Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stranger in Bangkok: It's never too late to start reading!

Time flies. I've technically been in Bangkok for 3 full years now, and it also marks the existence of this blog for almost the same period of time. I never envisaged myself becoming a lover of blogging until I got down to doing it, and it is very difficult to explain how important it is to me now.

As I frequently tell my wife, Bangkok is close to my heart because it feels like the place where my grown-up life really began. My first company (I don't own it, but at least it feels like it), my first home with my own family, my first child and in a very special way, my first and possibly final attempt to be an effective blogger.

Bangkok is as cosmopolitan as you can ever imagine
It warms my heart when friends and relatives message me to tell me that they stumbled upon my blog online and have been reading ever since, or tell me they have been following without knowing it was mine. These are all very intimate comments as I realise I have achieved what I wanted to with this blog, that is to share my exotic lifestyle with all my friends who are far from me, and in some way or another provide some useful resources in case they are visiting. This blog usually garners more than 30 reads/day (from all over the world) even when I do not have any new posts, which to me, is highly encouraging.

While I try to think of other ways to push this blog to another level, my advice to all who are visiting for the first time is: It is not too late to follow this blog, especially if my way of life in Bangkok seems strange and unique to you.

There are a few distinct categories which I split I blog into and I shall just name a few (see a full list of labels on the right hand bar) and recommend you to some of my favourite posts:

  1. My Strangest Experiences in Thailand

    This is what this blog is all about actually, about strange things that happen to me in Thailand, that might never happen elsewhere, which leads me encourage you to read what is arguably still my very favourite post of all time here.
  2. The simple pleasures of life

    One of the main reasons why I love Bangkok is because while it is a cosmopolitan city like Singapore, life can be very very simple. The sincere smiles, the hospitality, affection and happiness of local Thai people really rub on you, and you have no choice but to become less demanding, more accomodating and more easily satisfied, resulting in a happier life!

    Click here to see how Li Li and I enjoyed ourselves becoming street vendors making and selling biodegradable boats during Loy Krathong.
  3. TES Power Equipment

    The branch office I helped my company start from scratch, and the primary reason I am here now. It has been a long and tough journey, which I feel is getting tougher by the day, but I have survived and will continue to. With my team of talents plucked from the city streets, we will prevail and I look forward to many more good years together.
  4. Tourist? I would come here if I were you

    I am no longer a visitor nor a tourist, I live here now. More than ever, I would like to enjoy what the locals enjoy, go where the locals go. If you too, are interested in that, this would be an category for you to invest some time on if you are planning a trip to Bangkok some time soon

    My first tip, instead of spending time in sleazy sinful Pattaya, consider going to the nearby Coral Island instead!
  5. The Stranger's Foodie Recommendations in Thailand

    I am a die-hard foodie, so this category means a lot to me, and it should to you too, because though Thailand IS most definitely about the Tom Yums and Som Tums, it is also a metropolis where almost every cuisine is proudly represented. I believe these posts would come in handy when you need some dining ideas here!

    Jok's Kitchen is a private kitchen that I have had the privilege to dine in once quite a long while back, I hope you will too if the opportunity presents itself, because of the sheer difficulty to get your butt on a seat inside that elusive little restaurant! PS. This is by far my most popular food-related post.
  6. Baby in Bangkok

    Last but not least, I have to promote my son, Noah Yii! Aside of this blog, another way to follow this endearing boy's life story is to "Like" his Facebook page, which can easily be done by clicking the "Like" button on the top right hand corner on this blog.

    Enjoy all the cute and heart-warming moments as Li Li and I try to bring up this little boy without any help here in Bangkok!
Ok, I think my very long and exhausting self-promoting blogpost must definitely end here before you run out of patience. 

Thank you to all my readers who have graced this blog one time or another. It's been a pleasure to have you walking my journey in Bangkok with me, and do continue to do so, and please leave me messages if you have any comments or need advice regarding anything in Thailand, I promise I will reply every single one of them!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our first ever official date night at Rossini's

There are pros and cons to raising a kid in a foreign land. One of the most apparent con is that Noah has become a compulsory accessory wherever we go. As we have no relatives here, there is absolutely no choice of leaving him somewhere and going out by ourselves, unless we have close relatives visiting or have a maid of course, though we are temporarily not considering the latter as having one would present its own set of problems.

Therefore, when my mother-in-law and sister-in-law came for a visit a couple of weeks ago and agreed to "jaga" Noah for one evening, I sprang into action to make sure our first ever date night after Noah's arrival would be an unforgettable one. Yes, you guessed it, being the foodie I am, I made a booking (though it was not necessary) at Rossini's, the renowned Italian restaurant at Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Hotel recently made more famous by its Executive Chef Stefano Merlo, who gloriously defeated Chef Ian Kittichai on Thailand's version of Iron Chef. Chef Ian is easily the chef I admire the most in Thailand, so naturally I would like to try out Rossini's food to experience the hype.

After examining the menu, I decided not to create a huge hole in my pocket and gave the Iron Chef menu a miss. I am also not that interested in tasting bull's testicles seared to femininely-delicate perfection. It just feels a little wrong. I will let their standard ala-carte dishes and set dinner do the talking.

Being a fine Italian restaurant, the dinner naturally started off with some bread, and it was some good warm bread, which can be re-filled at our pleasure. Not a bad way for a hungry couple to begin our date night.

As many good restaurants do these days, they serve a complimentary starter from the chef, which is a nice touch, but only if the dish is excellent. For everyone still guessing what this black mess is, it's called cuttlefish with squid ink and potato froth, and it's really quite an intricate starter. The cubes of cuttlefish flesh were so tender and fragrant I wanted to ask if I could have an additional serving of free starter, haha.

carpaccio di manzo rucola e grana ( beef carpaccio with rocket and parmesan cheese )
Taking a picture to remember my first try of raw beef
So here comes my first course, beef carpaccio! It took me so long to try raw beef because of my first visit to Paris, where I sat in a restaurant serving beef carpaccio and beef tartar buffet, with French locals around me gorging down endless servings of raw minced/sliced beef with bread. I really should not have, but I felt a little sick, especially after I saw the blood oozing out of my pan-fried duck breast when I sliced it open.

But anyway, that was ages ago, and I have now overcome my fear of raw beef with Rossini's delightfully fresh carpaccio served with my favourite rocket and some very fruity Balsamic reduction.

tagliatelle alla bolognese
My second course was a medium-sized serving of home-made tagliatelle with classic bolognaise sauce. I am a BIG lover of pasta, that's why I did not expect anything less than excellence from a fine Italian diner's. I didn't find it unforgettable, but  looking at this picture after not having it for a couple of weeks, I guess I really do miss it now.

maialino da latte arrosto con funghi ( italian roasted suckling pig with mushrooms )
Li Li before she munched into her main course

Li Li ordered the most expensive main course on the ala carte menu, and it was the one dish that pushed the dinner experience over the roof. Nothing much could go wrong if you serve an aromatic crunchy pork skin on top of thick succulent pork with the texture of gourmet ham with nice sauce and potato mash. Li Li has the knack of choosing all the right courses almost every single time, and she did it again. 

I am not going to tell you the name of my main course, because the less said of it the better. Despite its beautiful presentation, it is one of the most underwhelming dishes I have eaten in a restaurant of this stature in a while. My only comment is "I would be better off with a bigger serving of the pasta".

Classic tiramisu
Despite a brief anticlimax at the fish course, the dinner ended off with a bang. Rossini's classic tiramisu was probably the best way to complete a fine Italian dining experience, coupled with a cup of latte and some free chocolate ganache.

Finally, a date night!
Rossini's food was generally very pleasing, and the impeccable service and classy atmosphere means that we will be back again even though one of our courses was extremely disappointing. So far, no restaurant has impressed us more than Chef Herve's Le Beaulieu, but while they struggle to complete renovating their new location, we have found another great food hideout.

When will we have our next date night? Relatives and friends (with confidence to take care of Noah alone for a few hours), if you are reading this, for our sake, please plan a visit soon!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A formal (shameless) invitation to become Noah Yii's fan!

If you think that this boy is endearing and worth you watching him grow day by day, please become his fan NOW by viewing Noah Yii's page or by clicking the "Like" button on the top right hand corner of this blog!

Li Li and I have been thinking of doing this for a while. Since the birth of Noah, our facebook pages have been overpowered by him. Li Li is no longer Li Li, Eddie is no longer Eddie. At least in cyberspace, we have technically become Noahmummy and Noahdaddy. No longer are our pages filled with our own updates or pictures, we have become 2 entities separately sharing our son's pictures with everyone.

Furthermore, Noah has garnered a fair bit of support from our Bangkokian friends, so we have decided to create this fanpage for him, so that friends who still remember us, in Thailand or abroad, can have a specialised portal to see what's happening to this infectiously happy boy in every single day of his precious life.

He has taken his 1st shower, 1st injection and devoured his 1st serving of solid food, but there is still an infinite number of milestones for him to reach in due time. Please "Like" his page and support him through his 1st tooth, 1st crawl, 1st steps, 1st haircut (yes, we have not cut his hair yet), 1st word and I am sure he will bring lots of joy to your lives, no less than he has done to ours.

Do the right thing, "Like" his page so that with the success of his fanpage, Daddy and Mummy can become Eddie and Li Li in cyberspace again!

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