Friday, October 28, 2011

Westin Hotel - Nice Place for Wiener Schnitzel in Mumbai

I was just back in town for a couple of weeks. These past weeks was hectic. I was in India, speaking at the Diesel Emission Conference (oh yes, I speak in conferences too!) in New Delhi on Sept. 5-6 and then had a meeting in Mumbai on Sept. 8-10. 

Busy with office and college (I am currently trying so hard to finish my MBA), I did not realize that it was time to go again. I left for Doha, Qatar on Oct. 6, a month after my trip to India. Not speaking at conference this time, instead I conducted a training on fuel quality and vehicle technology development. Yeah, I have been doing those things, traveling, speaking and conducting training for the past four years. 

I was landed from Doha on Tuesday, when I need to fly (again) to Jakarta on Friday early morning. The original plan was to be back in Singapore on Monday night and fly again to Bangkok for another speaking engagement and meetings on Tuesday early morning! Gosh! I felt sick of Changi airport... going in and out for almost every month. 

Business travel is not as luxury as it seems from the outside. Very often, we work 24 hours during traveling period. Some pre-arranged meeting, dinners and lunches with clients, speaking at the conference, etc. need to be attended. And I need to keep smiling during those times, does not matter what I feel or whether I am tired - the smile should already been a default in my face.

Whenever I had "me-time" during my travel, I spent it by working in my hotel room and ordering room service! How pathetic is that?

Well, after so many years, now I am proudly say that I have lots of friends in almost all town I have visited. Some are clients turned friends, some other are potential clients that also turned to be friends, some other are friends turned to be family in far away land. Yes, I enjoy that friendships.

I wrote about Qatar trip in my other blog. So I will write on something else here. 

During my last trip to India, I was invited by one of my potential client-turned-friends for dinner. He invited me to Westin hotel Mumbai. It was a very nice hotel with modern ambiance and true to my taste - has a very nice wiener schnitzel!

I really regretted that I cancelled my plan to stay at the hotel and choose Orchid hotel at East Andheri area. It was so different and to be frank with you...I was tired with Orchid hotel and need something different. In short, I fell in love with Westin Mumbai. I could not wait until my next trip to Mumbai, and even better, I heard that Westin will open new hotel in Khandala, next to my favorite city in India, Pune. I really could not wait....

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Flashback to 2010 - Japan Trip

Looking back to the beginning of 2010. I started the year with a business travel to Tokyo in February 2010. It was my first trip to Japan and being from a tropical country, it was still too cold for me even in end of February where it should be the beginning of Spring.

Japan by far is a country which not really interesting to me. Unlike everybody else, I don't really like fish. In fact, I have never like eating fish and its relatives. Thus, a visit to Japan where sushi, sashimi and other food related to raw fish are the highlight of the country was not really appealing to me. Nevertheless, a business travel is a "must-do" for someone like me.

My first encounter to sashimi and sushi (in all types of sushi, I only like inari sushi and vegetable maki) was when I had lunch with my client in Nagoya. Indeed, we need to appreciate the effort inviting us for lunch. Hence, I let them choose the place. Guess what? Yeah, they brought us to a sashimi and sushi restaurant. A famous one where you need to make a reservation beforehand. My colleague was so happy as sushi and sashimi were her favorite food while I was so scare thinking on how to survive!

But well, I did survive! A piece of salmon sashimi passed my throat with a little bit difficulty and a lot of soy sauce and wasabi. The salmon was so fresh and did not have any fishy smell at all. It tasted a little sweet and kind of melted when it touched your tongue. However, I did not dare to try a piece of tuna. A very good grade of tuna still have a fishy smell and pardon me, I have not survived on that yet.

But, believe it..... now I start developing a like of sushi and sashimi... although still with a lot of soy sauce and wasabi.. but I never run away from it anymore. Sushi and sashimi in Japan are really good and made from fresh fish and other seafood. Still... I like inari sushi more!

The next evening in Tokyo, another client invited us for dinner. The dinner was at a restaurant only within walking distance from Hilton that I stayed. The place was at the top of the office tower. The first thing that hit me when I walked inside the restaurant was the scenery outside the window. From our table - a traditional tatami and dining table one - we could see as far as Tokyo tower. Such a beautiful picture.

The food was really delicious with lots of choices from sushi, sashimi to grilled seafoods. One thing that really intrigued me - the way they served cold tofu..... It was so delicious and smooth. See the picture above, can you guess that those is tofu and not ice cream??

Another year gone by...

Wow....2010 is gone..the first week of 2011 is also gone...
Do you feel that the time is passing so fast these days?
Well, if you don't feel it, I definitely feel that.

A friend of mine asked me to read his blog today. That reminded me that I have not posted anything for so long. In fact, I did not post anything in the whole 2010. So bad...
But I do have a valid excuse for that. Mind me... :)

Anyway, let's hope I can maintain posting to the blog and find time in the midst of my work loads, travels and pursuing MBA degree....

See you around!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Java Village Restaurant @ Jurong Point, Boon Lay, Singapore

Living outside your home country makes you miss it. Of course you can adapt and blend very well with the local, as the old saying.. when in Rome, do like the Romans do. But we cannot avoid the time when missing home hits us real hard, and I mean real hard.

One thing to ease the homesick feeling is to find home food, as close as it can be. Well, we do find comfort in food, don't we?

One of the restaurant I tried a week ago is Java Village. Located inside Feast (a food court managed by Kopitiam) at Jurong Point 2 right at Boon Lay MRT Station, this place offers an authentic Indonesian food. I repeat, authentic.

The place is a little not easy to find though, as it is not a stall inside the food court but a restaurant. It has a small opening hence you cannot see the seats. However, once you are inside, it has a different atmosphere. It is like you are in a real restaurant with nice wood carving decorations. The good thing about the place, it is a little secluded from the rest of the food court so you can be as romantic as you can. On the other hand you can also be as loud as you want in a family or office gathering. The choice is yours!

Although the foods serve here are mostly from Eastern Java Island, it goes all the way from the western part of Indonesia to Bali Island. Such food with peanut-based sauce here also are tasted different to keep the authenticity at the maximum. For example: there are two kinds of vegetable salad namely "Gado-gado Surabaya" and "Pecel Kediri," both are using peanut-based sauce and steamed vegetables but tasted so different.

I suggest you to try its "Sate Ayam Madura" or Maduranese Chicken Satay - in English - it is definitely different than satay you found in Singapore. It use marinated chicken chunks in skewers with peanut-based sauce and a little bit spicy (you can ask the chef to reduce or increase the spicy-ness).

Well, let me tell you this. I think I've tried all the food here. Normally, I started with Pecel Kediri (I should warn you though, it's quite a lot so you can share it as a starter), followed with Nasi Kuning set - a javanese yellow rice (using turmeric and coconut milk) complete with fried chicken, rendang, a couple slices of cucumber, and others. I ended the complete meal with Es Cincau Selasih, a very refreshing and cooling drink. Hrmmmm... yummy!

The price is a little bit at the high side though. But, it is worth the price and definitely worth my next visit.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Swati Snacks in Mumbai, India

On my first trip to Mumbai in mid November this year, a good friend of mine brought me join his family for a light lunch at Swati Snacks.

If you have a chance to visit Mumbai, I recommend to try this "fast food" restaurant. Don't compare this "fast food" with the usual western fast food :-) Fast food here really means fast. From the time you pick your seat, the menu is almost automatically in your hand, to the time your food is ready on the table was less than 5 minutes! In addition, this is not an oily range of food like the usual fast food we know.

This restaurant offers a wide range of vegetarian snacks which surprisingly taste really good even for me, a non vegetarian. The first food we ordered was made from rice flour, thinly spread over a banana leaf... it was really nice and not too heavy! Unfortunately I forgot what is the name of it :-(

The food was then followed by a glass of sugarcane juice. For those who live in Singapore, sugarcane juice and Indian food are available there too. A lot, I must say. But sugarcane juice at Swati snacks was different. It was refreshingly sweet, not too sweet with a little hint of lime, I think.

However, if you want some romantic ambience, or rather, an ambience, this is definitely not the place. This is most suitable for a family get together time with light meal. But.... I must say, I will visit this place again on my next trip!