Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Indie Food Guide to Bangkok: Picks for Best Curry, Seafood and Brunch


Before I had ever visited Thailand, I asked my best friend Andrea what she thought of her experience. Normally a talkative sort, she had only one word for me this time: Delicious. 



Her laconic response was apt. Everything about Thailand is delicious. When it comes to food, the Thais know how to enjoy life. Instead of McDonalds or Tim Hortons on every street corner, in Bangkok you'll find a fresh faced Thai woman selling fresh coconuts or a mobile meat skewer man with sizzling chicken, pork and innards brochettes that he can roll away with at any time to find better corners. 

You'll have your neighbourhood fruit lady with glistening watermelons and mangoes cut for your convenience and a neighbourhood noodle soup guy with some spicy boiling liquids with ghostly white glass noodles. Less prevalent but still everywhere are bbq fish and seafood stalls. It still amazes me that nearly anywhere you go to eat Thai food in Bangkok you will be in ambrosial heaven. It almost seems impossible to have gross Thai food. 

That being said, a lot of people will have their "special spots" and personal recommendations. I have no doubt that they are delicious. Permit me a bit of arrogance by saying that I know the BEST of some things. Such as best crab curry in Bangkok, best seafood, best vegan, and best western restaurants! I'm joking of course, I have a penchant for hyperboles. Joking aside, I've been living in Bangkok for three years and have been on an infinite quest for bestness. Here is my best list. If I'm wrong, don't be shy to share your spots!

Defining "Best": My 3 Pillars of Awesome
My criteria consists of three pillars: taste, ambiance, price. To make it on my list a restaurant has to satisfy at least 2 of 3.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Indie Guide Bangkok: Wonderfruit Music Festival 2015 and



When people ask if I enjoyed Wonderfruit , I just heave a deep sigh and look at my half-polished nails in shame. It's not that I didn't enjoy the music art festival (Southeast Asia's fresh, less commercial answer to Burning Man) but more that, my possee and I were not prepared at all. And it's all my fault. Hence the burden of shame weighing my head low upon mention of this magical wonderland


Listen, using my free time, a resource with ever decreasing amounts of freeness, to plan for partying camping festival weekend is not the top of my priorities.  So when my friend asked me to join their shanty town of tents, I figured I didn't need to prepare much except awesomeness and some sweaters. That was a mistake.

No tent or booked accommodation meant we had to be super resourceful (luckily we were three Canadian champions). Besides being an eye sore, that orange garbage mound you see above also served as a tent when a chair is under to prop it up. The weekend was a bit rough for my old self, but whateves, still loved it.

Anyways, this post is mega late so I'll just wrap up quickly. Wonderfruit 2015 was a great out of the city experience. It was in no way as magical as what I hear Burning Man to be - lacking volume and probably the right crowd (very family friendly atmosphere) - but something I would do over and over again and probably travel from around Asia to go to. If you imagine it as a weekend camping trip with friends, music and some art and over priced, albeit delicious as, food you will have managed your expectations perfectly. Oh and for a tech plug: the cashless payment system worked very well and was stress free. THE FUTURE!!

Follow adventure travel and life stuff at Snapchat: lil.fel or tweet and abuse me @LilFel

Some of the photos were taken from Cynthia. Check her blog, here.












Friday, October 30, 2015

Hiking Ontario: Hamilton Waterfalls & Spencer Gorge Toronto Day Trip

Orgasm for the eyes, yawn-worthy for the thighs


 

Day Trips from Toronto - Homeboy Steve & I's "Staycation"

 

After travelling Thailand's electricity free mountain villages with my old uni friend to erasing our brains on catamaran boat parties of Asia it was time to look homeward for some tantamount level thrills on my annual trip to the patria. It's weird, but I've seen so many of my childhood (and non-expatty) friends become paralyzed by the inertia of routine. You know, when one lives in a place for so long that they lose the sparkle for adventure and discovery simply because they are inured to its existence and availability i.e. death of FOMO for anywhere not typically "exotic"?! It's sad and disappointing for returning expats to see such a paucity of enthusiasm for adventure-- the very stuff that becomes the crack that keeps addict expats away from ever returning to normal. So it was nice to see that Steve (Toronto-based) was still up for Toronto waterfall hike in what he called his 2 days off from consulting a 'staycation'.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How to stop loathing Parisians: 7 songs to help you make French friends instantly


(Wrote this 5+ years ago, not sure why I never published it, but advance apologies for any anachronistic inaccuracies.)

You either love them or hate them. And justified or not, I know too many of the latter, mainly because they don't speak French but super mainly because French people can be a gelid crew to deeply befriend (and frankly, Parisians can be even worse). I love them (my best friend and roommate, ex amour and lots of friends being of the species), but ask any foreigner who has done a student exchange in France. How many of them had a solid French wolf pack to run with, more than the occasional drink or party invite? Not many, is my humble guess.



Somehow during my own time as a student in Paris, I was lucky to be a part of a super fusion wolf pack of French and Americans (and Canadians, Kiwis, Australians etc). En route to becoming best friends though, there were definitely a lot of awkward moments integrating with a new culture, some romantic faux pas, others between budding friends. But what was integral to every Parisian social

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Vintage Shopping in Jakarta and the New Wave of Indonesia's Hipsterpreneurs


After almost two years buried away in Bangkok (doing that whole young professional thing in tech startups), I am updating my pick for the best vintage shopping in Jakarta. I wrote about Pasar Senen before as a pulsing, sweaty second hand market for the people (ie perfect for a poor UN intern living in an alley with goats) where through hours of digging you could find purple leather loafers for $8 and even designer stuff for under $20.



Pasar Santa is different. To shave the prolixity, it will suffice to say that this Jakarta vintage market has, in the last year, turned from a traditional derelict