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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hua Hin- Delectable Local Cuisines @ Pak Jua Mango Sticky Rice, Koti Restaurant and Jek Be-Ak Seafood Restaurant

Located on the Gulf of Thailand, Hua Hin is about three hours drive from Bangkok airport. There's nothing much nice scenery during the journey to Hua Hin and you could sleep off if you trust the driver. Hua Hin is a much popular seaside district which is more tranquil town with theme parks and to view the history of the summer properties of royal family owned. During the 4 days 3 nights Hua Hin tour, we had enjoyed the delectable local cuisines of Hua Hin Town. These food stalls/ restaurants that we had visited were often having queues lining up to wait for seats.

1.  Pa Jua Mango Sticky Rice Stall บ้านป้าเจือ
Address:118/1-3 Naret Damri Rd (opp Hilton), Hua Hin, Changwat Prachuap Khiri Khan
118/1-3 ถนนนเรศดำริห์ ต.หัวหิน จ.ประจวบคีรีขันธ์ , หัวหิน 

We had mango sticky rice as breakfast on the 4th day in Hua Hin before we departed to Bangkok. P Jua บ้านป้าเจือ , a very old shop which only sells mango sticky rice from 9.30am onwards and it's said to be the only stall in Hua Hin that sells the best mango sticky rice. The stall is opposite of Hilton Hotel and you have to stroll along the road to search for this stall.

We reached there before 9.30am and the stall owner had begun preparing the ingredients. Mangoes were placed all around the stall. Mango sticky rice is like pathai or tom yam, one of the few Thai dishes that foreigners whom are familiar with even before arriving in Thailand.

Pa Jua Mango Sticky Rice Stall
We watched how she peeled off the mangoes' skin and cut them to thick slices.
The mangoes slices were then placed onto a white plate with sticky rice topped with coconut milk.

A plate of two mangoes and sticky rice topped with coconut milk and sprinkles of dried peas.
The mango slices were very sweet and tasted nice when matched with the warm and salty coconut dressing. The sprinkled dried peas did not add any taste to the dish, perhaps it made the mango sticky rice tasted different by having crunchy texture.

2. Koti Restaurant 
Address: 67/1, Phetkasam Road, Tambon Hua Hin, Amphoe Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan (Intersection to the night market)

We visited Koti Restaurant on the 2nd night before shopping at Hua Hin Night Market. It's easily spotted in front of the entrance towards Hua Hin Night Market and it's crowded most of the time. Koti Restaurant had an extensive menu and there were several choices of dishes ranging from fish, squid, prawns and etcetera. The food portion was very big and we had over-ordered therefore couldn't finish all the 4 dishes except for Tom Yam Goong.

Tom Yam Goong wasn't too sour or too spicy, the combination was great with many seafood like prawns, chicken slices and squids were available. 

Tom Yam Goong

Stir-fried spicy seafood with chilies, fresh peppercorn, basil and lime leaf

This dish happened to be quite spicy yet appetizing to be eaten together with the fried rice which was served next.

Fried Rice

Stir-fried  mixed vegetables with mushrooms

3. Jek Be-Ak Seafood Restaurant 正盛食堂
51/6 Dechanuchit Road,Hua Hin, Prachuabkirikhan,Thailand 77110

Jek Be-Ak Seafood Restaurant was introduced by the Tour Guide when we asked him which local restaurant that locals including him would dine in. We came here after the visit to Swiss Sheep Farm and Santorini Park, however Jek be-Ak Reafood Restaurant was unexpectedly fully occupied. It was just about 6.30pm. Anyway, we got our seats after a short while. After experiencing over-order of food at Koti Restaurant, we became cautious when we came to this restaurant.

 Jek Be-Ak Seafood Restaurant 正盛食堂 located opposite of Grill and Chill Restaurant.
Mango fruit shake
 Refreshing coconut shake!
Fried chicken with garlic and pepper served with chili sauce
Chicken breast was being used in this recipe hence eating it would feel less guilty as no meat fats were seen at each bite. Crispy chicken meat which were well marinated before being fried.

Deep fried spring rolls with crab meats
Crispy spring rolls were very delicious. The mixture of chili and lime sauce was superb!

The popularity of sukiyaki style hotpot could be seen by the presence of a hotpot on almost everyone’s table. Hence, we had ordered the famous sukiyaki style hotpot with seafood for 2 persons. It's seem like Japanese style shabu-shabu. The soup was served in a hotpot over a stove of charcoal.

Ingredients of sukiyaki style hot pot-
A plate of fixed vegetables and a plate of seafood topped with raw egg.

When the water in the hotpot is boiled, you could ask the staff to give you assistance. A female staff helped us to pour the ingredients into the sizzling hotpot. 

It's clear soup-based and cooked along with the mixed seafood, vegetables and raw egg.
Undoubtedly, the soup became very flavorful and delicious.
By seeing how she cooked, it reminded of the clear soup from home :)

Our sukiyaki style hot pot was ready !
The broth was clear and very flavorful with the fresh ingredients providing a natural sweet taste.
You could dip the seafood and eat together with the given mixture of chili and lime sauce.
Overall, I prefer the scrumptious food from Jek Be-Ak Seafood Restaurant which gave a more homey feeling. What's better than a warm fire and a big bowl of comfort food when travel oversea right?

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Slight Twist of Concentration to Embrace Sadness of Grief

Each of our heart has an inner room where we hold our greatest treasures and the deepest pain which are resulted from sadness of grief. Both sadness and grief are inextricably linked. Sadness is like an anchor dragging down any momentum of joy. The life becomes upside down when being engulfed by the grief, consequently the physical, cognitive and emotional self is being affected. Ever experienced restless nights with insomnia and tears accompanying you while you are trying hard to wallow the pain and heal the wound by yourself? The on-going process of grieving wholeheartedly, wallowing the pain and healing the wound could be taking much longer time than what's expected. Sadly, there are people who are unable to step out from the misery of grief where these people might choose to end their life.

Saying this from my own experience, it's a difficult process of struggling over the sadness of the loss of loved one, the betrayal, upsetting life, work stress, and etcetera. The mind and feeling have non-stop battles, consequently you have hundred or thousand of times lingering around the same question " Why this ever happen to me?"," Why is he/ she does this to me...?"," Is that the karma?", etc. This is exactly the same as the 1st stage of grief framework. Next stage will be overwhelming with denials of the truth and engulfed with anger, following by bargaining. The heart swings back and forth between the need to be determined and the urge to escape. There comes the depression where my mind is engulfed by the picture in my brain how things are supposed to be. Yea, my life is screwed up by own expectation. The cruelty of reality has to be accepted finally whereby you have to master the art of the broken pieces of yourself.

14th July, a remarkable date of this year that I have received two bad news. A respectful ex-principal has passed away due to cancer, while an ex-schoolmate has committed suicide due to depression. Perhaps the video above could let us picturing how depression affects a person physically, cognitively, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. While death as a result of depression exhausts the grief self , there are many ways to alleviate the pain and embrace sadness. In other words, we need to find ways to change the emotional states:

  1. Seeing eye-to-eye with own feelings and minds. Sometimes, sadness and grief let you aware the importance of the lost, and of course the real needs of yourself too. Self-love is what I have found out from recent loss realizing that I have cared over those little thing/ people too much than they deserve.
  2. Let the tears flow- Aching heart need tears to be accompanied with. Crying out aloud is an avenue to release negative energy. 
  3. Create space. When being depressed and exhausted, it is imperative that you find times when you can walk away from the place where you are needed most to take deep breaths and recollect your minds.This method works to me most of the time when come to workplace stress and dissatisfied work. People loves to judge and interrupt your privacy. Whether you like it or not, some may claim that this is breaking the ice (they would like to befriend with you/ knowing you more). This is not to say we should be anti-social. Rather, a short period of time where we need to concentrate without being distracted.Turn off social media and keep yourself away from the human interruption. I find that a short getaway or solo trip, a journey to jogging, a retreat on food are great ways when you need to reclaim the sacred space for mediating yourself.
  4. Deviate the attention to work, relationship, sports and etc. While focus is placed on other stuff, you will find that less crying, less over-eating, more space and time for yourself. Japanese lesson has come in time, where I have most of the time occupied in mastering the language. Bakery is also one of the best avenues to keep you busy for the whole day (preparing ingredients, checking the recipes, baking, serving and cleaning up the mess).
  5. Set up goals. It takes months or years for the healing process depending how much the damage is done to yourself. Healing doesn't mean the damage doesn't exist, but it means you're controlling it from continuously devastation of yourself. A twist of concentration to embrace the sadness could be done by having a slight twist of concentration on the goals you set for yourself. Goals to be achieved- career, reduced weight, participate in marathon, experiencing something new, etc. 
  6. Seek for motivational words - Positive words from articles, books, blogs, song lyrics and etc. could help to change your emotional state to calmer, less sadness. Sometimes, you need friends or external parties to talk to when you're in the sorrow. 

When you stop struggling to make something go the way you've expected it to,
you will find ways to start your life anew!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hua Hin- Get Close to Farm Animals and Photo-snapping at Swiss Sheep Farm

Swiss Sheep Farm had reminded me of UK Farm at Kluang Malaysia since both farms were having similar concept of leisure farm with the opportunities given to get close to the animals especially sheeps. Swiss Sheep Farm located opposite of Santorini Park yet separated by a two-way road which was not easy to go across. The drive from Santorini Park towards Swiss Sheep Farm took about 15-20 minutes.

Swiss Sheep Farm, a replicate of European-style sheep farm with animals in a western-like farm settings with English Telephone Booth, Dutch Windmill and beautiful setup targeting for couples. It's a scenic farm for getting close to the farm animals (sheep, goat, horse, pony, rabbit, alpaca, duck ) and photo-taking session since there're 3D paintings at a corner as well. Admission fee is higher compared to Santorini Park with 120 bath per adult. We spent almost 2 hours here and left just in time before the heavy downpour.

Dairy Goats Show 

They even set up animals grave here.
Bla Bla Black Sheep.. I spotted one with black furs~

As the name of the European-style farm suggested, many sheep were spotted.
Sheep feeding are allowed with fees applied.

With the fluffy sheeps

The barn

Colourful barn heaped with dried wheat with the farm's tools seen here.

We had no idea why Spiderman spotted in the farm barn.
You could observe how they get the goat's milk too.

Cute donkeys



Alpaca Station needs entrance fees to enter to view the alpacas. Since we weren't much interest, so we just had a glimpse over the gate and left to other spots.

Random Western clichés in Swiss Sheep Farm
A English phone booth at Thailand farm :)

Miss Netherland so much after seeing this windmill.

The Europe-style buildings

3D Museum 
There were limited 3D paintings in the small museum but you could had fun to pose.

Other 3D Paintings

If you love to get close with farm animals, you might find Swiss Sheep Farm worth to be visited. Activities like riding horse and feeding animals are available here. As there're many photogenic setting in Swiss Sheep Farm, we had a great time here. Oh yea, there' re many background suitable for lovers such as paddocks of love, frame of love, love sculptures and etc.