Sunday, July 31, 2022

Taste of Korea 찐 (JJIN) @ Amoy Street [Singapore]

Amoy Street has a long history in Singapore but among young Singaporeans, it's more well-known as THE place for good quality Korean barbecue.

Taste of Korea 찐 (JJIN) shared the top rank with Go! K-JJAJANG for the highest google review score of 4.7 although the former had four times the number of reviewers. Anyway, it's only a guiding principle and the main reason for my visit was its strong endorsement from a friend who frequents Korean BBQ outlets!  

The interior with the ubiquitous UFO exhaust systems; it was disturbing to see almost empty restaurant at 6.40 pm on a Friday night but our worries were unfounded as it was already full house in less than an hour's time.

Preparing the charcoal for our BBQ! 

Chopsticks and spoons by the side of the table, where you get a pack of tissue too! Compared this to Chinese restaurants, where I can spend a lot more but I would still be charged for one piece of wet tissue. 

Don't we just love a nice, complimentary cup of cold tea on a hot day? Sadly, I did realize that it's getting increasingly common for Korean eateries in Singapore to charge for tea; a phenomenon I hope would not gain traction.

Another thing I hope would remain unchanged; the provision of complimentary side dishes, which in this case, consisted of some kimchi, beansprouts, fishcakes, ikan bilis and mashed potatoes. All I like! p.s. side dishes and fresh vegetables are only given with a minimum of 2 portion ala carte orders at Taste of Korea.

Tuna and Kimchi Riceball
- frankly, I thought this was served in the bibimbap style and all I need to do would be to mix them up thoroughly using a spoon. Turned out the plastic gloves were there for a reason.

Let me do the mixing then! 

Honestly, I don't like to "prep" my own food when I am eating in a restaurant. I am okay for things like spreading butter on my toast but even for barbecuing, I have the tendency to overcook the meat and this is often a waste of good meat. 

Taste was surprisingly nice for this hand-mixed rice ball; spicy, tuna was tasty and not fishy, with the addictive crunch coming from the kimchi and radish. My friend did comment it was overmixed; nevertheless, I am happy with the outcome! 

Jjamppong - I watched enough Running Man to know this dish as it was always a contest between it and Jajangmyeon, although this would be my first time having Jjamppong.

Not knowing much about it allowed me a free rein to describe my experience; it was like Korean instant noodles but the broth was thicker and more flavorful, infused with more quality ingredients (prawns, mussels etc).  And it was so shiok slurping in the handmade noodles! 

Original Tangsuyuk - another dish that I got to know from Running Man; its name actually means sweet and sour meat which would have been under the same category of the sweet and sour pork (咕嚕肉) that is commonly found in Singapore's economy rice stalls. 

While there were similarities with our local version, the sauce was served separately and it was sweeter. The batter surrounding the meat was thick, chewy, not crispy, and you would definitely need to dip it in the sauce for palatability. Not too bad when combined yet, I am missing the sweet and sour pork from Por Kee.

Pork Set 1
- good for 3 persons, this came with pork belly, marinated pork skirt, jowl meat and marinated pork ribs; all of which was about 160 grams each. 

Always beneficial to have someone barbecuing for us; and it was a friendly Korean lady who came to our rescue! Frankly, I am less confident when barbecuing pork as you need to ensure it is 100% cooked.

You can DIY if you wish. 
Not for me, obviously! 

By the way, the lady did a great job; the pork were fully cooked with just a bit of char on them, and continued to taste so juicy! Of course, it's nice (and healthy) to have when wrapped with a piece of fresh lettuce and some onions! 

Soft tofu soup came with the set! Even though it wasn't as big a portion as the one from Palsaik Korean BBQ in Malaysia and with tofu not as smooth as SBCD, it was still one of the better ones around, delivering a delicious, spicy kick! 

U-Samgyub Short Plate - forgot to take a photo of this before we were more than halfway through the 180-gram, ala carte order. If you love beef, short plate should always be the one you go for; its taste was impeccably good and full of juiciness (provided you don't overcook and eat it fresh from the grill). 

Can't wait to be back! 

109 Amoy Street, 
Singapore 069929

As above.

Operating Hours
Lunch - 11.30 am to 2.30 pm (LO: 2.00 pm)
Dinner - 5.00 pm to 10.20 pm (LO: 9.20 pm)
Closed on Tuesdays
*LO is last order

Tuna and Kimchi Riceball -  S$8.00
Jjamppong - S$16.00
Original Tangsuyuk (S) - S$28.00  
Pork Set 1 - S$88.00
U-Samgyub Short Plate - S$30.00
(Subject to Service Charge and GST)

Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri - Grand Deluxe Room in a Five-Star Hotel 300-Meter from BTS Station @ Bangkok [Thailand]

Time for me to write about my stay at
Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri, the five-star hotel, built in 2007, that we chose for our recently concluded Bangkok trip!  

Located just 300 meters from Ratchadamri BTS station (a station away from Siam station), about a 4-minute unsheltered walk; I must say I got a relatively good deal at less than S$100 a night for a Grand Deluxe Room (44 sqm).

Let's check in first. A few years of travel had taught me that I am better off arriving in the evening / at night. Some would have argued it's a wasted hotel night but I seriously don't like waking up so early for a flight and getting all tired when I reach the host country. 

Key card pouch with the internet connection details. Wi-Fi was better than expected and I relied on it heavily to clear some urgent work every night on an almost daily basis. 

Hotel Lobby
There's always a reason for having a header. Complimentary drinks are provided at the lobby every day from 7am to 7pm, and it's not just plain, drinking water.

You can also get plain tea and hot water. 

My favorite had to be the automated coffee machine, where we can choose from cappuccino, espresso, flat white, americano, latte, mocha and even thai milk tea and hot chocolate! Yes, everyone was complimentary!

4 bottles of water would be provided in your room on a daily basis but it wasn't enough for both of us; hence, we would sometimes refill our empty bottle at this corner. p.s. for hygiene purpose, we would wash the bottle beforehand and be extra cautious not to touch the mouth of the dispenser.

Newspapers were also laid out at the lobby for you to take. I think this is much better than providing a copy in every room, unless there is a special request to do so.

There's even a vending machine in case you need some carbonated drinks or snacks. Prices were not exorbitant (for example, 20 baht for a can of coke) although a 7-11 store was just about 250 meters away that provided more variety.

p.s. condoms were available in the vending machine too. 

Lift lobby that would bring us up to our room level. Six lifts in total but they were halved to serve the high floors (level 29 - 50) and low floors, respectively, with common stops below facilities floor, which included the mezzanine level and lobby.

Room 3106
I used to dislike hotel corridors as they were often carpeted with dim, orange lights that had shadows in a lot of corners. Thank god the corridors at Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri were a lot brighter. 

Frankly, I don't see this often; complimentary ice from an ice box on every room level. In most good star hotels, I guess guests would just call the lobby and ask for some to be delivered to their room.

Well, I am all for self serviced but given the pandemic now, I am just wondering about the risk of cross contamination. Anyway, it's a choice and if you are worried; there's always the fridge in your room where you can make ice. 

Entrance to our Grand Deluxe room! 

Stepping in, the dining table for two persons was the first thing that met our eyes. It might not seem like much but every morning, you would see both of us seated there, sipping our coffee, with Alex playing his games, and me reading The Straits Times online. 

A shoe cabinet next to the door, with an umbrella for your use if it rains, which happened on two days of our seven-day trip! But I usually don't bring as I have a tendency to lose my brolly. 

On the side was a small studio kitchen, equipped with sink, induction cooktop, a microwave oven and a washing machine! Only things lacking were just pots and pans even though you wouldn't see me cooking when I am overseas.

I don't wash my dirty laundry when I am overseas; preferring to put them in a separate bag and then wash them when I am back in Singapore. Two reasons; I don't know how long it would take for them to dry, and secondly, I don't like to haul along washing powder / liquid detergent. 

Here at Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri, you can request for washing powder and this Siemens washing machine has a dryer function! Hence, I would wash clothes almost on a daily basis as they would be dry (and smelling sun baked) the next morning! One lesson though; not all clothes can endure the drying process. 

Fridge wise, it's a full sized one and not the mini one found in most hotels! I should have just filled up the bottom drawer with fruits that could last the six nights I would be in Bangkok. By the way, the drinks in here were free and would be replenished on a daily basis.

Same goes for the snacks on the dining! 

Finally coming to the 'bedroom', with one queen-sized bed, parquet flooring, a large Thai artwork and a chaise lounge on the side. Bed was alright but pillows were too soft for me.

TV console with a study table on the left. You could also probably see from the picture that the power plugs in the hotel were the international types that could fit Singapore's standard 3-pin plug

Small wardrobe with bathrobes, safe and a hair dryer in one of the drawers. 

Another cabinet housed an ironing board and iron; which you may use as clothes got real wrinkly after going through the washing and drying in the washer dryer. 

Window views are important and our view, given that we were on the 31st floor, would likely be fantastic! Time to open up the panel blinds! 

Overlooking The Royal Bangkok Sports Club, with Chulalongkorn University right behind, and many notable buildings (like King Power MahanakhonAshton Chula Silom) at the background, it's a sight that we can't complain.

I did have one complaint though; I can't shut out the sunlight using the panel blinds, which means I tend to wake up pretty early in the morning, despite having a late night. And it didn't help that our dear Alex loved to open up the panels as the night view outside relaxed his mind! 

Bathroom - another important necessity for my travel. I always like ensuite bathroom and toilet and hence, would prefer not to stay in a hostel with strangers as my room mates. 

Amenities at the vanity sink. 

Separate shower; Singaporeans tend to shower twice a day and a shower is much more useful than a bathtub. Problem was that we don't get hot water instantaneously and after two or three days, I mastered the technique; had to alternate the hot and cold knob for the water to be extreme hot and cold before we can stop it at the somewhat warm level. Ridiculous if you ask me. 

A bathtub was available too and I did manage to use up two bath bombs! 

The dream Japanese style toilet bowl; and one that I feel should be made available in every hotel room. It was so soothing and relaxing every time I washed my butt after a big "business". 

Facilities Level 
Coming to the F level where two directions would determine what you intend to do. I would first touch base with the common hotel facilities; the gym, pool and sauna.

A reception counter for you to register yourself and get a pool / gym towel, plus a bottled water. You can don't register though, if you do not need the water and towel. 

Aerobics room within the gymnasium.

Main focus for me would be the gym though, with its numerous machines! It's pretty spacious and never too crowded for me to train for my daily 30-minute gym session. 

While not on a high floor, the view wasn't too bad.

Photographs of the swimming pool; unlike my staycations in Singapore, where you would see me checking out the hotels' pools, I didn't exhibit the same enthusiasm in Bangkok as it had been so long since I last visited my favorite city and I didn't want to waste time relaxing in the pool. p.s. I might be motivated if the pool was on the top level though. 
Jacuzzi sections within the pool. 

Pool side menu for your reference. 

Another jacuzzi in the toilets, together with the sauna, steam rooms. As there's no one in the toilet, I decided to take some photographs to show you the inside!

Spacious with a hot water jacuzzi towards the glass windows. But notice the door on the last photograph? Should it be open, anyone walking pass would see if you happen to be in your birthday suit!

Terms of use for the sauna and steam rooms; frankly, I don't know how to use those rooms and am unaware of their benefits. If I prefer a relaxing session, a dip in the pool or a soak in the jacuzzi would be very much preferred. 

Game Room
- equipped with air hockey and table football, "also called foosball and table soccer", this are old school games that could keep your kids occupied for a short while. Best of all, they were free for use. 

Scared of cross contamination of virus given the pandemic? Use the hand sanitizer, provided in the room, before and after playing the game.

The exclusive GCP club room that I have no access to as I am not considered as a privileged guest. According to the website, it offers prevailed guests "complimentary coffee, tea, drink and seasonal fruits" plus reclining massage chairs.

Less privileged guests like myself would have access to a resident lounge, where I can still have complimentary coffee and tea, and many books to read. 

A playroom and playground for kids! Being sheltered, it's at least additional option available to expense young kids' energy so that parents can have a better sleep at night. 

Views from the mezzanine level which are mainly used for conferences and meetings but there's also a horizon room, where hotel breakfasts were served. 

We opted for hotel breakfast buffet on our last morning and you may check out my review here. In a nutshell, pretty good variety and only cost about S$14 per head. 

This wasn't advertised elsewhere but I noticed it on the hotel TV channel; free shuttle bus to Asiatique Night Market, Chinatown and Chatuchak Weekend Market at specific timings. Reservation is required at the concierge and limited to 10 seats.


Overall, I had a good stay in Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri; room was huge for the price I paid for, there's a dryer, BTS station was near etc, although I encountered issues like water temperature for the bathroom and the soft pillows, which I managed to address eventually by fiddling around with the knob and getting the cushions on the chaise lounge. 

153/2 Ratchadamri Rd, Lumphini, 
Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

As above. 


Room Rate
As above. Until 31 October 2022. 
I booked via; cheaper! 

Grand Deluxe Room - S$91.90 a night via