This week in my Friday Food Review series I want to tell you about Kopitiam by Wilai. There has been much written on this amazing restaurant already, but I love to share when I find a place that has food so … Continue reading
I was going to write about another one of our favorite restaurants here in Phuket, but I may have gotten food poisoning from them last night.
Before I totally write them off, or write about them here, I feel it’s necessary to partake in some more
gluttony research and make sure that is indeed what happened and I don’t have some sort of flu or something.
All of this to explain that my post today is short and sweet and about nothing at all, except my taking time off to feel better.
I will do my utmost to test out the restaurant in question and be absolutely sure before I choose to stop going there (yes, it is that good!). You all will be the first to know.
Happy Friday everyone! Xoxox
I love food. I especially love Thai food. I know that comes as a surprise to all of you. But food drives most of my days. Thinking about where we will eat for lunch or dinner is most often the highlight of my day. So for the next few Fridays, I am highlighting my favorite places to eat here in Phuket. Be warned, you may not want to read this while hungry.
We have tried many places that make phenomenal Thai food here in our area of Phuket, but my favorite lunch place by far is Hua Soi in Chalong.
Hua Soi is located in front of the Chalong Police Station, right near the Chalong Circle. It is a small place with 7 tables situated around a coffee bar. The owners, a husband and wife team, cook all the food and serve the food. There are a couple of other ladies that work at the coffee bar and help take the orders. It is a small family run restaurant and I love supporting the locals.
The menu at Hua Soi is only Thai food, and is not as extensive as some, but they have an “al a carte” menu that offers lunches (main dish plus rice) for 50 baht! All the other food is offered for less than 120 baht a plate. The coffee’s and fruit shakes are also fair priced at 40 baht.
Ok, now to the food… I am glad I just ate dinner because otherwise I would probably be drooling. I have tried many of their dishes and have not had a bad meal yet. Their Som Tam (papaya salad) is fresh and spicy. The green, panang, and red curries are perfectly blended with meat that is cooked to perfection. The pad thai is the best I have ever had. My personal favorite though, is the chicken with cashew nuts. The flavor is slightly spicy, sweet, savory, and pretty much tastes like a piece of heaven in your mouth. I always have to resist the urge to lick my plate.
I always leave Hua Soi feeling full and satiated. I also leave happy because our bill is never over 350 baht (about $12). And then two days later I go back for more (seriously, we eat here about 3 times a week).
If you visit Phuket (or live here) make sure to eat at least once at Hua Soi. You can thank me later!
**I was not asked to write this review or given any free food in return for it (darn it!) and all the opinions are my own. If you try it and do not like it,
you must lack taste buds I take no blame. Please see my page of Disclosures, Disclaimers, and Other Legal Stuff.
Tonight we decided to forgo the Thai food and try a Mexican food restaurant here in Phuket. A fellow expat from California recommended Sala Mexicali as being the closest thing to California Mexican food in all of Phuket. Lucky for us … Continue reading
It rained for about 20 minutes the other day here in Phuket, Thailand. It was a wonderful change of pace as the days are getting hotter and hotter here (so far the hottest was about 35 degrees Celsius or 95 degrees Fahrenheit). We have actually had to turn our A/C on occasionally as the fans just weren’t cutting it. March, April, and most of May are the hottest times of the year here in Phuket, and so far the heat is right on schedule. Except for that 20 minutes of blessed rain that broke the 4 month drought that has loomed over the area, and gave us about an hour of much cooler weather. Oh, yes, and it also shorted out the electricity in our town and others near it. Oh, Thailand. One really never knows what to expect from one day to the next, except that there will be one or two surprises in store.
Oh… and Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all you lovely folks out there, have a pint and some corned beef cabbage for me! I can’t go out as I am not wearing green and I cannot stand to be pinched.
What happens when a two and a half-year old girl and her mom decide to take the afternoon and spend it with a bunch of birds at the Phuket Bird Park? Well, a ton of fun and a bunch of … Continue reading
We did more than I had ever imagined we could in the first four days we were in Singapore. It shows that Singapore is very easy to get around and highly organized. There is also so much information on the web and from other blogs, that much of the places we went were not that surprising, I knew what to expect that is.
On our fifth, and last full day in the bustling city-state, we decided to go back to the Botanic Gardens. We had went the night before and though it was beautiful and cool in the evening temperatures, we wanted to see more.
First things first though, we must always start with breakfast. I always love to start my day with good food and we were on the hunt for a place that was near the Botanic Gardens, so we could make the most of our time (we only had until 1:30 p.m. because we had to go and pick up our visas at the Thai Embassy between 2-3 p.m.).
I found a place called Food For Thought on the internet which is actually located in the Garden itself! We decided, because we were STARVING (again, I know… it happens a lot to us) to take a taxi as we thought that the restaurant was on the opposite side of the park from the SMRT station.
We were able to quickly get a cab this time and were on our way. As the taxi dropped us off at the taxi stand at the park (even though we gave him the exact address, oh well) which ended up being the opposite side of the restaurant as well. So we learned our lesson again, that the best way to get around in Singapore is the SMRT.
We walked to the other side of the park, which only took about a half hour and found Food For Thought after some searching. It is in the basement level of the Botany Center and down some stairs at the far left of the center as you face the entrance.
Food For Thought is a chain in Singapore and has western and local fare. They support charities with their profits, they are actually helping five different charities currently. This branch has a lovely playground right outside the restaurant for little kids to play in, it was really busy when we got there so we didn’t let Zoë play in it. Plus we were starving. I had read that this restaurant was fairly inexpensive, but the cheapest breakfast was S$8, which is not that cheap. We ended up spending over S$40 for breakfast, but the food was pretty good. Actually their toast was the best I think I have ever had, I was tempted to pay S$3 for another piece, but resisted. I was going to steal Zoë’s but she had already eaten hers, bummer.
Our first stop after breakfast was the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. We naively thought that the park would be pretty empty since it was a school day. As we rounded the corner to the entrance of the children’s garden we saw the line of school busses. We cringed at our mistake as we saw the massive groups of school children in front. They were getting snacks at the snack bar and hanging out. They were very well-behaved, but there were enough children that it sounded like a stadium regardless.
We had built up a thirst on our walk over and waited in a long line to get a couple of waters before wandering in. Do you know how long it takes 30 kids under the age of 10 years old, to order their ice cream and soda’s? Over a half hour. I stayed in the line while Chad took Z in to check it out.
When I finally bought our waters, I realized that all the school busses were loading up their students and leaving. We had arrived around 11:00 a.m., I guess that was the golden hour as all of a sudden the garden was quiet and there were only a few toddlers and their families left. What luck!
I went looking for Chad and Zoë with my hard-earned water bottles. I found them at water play area. Z was running around gleefully in her underwear and was already soaking wet. It was a really hot day so I was glad that she was able to cool down a bit. The water turned off in about 20 minutes for some reason and didn’t seem like it was coming back on so we put Z’s dress back on her and headed down the path. All along the path from the water play area to the back of the area is a garden that had vegetables and such that the kids can touch, smell, and observe. Zoë especially loved the cotton plant. Chad and I also enjoyed looking at the different plants and they were all labeled and easy to read.
We trundled across a log suspension bridge (which was actually stroller friendly) and came upon a huge tube slide. We were running out of time in the park so Zoë and I went down the huge slides numerous times and had to leave. We missed much of the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, but what we did see was educational and fun. I would love to go back.
We walked to the SMRT station and hopped on the train to the Thai Embassy. We quickly and easily picked up our approved visas (Thank God!).
We were within walking distance to another microbrew restaurant and we decided to try it out. Well, we thought we were within walking distance at least, we walked but it took about 30 minutes from the Orchard Station. When we arrived at JiBiru Craft Beer Bar we couldn’t wait to order our first beer/cider.
JiBiru has only outdoor seating and serves Yakitori food. Chad ordered a Japanese microbrew and I ordered a cider. The lunch specials ran around S$12 a piece, but were delicious and filling. The beers and ciders on the other hand were about S$10-12 a piece. We each had a couple of bottles and left it at that. I would definitely recommend (if you love good beer/cider) visiting JiBiru Craft Beer Bar.
We felt a little sluggish after eating so much (it had nothing to do with the couple of bottles of beer I am sure) and decided to take Z to her first movie in a movie theater. We had noticed the Lido Theater on our walk to JiBiru and saw that the Lego Movie was playing.
We paid an exorbitant amount of money at 7-11 for candy to sneak into the theater (come on, you know you all do that, too) and went and bought our tickets. The tickets actually were not that expensive, only S$8 a person… We had finally found something inexpensive to do in Singapore!
We all loved the movie and Z sat through most of it! We truly can take her almost anywhere now… next hurdle will be taking her clubbing! Maybe not…
We relaxed the rest of the night at our place and prepared to leave the next day. We had only one bag so it was easy. We both wanted to get to the airport early because we had noticed (and I had read about Changi Airport on Kids “R” Simple here) that they had much for little ones to do.
The next morning we arrived at Changi airport by train and checked into our flight and immediately looked for the playgrounds. We found one in terminal 3, near the train station. They charged S$18 for 2 hours, but we had already promised Zoë that she could play and we just ignored our feeling of being a bit ripped off and let her play. It was a mediocre playground to say the least, but she enjoyed it immensely.
After we figured out that our flight left from terminal one, we ventured over there and realized that there is a free playground near some of the food kiosks. Grrrr… maybe I should have researched a little better right before we actually arrived there. Traveling sure does teach me more and more about being prepared but flexible.
As we flew out of Singapore, I talked to Chad about what I thought about Singapore. Singapore is the closest thing to back home that we have experienced on our travels so far. It was well-developed, clean (except those darn dirty toilet seats), easy to get around using public transportation, and everything was in English. It was almost disconcerting knowing that we were in Asia, but feeling as though we were not. Also, Singapore was incredibly expensive, albeit we did a ton of touristy things and ate at specialty restaurants some of the time, but almost everything was more expensive that what we pay in Northern California for the same thing. It was not surprising to me that Singapore was named the most expensive place to live in the world this year.
Regardless of the things I did not like so much, I enjoyed everything we did and especially loved the food in Little India and our time in the Botanic Gardens and the Singapore Zoo.
Thanks for following along with our trip to Singapore. We have been doing many things here in Phuket that I look forward to writing about. Now I need your help, is there anything you are curious about here in Phuket or Thailand in general? I like to write posts that make you, my lovely readers, feel like you are here with us, so please let me know. And of course, if you would like to follow, subscribe, and share our blog it would be much appreciated!
Our fourth day in Singapore landed on a Monday. We had been running around and seeing the sights in Singapore and now it was a day to do some not-so-fun things. Well, only one not-so-fun thing really…It was our only day to find the Thai embassy and apply for our visitors visas.
For those of you that have never had to do visa runs, each country has an allotted amount of time a tourist is allowed to stay. In Thailand the time for a landing visa (for Americans) is 30 days, but for a small fee and the time of filling out a few papers, one can get a visitors visa that is 60 days and can be extended without having to leave the country. We had to find our way to the Thai Embassy in Singapore and drop off our forms and payment and pick up our
hopefully approved visas the next day. In Singapore you have to drop off your paperwork between the hours of 9:00 am and 11:00 am and then have to pick it up the next day between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm. It was a short window of time and we COULD NOT mess up.
We decided to take a taxi to the embassy. As we waited and tried to flag a taxi down we realized that they would only pick up on our street at a taxi stand near the SMRT station. So we went and waited in a line for a taxi. It was finally our turn and a taxi came up with “On Call” on its little sign on the top, the guy behind us cut in front of us and said, “Sorry i called it”. Hrmph, we were a little bummed, but soon after we got a taxi that drove us to the closest taxi stand near the embassy. What we realized later is that the train station would have been just as close as the taxi stand that we were dropped off at. Oh well, it was a learning experience that it is always better to take the train in Singapore.
Our time in the Thai embassy went quickly and even though Chad had to run and make copies of our flight in to Thailand (they only say the flight out of Thailand on the website) it went fairly smooth.
We were STARVING and so we decided to eat breakfast at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf across the street. Then we walked around the mall/shopping center that the CBTL was in. We were so very excited and happy to find organic and all-natural stores (2 of them!!!) that carried all-natural non-aluminum deodorant! It was the first time we had found it since we left the States! And we only had to pay S$12 for each ($9-10 USD). And now you all know how important all natural deodorant is to me, and I feel slightly awkward. But it was probably the highlight of the day for me!
We headed back to our house and gave Z her first proper nap since being in Singapore. We all needed an off day I think. We let ourselves rest for about an hour and then were up and ready to get going.
We made our way to Little India, which is another easy ride on the SMRT away. We love Indian food and our main reason for going was to find a place to eat dinner. We walked around for a bit, past the gold shops, mini-markets, fruit and veggie stands. Some of the buildings were beautifully painted and decorated, some looked pretty run down. Overall though the area almost seemed to be a step back in time, there were no skyscrapers, in fact most of the buildings looked to be 4 floors or less and the buildings seemed old and worn.
We chose a vegetarian restaurant called Komala Vilas Restaurant which smelled divine. We were shown to a table on the second floor and given menus. there was not that much to choose from (I didn’t see the HUGE menu on the wall to the left of me that offered all the popular Indian favorites such as masala and paneer, oops) and none of it was anything I had ever tried. I ended up ordering the vegetable briyani plate and chad ordered the rice plate. We ordered Z a cheese dosai. Our food arrived and we dug in. It was probably the best indian food I have ever had. Z’s dosai was served to her like a teepee and she ate almost the whole thing. Not only was it wonderfully delicious, but every time we finished one of the vegetable dishes, they would come by and give us another spoonful. I do not even want to thing about how much I actually ate. It was worth it though.
We decided a walk was in order after eating so much. We took the SMRT to the Singapore Botanic Gardens (which was nicely situated two stops from our house). It was nearly dark when we arrived, so we walked in the cooler temperatures of the evening. I was impressed with layout and upkeep of the park. The grounds were immaculate and we were able to walk safely as it was well-lit. We decided that we would need to come to the gardens again, as there was a children’s area that was already closed when we arrived there. So more on the Botanic Gardens in my next post.
We had been running through Singapore, packing in so much everyday. This was a great day to just take it easy and set a slower pace. Or at least we thought we had, looking back, we still did quite a lot of fun things.
Friday will be my last post about Singapore (unless we travel there again). I have been keeping notes on what new things to write about here in Phuket, so stay tuned.
So, I have given away one of my silly highlights of our trip (Hooray for all-natural deodorant!), now it’s your turn. What has been something you have truly been over-the-top excited about while traveling, or just in your normal life that some people may think is silly? Leave a comment and share in my awkwardness. Thanks for reading and sharing all!
my us all being tired and sore from a long day of walking around the zoo in the heat, Z woke us at 6:30 a.m. again for our third fun-filled day in Singapore. In all seriousness, I was sore like I had run a marathon. Okay, I admit I have never run a marathon, but I have run a couple of blocks. That is pretty close, right?
Okay, my physical fitness aside, let’s get back to the real subject of this post… Singapore!
We had plans to meet Bronwyn (from Journeys of the Fabulist) and her cute kiddos for coffee at one of their regular hang outs in the Harborfrount Centre. I was excited and nervous, it was my first time meeting a fellow blogger in person!
We took the SMRT from our house to the Harbourfront Station. It took about 30 minutes to get there from all the way across the country! Well, Singapore is it’s own country so we truly did travel across the country to meet them.
My nervousness at meeting B was totally unnecessary. Chad, Z, and I had a wonderful time chatting and getting to know all three of them. We met at a toast place that served set breakfasts of french toast with coconut jam, called Kaya, tea/coffee and a very soft-boiled egg (pretty much raw, just a little white. Hey, don’t knock it until you try it, it is fantastic on toast). I can’t remember how much it was, that probably means it was pretty inexpensive. I love delicious, inexpensive breakfasts with new friends! Brownwyn showed us how to get to Vivo City, where the monorail was to take us to Sentosa, our next stop for the day, and gave us a great recommendation for a lunch place near the entrance of the monorail.
We said our good-byes to B, P, and T, and then meandered into the monorail ticketing area. We stopped off for lunch first at the place B had recommended and were very happy and full when we left there. It was an international food center that had Singaporean food, Indonesian, Indian, and other fare from all over Asia. I wish I could remember the name of the place, but it is right next to the ticket/information counter for the Sentosa monorail.
Senotosa is a little island off the southern tip of Singapore that boasts of a Universal Studios, the Sentosa Merlion, a beach area and much more. We bought our S$4 tickets for the monorail (you can also walk there, just follow the monorail above you, it was too much for our tired legs) and got off at the first stop.
The first stop was for Universal Studios, which we had decided to skip since Z was too little still for any of the attractions. The whole area around it was filled with American shops and restaurants. I really wanted to go in the Hersheys superstore, but with my willpower of steel, I resisted. It was very much like the Universal Studios City Walk in California. In fact, Chad and I talked quite a bit about how we felt like we were walking through any tourist area in Southern California. I think it felt a bit too much like home for us and we quickly walked to the next area.
Down the hill was the Sentosa Merlion, which is a large statue with a lion upper body and a fish lower body. It is the mythical protector of Singapore and was quite an imposing sight. You can pay for admission into the Merlion and take pictures from the head of the whole island. It was not that expensive at S$12 per adult, but we were trying to get Z to take a nap in her stroller and didn’t want to break up the walk too much (and no she never took a nap… humph).
We kept walking and came to an area that was pretty wide open, you could go one way to the beach or another way to something else, honestly at this point we were just hot and tired and decided to forgo the rest of Sentosa and hop back on the monorail and head back to Vivo City and shop for a bit.
We walked around the busy, well air-conditioned mall for a while and decided to head to a restaurant that Chad had found on the internet that brewed it’s own beers.
We were able to easily get to Brewerkz Restaurant and Microbreweries by taking the SMRT to the Orchard Station and walking about ten minutes down the street to Riverside Point.
We walked into the brewery and we felt immediately like we were home. Like really at home. This restaurant could have been in our hometown of Santa Rosa, California. The way it was decorated, the good beer, and the western food choices were all like being home. Until we looked at the prices that is! We decided to splurge and not feel guilty about ordering S$10-13 (US $8-10) beers and S$21 (US $16.50) burgers. I got the Brewerkz burger and Chad had the Chicken Cobb salad, we got Z a side of macaroni and cheese. All the portions were HUGE and the food was delicious. It made the final bill easier to pay at the end of our meal.
We had to have them wheelbarrow us out of the restaurant, or at least I wish they would have. We tried to walk off some of our large meal on our way back to the Orchard Station, but our legs just wouldn’t move fast enough.
We’d had another wonderful day in Singapore and slept the sleep of the extremely overstuffed that night.
What about you? Have you been to Sentosa in Singaore? Or to Brewerkz? Tell me about it!
Also if you would like to read more about living in Singapore, make sure to check out Kids “R” Simple, Journeys of the Fabulist, and Expat Dad SG. If you know of any other blogs that are about Singapore, feel free to share them in the comments.
I try to write about how we are doing on my Wednesday Write-Up’s, not what we have been doing, but I just have so much to write about Singapore that I have to keep writing about it. I am hoping that you will not be completely fried on Singapore by the time I am done, but want to visit it and check it out for yourself! (And for those of you who write blogs about Singapore yourselves, thanks for reading even though I am sure you have done these things yourself more than once.)
Singapore Part Two
On our second day in Singapore, Z woke
the whole house us up bright and early to enjoy it. We planned to spend the day at the Singapore Zoo. Almost everyone we talked to when we were planning visit to Singapore told us that we HAD to check it out. I have always loved zoo’s and we have been to a couple of them along our travels so far (You can read about our time at the Taipei Zoo here and the Budapest Zoo here).
We took the SMRT from our house a couple of stops to the Ang Mo Kio stop on the Red (North South) Line. We stopped at the AMK Hub for a quick coffee and chai tea latte (Hooray, my favorite!!) before grabbing the 139 bus that heads directly to the zoo.
We didn’t know how far out the zoo is, but it is pretty far out from the center of town. The bus ride took about 40 minutes, but it did stop often so I am sure the times will vary. It was an easy and cheap way to get there though, as our SMRT tourist cards worked for busses as well.
When we arrived at the zoo, there were signs everywhere saying you could save 5% off admission if you bought the tickets online with your smart phone. It was a little bit of a pain as the website had a couple of issues, but Chad patiently kept trying and finally we had our tickets. We decided to also buy tickets for the Night Safari, another zoo adjacent to the main one that opens after dark. All together we paid around $120 Singaporean dollars.
We had gotten a late start to the day, despite our early wake up
toddler call and didn’t arrive at the zoo until around 1:00 p.m.. We started by walking around while looking at the map and getting utterly confused as to where to go first. We decided to look around a bit and then eat lunch quickly before heading to a the Rainforest Show. We started with the white tiger, then the baboons, jackals, chimps, and so on. Most of the animals were pretty out in the open, the cages or barriers well hidden, and the orangutans were actually “free-range” meaning that they could be in the trees above you anywhere in their area. It made me feel as though we were in their habitat instead of them being in ours. I loved it and the animals seemed very happy and healthy. Chad and I realized that this was the first zoo we had been to where the animals were so active (including the pygmy hippos mating… while people were casually taking their kids pictures in front of them… awkward to say the least).
We got a bit lost on our way out to the eating area but finally made it to the entrance/exit. There was a KFC, a sandwich place, and a place serving Singaporean food. We chose the Singaporean place and had Nasi Lemak, a rice and chicken plate with sauces, and Laksa, a coconut based soup with shrimp. Zoë doesn’t handle the spicy food so well, so she had cheese pizza from the deli. All of the food was fairly inexpensive and delicious. Later in our travels we found the food court that is actually inside the zoo, and it looked great as well, but be aware it closes at 6 p.m..
We spent the rest of the daylight walking around the zoo, seeing all of the shows (each lasting between 15-30 minutes), The Rainforest Fights Back Show, The Splash Safari Show, and The Animal Friends Show. We all enjoyed all the shows although the splash safari show was a little long and we ended up leaving a bit before it ended, Z just wasn’t that interested in the sea-lion.
Zoë’s favorite part of the zoo was Kidzworld. This area had a large water play area, pony rides, petting zoo, and other physical activities for kids. Chad was my hero and took her to run around in the water so I was able to sit and relax in the shade. What a guy, right!?
We only made it through half of the animals before closing time at 6:30 p.m. I wish we would have had more time there. We did a quick run through of the souvenir shop, it had much to choose from and not all the items were that expensive. We may have spoiled Z just a little more and gotten her an orangutan stuffed animal magnet to commemorate our visit.
After the main zoo closed we decided to head to the Night Safari area, which was about a two-minute walk from the main zoo entrance. We were told there were places to eat there so we went to go find our dinner. The Night Safari does not open until 7:30 p.m. so we leisurely looked around at the places to eat, finally deciding on the international food area and having some okay Indian food. The food is very expensive in this part of the zoo, so I would suggest that anyone not wanting to pay S$17-30 a person either eat outside the main zoo entrance or bring your own food.
There is much to do in the Night Safari, we decided to start with the tram that takes you on a ride through different world locations to see how the animals live at night. We really wanted to see the lion feeding and were able to get off the tram and head down to the lion cage just in time to see them throw meat at the lions from a safe position. It was rather anti-climatic in my opinion. Not only that, but we realized as Chad was holding Z on his shoulders to see the lion feeding, that Z had pooped her pants. Yes, I was that mother standing there smelling her child’s rear end and then running for the nearest bathroom with her.
Luckily there was a bathroom near by and luckily I had one more pair of clean underpants for her. What we did not have was another pair of shorts, so we tied Chad’s Harley Davidson bandana around her waist the best we could, making a very cool rocker skirt. I was pretty glad it was dark and hot still. I don’t think anyone noticed at all. Another lucky thing was that the poo did not go through to Chad’s shoulders. Oh the joys of being a parent.
We were able to hop on another tram within 5 minutes and continued our journey through the night wildlife. The coolest part was that the animals that were not harmful or aggressive were free roaming for the most part, so we were within arms length to Tapirs and different kind of deer (gazelles? not sure what type they were except they looked like deer to me) and water buffalo and such.
By the time we rounded the last bend on the tram ride, Z had fallen asleep in my lap and we decided to just head back to our place. We missed out on the walking trails that you can take through the park, and the show about night creatures, but we were all ready to go home and rest.
Our second day in Singapore was quite an eventful and fun day. Have you been to the Singapore Zoo? What did you enjoy about it?
Leave a comment and tell us about it! Thanks for reading, following, sharing, and commenting!