Thursday, December 07, 2023

Werng Crab Fried Rice (and Shark's Fin Soup) along Yaowarat Road in Chinatown, Bangkok [Thailand]

I looked at the food cart in front of me and then returned back to the google maps app on my mobile phone. Am I at the right place? Would this be Werng Crab Fried Rice? My eyes then veered over to Alex; it's a make or break decision heavily dependent on this guy. 

Seeing the pretty filled up tables and chairs, despite the location being far from the main night market at Chinatown further down the road, he sat down willingly. Phew.... Anyway, he was already pretty hungry and that likely contributed to his willingness to dine at this street stall. 

Impressive; just six dishes on the menu! It's good for an indecisive person like me; the lesser the choices, the easier, and the faster we can order, and eat. 

Only one chef helming the kitchen! I actually bookmarked Werng Crab Fried Rice for a long time, before the borders opened after the pandemic, as I like crabs and its review score of 4.4 was a draw. 

Our food; friends who know me well would be aware I am on a starch restricted meal and I don't usually have rice / noodles / bread for dinner. But, how not to eat fried rice when the name of the stall was Werng Crab Fried Rice!? 

Shark's Fin Soup with Crab Meat - I noted there was fish maw soup on the menu but our dear Alex preferred shark's fins! Whatever the case, I am alright with either, and I did like seeing a lot of coriander topping the soup! 

Watery was my first thought yet the peppery flavor was invigorating, and it had a lot of dried mushrooms that upped the taste! Many small pieces of shark's fins and the chunks of crab meat were plump. 

Fried Rice with Crab Meat - for the pricing of 100 baht, this was a simple, visually unexciting, plate of fried rice that outperformed many of its peers. The wok hei was rich and it was so delicious; we almost ordered a second plate! Maximum satisfaction, and to think that the price in Singapore could have just gotten me a plain fried rice, maybe even without prawns! 


For sure I would be back again!
And next time, I will just go for fish maw soup. 
p.s. it's cheaper at just 100 baht too. 

PGV3+QJC, Yaowarat Rd, 
Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand

As above.

Fried Rice with Crab Meat - 100 Baht
Shark's Fin Soup with Crab Meat - 300 Baht

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Legend Pearl @ Halong Bay in Vietnam

When it comes to day tours, it's quite the norm to embark on shopping with some commission given to the tour guide and this day tour to Halong Bay was no different when we stopped over at this Legend Pearl, supposed for a toilet break. 

The picturesque Halong Bay was so near yet so far. I am impatient and to spend time on such commissioned shopping when I am overseas meant my precious time wasn't well used. Thankfully, I am aware there's nothing I could do; so I might as well enjoy it.

Frankly, the tour guide didn't just leave us there to be slaughtered. Using a large map of Halong Bay, he explained what we would be doing later, including the key attractions we would be visiting shortly.

Of course, our attention was also drawn to the pictures of the three key oysters from the seas, where pearls came from; namely, the tahiti, the south seas and the akoya.

It's always nice to package such shopping with knowledge and here at Legend Pearl, the staff assigned to us would patiently introduce pearls to us, including the sources, how they cultivate and extract the pearls etc. 

Live samples would be a must!
And I must admit it was an eye-opener. 

There were different stations and this lady here was focused on introducing membrane and put it into the reproductive organ of the oysters to cultivate pearls. It's literally like going through a live experiment! 

Here's the extraction station. Guess the average number of pearls you can extract from a typical oyster? It usually ranged from 20 to 40 pearls although it may take a few years for the pearls to form. Even then, only about 5% would be perfectly round; the optimal shape to make into jewelry.

Video for viewing pleasure. So any difference in pearls for the three types of oysters! Have; the south seas has mainly white and gold colored pearls whereas the akoya is mainly white pearls. Tahiti has apparently the nicer colors that are dark colored or even iridescent! 

Last station would obviously be the humongous showroom with displays of jewelry made from pearls, mother of pearls etc. Well, since the target audience is the fairer sex; the men, without accompany of any women, would usually be left alone. 

I did peer over to see the pricing.

About S$100 to S$200 each for the necklaces with quite a sizeable pearl. Would that be considered as an okay pricing? I wouldn't know since I don't really wear jewelry, knowing how careless I am. 

Bracelets made from mother of pearl.
Price? 625,000 dong (about S$34).

Facial cream made from pearls! I know my mom ever bought something similar from China before but pity; she didn't pick up my WhatsApp call. Its price tag of 600,000 dong was reasonable actually.

Personally, I was way more excited to see a small cafe as I was craving for coffee! If you see a crowd, don't bother as there was only one coffee machine and ordering was chaotic! 

By the time we secured our coffee, the coach was waiting for us. 


Đại Yên, Thành Phố Hạ Long, 
Quảng Ninh, Vietnam

As above. 

Monday, December 04, 2023

Mae Somjai Cafe & Toast in Bangkok [Thailand]

I wanted to bring Alex to On Lok Yun for breakfast but the queue was so insanely long; I decided to search for alternatives on Google Map, which brought me to a place 500 meters away.

Mae Somjai Cafe & Toast. Don't play play.
It has a google review score of 5.0. 

To be fair, there were only 17 reviewers. Not that it matters to me as all we wanted was just breakfast! The place was deserted at about 11.00 am but I guess their main clientele would likely be the students from the school opposite, which was still in session on a weekday. 

Always welcome the free provision of infused water.
Whatever the case, it's morning and I needed coffee.

The cafe served proper food like rice, spaghetti, salad but old, traditional us were craving toasts, with options for spread like chocolate, yusu jam, taro custard, strawberry jam, coconut custard, sugar and condensed milk. 

Coconut Custard (Pandan) Toast - with its light green color, I am thinking this would likely be a healthier version and my suspicion was right; it tasted less sweet although still pulsating with the nice aroma of pandan. 

Toast wise was crisp, albeit thicker and denser compared to Tee Yok. Overall, still not bad although Alex commented that we should have gone to Tee Yok. That's why it's hard to try new food with Alex when I am overseas! 

Sugar Toast - this should have been pretty foolproof. However, it's hard not to draw comparison with Tee Yok, which did better by having more margarine to give it a better tasting kick.

Very Thai Coffee - surprisingly not as sweet as I thought it would be. In addition to perking me up, I do like the taste of this coffee although I can't pinpoint why it was "very thai". Maybe I need to drink more coffee in Thailand. p.s. I usually don't because they put in a lot of condensed milk! 


Well, to be truthful, if I am looking for toasts, Tee Yok would be a better option. But, if I need a comfortable place to chill out, and maybe read a book, Mae Somjai Cafe would be a good option. 

153 ถนน ตรีเพชร แขวง Wang Burapha Phirom, 
Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

As above. 

As above.

Coconut Custard (Pandan) Toast - 30 Baht
Sugar Toast - 25 Baht
Very Thai Coffee - 65 Baht

Sunday, December 03, 2023

Light Cruise for Our Day Trip to Halong Bay in Vietnam

Welcome onboard Light Cruise; the compact vessel that shall bring us to explore the beauty of the UNESCO world heritage site of Halong Bay. But before we could embark, certain process would be required.

The process of purging the previous group of travelers. From the tone of our tour guide and his constant reminders that disposable bottles mustn't be brought onto the vessel; it appeared that the vessel was delayed for almost an hour due to something that this group had done. 

QN-8887 - Mom would have loved the license number for this boat, known as Light Cruise. And she would likely spend a bit of money on the lottery by buying the four numbers.

Time to board! 

Interior of the main seating area; more like a dining room for six persons to one rectangular table. The four of us were fortunate to be seated with this loving couple from Belgium; Mieke and Jan! 

Good thing was that the area wasn't enclosed as I am weak and have the tendency for motion sickness unless I am on a cruise ship or I can feel the wind brushing against my skin. 

Shortly after sailing, lunch was served! 
Click here to see what we had.

Washroom that came equipped with a rainfall shower! 
Furthermore, a toilet bowl with a non-electrical bidet!

Proceeding to the upper deck! 
Note: no elevator that I could see.

Artificial green turf with sundecks and outdoor furniture.
Key thing to remind everyone; bring sunblock for your skin! 

Thankfully, it was still relatively gloomy and we didn't see much of the sun. I didn't get sunburnt despite wearing a sleeveless tee shirt and I was on the upper deck most of the time when the ship was cruising all over Halong Bay.

View of the bottom deck from the upper deck.

Bridge of Light Cruise; do be assured that the ship was anchored and that's the reason why there's no one manning the steering wheel. There was an immense urge to want to push some buttons but the mature, rational mind of mine deterred me from doing anything stupid. 

Guessing this would be the rest area for the crew.

More seats at the back and they had the advantage of being sheltered. Only issue is that due to its secular location, it's a favorite of smokers. So you have to choose between being sunburnt or getting cancer from second hand smoke. 

Another room that was locked up. According to the website of Light Cruise, there appeared to be two private rooms on the ship although from the look of them, I don't see the point of being holed up in rooms. 

C'mon, it's the halong bay! 
We should spend the time taking in the spectacular sights! 

p.s. these jewelry and pearls were merchandise and the staff on board would try to sell to you. Just politely say no if you are uninterested, as we were.