Friday, November 29, 2013

Street Eats: Lillian Bakery

Chinese sweets often leave something to be desired. I've been offered dessert numerous times only to be disappointed when I am served a bowl of red bean paste. Good but not exactly the ice cream sundae I was hoping for.

Thankfully, one snack that never disappoints is an egg custard tart from Lillian Bakery.


A flaky crust filled with sweet, soft custard, these treats are the perfect afternoon snack. Or pre dinner appetizer. Or you know, a good idea anytime you happen to pass by the bakery.


My mother was so enthralled with these, we stopped three days in a row to try them. But at 4 rmb each (or $.66 USD), buying a box is never a regret.


Try out these delectable treats at one of many locations around town including:

868 Huaihai Zhong Lu

B1/F, New World Mall, 2-68 Nanjing Xi Lu

1688 Sichuan Bei Lu

Monday, November 18, 2013

Phuket: Muay Thai

I'm not a violent person. Really. But for some reason, going to a Muay Thai fight was on the top of my list for Phuket. While there are numerous spots to see a fight, we opted for a Sunday night event at Bangla Boxing Stadium in downtown Patong.

Muay Thai is a lot like traditional boxing, only with knees, elbows, kicks, and punches thrown in. I was a big fan of the kicking.


I was also a fan of the ceremony surrounding the event. To be honest, I knew very little going into the match but was fascinated by the practices.

Before the fights began, each boxer walks the perimeter of the ring to seal it off and protect them from evil during the fight. The fighter then goes to the center of the ring and kneels down facing the direction of his home, placing his hands in a praying position to begin the Wai Kroo. The Wai Kroo is a ritualistic and traditional dance carried out before Muay Thai fighters engage in the ring to show honor to the fighter's teacher, sport, and country.

The dance, as well as the fights themselves, are accompanied by a Thai band. The band's music will speed up throughout the fight to match the pace of the action.


When the first fighter walked into the ring, my mother audibly gasped. He was roughly seven years old and tiny. Were we about to be front row for a Hungry Games style throw down? Thankfully the referees were wonderful and never allowed the fights to get out of hand, checking in regularly with all the fighters to ensure they were in top shape.




As the night went on, the fighters became older and more intense. We saw knock outs, blood, and even an underdog victory from an Aussie with questionable hair choices. Yes, he had a rat tail.



My entire family found ourselves caught up in the event and cheering along with the throngs of other fans in the stadium. If you find yourself looking for some uniquely Thai entertainment (and the kind that doesn't involve men in drag), a Muay Thai fight should be a definite addition to your vacation's itinerary. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Phuket: Rainy Day Activites

Rough seas on Saturday meant that we had to change our plans of visiting Ko Phi Phi Island. Thankfully, we were able to book a private driver for the day through Mr Chai (we also used him for our airport transfers). Our driver, Joseph, was wonderful and knowledgeable about Phuket. He also didn't mind serving as our photographer throughout the day.

We started the day at Karon viewpoint which I am sure is spectacular on a sunny day. This was not one of those days. Nonetheless, it was still a pretty spot to stop. 


My mother's one wish in Thailand was to see an elephant. We aren't huge fans of animal tourism so we skipped riding the elephants and instead stopped to feed some bananas by the side of the road. My mother was elated to say the least.



Then it was off to the Big Buddah. Measuring over 45 meters tall and covered in marble, Phuket's Big Buddah is rather impressive though still under construction.



Perhaps feeling the need for a little more religion, our next destination was the Buddhist Chalong temple. Dedicated to the monks who led the fight against the Chinese rebellion in 1876, this impressive temple is a familiar tourist stop for many in Phuket. Again, I found the temples to be much more colorful than their Chinese counterparts.



My dress was deemed too short to enter the temple so a kind woman at the entrance provided me with a sarong to wear. You are also asked to remove your shoes before entering.


After Wat Chalong, we stopped for a quick break at the Methee cashew nut factory. While not worth a trip on its own, it was interesting to pause for a few minutes to see how cashews nuts are grown and processed. And of course to try the samples. We made good use of those.


From the cashew factory, we headed north to visit Bang Pae Waterfall. A local swimming spot for children, the waterfall was rather silent thanks to the rain we experienced throughout the day. A short hike through the woods took us to the waterfall which was beautiful and which I did not accurately document. So instead, here is us walking through the woods.



And located just at the base of the trail to the waterfall was one of my favorite Phuket attractions. The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project helps to reintroduce gibbons to the wild after they are snatched up by poachers. I didn't get an photos of the gibbons but we were able to snap a picture of these two monkeys.


While not the sunny day I pictured on an island, we had a blast exploring the many attractions Phuket has to offer. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Phuket Eats: Nok Noi

I'm a big fan of eating as local as possible whenever I travel. Sure, it's nice to have an English speaking staff and cloth napkins, but it's also fun to play charades with your waitstaff and feed the stray cats that roam under your table.

Nok Noi was one of those places. The menu boasted both Thai and Western food, though I'm not sure why you would bother to try anything from the second category. Their Thai food was top notch.


Our entire family ate here our third night in Phuket. We noshed on tom yum soup, yellow curry, and pineapple fried rice. Throw in a few beers and our total bill still came in at under $14 USD.




Matt and I returned here again on Saturday night for dinner. This time for green curry and rice noodles with basil. Both excellent as well.



Want to go there? Sadly, I don't have a very accurate address. It's on Patak Road, across from the Karon Temple, about half a kilometer from the beach. Look for the large sign outside.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Phuket: Karon Siteseeing

We awoke to rain showers on our third day in Phuket. Not wanting to waste the day, we ventured to Karon Beach to explore.

The first stop of the day was the obligatory fish pedicure. What's a fish pedicure? You simply stick your feet in a tub full of tiny carp who then nibble away the dead, callused skin on your feet. Only my mom was willing to try out this Thai specialty. She said it tickled.



After picking up a few trinkets, we lunched at Bai Toey, which I would classify as fine but not exceptional. We had much better pad thai at other spots for a fraction of the cost. But service was good and it was a nice spot to wait out a rain storm.



With our bellies full, we wandered through the Karon Temple, a Buddhist Temple in the middle of Karon. Compared to Chinese temples, there is much more glitter involved.




Then it was back to our villas for pool and napping. I didn't take any photos of that. You'll just have to trust that is happened.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...