Thursday, 6 October 2016

Lung Yik - Steak House in Bang Saen, Thailand

I want to write about our favourite Western food in Thailand we have come across so far called "Lung Yik - Steak House". It is located in the small seaside town called Bang Saen in the provence of Chon Buri or to make it simpler its in the middle of Bangkok and Pattaya and around 1 hours drive to get to from both these tourist destinations. The restaurant is quite easy to find, you walk away from the beach at the famous Bang Saen roundabout for around 100 yards and it looks like a small pop up restaurant with tables on the pavement all in orange on the right hand side of the road.

Now why is this our favourite place to eat western food you may ask? And the answer to us is quite simple. When you go to a western restaurant and you see every table full and people are waiting patiently and not going else where, now lets be honest there are so many places to eat anywhere in Thailand you will always find somewhere to eat, you know they must sell good and tasty food. And they do, we ourselves have waited for a table to come free so we can eat here and for us thats fine.

As you may maybe already know, one of us is Western and the other Asian, and we both love to eat western food from time to time and fried chicken and burgers hits the spot for us now and again. It makes a change from rice and noodles and this place delivers what we crave for. Now us being regular the boss who's name is "Nut", makes his way over and greets us every time. gives us a big smile, shakes our hand and makes us feel welcome, now we don't get special treatment over other customers, he treats them all the same and the waiter/server staff he hires works hard and gives everyone a nice dining experience.

Here you can get all kinds of western food from a small list of appetisers like mushroom soup and mash potato with gravy, to your main courses from spaghetti with different sauces, pork chops, beef steak, fried chicken, salmon fillet, different assortments of burgers (you can even get a burger without the bun and in place its a waffle, we have still yet to try that yet but its on the list). the list go's on. If you are feeling healthy they have salads here but in my opinion ask for the dressing to put on the side as there is a lot and maybe too much for some people. Every time we go, we always scratch our head and are looking what to order for sometime as the food here is all so good. If you can't decide what to have you can just get the big platter of food which costs 359 baht (i could be wrong with the price but its close to that figure) and this has everything on it, but its more of a sharing platter and could fill 4 people but seeing as us 2 are a bit greedy and the food is good we share it between us haha.

Overall and to end this short review we really do love this place and would be happy to travel a good distance to come and eat here, the food is so cheap, main courses start from around 79 baht each and the staff are so friendly and take good care of you. There is not much parking in front of the restaurant but being so close to the beach you can find parking there and have a very short distance to walk to. Don't be put off if there is a few people waiting for a table, there is a simple reason for this, the food is amazing (the chefs here deserve a lot of credit to be fair). If you do not wish to wait, put your order in and have a take away, sit on the beach watching the sunset always works as well.
Lastly i would recommend you give these guys a tip for a great meal and good service, you will see how hard they work when you go there, and for a small and in-expensive restaurant where the tables are on the pavement, this beats some of the higher end restaurants we have experienced in western side of the world. Best chicken burger which has a charcoal but we have ever tasted and we will leave you with note.

When you see this happy guy, you know you are here, and yes its the boss haha

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Harrods Tea Room in Bangkok, Emquartier Mall

We decided today to go to Harrods tea room in the capital of Thailand, to try out the famous and stereotypical "English Afternoon Tea" here at the Emquartier Mall, just next to the Phrom Phong BTS station (the skytrain). There is also another Harrods Tea Room in the Siam Paragon Mall which to be fair is in a bigger Mall but usually overcrowded. Now if you don't know what the Afternoon Tea is, it was introduced by the Duchess of Bedford in the 1800's as her dinner was quite late at night and she wanted to have a snack between meals, but as she was rich and could afford a luxury snack, bread and butter was just not simply good enough for her. You can research more if you wish to but this is just a snippet of info for you.

Anyhow getting back on track with the review. We entered the tea room and was greeted by a gentleman who looked more like a member of a traditional ice cream parlour rather than the tradition english outfit you would expect, but seeing as they sell ice cream it kind of makes sense and he was dressed smart to be fair to him. He kindly gave us the option to sit down and we decided to sit in a half booth at the corner of the cafe as it looked comfortable and quiet. We asked a couple of couple of questions on the menu and seeing as the gentleman had "trainee" on his badge he was well informed and know exactly everything off the menu, for this we give Harrods and its training full marks on this. As we looked at the menu and decided what we would like, he came over with a nice petit tray and laid the table in front of us.

We didn't have the menu for long as we already knew what to order, so we ordered the midrange price afternoon tea set and couldn't resist to order the "beef pot pie" as its a popular dish to eat in England and it just sounded so good, we had to try it,. With this, in my opinion, afternoon tea should really come with English breakfast tea and none of the fruit tea's as for me, fruit tea's wasn't around in the 1800's and english breakfast is as close to the original as you can get unless you get loose tea, which they did not have to order.

After only a few minutes the pie came out first, which makes me think did they just microwave it as you can't cook a pie from fresh in that time and it was too hot to be under the hot lamps to keep warm for you, but anyhow it was delicious and the meat inside was so tender with a rich gravy. We literally demolished the pot pie in the matter of seconds as it was too good to let go cold. Next came out the afternoon tea set which on first impressions (and you get this everywhere that sells afternoon tea) looks small, but that is the point, its meant to be a snack and not a meal. The afternoon tea came with 2 scones with what looked like home made whipped cream, a duel berry jam and 3 macaroons. If I'm going to be honest with you it is expensive for what it is but for a nice treat now and again its a nice afternoon to relax and catch up with friends. At this point we are still waiting for our hot tea and as i look up to get the attention of the waiter he is actually coming over with a small pot for us to share.

As the gentleman came over with the tea, he decided to pour the tea for us in the cups i was about to stop doing this but it was too late, the tea was poured in the small cups. For Harrods to do this is a nice touch but you should really let the tea bags sit in the boiling water and let it fuse, if not you end up with weak tea in the cup which obviously we got, not to worry and with him saying we could have a free refill it was all ok. With the whipped cream and berry jam, there was barely enough to put on 1 scone let alone 2 so we quickly run out as personally we like a good spread on the scone to get the taste. We asked could we get more jam as there was clearly not enough and the waiter kindly went and got us more jam. Be warned everyone, they charge you extra for this, and its not cheap (38.60 Baht) and you can get a jar of this at the supermarket for it, just beware of the hidden charge here unless they specifically say to you, then its you option.

Overall we found this a nice experience and could quite possibly come back in the near future, we found a couple of problems with the place, like the hidden extra jam charge, the tea being poured without letting the tea mature and 2 light bulbs not working which really should not be like this with the standard of Harrods. Although it is a really nice treat to take your partner or meet up with friends to have a chat and pass the time away instead of going to the usual coffee shop you go into, and to experience something a little different with different food and drinks. You should go for "Afternoon Tea" at least once in your life no matter where in the world and trust us gents its a huge hit with the ladies.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Ohh Milk - A Thai Milk Bar

In Thailand a popular way to socialise with friends and family is to go to the Thai milk bar. you can not compare it to the milk bars you see in Russia and Eastern Europe, this is actually a bar that serves what it says in the title, milk! Most of the milk bars open here from around 5pm till about 11pm and serve all flavours of milk which i will explain more of a little further down. The bars are very popular with the students as they are not as expensive as a coffee shop or a public bars that serve beer and cocktails and provide a nice and relaxing atmosphere as you sit out doors and enjoy the night, just bear in mind most of these are out doors so if the weather is not showing its best, its better to avoid it as you will get wet.

As you enter the bar don't be afraid to just walk in and sit at a table of your choice, the waiter or waitress will bring you the menu and a piece of paper to write out your own order and hand it back to them (dont worry this is a common practice to order your food in Thailand). If you struggle to find a table wave the waiter/waitress over and ask for a table, there may be no table free, as you can see above, as these milk bar are very popular, and they will give you a ticket with a number on and you wait in line to be seated.

Once you get the menu do not be alarmed, the menus can be extensive, its not just milk they sell, they sell a couple of rice dishes, bar snacks like chicken wings/nuggets fries, and the choice of deserts is to die for it really is. You will be looking at the menu for ages mainly because of a couple of reasons. 1 the menu is so huge you just done know where to start and 2 the menu is properly in the thai language and not in english or the language you prefer. Im not saying that all milk bars the language of the menu is like this, but if you go into the suburbs you are mostly guaranteed this. DO NOT PANIC though, the thai people are very humbling and friendly and will try there best to help you out as much as thy can. 

Like i mentioned above the types of milk and flavours you can get is immense, you have 3 options but all may not be able to deliver depending on the flavour and fresh ingredients you wish for. the options you have is hot milk, cold milk, and blended milk with ice so its a little like a slushy soda. The options of flavours are as followed - plain milk, banana, strawberry, cocoa, kiwi, caramel, almond, green tea and the list of flavours go on, most of these are made with fresh fruits as well so its an all round heathy option for an evening out spent with friends and family. 

Once you have ordered your milk, why not order some food, the list of hot food is not extensive but by golly its tasty and packed full of flavour from simple dishes There are usually a few rice dishes to choose from and some western food snacks if you want a change from all the rice and noodles and want a taste of back home or even try different culture's foods if your from an asian country as well.
The food here rivals most street vendors and not expensive at all and as you know with rice dishes, it fills a very well deserved gap after travelling and exploring all. I must say even the western food they serve is not half bad as well and is also extremely cheap if you want to compare it to McDonalds or KFC over here, which in my opinion and i will talk about western food chains here in another blog is quite expensive for the Thai cost of living here. 

Once we have all had our dinner is time for the best of the meal in my opinion, the dessert. Now as i said before at the start of this article that having milk is a healthy choice, forget about everything i said now about that, The desserts here are a delicious, yummy, heaven on a spoon, and basically heart attack food. And this is sometimes exactly what you want, something hearty and full of treats that you know you shouldn't have but you just got to have it. Most of the desserts here are a bread/toast pudding, with lots of sauce on top, you can all kinds of toppings on from chocolate to whipped cream, to bananas and ice cream, or you can just ask for everything on top, Now please don't knock it till you tried it like i did, you will be presently surprised with the softness of the toast with the sauce and ice cream to go with it, its a delight to eat. Now if you are really featuring adventurous you can get a bowl of flavoured milk with ice, Oreo's, Kit Kats, jelly/jello toast, ice cream, cornflakes with chocolate flavour wafers in plus more. This is for the ultimate dessert expert to indulge in and a desert worth ordering in my opinion.

Just to leave it here, i just wish to say if you ever come to Thailand this is a place to check out, well worth the time and a nice way to spend an evening on some occasions, especially if its a nice day. Last time we went to the milk bar we got 2 milks, fried chicken with rice, fried pork with rice, fries and a the bowl of chocolate delight and the bill came to 290 Baht which is around £6.50 or $10 USD

So basically it is not expensive at all to try out. 

Monday, 1 August 2016

Thai BBQ you say???

This is a question we have been asked a few times now so i thought i would give you a little run down of what to expect from a Thai BBQ. A Thai BBQ usually consists of going to a restaurant where you select as many raw items as you wish and cook them on your own private BBQ on your table rather than the western style BBQ where you usually have it in your back garden.

Im just going to give you the experience on one we went to just the other day, but the prices and what kind of food is on offer depends from restaurant to restaurant. To add further more to this the restaurant we choose was the cheapest we have found so far in our area we are living . Some BBQ can be really deluxe and can be found in top hotels even in the Hilton corporation.

The Thai BBQ we went was an outdoor restaurant and cost 159 Baht per person for unlimited time (Some places do have a time limit and if you go over the allowed time, you will be charged extra depending on the rules of the particular establishment), with unlimited food and bottled water and there was also unlimited pepsi available but that was the one and only brand of soda they do.

What happens first is you get seated by the waiter/waitress to your own private table and a big ceramic pot is placed in front of you with burning coals in. you are given a stainless steel disc with a moat around the edges which you place on top of the ceramic pot and pour what is a clear soup into the moat. While you are waiting for this to heat up you can go and get your cooking ingredients to bring back to where you are sitting

There is so much food to select from various types of pork, chicken, shrimp, beef, squid just to name just a few raw meats with a big selection on vegetable, eggs and sushi. There is also a cooked section with chicken nuggets, french fries, sausage and other snack foods as we call them to enjoy while your waiting for raw meat to cook

Once you have your selected meats (obviously for the starting course) and your vegetables, you break down the vegetables into smaller pieces and place them in the moat of the cooking dish, allowing them to slowly wilt down into the soup, you can also add meat into the soup if you wish to boil and to add a different flavour and texture than grilling. You grill your meat by placing your meat on the round dome on top of the dish, which is the hottest point, and turn occasionally while cooking to your liking and taste buds.

Obviously this is the first stage of the buffet and doesn't look the most appetising but the more you grill and the juices drip into your own made soup the more colourful and tasty it is going to be. This is always a huge hit by the locals as its cheap, plentiful and its a great place to meet with friends to socialise. As you can see pretty much every table is taken here.

After you fill your boots up and are almost stuffed there is also a selection of fruit, jellies and ice cream (which we believe is the brand "Nestle Ice Cream") to finish off on and to end a nice evening with your family or friends before retiring home because you are too full to care and do anything else.

Now don't get us wrong, this is not the best quality buffets in Thailand you can find, but for the price its a steal, unlimited food which is fresh and tasty, unlimited bottled water and Pepsi and a deserts section for 159 Baht you can't grumble (they even had Thai football (soccer) on the television as well). Just one little note that most of these BBQ will charge you extra if you have leftover food on your table when you are about to leave, i can't give you a price as we had ate everything on our plates and left satisfied and happy on our dinner this evening.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

KL Tower, Kuala Lumpur

The KL Tower, also known as Kuala Lumpur Tower is a 421m communications tower based right in the heart of the city. It has just marked its 20th year anniversary for allowing tourists go to the the observation deck, and how could we miss a chance on that to see all of Kuala Lumpur below us. As we approached the tower its clear to see it built on an unusually placed hill in the city centre. Now if you have been to Kuala Lumpur before you know the city is fairly flat but apart from this mount of land that sticks up unusually at this area. It kind of makes sense really if your going to build a tower, build it on a hill ha.

At the base of the hill we saw what looked liked like the typical tourists there with backpacks on there back, the famous hiking boots with water bottle and the city map clutched to their hand (bit like us really) waiting for what looked like maybe a free shuttle bus that took you up to the top of the hill where the base of the tower starts. We was not to wait to see if there was a bus as we saw climbing this hill as a challenge and who knows how long we would wait. Wish we had of waited now as the hill is steeper than you think and it was around 35°C and so much humidity in the air it was harder than what we thought. We eventually made it though and was approached by a member of staff who we asked gasping for breath where we could buy water from. He kindly shown us a little shop where you can buy drinks from and we sat there looking spat this enormous tower.

The clouds in the sky looked like it was going to rain but in the distance we could see the blue skies coming towards us with little clouds which gave us hope we was not about to get really wet. After our drink and a cool down, we approached the ticket booth and was given lots of different ticket options, within the grounds of the tower there is a mini aquarium, a little petting zoo, a F1 simulator experience and a 4D movie experience to explore. We opted for the ticket to just go up the tower to the Sky Deck and Observation Deck (105RM each), this was more expensive than going up the Petronas Towers but hey your on vacation and its a one off right, so we paid and made our way to the elevator.

As you step out on the sky deck the wind hits you to take the edge of the heat and there is nothing more than a 4ft glass wall from you and a 335m drop to the ground (the 421m height i mentioned before is the height from the top of the antenna) and it literally is awe-inspiring.

This is a 360° view of the city and as you walk around the last floor where the antenna is etched to we saw a line emerge, must be the line for the exit we though, we was so wrong! This was the line to walk out onto a glass booth overlooking the city with a glass bottom floor to give you the ultimate adrenaline rush.

After joining the line which took forever which is totally understandable as people have paid a lot of money for this experience and want to have it privately for themselves to take there best or worse photos of themselves. it was our turn, off with the shoes  and slowly creeping onto the platform looking down at the sheer drop to the ground. In all honesty the first 2-3 seconds is quite nervous and a bit scary but once your on, your on and its all fine. Of course the usual selfies, silly and posing pictures was taken and we then left the glass booth to look and laugh at the pictures we had just taken. as we proceeded anti-clockwise around the tower, there was another glass booth to go in but with less views as the first one was over looking the financial skyscraper district. And of course we had to go in this as well.

We must have spent a good 2 hours up there, honestly we didn't want to leave as we was enjoying the views and having so much fun. but looking at the time, we knew it was closing soon and we still had the observatory to go to, we proceeded by walking down around 8 flights of stairs to the Observatory Deck and you guessed it... we was bitterly disappointed. It was not due to the fact that the views was poor, there was just as good, it was due to the fact you seemed to have lost your freedom and the thrill behind the glass and the excitement of stepping out onto a glass booth was not there, we took our last pictures of the sunset over Kuala Lumpur.

This attraction is pricey but priceless at the same time, we would really recommend this to anyone as a must do in Kuala Lumpur and in our opinion it was abetter experience than going up the Patronas Towers, (but we are not for one minute saying don't go up them), we left with smiles on our faces and a memory we will never forget, thank you KL Tower.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

As we landed from our flight quite late in Kuala Lumpur, we both decided to do our own walking tour of the city as everywhere was shutting down and the night life was about to begin with the bars and pubs slowly filling up with people relaxing for the evening. We found ourself after walking for what seemed ages (mainly due to the fact we stopped by a nice pretty bar ourselves  for a cocktail and a beer) in the main financial district of the city. All the tall office buildings where shut at this point and it was quite eerie as there was little traffic on the road and few pedestrians walking the street. For some reason we said to ourselves we will see what is around the next the next corner and if there is nothing there we will find the LRT (Metro/Subway) station to take us home and thats when we saw the Petronas Towers up close.

I think this for us both took our breath away literally, not due to the sheer size of these towers but mainly due it was all lit up and showing off all of its steel and glass in a beautiful and powerful manner, This is one building you can just stand there for ages and admire and of course take lots of pictures and selfies with, like we both did with a surprisingly small amount of tourists in the area. At this point we both knew we was to come back tomorrow and go to the observatory deck to stand on top of the worlds tallest twin towers.

The next morning we decided we was in no rush getting to the Petronas Towers so we had a nice Malaysian fried chicken with rice breakfast and went to Mo's favourite coffee shop (Starbucks) for our early morning coffee, we arrive at the ticket office just after lunch around 2pm and guess what? Sold out for the day! Luckily we was flying out at 4pm the next day and managed to get 2 tickets (85RM) for the following day at 9am.

So 2 tips for the Petronas Towers

1. They are closed on Mondays
2. It is a tour with a number of limited places for the day so if your on a small vacation like we was get there early.

So the next day we arrived very early just to make sure we was there for 9am and not to miss our slot as like i said before our flight was at 4pm and we had no time to waste, this gave us a chance to take some nice pictures from the outside but in daylight this time as the day was sunny and a few nice but picturesque clouds in the sky. For us in the daytime it didn't seem as bold and powerful and seemed smaller than seeing it in the night, don't get us wrong here for one minute, it was still impressive and still gave us a sore neck as we looked up from the bottom, it was just lacking something than what it looked at, at nighttime 

We went inside just before 9am to join the line of people who also had a ticket for 9am and was then seperated into smaller groups and was given a different colour lanyard which seeing as this was going to be a tour (as the lady described to us as we purchased the ticket) this made sense. Our colour was red and reds was picked to go first which was lucky as we had a flight to catch later in the day.

We was all crammed into the elevator like tinned fish and there was no room for anybody else, so we was both politely stepped out and waited for the next elevator to give everyone room. As the elevator returned there was just us 2 the big space that was to take us to the Skybridge connecting the two towers (which Sean Connery and Catherine Zita-Jones run across in the movie Entrapment) and got to watch the small video displayed on the walls of the elevator which we would have not seen if we was in the previous elevator with everyone in it.

When we arrived we was guided out and led towards the Skybridge which was longer and wider than i thought it was going to be, but sometimes looking down looking up it can look a lot smaller, we was told we was on the lower lever on the Skybridge on the 41st floor and this was the highest 2-story bridge in the world.

After around 10 minutes of taking photos and admiring the views we was politely told time is up and we are to make our way to the elevator to proceed to the observation deck at the top of the tower, this time the lift was smaller than the last ones as we was going up closer to the peak of the tower so it took a few turns to escort everyone to the top. As the elevator door opened you was met wit glass panel windows surrounding you, overlooking the city, we both went to the nearest window to take a look at the incredible view of Kuala Lumpur from the 86th floor at the height of just below 459m tall, and what a view it is, absolutely stunning views and Kuala Lumpur being a small city you can see right across it to the countryside and the mountains in the background and knowing at one point this was the tallest building in the world was an incredible feeling for both us.

After around another 15-20 minutes we was asked to take the elevator to go down again to go the gift shop which we could have spent more time in the observatory in my opinion as most of us don't buy anything for the gift shops anyway, just sometimes have a nosey then walk away empty handed, then we proceeded to the elevator and then to the exit.

Overall we was both disappointed in the fact that you was on a time schedule on how long you can take pictures, admire and reflect on the view and where you are, before being rushed off to somewhere else, and we where both disappointed that we was told it was going to be a tour but you did everything yourself, you could of course have asked the staff there for information if you wished but there where no tour guide. The question is... Did we enjoy it?... YES we loved every minute of it and are wanting to go back up the towers again one day in the future, it is one of the most famous iconic buildings in the world and we are so glad to have seen and gone up it.