Saturday, October 22, 2011

Phuket & Bangkok Holiday - Part 1

August 2011

Holiday is one my favourite things to do, but the painful bits before jetting off is doing research days & nights to know where to go/ what to do etc. Lemme share my version of lonely planet to save you from researching days and nights & having panda eyes =)

P H U K E T (2 nights)
I classify Phuket as an ideal place to do massive R&R, suitable for couch potato like me - eat, sleep, shop, spa, massage etc. Phuket is not that big & it is divided into several areas: Karon, Patong (really popular amongst tourist, similar to Kuta in Bali), Surin, Phuket town. I stayed in Phuket town area during my 2 nights & I feel it was too short. Overall I reckoned I did OK, quite efficient for 2 nights trip, thanks to our tour guide Num.

  • Natural restaurant aka Thammashadd restaurant- traditional authentic Thai food, reasonable price and casual atmosphere, on 62/5 Soi Puthon, Talat Nuea, Mueang Phuket town, phone. 076-224287
  • Open Air Food Market on Talad Khaset (I hope I spell this right) - find anything from appetisers, mains, dessert, fresh fruits, anything cooked with internal organs, home made soya milk, dried fish etc.
  • Pornthip Snack Shops - massive shop, more like a mini supermarket selling all Thai snacks from chilli sauce, shrimp paste, cookies to dried fish in any forms. They also provide professional packing service if you have big shopping spree like I did, ie. I came out with 2 big boxes and 1 small box. Address: 108/1 Moo5, Chalermprakiat Rd., Tumbol Rassada, Muang District.
  • Cookie House (Chinese style cookies) - similar to Tau Sar piah, flaky pastry cookies with mung bean fillings. After 5 days old, still flaky and moist fillings. Address: Soi Soon Utis (dead end small lane), phone. 076-258050.
  • Mee Ton Pho - mini hawker centres, several food sellers located in 1 place, open air, fantastic food and suppa cheap. Address: Ong Simfai Road (roundabout), infront of Clock tower, next door to temple.
  • The Beach restaurant on Patong Beach - a little touristy and quite pricey for Thai standard but I had to do some touristy stuff sometimes. Dine on the beach whilst watching the lantern man. You will see several lantern sellers, they said by litting & fly the lantern to the sky, your wish will be granted. Trust me I didn't buy the lattern, I was too hungry to be bothered with this lantern business.
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    Deep fried bread sticks with coconut sauce or pandan sauce, crispy breadsticks and fragrant sauce
    Home made soya milk with toppings, costs me 30 Baht = AUD 1

    Pornthip snacks shop
    Pornthip entrance - grab your trolley & start piling up
    Spice/ Seasonings/ Dried Fruits?
    Bottled chilli sauce/ Dried Squids/ Dried Fishs
    If you like tau sar piah, you will like cookies house, flaky pastry with mung bean fillings, I should have bought more boxes to take home
    Mee Ton Pho Hawker Centre on Ong Simfai Road - in front of the Clock Tower
    Mee Ton Pho - satay seller, charcoal grilled satay, I cant resist ... the aroma is such a killer

    Fresh eshallots (not sure why it's on every table) and pork crackles
    Mee Ton Pho - Pad Thai, best seafood pad thai ever
    Mee Ton Pho - Oyster omellette with rice (comes with some red sauce), simple dish yet flavoursome
    Mee Ton Pho - Fried rice stick noodle, fragrant and cooked to perfection
    Mee Ton Pho - Pork satay, tender and tasty, served with cucumber pickles
    The Beach restaurant on Patong beach - serves Western and Thai food

    The Beach restaurant - shrimp paste fried rice with dried pork & shaved green mango & egg
    The Beach restaurant - Fried Fish with garlic sauce, crispy fish with vampire antidote sauce
    The Beach restaurant - Tamarind prawns, very fresh prawns with tangy, sweet & sour sauce
    The Beach restaurant - Larb Gai, minced chicken salad, light and refreshing
    The lantern seller - ready to fly the lantern to the sky
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    • Westin Siray Bay Resort - LOVE it, yes it is in the middle of nowhere but Phuket is not that big and you can go around anywhere with hired car pretty easy. The Hotel is massive and very scenic. All rooms are located on the hilly part of the hotel, they provide Tuk-Tuk to take you to your room...or you can walk & be healthy. For my case, Tuk-Tuk was my bestie during my stay.
    Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa - gorgeous view of Siray Bay from any part of the hotel
    Watersports activity
    Happy Birthday to me ... Choc cake courtesy of Westin =)

    • Jirawat Choojit (Num) - I can't handle the stress of looking for taxi, bargain, waiting etc under the heat & as my trip is really short, I need to make it super effective. Num has made my life easy during the trip. He is such a fantastic tour guide, he has never leave Phuket in his life, knows Phuket ins and outs. He can arrange airport transfer, city tour/ shopping, eating tour, massage/ spa, island tour. Phone. (+66) 089-7274863, Email.
    • Taxi in Phuket has no 'TAXI' sign - taxi is mainly private cars with driver, bargain is a must. If you are planning to go to several places within a day, you will be better off hiring a tour guide & they can drive you around. 
    Bye-bye Phuket..will come back for another visit

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    ZenQ Desserts

    I am glad someone can read my mind, I always thought Chatswood lacks Asian desserts cafe. and here you go..latest addition to Chatswood's Victoria Street stretch, ZenQ Desserts from Taiwan.
    Their menu has good variety, from Grass Jelly, Toast series, Sago/ black pearl soup, Snow ice (looks like shaved ice), Drinks, Red bean soup, Black glutinuous rice soup, or Create your Own.

    ZenQ is always busy regardless the time of the day, so be prepared to Q up for seats. Seatings area is not that big, and I think it will be hard if you go with a large group. I can see myself going back and trying different dessert, just need to wait for better weather to turn up. Happy long weekend everyone !

    Mini, Midi, Maximo Toast - sweet/ savoury..take your pick
    Grass Jelly Menu
    Sago/ Black Pearl Soup & Snow Ice Menu
    I ordered No. 2 - Grass Jelly with Taro (real fresh 1/2 mashed taro), Pearls and Jelly Cake - everything I need in a bowl, perfect for a hot summer day. Not sure when the day is coming since the weather has been terrible these past few weeks.
    My friend ordered just Red bean soup with no toppings. I tried it and I can taste a mild hint of orange peel in the soup which make it very different from other red bean soup I bought from another store. I like it.

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Nappy Cake

    Once every blue moon I want to be slightly productive by making some art & craft stuff. I volunteered to make JW's baby shower nappy cake (non edible of course) and pretty pleased with my masterpiece. Let me proudly share my recipe of success in making nappy cake (this was my 2nd nappy cake project).

    ** suitable for beginners **

    • 1 pack of Huggies
    • 1 round plate/ 1 cake base
    • Ribbons
    • Wrapping paper
    • Rubber Band
    • Clear plastic wrapping sheet
    • Ready made ribbon for the top of the tier
    • Double sided sticky tape

    Roll nappies tightly from the elastic side towards the rounder side & secure each nappy with rubber band 
    Roll all 48 of them... yawnn boring
    Getting the plate/ base ready for action
    Place rolled nappies till you have an overall round shape, then secure them with large rubber band
    For your 2nd tier, place rolled nappies on the top of the base nappies ... once you are happy with the shape, secure it with rubber band
    To hide the rubber bands, wrap around each tier with wrapping paper, use double sided sticky tape for best results. The width of the wrapping paper = the width of Huggies.
    Place a ready made jumbo ribbon on the top (secure it with double sided sticky tape), you can buy it from $2 shop
    Decorate with ribbons - put double sticky tape at the back of the ribbon to stick the ribbon around the cake
    Nappy Cake ... last step...wrap the whole nappy cake with clear plastic wrapping sheet to secure the construction

    Buon Ricordo

    Not sure why/ how/ when, but every time I go out with my friend X we either do something crazy/ something crazy just happened. Here's how we started...we had a long hectic day and desperado to go for dinner. Nothing planned , no bookings made, but we want to somewhere with yummy food, great service and we can sit down to chit chat without having to scream to each other when we talk (ohh noo is this a sign of early maturity for both of us?).

    Getting a table on a Saturday in Sydney with no bookings? It was like pushing our luck down to the ground.
    I rang up a couple places and no luck in getting table. My last phone call, rang Buon Ricordo and they said the only available seating is at 6.30pm and we have to leave by 8.30pm. Big nod from us..we can eat and go by 8.30pm for sure. For me, Buon Ricordo is the best Italian restaurant in Sydney and so far no one can beat it. I haven't been there for a while, and I hope my TDF truffle spaghetti is still available.

    Our busy day has made both of us look a little run down (looks like we just get bashed out by some gangster, got chocolates splashed on my white t-shirt, wrinkly clothings, etc). At first we thought 'who cares about our crappy look as long as we can fix the bill'. Then we looked at each other ... and giggles 'Errr..I think we better buy some clothes now before we get kicked out when we enter the restaurant'.

    Before the dinner we had to make a detour to Broadway shopping centre to buy some clothes. Then we made a bet, $100 budget to buy new gear to make us look a little decent within 30 mins.
    X won by spending around $89 (new $20 Kmart shoes, $14 Kmart scarf and $55 Esprit shirt). I bought $89 Forever New lacey dress + $6 Forever New earrings. Pretty close results. We looked so much better after the upgrade 101 crash course. The dinner become exxie since we have to factor in our clothing upgrade =)

    Spinach & Pork soup - light starter, super soft pork, refreshing
    Pumpkin, Fish, Ginger bread, micro herbs and edible flowers - a really nice combination
    The star of the dinner - fettucine with parmesan cream, fried truffle egg, creamy and cheesy, you dont need a whole lot, small portion is satisfying enough =)
    Granita to clean our palate
    Fish with some sort of salsa ? I only remember the fish was really fresh and naturally sweet tomatoes

    Quail with tomato based sauce (cant really remember the exact sauce...sigh. I only remember it was tomato based)
    Very tender and juicy, tasty quail, sauce was light and not overpowering the quail. I reckon they use real tomatoes not canned (judging by the less vibrant sauce colour and less concentrated taste)
    Chocolate mousse, orange tart, nougat ice cream with pistachio sauce. My fave was the nougat ice cream, very unique coz you can still feel the crunchy texture within the ice cream, the sauce went well with it.
    Ricotta canolli, Choc balls, and some pastry stuff - I love the baby canolli, crunchy & not too sweet. The pastry stuff and choc balls were average.