Friday, October 31, 2008

Bali - a heaven we spoiled

Supposed I will hold a conference in this beautiful island - Bali next week. However, with the corporate instruction due to the various travel alert warnings issued by various Government today, I need to cancel the conference in the last minute. What a chaotic day to me today!

Bali was the place I took my first flight to in 1989. I was so into the mood of Bali. When I got back to Hong Kong, I didn't recognise the street I lived and the Hong Kong coins. Yes, I was like drowning myself into Bali and couldn't retrieve my soul back. Sounds kind of scary. So when I watched "Somewhere in Time", I realised that "hypnotize" does really work.

Back to Bali, what is still in my mind is the colorful sunset I have ever seen. In 1997 summer, I made my second trip back to Bali. However, when I noticed the Hard Rock Cafe and McDonald's, I knew it's already a spoiled place. So many foreign people built their houses in Bali. I missed the Bali of 1989.... I do hope I can make my "somewhere in time" again.

Cantonese style steamed meat patty 肉餅

A few nights ago, I watched the Suzie Wong's TV cooking special. She talked about steamed meat cake patty and invited 2 house wives to cook the same dish. The 2 ladies made a meat patty like the above (which I took last night at a local restaurant). Suzie strongly accused this is a wrong one, and showed her meat patty. So she first denied using the already machine-ground pork because it's not sticky enough. At this point, I really need to tell her it depends on the way of how you stir-and-massage the ground pork. It's all about the fiction of the ground pork. If you don't stir-and massage the ground pork, of course you would lose the sticky and chewy texture. So I really don't agree to some of her cooking theory and squared technique. Then she put a lot of water into the meat patty and claimed to make the patty lighter. So after done, she put that into a big bowl and made the patty so thick in the bowl. Then she steamed the meat ball (actually should call it a meat ball) for 25 minutes. At this point, I know she was to make the Taiwanese style meat patty. Well, steaming for such a long time, the meat will squeeze back the water she once put. Then you will see a bowl of juice and a shrunk meat ball in the bowl. I can't say it's not good but she can't claim the 2 ladies' meat patty is not qualified. That is the basic Cantonese style meat patty (as on the above photo). I am not against Suzie Wong but just hope that the others should know about this Cantonese style meat patty. Think I also need to make one some time this weekend. :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chaktuchak (or Jatujak - JJ) Bangkok

As per my 2 friends' request since each of them will go to BKK for a weekend vacation, I would like to talk about Chaktuchak though personally I don't like it much. Just there are too many similar shops selling the same things.

OK, Chaktuchak is a big place of around 10 football fields at the northern part of Bangkok. The sky train terminal station Mo Chit of Sukhumvit line is where the Chaktuchak park is. Next to the park is this giant hot place. Hot in trend and hot in temperature. If you are new to here, remember to make your decision before you leave the shop. Don't ever think of going back after you check the other shops. It's not easy for you to go back unless you have a very good tracking memory.

This restaurant in section 3 soi 45/3 is really nice. They made very nice somtum (photo 2). As I asked for "mai pai" (no chili), then it's almost zero chili though there is a bit. The somtum is not too sweet and not too sour - perfect balance! BTW, section is very close to the road side end if you walk from Mo Chit back to the south direction. If you take MRT (subway), you should get off one more station after Chaktuchak. Then there is an exit to this section 3 - no need to walk that far.

3. Larb - minced pork salad - good too. Besides, it's not that salty as compared to other shops. Mmh.. then do we have to be claimed "foreign taste" though I see a lot of locals. 4. fried rice with chicken - very nice and very big portion of rice - mmh.. ok, can't avoid saying it's foreign taste because local thai portion is only 2/3 or half of this portion. So we ordered 4 dishes plus 2 drink, we paid B260. Ain't it a good tasty lunch?
5. Chou Kwai (Herbal Jelly): The first time I got to this shop and tried it "wow, amazingly good. They use deep brown sugar and the ice is unevenly crushed. The herbal jelly is very chewy and smells very herbal. That was 10 years ago. So last Saturday, I had it again - so much memory! 6. section 3 is a very hip place with a number of trendy shops. Also, it's cooler than other sections as it's on the south east outer skirt of Chaktuchak.

7. I paid B350 for this simple with little style v-neck t-shirt. Kind of cool! I wore it today.

8. a shop selling a variety of herbal tea, candle and spa products. 9. another T-shirt store.

10. this is another section - forgot the no. but it's also on the eastern outer-skirt. 11. a nice chill-out cafe.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Discussion on English usages and grammar

So please check the below and find out what's wrong (haha.. maybe something I am not aware).  Actually I occasionally made some grammar mistake; so I am not here to criticize someone's English writing.  :)  OK, here is my answer.  Please correct further if there is anything inappropriate. 

1. Peter doesn't like Tempura.  I don't like it also (should be "either" instead of "also")  If the sentence is in a negative tune, you should say "either".
2. I would suggest you to try Pad Thai in this restaurant. (... suggest you "try".  No need to put "to" before try.  Same as let - don't say "let you to try".  This is quite Chinese English.  Or in a more proper form.  You can say "suggest you should try". 
3. Paul can not finish his homework by himself.  (should be "cannot" one word.)
4. Don't shut the window or close the door. (Same as the above point 1, if the sentence is in a negative tune, it should be ".... window nor close the door.".  If you say "or" that means it is in a reverse tune.  So the meaning would be "you don't need to close the door".   However, the use of "or" depends on the verb.  If a sentence like "You can't drink coffee or tea because it upsets your stomach".  Mmmh... now I recalled my computer learning on the Apple II computer (year 1983), in the computer language, even "and" should be used as "nand" for negative tune.  :)
5. Mary is looking forward to see you in the coming weekend.  (.... forward to seeing.. instead of "see".   In some cases "to" is a preposition; so after "to" should be a gerund or noun.  
6. I resent that email to you last Friday.  Please check it again.  ("resent" is another verb actually - means "get angry of" or "feel anger with".  Don't often put "re", "dis", "un", "non" before a verb if you are not sure about the proper usage.  Or if you are in a rush, you can try to write "re-sent".  Actually this is quite Chinese-English.  I would suggest writing it as "I sent that email to you again last Friday.  Please check it.".  

Monday, October 27, 2008

What's that "tempura like" fried stuff beneath?

I think some of you may have tried it (Thailand Club, please don't tell the answer as definitely you know it). So what kind of cuisine do you think of and what's that actually beneath the prawn?

Sathorn Bangkok

Sathorn - a commercial area a bit south of the downtown Bangkok, lies from Rama 4 (Paranarm Si) Road to the river bank of Chaophyra River at the BTS station terminal station Saphan Taksin. As I have written too much about the River, especially Shangrila to Oriental, I took a morning stroll this morning in the beginning of Sathorn, and took some photos of it.

1. See the sign for Jer Ngor Thai Chinese restaurant? The Banyan tree building looks very unique on Sathorn. 2. guess what? Go to the below 9/10 photos.

3. The power lines reminded me of the old time of Hong Kong. 4. LH Bank

5. Took a Moca at Starbucks in Life Center of Sathorn. Enjoyed the traffic outside. Yes, enjoy the traffic. Don't often think traffic is something bad. When you are stuck in a traffic, that means you have a minute to think of something else. Be with it. 6. the sign for Metropolitan Hotel entrance.

7. As you can tell from the fading paint of this bicycle trail, it must have been there for quite some time. So where are the bikers? 8. ok, this photo may ironically tell you because the trail runs into the taxi queue. Besides, it's in red color - kind of a warning for the bikers, not for the other vehicles drivers.

9. Banyan Tree Hotel - for some reason, I haven't been to this hotel actually. 10. The Sukhothai Hotel - oh, the old time of Celadon, Thai restaurant - the coconut fragrant rice.

Metropolitan Hotel, Bangkok

Finally after 4 years something, I could try this "then hip" hotel. Think I am a bit too late to try it. 12 years ago when I first stayed at Gallery Hotel Singapore, I was amazed and often looked for hip or boutique hotels. Later on, those deep brown wooden furniture plus white decoration has already been all around. What's more - water and the "chi" feeling. The good things of this hotel is that the staff is quite friendly and helpful. The room air-ventilating system is good. The Bose sound system is good; so remember to bring some CD or ask from the front desk. To me, the room ceiling is a bit low. The sound proof wasn't done well. I think it's probably from the old-YMCA structure. The window is a bit too short but you may take it as a super panorama view. Need to remark is the internet connection. When I noticed the hotel takes MagicNet system, then I hesitated for a while if I should get it. My past experiences at Shangrila, Westin, KL, Sheraton BKK and those 4/5 star hotels using MagicNet do have a connection problem. It's really slow. I was told it's because I use Mac. That may be the cause but then why this Metropolitan put the G3 iBook and G3 iMac in the lobby for guests to log on. So it may not work with G5 duo-intel mac computers? That stupid MagicNet can't switch the Wi-Fi to cable connection. So before connecting your notebook, you need to determine which way you wanna go. At that time, I think of Centre Point and Adelphi. They don't charge and their internet (wifi/cable) are normal fast. Now I pay for a "chill out" connection. I don't blame it on Metropolitan but then told them it's the problem of MagicNet as I experienced that at other hotels. The other problem may be the router of the room I stayed.

1. The bath room 2. the bed room

3. the welcome tea and sweet 4. the living room

5. direction to gym/pool 6. Glow - organic restaurant

7. the gym - a bit not well equipped 8. view to the pool

9. reception at the spa/gym 10. something at leisure

11/12. Glow

13/14. Breakfast - the breakfast reminds me of the cafe of Hotel Maya Kuala Lumpur - once having the hot meal on a-la-carte and the cold cut/fruit/pastry on the side bar. However, Hotel Maya stopped that last year.

15. the coffee is good but the pastry is so so. 16. excellent yoghurt and the cookies are average.
17/18. Cyan - the cafe: it somehow reminded me of Gallery Hotel Singapore, probably the blue and the plastic chairs.
19. Cyan Cafe 20. You can take your breakfast by the pool - so this part is like Hotel Maya - eating with water around you.
21. The swimming pool 22. the sign for Metropolitan Hotel
23/24. the swimming pool
25/26. the lobby area
27. the room sign 28. Jimmy and Donald watching the pool - want a high dive?

29. the entrance 30. another view to the pool
31. the projector's clock