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Restaurant Review: Som Tam, Bangkok

5 Oct

The hotel we are staying is located near Siam, so we decided to have lunch at Som Tam at Siam Square Soi 5 before checking-in our hotel on our first day in Bangkok. Once you arrive at the restaurant, tell the staff the number of people dining at the restaurant, and he will give you a menu.

Som Tam, Bangkok

After deciding what you would like to eat, ask the staff to take your order, have a seat and wait for your turn. I personally think that staff has super good memory, as he remembers what each group of people have ordered and provide a table accordingly.

Fresh Coconut@Som Tam

Fresh Coconut@Som Tam

Refreshing and cooling drink! Perfect for the hot weather!

Papaya Salad@Som Tam

Papaya Salad with Fermented Crab

This place is famous for its papaya salad, of course we had to order one. Oh my god, it’s super spicy, so if you can’t eat spicy food, you might not be able to finish this dish! This dish is so spicy that even my parents felt the heat, but the ingredients were very fresh and all the flavour and texture combined together was awesome!

Fried Fish@Som Tam

Fried Fish

This is probably one of my favourite dishes in Bangkok! Well, I have to say the fish isn’t the freshest, but definitely the tastiest! A bit spicy but not too much, sour, sweet and salty… all-in-one! Should have ordered some sticky rice to go with it! Totally worth the price!

Thai Sausage@Som Tam

Fried Thai Sausage

This is the first time I see these fried thai sausage, interesting shape, a pretty nice appetizer and snack.

P.S. Sorry that I didn’t write down the exact name of each dish and the price!

Environment: 8/10 (Convenient location, but can be a bit crowded)

Service: 7/10 (Not the best service, as some staff tried to avoid us when we were asking for help)

Food:  8/10 (Pretty good for the price, especially the fried fish)

Overall: Good quality food for the price! I would consider re-visiting again next time!

Address: 392/14 Soi Siam Square 5, Rama 1 Road, Bangkok, Thailand.

Day 3@Auckland, New Zealand

21 Feb

Got on the Auckland Explorer Bus at 9:30am, and paid NDZ$40 for a day pass. I got off at the 1st stop, the Bastion Point Lookout, which I think is a must. From there, you get to see a very beautiful view of the coast. If I have time, I would definitely spend more time there.

Meadow at Bastion Point Lookout

Meadow at Bastion Point Lookout

The view of the coast from Bastion Point Lookout

View of the coast from Bastion Point Lookout

Overlooking Auckland CBD from Bastion Point Lookout

Overlooking Auckland CBD from Bastion Point Lookout

Then I got off at stop 5 (Auckland Museum), and then changed to the satellite bus, which took me to Mount Eden, the most famous landmark in Auckland. After I got off, I had to walk all the way to the top. It’s a pretty steep slope, but definitely worth it. The view from above is amazing, and it provides good views in all directions over the city. On our guide, it said that the tour buses are banned up on the mountain, but when I left, I heard that it is still available and replaced by smaller vehicles, so better double check that if you want to visit there but don’t want to walk up the slope yourself.

Bowl-like crater at Mount Eden

Bowl-like crater at Mount Eden

View from Mount Eden

View from Mount Eden

View from Mount Eden

View from Mount Eden

After visiting Mount Eden, I took the satellite bus back to the museum. I got a discount with my Explorer ticket and paid NZD$5 to enter the museum. This is a good place to spend a few hours so as to understand the history and culture of New Zealand. You can also pay a bit more to watch a performance, which I believe is performed by the natives.

Auckland Museum

Auckland Museum

Later I got an American hot dog at one of the mobile vendors, and sat down at a nearby area, where they were having a live music performance for free. The hot dog was just average, though I like the sweet chilly sauce.

Mobile vendor selling hot dogs

Eye-catching mobile vendor

American hot dot

American hot dog

Then I headed to the Wintergarden, which is near the museum and it’s free of charge. Not a lot of flowers blooming, but I did get some good shots of some lovely flowers.

Wintergarden

Wintergarden

Flower at Wintergarden

Flower at Wintergarden

Fern at Wintergarden

If you don’t want to spend time figuring out the public transport system, the Explorer bus is perfect. However, if you want to spend some time on each attraction/stop, I don’t think you will be able to. It’s better to find out where you want to go and plan ahead, so everything fits into your schedule. It is also recommended that you visit the places on the satellite bus route first, before heading to other attractions on the main route, as the satellite bus has limited service hours. You could, of course, pay a bit more and get a 2-day pass, but for me, I don’t think it’s really necessary. If you need to visit some of those attractions, I’m sure you can go to the transport center and ask for directions.

Cute ducks at the park

Cute ducks at the park

Weird tree at the park

Weird tree at the park

Headed back to the city and watched one of the street performances, as Auckland was holding the International Buskers Festival at that time. The performers come from different parts of the world, and their performances are entertaining and fun.

Street Performance

Then on the way back to my hotel, I got a burger from Burger Fuel. The C N Cheese burger is huge, it has a beef patty, lettuce, tomatoes, aioli, cheese, tomato sauce, onion, sesame bun. The burger is good, and I particularly like the sesame bun, as it’s slightly toasted.

Burger Fuel

C N Cheese Burger

C N Cheese (NZD$9.6)

Day 1@Auckland, New Zealand

6 Feb

I made a search and found that Air New Zealand had the lowest one-trip flight fare from Sydney to Hong Kong, apart from China Airlines. I went to Air New Zealand’s official website, and found that if I stop over at Auckland, it would only cost me an extra AUD$30, so I decided to stop over for 5 days, which was the option with the lowest fare.

I’m sure it’s not my first time in New Zealand, but I don’t remember where I have been and which airline I was on when I was young. As far as I remember, I haven’t been on Air New Zealand for the last 12 years. I have been flying a lot with different airlines these few years, so I thought it would be interesting to see how other airlines do and make a comparison.

The boarding time printed on the boarding pass was one hour before the flight departs, but we only started boarding 25 minutes before. I think they had some problems with passengers who booked their tickets with another airline, because the flight was a shared code one, so they firstly had to find these passengers and change their boarding pass. Later when most passengers were on board, there was a missing passenger. After that passenger was found, another passenger lost his/her passport and I don’t think that passenger eventually found it.

After some delays, I was finally off to Auckland. I was on the Works, so I was served lunch. I chose the beef casserole with mash and peas, it also came with sushi and an apricot cake. Not the best flight meal I have ever had, but it’s good, especially the mash and the dessert. The beef casserole was a bit salty and the beef was slighty dry. The sushi isn’t like real Japanese nor Korean ones, but I was a bit surprised to see them serving sushi as a side.

Air New Zealand flight meal

Air New Zealand flight meal

One thing I really like about NZ is their seat, it’s very comfortable. In the past, Cathay Pacific used to be one of my favourite airlines, as their flight meals and service are usually pretty good, and they have very good entertainment system with a wide range of movie and music selection. However, recently I don’t really want to fly with CX, especially for a long haul flight. This is mainly because their seat is very hard and really uncomfortable.

After 3 hours, I finally landed Auckland; getting through customs and immigration was pretty smooth. I heard many bloggers saying that it usually takes a long time to get through; however the staff only asked me a few questions on what kind of medicine and food I had and then I was set to go.

I took the Airbus Express, it took me less than an hour and I arrived at my hotel. After I settled down, I went out and immediately headed to the post office to get some stamps so that I can send some postcards to my friends. I later realize that most of the souvenir shops do sell stamps, so you don’t really need to go to the post office to get them. Then I was hanging around, going in and out souvenir shops, just in search for some pretty postcards but not other stuffs, because my luggage is overweight, so I can’t buy anything! I also went to Countdown, the New Zealand version of Woolworth, to get some breakfast, water and snacks.

The highlight of the day was heading to The White Lady for a burger. It was voted as the Number 1 thing to do in Auckland, so I went there at around 6:45pm, and I saw around 8 people making an order while I was waiting. I ordered an egg burger, and it took some time for it to be done.

The White Lady

The White Lady

Ordering Counter at the White Lady

Ordering Counter

History of the White Lady

History of the White Lady

The White Lady's Egg Burger

Egg Burger (NZD$8.90)

There were fresh lettuce and tomato, browned onion, ketchup, grilled meat patty, and a fried egg. The beef patty was good, though it was a bit salty. The lettuce and tomato were super fresh! I can’t say it’s the best burger, but I’m a fan of food stalls on the street; so the White Lady is definitely different from many burger shops out there, and their burgers are delicious.

The White Lady (Corner of Fort Street & Commerce Street, Auckland, New Zealand)
Environment: N/A
Service: 8.5/10
Food: 8.5/10

Restaurant Review: Brunetti, Melbourne

23 Jun

The travel book recommended us to try Brunetti, so my friend and I went to one of their cafes for lunch when we were at Melbourne.

Ham & Artichoke Filone

Ham & Artichoke Filone (AUD$11.50)

Italian Hot Chocolate (With Cream)

Italian Hot Chocolate (AUD$5.0)

The sandwich was really yummy, love the sundried tomatoes; it would be better if the cheese melted a bit more. I especially like the hot chocolate, very rich and creamy.

Finished!

Cakes Display@Brunetti

Should try their cakes next time! They look so delicious!

Environment: 8/10 (Nice place to hang out on a sunny day, but be careful of the birds nearby, they are staring at your food!)
Service: 8/10
Food: 8.5/10 (A little bit pricey when compared to those I saw at Center Place, but very nice food!)

Overall: I really like their sandwiches; but I don’t like the birds flying around and trying to attack my food!

Address: 214 Flinders Lane Melbourne VIC 3000

Official Website: http://www.brunetti.com.au/