Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Eyes in the Sky - Bangkok on a Clear Day

Bangkok is a much desired destination for me whenever i want to travel out of Singapore and i am such a frequent visitor that i don't even bother to generate a detailed itinerary! Photo taking is also generally limited to new places or updates.

The section under "the eyes in the sky" has also been neglected but in my recent departure from Bangkok, i had to scramble for the camera in my bag as the sight next to me was in one word; spectacular!

Many times, when i arrived / departed from the capital of Thailand, it was always cloudy and visibility from the sky was less than optimal. However, this time is not the same as i can literally soak in the entire cityscape! 

See, that's Lebua State Tower with its iconic golden dome and in front of it is actually Bangkok's newest luxury shoping centre; ICONSIAM

Did you manage to spot the grand palace which is somewhere in the middle, next to the 372-kilometer-long chao phraya river?! You can spot a lot of them on google map although nothing beats seeing using your own eyes! 

More photos! I am so sad my Nikon D750 is no longer with me as my ageing D7100 couldn't perform as well in zooming in to capture greater detail of the sights below the AirAsia plane. :(

Bang Kachao - the green lung of Bangkok and a place vastly different from the infamous jams and high density of buildings elsewhere in the capital. Maybe i should drop by on my next visit! 

Agricultural lands in the southern part of Bangkok; i think it's the Samut Sakhon province known for its sea salt production and the village above should be Baan Sa Kla Village. 

Onward to the gulf of thailand!

My Birthday - Last Year Before The Next Milestone! #whiterabbitcandycake #thepinegardencakes

I just celebrated my birthday around a week ago and it was a bitter sweet affair; while i was glad to survive another year (for better or for worse), 2019 would also make it the last year i am in my 30s!

Nevertheless, life goes on and frankly, we only live once. We should make full use of our short time in life to enjoy as much as we could, within our capability of course. 

Since i don't want to stress myself by baking my own birthday cake, my family got me the white rabbit candy cake from The Pine Garden! It evokes a lot of nostalgia for my siblings and parents as white rabbit was one of the few sweets we enjoyed when we were young! 

The only thing i didn't quite like was the addition of marshmallows! For me, usage for marshmallows should be limited only for barbecue. Anyway, i can still scrape them away and pass it over to the kids, so no big issue here. 

Jovyn was eagerly waiting for me to finish my birthday wish; so that she can proceed to compete with me to blow out the candles! Awww, the kids are growing up so fast. In another few years' time, we might not even want to spend time with his uncle me. 

Cake was good; not cloyingly sweet with a light, palatable cream in between each layer. So what makes it a white rabbit candy cake? In addition to the two pieces of sweets in wrappers on top, there were also bits of soft candy buried in the cream. To be frank, they didn't make much of a difference to me. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Interesting Urinal that Discriminates the Shorties @ Guiyang [Guizhou, China] #urinalforyaoming

Travellers on tour packages would often make it a point to visit the washrooms after a meal and that's especially important in countries like China where sights could mean on the road for a few hours with no toilet break!

I exercise the same philosophy as above (thanks to my parents who would always remind us from young) and like most people, my primary concern would be the sanitary condition.

There's nothing smelly or dirty about the male toilet in this restaurant beside Guiyang Grand Theater. However, after my number 1, i caught sight of this particular urinal from the mirror which i didn't notice on my way in. 

The bottom side of it was at my chest level and for a moment, i thought this might be a contemporary version of what we called a sink; albeit in a urinal form. I was wrong as it's totally functional as a device for peeing! 

According to the wooden plaque pasted on top; it's hoping for Yao Ming to use. Who is him? A retired professional basketball player who is 2.29 meters tall! Typical of me, I actually checked with the service staff if he had visited. Sadly no, he has yet to 'open' the urinal! 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Momma Kong's - Said to be Singapore's Best Chilli Crab @ Mosque Street [Near Chinatown MRT Station] #mommakongschillicrab

Chilli crab is one of Singapore's national dishes; with such fame, it's a given that the dish can be easily found in restaurants and coffee-shops all over Singapore (somewhat like Hainanese chicken rice)

However, i have never known of this eatery known as Momma Kong's at Chinatown; opened for business 2013, the highly acclaimed "lonely planet" labelled this relatively new entrant as "the island's best chilli crab"!

Now, now, now; that's a major claim and should be subject to scrutiny by the locals who often count food hunting as their major pastime on this small island that's just a red dot on the global map. Locals like my family, especially my mom, who absolutely adores crabs!

Unlike typical restaurants in Singapore, the decor doesn't feel quite like a standard seafood restaurants. The design is contemporary and includes a bar counter where you can pair your crab with a glass of wine or a bottle of beer; no beer girls.

Photo collage wall of pictures, taken in Momma Kong's, from Instagram! An interesting take for using fans' photos and combining them altogether. I sure hope they have sought permission from the Instagrammers though as some might not like that their pictures were used without approval.

Air-conditioned seating on the ground floor and if that's packed, do proceed to the second floor! If it's full house (which happened on the day of our visit), there are two tables outside where fresh air infused with fumes from the passing cars, surrounds you.

Standard utensils for each customer; don't bother returning the wet tissue as it's not chargeable and you can't get a deduction from your bill (we knew because cheapo us attempted). p.s. i love the inclusion of crab pick fork.

MSG is apparently not added to the food; our long-time friend and colleague, Karen Au, would be extremely pleased to hear that as she doesn't manage well with MSG-laden food. Anyway, here comes the food!

Luncheon Meat Crisps - luncheon meat fries are so passe; the crisps are the way to go for a sinful, crunchy snack! Having said that, i didn't quite like the taste of the luncheon meat and felt it might be better for them to trial a few brands to decide the tastiest one. Personally, i always prefer Maling brand, specifically the one with the picture of a pig.

Grilled Squid -not rubbery but pieces with the burnt edges had a fishier aftertaste and not exactly in a good way. At S$20.00, my expectation was elevated and higher expectation does translate into a bigger disappointment.

Crab Bee Hoon Soup - i like crabs cooked in all styles but the one i craved for when it's raining would be the crab bee hoon soup! The broth was thin yet surprisingly tasty although i thought it could have been more flavourful / saltier. Maybe it's due to the lack of the magical ingredient; MSG.

Fried Mantou - my favourite fried buns from Forture Seafood Steamboat (得运海鲜火锅) had a close competitor even though the ones from Momma Kong's fell a little short of taste. Nevertheless, the purpose of a mantou is to complement the sauce from the crabs and here comes our star for the day.

Chilli Crab - plated beautifully and half soaked in that orange, appetising, chilli sauce, i honestly couldn't wait to dig in to check out the "the island's best chilli crab"!

To be frank, the sauce wasn't that spicy and i thought the ratio of sourness was higher than the spiciness. There's also a taste i couldn't put my finger too; my mum pointed out that it might have come from blue ginger.

Another observation was that the sauce was overly watery and this made it a hassle for me to scoop it up with the fried mantou! I thought most chefs would make the sauce thicker and gooey by adding eggs. Oh well, you can't satisfy everyone but to me, this is sadly not the best chilli crab around.

The good thing, however, is that Momma Kong's doesn't sell crabs by the weight and all the crabs were priced at S$55 each, and each is about 650 grams. The meat within was acceptable but if you are looking for the thick meat kind, signature of Sri Lankan crabs, where you would give a loud "wow after sinking your teeth into the delicious meat, it might be better for you to consider other restaurants.

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Address
34 Mosque Street,
Singapore 059512

Location Map

As above.

Operating Hours
Mondays to Fridays - 5.00 pm to 11.00 pm
Saturdays and Sundays - 11.00 am to 11.00 pm

Website

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Luncheon Meat Crisps - S$10.00
Grilled Squid - S$20.00
Crab Bee Hoon Soup - S$55.00 a crab
Fried Mantou - S$3.50 for a set of 2
Chilli Crab - S$55.00 a crab
(Subject to Service Charge and GST)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Chatuchak Weekend Market in November 2018 @ Bangkok [Thailand] #chatuchakweekendmarket

I never quite like to post on Thailand's biggest market as i had the tendency to take too many photographs and i would procrastinate to post them; resulting in a long delay that's about five months in this case! And the funny thing is that i am visiting Bangkok again in less than a week's time!

So, without any further ado, let's share the pictures that all started from Mo Chit BTS! Another mode of transportation is the MRT and you can drop at Kamphaeng Phet station which is in fact nearer to the market compared to BTS.

Umbrellas along the pavement towards the market that were used by the roadside stall vendors, i remember there's a ruling by the military government then that they were going to remove those vendors but i still saw a lot of them on the streets.

As you can attest from the above. By the way, 6 pairs of socks for 100 baht used to be considered incredibly cheap for Singapore's standard until i went Guizhou recently and a pair can be as low as S$0.20!

Despite the hot weather and the temptations from the cooling chrysanthemum tea and delicious orange juice, my age dictated that it's better to go with plain water for health reasons. :(

Entering the market proper; the photographs i have posted before the above were all taken outside the Chatuchak (also known as Jatujak in the local lingual). To be honest, the deals outside might be better than those inside in the market.

Internal road view - by the way, there are about 180 photographs taken over two days, so please take your time to scroll through. Chatuchak Weekend Market never fails to impress me with the sheer number of stalls and vibrancy; i can literally spend a whole day there despite the heat!

Loving the decorations they put up nowadays; from umbrellas to rainbow streams cutting across the internal road. What would be in store for me when i drop by again next week?

I was thinking how best to publish the photographs and thought it might be better for me to talk about the stuff i found interesting before i upload a ton of random photographs; for example, i realized there were a lot more stalls selling imitation sexy underwear for men!

Thankfully, i prefer the cheaper boxers which only cost 40 baht each. I kid you not as i bought like close to 20 pairs of boxers on my Bangkok trip last November!

Cute floor mats; am glad that i have a black and white theme for my house which means i am picky when it comes to designs. Furthermore, i am a practical person; a floor mat that doesn't absorb water has no place in my house.

My words fell on deaf ears as Alex proceeded to purchase the above floor mats that cost 250 baht (2 for 400 baht) from a stall near the MRT station's entrance / exit! p.s. THAT floor mat is no longer in my house.

Fascinating but not exactly cheap in my opinion.

Arb-ims home spa products - the brand i go for when it comes to scented soaps. I absolutely love the one with a loofah scrub; it's always a dozen whenever i buy and they always provide a nice aroma when i open the cabinet in my bathroom.

Would love to try the roast pork... The issue with being older is that my tummy is no longer a bottomless pit and i have to be careful with what i eat since i hate to waste food...

Different tummy for desserts though and it's easier to share with my travel mates! Coconut ice cream FTW and you are free to take the toppings you want!

There were so many stalls selling it and my personal favourite is Coco JJ which is the original store that gained popularity in the market. Am i the only one who feels that the serving has gotten comparatively smaller over the years? The price for the coconut ice cream has gone up too; it used to cost 50 baht.

May the light shine on you; literally.

Resisting the temptation to buy the piggy banks; i already got one at Hua Mum Night Market and with cashless being the preferred way in Singapore nowadays, my pigs at home are starving!

Poor crocodile but this wasn't as shocking as the one outside the Jack Lives Here bar at Asiatique Night Market! Click here to read more.

Why am i showing a picture of the toilet? Well, aside from the information that washrooms are available (there's an entry fee though) in the weekend market; i must also share the following with my male compatriots!

Each urinal came with a sink! That's utter convenience and i am presuming that the water from the sink would help flush the urinals. If that's true, then it would so eco-friendly too!

In the initial few years that i patronized Chatuchak market, it's not possible to find a massage parlour with air-conditioning within the market and while the number shot up in the past few years; the phenomenon nowadays is that the masseurs were now standing on the street and soliciting for business! p.s. not hanky panky business by the way.

Desserts once again at Wantong Cafe; pity it's no longer a hidden gem and the place was overcrowded with weak air-conditioning. Even the highly acclaimed Nilla Riceberry Short Cake fell short of what i had in previous trips.

Retro thai comic books!

I can't relate to the comic books but i sure remember the toys above! From the trolls to the musical clown that can turn its head and did you notice the McDonald's hamburglar?!

Product of Gargoyle - if you like animal-headed teacups, vases etc, you may consider checking them out. How i wish they have piggy banks as i wouldn't mind a realistic looking pig-headed piggy bank.

That's like a ton of bangles on her hand! I seriously wonder how she's going to clean up at the end of each day as the bangles look pretty tight and don't seem to have a clasp for ease of removal. Not my business but i am always full of curiousity!

Insect keychains; beautiful yet morbid.

Donald Shop Thailand - for fans of Vespa bikes, mini coopers and the beetles! I ever harboured hopes to take a motorcycle license and procure a Vespa bike as they look so cool! p.s. and due to my short stature, i don't think i can handle those freakish big and heavy bikes.

Clock tower within the market which is a great meeting point if you and your friends got separated from each other and didn't have any data.

This stall is still surviving! I got a monkey leather keyring from the same stall a few years ago; however, it didn't survive with my usual rough handling.

Owner of this store has balls of steel!

Why i said that? Because Thailand was still under a military government then and it's obvious the owner was implying something with such a banner! Respect!

Bought the above for Jovyn and Jerald as they should do some arts and craft instead of spending their free time on ipads and phones!

Nice paintings of elephant even though my objective was to the store on the left. Nothing really out of the norm, honestly, as the tees can be commonly found all over the weekend market.

But, their price of 100 baht (less than S$5.00) each was insane and i must compliment the service and honesty of the two boys managing the shop. They have a promotion which i didn't know of and one of them chased after me to return my change!

I noticed a lot of nice tee shirts this round and one store (near the entrance / exit of the MRT station) had designs from the studio ghibli movies! Sadly, they don't have black tees; only white and i got one for Jerald at 150 baht.

The rainbow-themed tee shirts have the blacks i like!
For more information, click here.

Andy running through the designs of some tees; i recalled this was similar to the bananas one that everyone appeared to be wearing a few years ago and the range has expanded! The cats-filled ones that Andy purchased were much nicer than the fruit ones.

The pet section was the most popular section in the past and in the 80s and 90s, you can hear of travellers claiming that you can buy any animal from Chatuchak Weekend Market; the most incredulous one that i heard was a bear cub.

When i first visited Bangkok with the Great Kon and Saneva in 2007, the pet section was filled with live animals like dogs, cats, sugar gliders, rabbits, snakes etc. My recent visit was a different story altogether; there were hardly any live animals; mainly pet snacks and accessories.

Hand-crafted soap; intriguing to watch the gentleman go through each cut and carve and while the completed work was beautiful; remember, i am a practical person and soaps are not decorative items.

I definitely mentioned about this before in my previous postings on Chatuchak Weekend Market; the unique sinks that one should consider for their bathrooms, especially if you are already paying a lot for interior design.

Wooden skeletons to prepare for Halloween? Guess these were the remaining stocks from the festival which took place a week or two before our visit.

Big prawns served on a large plate with a roaring business.... so tempting yet the tummy knew it couldn't hand such a big load and his two travel mates were already feeling they had overeaten. :(

At least i still managed to indulge in a small pack of grilled honey roast pork (Moo Yang)! For address and review, please check out my post here

In addition, i finally got to try the Spanish paella from the iconic chef Fernando in the market! Click here for my review and the price.

So nice right?! Free drinking water for passerby! Anyway, please brace yourself for a deluge consisting of over a hundred photos without any individual comment!

Hope i didn't bore you with the photos! It's always a visual treat at Chatuchak Weekend Market as there are so many stalls! An estimate puts the number at 15,000 and even if i spend a minute at each stall, it would still take me about 10 full days (24-hour a day) to go through every single one of them!

Luckily i didn't do that because if i did; my shopping haul back to Singapore would be way larger than what this lady in red was holding in both her hands!

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Address
สวนจตุจักร Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Lat Yao,
Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900,
Bangkok, Thailand

Website

Map
As above.

As above.

Additional Information
Intend to GRAB over? Do indicate "Chatuchak Market Gate 1 & Gate 3" on your app! 


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