed so much since the last time i visited? It was after removing my earphones and listening to the conversations that it's obvious the seated commuters nearest to the ladies were foreigners; well travelled yet socially retarded.

Arriving at Phaya Thai station where almost everyone alighted! Time taken? Less than thirty minutes! As it was the lunch peak, i would have imagined how long it would take us to reach our destination via the taxi mode. 

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Website for More Info

Saturday, August 29, 2015

An Improvised Tuk Tuk To Deter Bag Snatchers! @ Bangkok [Thailand]

The availability of tuk tuk and its convenience of being able to weave in and out of the infamous traffic gridlocks in Bangkok mean i have no qualm in adopting it as the preferred mode of transport when i am not near to a BTS / MRT station.

In the recent trip i made in August, there was a noticeable visual difference in the tuk tuks i took; a net was installed on the right side and i am sure it's not to beautify the vehicle (no, not with the spider web design). 

I wasn't too sure what it was for until i happened to look at a notice on another tuk tuk which happened to stop next to ours at a traffic junction! 

This net can supposedly help to protect passengers from bag snatchers! Many tuk tuks owners have joined the programme but there are some who understandably resisted. For the sake of your belongings and to persuade those detractors, we should do our part as tourists.

Don't take tuk tuk that doesn't come with the net! 
For more information on the net protecting programme, click here

Ratchada Train Market (Talad Rot Fai) @ Bangkok [Thailand]

The since-demolished train market near Jatujak Market was popular among locals and towards its demise, among tourists too. I was unfortunately unaware of its popularity and missed the chance to visit in my past few vacations in Bangkok. 

Life goes on and instead of just one; there are now two train markets in the city although they are nowhere near any traditional railway stations. Nevertheless, banking on the name does help in creating awareness and today, we shall go through the latest train market, Ratchada Talad Rot Fai.

It was a Thursday night yet the crowd still came strong; i could not imagine the situation on weekends which i am sure the entire area would just be people mountain people sea. 

An alfresco cafe; in case you are unaware, the train markets are known for hawking wares with a strong vintage element. Put them in the 60s, 70s and they would definitely not look out of place! 

There's a reason why i chose to come on a Thursday; the expectation of a less crowd since Ratchada Train Market is conveniently located next to a MRT station while the other train market was a lot more cumbersome to travel to. I visited both this time and would give an update on Srinakarin train market soon.

Be prepared to be bombarded with a hundred over photographs! Starting with this shop selling motorbike helmets! I regretted not dropping by earlier as i suck in taking shots at night! 

The market has a mixed of permanent and pop-up shop spaces; unlike Asiatique the Riverfront which focused on the former and featured a lot more upmarket stuff. 

Hobbyists would be pleased to note that there were many shops selling memorabilia and you might just be able to get your hands on that valuable piece to complete your collection. 

In view of a flat that is slowly within my grasp, i was on the lookout for items that could help to characterise a home; like these vintage looking wall displays!

They would definitely liven up a plain wall and i have made a mental note to grab these once the house is in a live-in condition. 

Those keen to know the shop's location can scan the QR codes as above.

Random mongrel sleeping outside the shop; bet the owner must be wondering why he had so few customers that day! Haha.

Shopping while working our mouths is an activity i would have gladly partaken; except that age has drastically reduced the metabolism and it's extremely hard to shed those extra weight! 

Would you dare to have a vintage cut?! I almost did but decided not to lest i were to scare the shit out of my colleagues. Moreover, i hate the presence of gel and wax on my hair!

Another home decor item! I remember seeing the iron man one in one of the pictures at RenoTalk forum! Very nice actually. 

Now we know why Snow White's stepmother was such a bitch; she's a cocaine addict! Wait, does drugs turn people into bitches?? Excuse my ignorance.

Food zone; should have satisfied our dinner here! If you have been following my travelogue, my dinner was at Sukhumvit Soi 38 Food Street.

Container truck shops which were aplenty in the train market.

A little cafe; i realised i could not participate in cafe hopping when i was overseas. It is a severely time consuming activity and instead of so called relaxing at a cafe, it would be better use of my precious time to check out other places!

Note: the above would not be applicable if i have too much free time and there was nothing else for me to do. It could happen in a small village and when i am stuck in a small island.

A lot of beer drinking joints though; again not really my cup of tea since i don't hold liquor very well and dislike the effects of hangovers. 

Food trucks which are slowly gaining popularity in Singapore. It's a pity that the lion city has rather restrictive rules to govern the use of such trucks although the intentions are good; for health and safety. 

Diagonal end of Ratchada Train Market - i focused on the border shops and had yet to step into the makeshift stalls in the middle. 

Nope, i didn't try the Pad Thai in this establishment but i entered for a simple reason; for which the service staff kindly agreed! Being a grateful person, i shall make a point to have my dinner at this place the next time i visit! 

My request was to go up to its second level to take the above picture! This was the diagonal end of the market and having this elevated platform would give a better view of the market's scale. 

A prettier sight too!

Vintage looking car that doubled up as a shop space. This kind of things can be found in Singapore despite the astronomically prices to own a car; the car boot sale flea market. Whatever the case, i prefer the vibe here; the grass is always greener on the other side, as some might say.

Traditional, brown-framed photos and posters for the house; frankly, i would prefer to use my own photos and use the IKEA colour frames for a photo frame feature wall instead. 

I so wanted to try this..... 

Accessories stall with items that i would buy a lot when i am younger. Ageing changes one's perspectives; damn, i am so uncle! 

Customisation for the leather goods with your name embossed; the in thing to do nowadays. I was thinking of doing a few as Christmas presents; pity my poor judgment on colours makes it a mammoth effort and i had to abandon that thought. 

Given my usually un-styled hair, i should have looked through the many types available in this shop! :( One of the perceptions when i am overseas is that i would MAYBE find the same things elsewhere at a POSSIBLY cheaper price. Definitely need to change that perception!

This would likely a possible purchase if Rubee is still alive. For those who have yet to read about my first and only dog, click here

Something for the kids, i presume.

Karen Au would sure love to get her hands on these! Ms Au, you should seriously consider making your passport and making a trip to Bangkok! Bring more money though. 

Oops; just saw something that Jovyn would like.

Eh, is this old school Volkswagen Beetle able to travel on the road?! 

Personally, there were loads to see in the train market and i was in a rush to go through everything as it was already quite late when we arrived and i was suffering from a lack of sleep! 

Awwwww my childhood memory!

Anyone from my era (by the way, i am borne in the 1980s) still remember any of these tin toys?! Sadly, although i do reminisce the good old days, it's the future i am more excited of. 

 
What the hell do i want a motor fuel tank for?! Maybe not in Singapore where petrol stations are not likely to sell you a huge amount of fuel for placement at home. 

Can consider having a spotlight instead to illuminate your precious collection. Not for poor chaps like me who have to be in debt for the next twenty five years to service a 67 square meters apartment.

So mesmerising; instead of the conventional filament tube, this had the shape and colour of a stalk of flowers! So nice right?!

Drink dispenser; good to have in a party although the capacity was quite limited. 

Vintage wares - there were a few places in Singapore that you can get your hands on stuff like the above; i could not comment on the pricing but if you are interested, you can consider China Square or at Chinatown. 

Lady accessories at 20 baht each (less than S$1)!

Coffee bean grinders? 

Shoes; i don't buy shoes in night markets no matter how cheap or how nice they are. Comfort for the feet is way more important than just the price and style. 

Dolls from the past - subject of many a horror films nowadays (for example, Annabelle), i am wondering how many kids would actually like this kind of dolls. 


More of the wall displays; some of them have sentences that are so me! Guess i have to make another trip to Bangkok soon!

Don't think i would get the vintage furniture though even though i have always preferred the wooden theme. They feel more natural and in my opinion, much more durable. 

For people like me who don't know who is playing for which football team. Oh well, i do recognise the guy for spiderman; a guy with the surname garfield or something. 

Okay, i should start my exploration of the makeshift stalls zone! 

Starting from one end of the zone, the layout was like the physical queue system which means i would cover all the stalls! However, tiredness had set in by then and i can only show you photographs rather than details for most of the stalls.


Knitted products.

Sandals - essential in Bangkok for any tourists as the weather is forever so hot and humid and there is so much walking! Poor me opted for covered shoes and needless to say, i complained like siao! 

Bags and briefcases - in the style that is in vogue recently. Like shoes, i am not keen to buy bags in makeshift stalls; an experience in KL taught me a lot about the quality for most of them. Having said that, i have friends who bought bags and shoes in this kind of market and the products lasted for a long time!

Boxers! Another item on my to-buy list when i moved over to the new house. 

Tees for mother's day which falls on the queen's birthday. 

















Other things that you can find in the train market; no additional description would be added unless really necessary. Would love to get my hands on the shades though; after i correct my short sighted-ness. 

Ted A Car - a car fresher that is innovative and interesting enough as a Christmas gift! 

It came in close to 20 different fragrances and aside from using it in a car, you can also place it in the closet / restroom / kitchen etc!

The same kind of popular bags but in mini form for the kids! Imagine a father and son combination which would be so cute!



Coin banks with no way to take out your money unless you break them!!! I was looking for a pig one to add to my stash but could not find any. Anyway, i first saw them back in Krabi at the Krabi Town Night Market, in 2011!

At this point, only me and Alex were together and we had separated from the original twenty-person group! Quite hard to shop in a big group and we had already indicated from the start; own time own target and if you could not find anyone; hope onto a cab to get back to Lemontea hotel
Lego figurines; i know our dear Dr Don Goh TC would likely be drawn by them. I love Lego but their high prices mean i am only given hands-me-down when i was a kid. 

Fake Casio watches with models that cost a fraction of its original cost. 

I could not get any piggie banks although i did manage to see these super adorable piggy stuffed toys! They are characters from the Line app? 

The alphabet tees - you would be able to purchase one with the starting letter of your name. Cheap at only 100 Thai baht (less than S$5) apiece!

Adorable animal-themed tote bags! If i am of the fairer sex, i would likely buy the one with the Boston Terrier or the one that had a Siberian Husky!

I am quite a rebel in my teens and have about 8 earrings on my left ear lobe before the army came calling and i was too lazy to pull in the plastic sticks to prevent the holes from closing! All closed except for one; as i believed until i bought three from this stall and could not get any of them through the ear when i was back in the hotel! :(

Should i rekindle my teen?

Quite obnoxious if you ask me. 

However, hats off for their creativity to create a head that's different from the usual mannequins which, by the way, can look disturbing sometimes. 

Alex checking out the tee shirts; there were so many designs to choose from and i think he bought like 10-20 of them in this trip.

These were nice right?!?!?

Plushies of characters from Pokemon! I used to be quite obsessed with the game when i had my Nintendo DS; thank god i have outgrown it! If not, i would be blogging a lot lesser; for better or for worse.

Bangkok is another paradise for those with kids; they have such adorable shirts for young kids at affordable pricing and even i could not resist buying a few pieces for Jovyn and Jerald.

Ladies boxers i think since i don't expect a man to wear them unless they have a undesirable fetish with wearing woman clothes. 

I recently saw someone having the same design except it was tattooed on his back instead of being printed on a cotton shirt to be worn on! 


Another shop with vintage furnishing. I wonder how much it would cost to ship one back to Singapore.... Hm.... just wondering.


Food zone again which means we were nearing the main entrance of the train market. No supper as i didn't manage to lose enough weight before the trip! 

Those who still have the energy to expend can consider chilling out in the many alfresco pubs and listening to the performances from live bands. Me? I am dying to go back to Lemontea hotel for a rest! 

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Location
Ratcadaphisek Road (behind Esplanade Shopping Mall)

Nearest MRT Station
Thailand Cultural Center (Exit 4)

Map
As above.

How to Get There
Upon exit from exit 4 of Thailand Cultural Centre MRT station, turn right and walk straight until you get to the Esplanade Shopping Mall (as above).

Once you are inside, cut across the mall and you would reach Ratchada Train Market (Talad Rot Fai) in no time. Navigation wise, it is directly behind the shopping centre. 

Opening Hours
Thursdays to Sundays - 5pm to midnight


For the itinerary of my recent 4 days Bangkok trip, click here

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