Surprising Horizons

The Joy of Travel. The Realities of New Experiences.

St. Patrick’s Day in Helsinki 2019: A Trail of Guinnesses-es (and a Murphy’s)


In what is becoming a “coincidental” yearly ritual, Mrs. Horizons left me alone to ponder my Oirish existence on St. Patrick’s Day. In Helsinki this time. At least in Singapore I could sweat out the extra calories as I drank through my yearly ration of the black custard.

Anyway I decided instead of celebrating our lord saviour on a Sunday I would trudge through the brown-gray sludge of downtown Helsinki and darken the doorsteps of the handful of Irish bars that exist. Tasting a pint of black in each one. Two if they were any good. Three if they were as good as a pub in a field in the hhwhessttt of Oireland. I brought my bank card as I don’t carry enough money that would be able to pay for pints of Guinness in Finland.

Molly Malone’sYeah…
Molly Malone’s has a yearly family fun day from 2pm on St. Patrick’s Day. I went at 12:05pm. To give me time to get out of there before the younglings arrived with weary and thirsty parents. Drinking in peace is a comfort I don’t take lightly. Malone’s is a narrow bar; yearning for more width. I can only imagine its physical demands when heaving with punters. It has an upstairs area but early on in the day it is cordoned off lest you see something you shouldn’t. A pint costs €8.10 . That’s right. I like to call prices of Guinness in Finland (and around the world) Irish tax. Or bullshit prices.As I struggled sideways through the narrowest door in Helsinki into the establishment I was greeted by nobody and that continued until a member of staff appeared out of the gloom to help me out my thirst pit. That level of service kept up as people lined up and the barkeep made the art of serving drinks a monotonous chore, finding more solace in their phone.
The Guinness itself was served with the opposite of relish. The head a disappointed concave work of non art. With air bubbles at no extra charge. Taste wise it was sub par; a tad watery but with hints of home emerging from time to time. No food served here either to distract you from sub par service.

At one point the bar girl ran out the front door leaving some bemused customers waiting mid order.

Flogging Molly was the order of the day background music wise with similar faux Oirish American bands following suit. Made me want to leave quickly. An English bloke sidled up beside me and ordered a pint of coke and a pint of water. Another English lady asked for a half a Guinness with blackcurrant. Barkeep didn’t know what she was talking about. “We don’t have”. “Oh I think you have”. No they bloody don’t. Piss off. Next.

Actually I would have had another pint here if I was asked if I wanted another one as I pondered over the dying remnants of my Guinness. I wasn’t asked. I wasn’t surprised.

Kitty’s Public House

Kitty certainly owns a lot of bars around the world. So she does, to be sure. Don’t be fooled by the name as this is a Scottish bar. Their website mentions the word “British” a lot. Anyways I went to see if I could score a pint of Guinness. If not I would denounce it as any sort of Celtic bar and spend my life making sure everyone knows.It’s got tartan undertones in its decor so I’m definitely going for Scottish. Although I think it really doesn’t want to admit any nationality. It has Murphy’s on draught (and a wide range of other beers) so fine, okay, I will let it slide.Service was prompt and to the point. I asked if they had stout, he gave me the options, and we made the transaction. That’s fine. And €8.60 vanishes from my bank account ne’er to be seen again.

Murphy’s has an additional taste that Guinness doesn’t have. I don’t know how to describe it. Okay I will try. It’s a little malty…kick. There. I don’t mind it at all.Strangely enough with it not being an Irish bar the most Oirish dressed up person came in shortly after. Kiss me I’m Irish? Never thought that statement would work ever.

Kitty’s is a nice refuge from the city centre hustle and chill factor. It’s dark, subdued, and quiet with little cubby hole seating areas around. All things a bar should be to escape reality.

O’Malley’s Torni

Torni means “tower” in Finnish. It’s the only word when translated into English that has the same first letter and doesn’t expand and mutate into 57 letters. Fact. O’Malley’s actually looks like a normal Irish pub that you would find in Ireland. It’s also part of the Tourni Hotel which has a tower look to it. No piles of Oirish crap hanging off of every perceivable nook and cranny. Which is always welcome.


Back to the Guinness. €5. Very reasonable for this city at this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country. Service was fast but the pint was poured in a hurry which left the head a little depressed. I was asked if I wanted anything else like a Jameson… steady on there sunshine, it’s still a Sunday the last I checked. Work happens tomorrow. I think.Taste wise the Guinness was ok but slightly watery. The head was thin but stayed alive throughout sups. I guess at €5 there has to be some quality drop. Drinkable though.I used this establishment as my nose bag stop. Fish and chips. €10. Perfect.It must be said it feels like O’Malley’s actually went out of their way to celebrate the day that was in it. From the floppy Guinness hats strewn around the bar for people to adorn to the live traditional session they had on from 3pm. Fair play to them.If you find yourself in Helsinki on Saint Patrick’s Day and want to get a decent vibe then I believe O’Malleys is your best bet.

Kaivopihan Dubliner

A late opener this one. 3pm. Actually scratch that….4 pm! Google is wrong! I know this because I rattled their doors at 3:52 pm and felt like a worthless hobo drunk. Oh well I wandered around a nearby household goods store to bide my time and get some feeling back into my hands. Freezing. Did I mutter “Worth waiting for” ala Ice Cold In Alex by the time I got there? Not really.At €7 a pint of black it’s not the most expensive. Or least. Pint was poured with haste which left the head quite thin. Taste was fine with the head being a little too bubbly for my liking.This place is huge and links up with the next door bar Praha. Lots of seating in little corners and snugs around the floor. They even have a small closed off booth for smokers so that they can kill each other. There was no evidence of the day that was in it unlike O’Malley’s.Bon Jovi warbled out of the speakers at a reasonable level. If Bon Jovi can ever be at a reasonable level.

 


It started pouring down as I tackled the Guinness here and my appetite for the gargle waned somewhat. However a shining knight from my workplace decided to join up. So I had another. Then another. And then one more for the ditch.

So all in all, if you find yourself in Helsinki on St. Patrick’s Day you won’t be found wanting with O’Malley’s probably being the pick of the litter due to their actual celebrating of the day.

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Taking the Train to Lapland (and back)

So I’ve detailed what we got up to in Lapland, let me tell you how we got there and back without taking to the skies.

It may not be known to people outside of Finland (it wasn’t to me) but there is an excellent rail network in place. One of the most popular trains is the night train to Rovaniemi (and beyond) otherwise known as the Santa Express. This train (IC 265) leaves Helsinki train station at 1849 daily and takes roughly 12.5 hours to reach Rovaniemi at 0713. Or 0714 on a bad day. You can decide on the level of comfort and privacy you require by choosing the following:

A regular seat – are you insane, it’s 12.5 hours!?
Facing seats  – are you and your partner insane, it’s 12.5 hours!?
Sleeping compartment with shared bathroom – if you’re ok with this.
Sleeping compartment with en-suite bathroom – if you absolutely, positively don’t want any human contact. We went for this. It worked out at 145 Euros per person. Which is cheaper than the 2 hour flight we could have taken.

The compartments with the en-suite bathrooms are upstairs. They are tiny so don’t bring a cat to swing. You won’t be able to. The bathroom has a shower behind a hidden door which is very cool, Kanye. I would like a little more space to have two seats at the window table but what ya gonna do? The beds were comfortable and cosy with electric sockets for the important charging of devices. Free wifi for the journey was excellent.

The restaurant/bar carriage is very popular at the beginning of the journey and tapers out as the witching hour draws near. The queues were nearly enough to put me off getting a few beers. But not quite. We didn’t bother with food as we had brought our own snacks with us. A lot of people just camp out in the bar for the journey or for the majority of the journey. Makes sense if you only have the seat. Alcohol makes all problems go away.

As the journey is all through the night there aren’t any spectacular views and after a few beers the only thing to do is get a good night’s rest. And that we did. Waking up about half an hour before arrival in Rovaniemi.

Be aware that you would think taxis would be lined up waiting for the night train to pull in. They aren’t. You might need to pre-book travel to your accommodation. We were lucky a taxi pulled up about 10 minutes after we arrived and we had cemented ourselves at the top of the taxi line. Also be aware you arrive very early and your hotel will probably not have a room ready for you until later afternoon so you might want to book some tours and keep yourself busy.

All in all, a pretty cool way to travel to Rovaniemi, especially for families I’m assuming. We took the 8.5 hour train back to Helsinki in a what they call a first class seating carriage (free tea and coffee and that’s about for the perks!) and leaving at 0603 (exactly) and arriving at 1435 (ish). It was very doable, cheaper, and during the day so we could see some lovely snowscapes. See video below of what that looked like.

As always, bon voyage ‘laineys.

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An Easy Intro To Lapland

Introduction

Lapland evokes a child-like curiosity in all of us. Snowscapes, reindeer, huskies, and Santa lives there, you know? When we moved to Finland in June I knew we had to check it out in the most obvious month; December. Christmas vibes and the like. So I scoped travel and accommodation options back in October and came to a quick conclusion: Santa’s hometown = bloody expensive. If you don’t know anyone up there (we don’t) then tours are the order of the day. They’re expensive. If you don’t know anyone up there (we don’t) then accommodation ranks from “ouch, that’s expensive” to “we’re gonna need a bigger mortgage”.

So I set out a to-do list that noob tourists should do when exploring Lapland for the first time.

Arctic Snow Hotel

Without getting into finances too much the Arctic Snow Hotel would put a dent into anyone’s holiday budget. So we spent a night there and ate pot noodle for the rest of the holiday. The reason for going there is to either spend a night in one of the glass igloos or spend a night in the ice hotel they create every Winter. We chose the igloo due to it not being below freezing inside.

Apart from the appeal of staying inside a cool igloo there’s not much else to do and what there is to do they make you pay even more for doing so. We went to a local’s house (which was nice) and made some local bread (which was interesting) and it cost us 80 Euros each (which was a rip off!). The nearby lake Lehtojärvi is frozen over in the Winter months and can be walked on and snow-mobiled on (for more money). There’s nothing much else to do there other than marvel at your igloo. And pray for some northern lights to show. Which they didn’t. Malheureusement.

Ranua Wildlife Park

“Did you see any reindeer?” That was the question that prompted us to check out Ranua. We actually did see reindeer along the roadside before going here. So there. Ranua is quite a spacious wildlife park with ample room for its animals. Like the husky ride below I’m always weary to contribute to tourism and animals in captivity but Ranua take part in animal conservation and animal care as part of its duties. Highlights there include the polar bears, wide variety of birds, and, sure okay, the reindeer. Again, you have to arrange transport out there (50 Euros return per person!).

Bearhill Husky Sled Ride

Again I’ll reiterate that animals and tourism sit uncomfortably with me. They exist because of us and yet…they exist because of us. I did my research and looked for the company which seemed to put their huskies’ well-being first and foremost. Bearhill Husky seem to do that. But I sit here a month after doing it and I’m still in two minds about it all. It definitely was fun, the dogs were eager to get going and seemed to enjoy getting out and about. The staff were super attentive to the dogs and really seemed to care. We did the shorter morning run for about 40 minutes; there are longer 2-3 hour rides available. I think the shorter one is just right, finishing off with some hot berry juice back at base after a thank you petting session for the huskies that pulled us along.

Beyond Arctic Northern Lights Tour


Northern lights tours are dependant on luck and nature. Keep that in mind. Nature and luck were not on our side when we were in Lapland so the northern lights tour we took with Beyond Arctic was nothing more than “let’s drive to random isolated places, wait around and mess with our cameras” tour. But I would recommend Beyond Arctic because they deal with small groups (a maximum of 8). We had two other guests with us on this tour.

Beyond Arctic Snow Shoes Trek

Again with Beyond Arctic‘s small group policy we were on our own for this trek with two guides. Excellent value. They drove us to a forest trail about 20 minutes drive from Rovaniemi city centre and we snowshoed our way through the forest before burning some sausages over a fire at the end of our walk. It actually was really good with the white snowy forest landscape being a sort of visual white noise over the senses. Recommended.

Rovaniemi Town

Rovaniemi is an understated town with tourism being its main reason for existing. It lacks any sort of real charm for anything more than using it as a base camp for your multitude of day visits. We stayed in the Scandic Rovaniemi City which was one of the more reasonably priced hotels in the centre.
The focus of activity branches off the main arterial Koskikatu where most of the hotels and restaurants are situated. One tourist attraction a short 15 minute walk away from the centre is the Arktikum museum which is a great introduction to life, past and present, in Finnish Lapland. Other than that, you can wander down to the river for a quick gander and that’s about it.

Santa Village

We didn’t visit it. We drove past it and that was enough. It’s a glorified shopping mall strip and you either have to navigate the not very regular bus out there or spend too much on a taxi for the pleasure. Word is it costs about 60 Euros to get a photo with one of the Santas and they kick you out of Lapland on the back of a reindeer sleigh if you use your own camera.

Conclusion

It’s very pretty. It’s white. And it’s very expensive if you don’t have your own car or local knowledge of where to go. I would imagine going further north with someone who knows where to go would be more immersive and more gratifying. And less touristy. If you have the budget and snow floats your boat then go for it,  you won’t regret it. Bring your credit cards.

If you’ve made it this far, well done. From a writer’s point of view it is pretty challenging to write anything down these days. Hence the 6 months of non-writing on my behalf. Shit. Life happens, energy fades, nothing happens, commitment wanes. I can’t predict when I’ll write again in all honesty.

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Singapore Food Staples: Popiah (and some more Carrot Cake)

Balestier Road is an odd one. You can go there with a very wild and varied shopping list (freshly ground coffee, light fittings, a fancy new toilet, and you could stay in a cheap but dingy hotel if all the shopping wore you out). I will miss walking down Balestier.

It is also known for it’s wide variety of food offerings. Balestier Food Centre is a small but well stocked hawker centre. When I arrived in Singapore back in 2011 it was being refurbished (it does have some decent toilets there it has to be said).

I went there one evening during the World Cup to grab some eats and found the Miao Sin Popiah stall run by two very friendly ladies. Popiah wasn’t on my mind but it certainly was one of the foods I hadn’t tried yet so when I saw it I had to get it. I saw it and I got it. Along with a reacquaintance with carrot cake (white) and an introduction of black carrot cake. Popiah was $2 and the medium sized carrot cake was $4.50.

First up popiah. It has it’s origins in the Fujian province in China and it takes the form of a crepe type of spring roll with a filling of thinly sliced tofu, chopped peanuts or peanut powder, fried shallots, and shredded omelette. The fillings change per establishment. It’s nice, light, and has nice combination of soft and crunchy. The crepe wrapping is thin but has some substance to it which adds a little sandwichy feel to the eating process. Mechanism.

I’ve talked about carrot cake before; the white variety. So when I saw the black variety I had to get to sample the dark side too. The blackness adds a sweet dark sauce to proceedings so along with the white carrot cake flavours of eggy and white radish goodness (with a little spicy kick). I actually would get the black one over the white one. Once you go black…

I was very happy to get the small little dish of popiah scraped of my list before I left Singapore and I would definitely pick it up again as a nice little light snack or starter to a main meal.

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Singapore Food Staples: Rojak

“You must try rojak before you leave Singapore” some crazy person said to me at some point. So with my days dwindling down on the red dot I wandered many a hawker centre and decreed that if I saw it I would eat it. I saw it. I tried to eat it.

The venue was the Golden Mile Food Centre on Beach Road which is quite a large eatery you can browse through to find your poison. I found rojak.

Rojak is a fruit and vegetable dish. Rojak means “mixture” in Malay. It’s a mixture of fruits and vegetables but it’s totally ensconced in a gritty paste mixture of water, shrimp paste, sugar, chili, and lime juice. Singapore rojak tends to have cucumber, pineapple, puffy, deep-fried tofu and youtiao (cut-up Chinese-style fritters) and raw mangos and green apples. All topped atop with crushed peanuts. They were all apparent in my dish in abundance.

At first, I was surprised by the taste and I thought I actually liked it. That passed. I just didn’t like the combination of contrasts between sweet and sour and fruity and savoury. I chose the $4 dish which was the equivalent of a Starbucks Grande. I guess. I valiantly tried to battle my way through it and attempted to find a combination of tastes that I liked. I kind of liked the apple bits and the tofu bits but that’s if you forced me.

Anyway, sadly, this was one of the last dishes I tried and it was my least favourite. But I’m glad I tried it. Like I tried to ride a skateboard once. I won’t be trying it again. It’s just not nice. But try it if you like the culinary clash of sweet and savoury from time to time.

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Flight Review: Finnair | Economy Class | Dublin – Helsinki | A319

I can see the future.

I can see myself flying this route quite a few times in the next few years.

The Departure

Dublin Airport is a secret shame of mine being Irish. It’s just not the best airport in the world. Or Ireland. Far from it. Terminal 2 has tried to up DUB’s game but it all still comes back to the infrastructure of Terminal 1 and the whole airport. It’s just not the best. An express train connection to Dublin or even Belfast straight from the airport? Hell no, line up for the buses or taxis. A stress free check in experience where open space is in abundance? No chance; it exudes franticness. This is DUB 2018 yo.

The Flight

AY 1382 departs from Dublin daily (apart from Tuesday and Thursday which doesn’t make it daily I guess) at 10:25 and arriving in Helsinki at 15:25. It is served by a mix of Airbus 319s and Embraer 190s. We had the A319 on our particular day. And this particular A319 was an A319-112 (OH-LVA) which was born in 1999; making it 19 years old.

Today we would be delayed by roughly 40 minutes by some late refueling of the aircraft. Shell happens.

The A319 is a squat little Airbus but seating room in Economy isn’t too bad on the knees and you end up thinking you’re on an A320 until you look back and see the fuselage ending quite abruptly and quite near.

Boarding was fuss free and flights attendants welcoming. Finnair’s A319s have little overhead monitors that drop from the ceiling to keep any eye on our flight progress and gate information at your arrival destination. The screens, sadly, are really hard to read and quite dim in the daylight of the cabin.

Food is available for purchase in Finnair Economy but for a 2hr 40min flight on average I tend to stock up on food before the flight (and in particular some Tayto from Ireland!) as I don’t want to take out a second mortgage on board.

The flight went by very quickly and if you’re given a clear sunny day on your way over from DUB to HEL you will get to see some beautiful white snowscapes and coastlines of Norway and Sweden as you come into the descent down to Finland.

The Arrival

HEL is not hell. It’s a very manageable and quiet airport to either arrive or transfer in. They have some major upgrades happening over the next few years which is increasing the number of gates available. Here’s hoping this will decrease the amount of times you have to hop onto a bus when you land (which was our experience) as that’s always a little bit annoying after a flight not to just walk directly into the terminal.

I’m looking forward to having HEL as my home airport for the foreseeable future as I believe it is a relaxing point of departure and arrival which doesn’t get the stress levels up too much. That’s always a help. Next time I experience HEL I will be arriving in my new home. A few days after I arrive I will be taking a short hop over to the Aland Islands on a Finnair ATR72 to scope out the main town Mariehamm. Watch this space.

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Singapore Food Staples: Ban Mian

After purchasing a rather long strip light bulb in Home DIY, I was hungry. LCD light bulb I’ll have you know. And I would need to replace the ancient starter that my old strip bulb had. The salesperson had faith in me to do so. Alone. I didn’t.  Anyway, I needed some sustenance before proceeding with the massive light bulb operation that was awaiting me in the shadows of the kitchen back home.

I took the swift moving people dodging trail underground from ION Orchard to under Tangs to the small and relatively quiet quasi-hawker centre there. Tang’s Food Market. As I perused the pictures telling the individual dish stories I rested upon Chili Ban Mian. I like the word chili. I had to Google Ban Mian.

Ban Mian originates from the Han Chinese and manifests itself as a bowl of flat egg noodles, vegetables, mushrooms, dried anchovy, fish/meat (in this case minced pork), soup/dried (in this case soup), and a very softly softly boiled egg. And it’s delicious. And the chili approach makes it extra delicious.

At $5 this is a good deal for prime real estate food eating in the underbelly of Orchard Road. You get a small bowl of broth which was quite underwhelming and tasted mainly of the chives/onion that was floating around lifelessly inside.

To the main dish. Now I don’t know if mixing everything together is something that should not be done ever but I did. I didn’t regret it one bit. It was amazing. The crunch of an occasional anchovy was magnificent. The chili burned merrily away with each mouthful. The minced pork were of a decent portion and mixing them up into the entire bowl allowed for the soft and delicious morsels to be in nearly every mouthful. The egg disappeared into the noodle and soup concoction to become one be-a-utiful soft component to counterbalance the dried anchovy. The sporadic greens were fine and the mushrooms which are not really friends with my digestive system were just OK but were relatively flat in the taste symphony.

I will be eating this again. I left with a pleasant burning mouth and happy taste buds. I then proceeded home to change my starter and light bulb successfully. Thanks Ban Mian.

 

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Singapore Food Staples: Chicken Rice

THE national dish of Singapore. Probably. Capital “the”. Just in case you thought I was being liberal with the shift key.

“Chicken rice, really!?” I hear you scoff and mumble around your KFC. Listen up. It’s good. Better than finger lickin’. Trust me.

You can get chicken rice everywhere. I went to a hawker centre that was near me. No reason other than location. Everyone has their favourite; don’t bother me. So I went to Zion Food Centre and was drawn towards Boon Tiong Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice and their $4 Chicken Rice Set Meal. A steal. I didn’t steal it. I paid for it.

I went for roasted chicken because I like that more than steamed. With the set you get a small bowl of broth, a side of green veggies, and a dome of rice. Keep an eye out for the vat of spicy chili sauce to add to your dish. Highly recommended addition.

I was very happy with all of this for just $4. That’s the thing about Singapore; you can eat cheap if you want to. And it will be delicious. Hopefully. This was.

The broth was of undetermined origin. I would guess chicken bone broth or something. It had a volume to it; it wasn’t just chicken flavoured water. It was more chicken than water.  More machine than man.

The veggies were nice. Probably the least flavourful in the set but a nice counterbalance to the chicken flavoured everything else.

The roasted chicken itself was nice. Nothing spectacular but nice. $4 nice. Resting on a sleeping bag of cucumber slices.

The rice was tasty. With chicken rice dishes the rice is usually infused with garlic and chicken stock so it really elevates the usual rice flavour to something is more entertaining to the palate. Your palate. Adding a little chili sauce (which is usually quite thin) adds a little bit more pop to each bite and leaves a nice mouth buzz.

Mix it all together in one and you get some nice mouthfuls of different textures and tastes throughout. I can’t stress enough how much good value can be found in Singapore’s hawker centres. I’m cramming in as much as I can before I shuffle off.

 

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Singapore Food Staples: Laksa

Forgive me for being biased but I believe Asian food has the most willingness to surprise, scare, delight, and excite the weary eater. One of the most low key foods you can have in Singapore is laksa. I mean low key in a way that it’s a nice gate-way to the world of Singaporean/Asian dishes. There’s a lot more scarier dishes out there.

But, of course, there are different versions of laksa. But, of course.
I’ve had many. I like them all. I won’t stand in the corner and fight for one in particular but I will tell you why I like katong laksa. Because I had that today and that’s what I remember.

After walking back from the Istana where I had my improptu photoshoot with Donald Trump I wandered in a post-presidential daze to Janggut Laksa on the 4th floor of Wisma Atria. The Food Republic there is quite reasonable (for Orchard Road) and has an excellent range of local fare.

Ignoring and laughing at all signage directing me towards a meagre small bowl I opted for the $7.50 large bowl. Again, not cheap by hawker centre standards but cheap enough for Orchard Road.

On first slurps of a Katong Laksa you get a gritty texture to the soup base. Which is nice. It adds a bit more depth to the taste and feels more wholesome. The grit is ground up dried prawns for your curiousity. Maybe you didn’t want to know that. Another difference between other laksas I have had is that everything is spoonable in a Katong Laksa; the noodles are cut up into more scoop-upable sizes. Which is why they only gave me a spoon until I asked for some chopsticks. Which probably insulted them on many levels. Then I realised I didn’t really need it. Laksa lesson learned.

This laksa was delicious. Both sweet and spicy. Both gritty and smooth. The Laksa noodles, coconut milk, curry soup base, chili, dried shrimps, cockles, prawns and fishcake marry each other perfectly. The fish cake slices with a hint of faint fishiness contrast the punchy cockle taste which hits you with an ocean wave flavour. Getting a mixture of everything with each spoonful is the beautiful part of eating a laksa; and one that I will miss when I leave Singapore.

You should leave a laksa behind with slight spicy after burn on the back roof of your mouth from the spice and sambal, with the remnants of sweetness on your tongue from the soup and shrimp, and with a salty aftertaste from the cockles. And all of those tasty memories are very much welcome.

R.I.P. Anthony Bourdain

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Bite Size Review: Thai Tantric

There is a building in Singapore called Orchard Towers. It goes by another rhyming moniker… It has four floors. And certain females “work” there. Do the math.
It’s a dodgy building which you can’t really walk around as a lone male without getting cajoled or cat-called into a darker realm.

Nestled between the business emporiums on the third floor is Thai Tantric. Out of the way, tucked into a corner, it stands alone and looks very very average. At best. Behind the banality though lies a very authentic and very very tasty Thai food experience.

Having been there twice now I have seen two sides to the Thai Tantric experience. The first time it was around 500pm or so and the place was empty and we had the pick of seats (so we chose to sit outside in the dank corridor).
The second time visiting there was about 7pm or so and the queue snaked outside as every table was bursting at the seams. We waited thirty minutes to get a table. And it was worth it. But give me no wait any day.

The service is fine but it’s the food that will linger long in your memory. On both occasions I had the Thai Spicy Chicken Wings and they are. Truly spicy. The kind that stings but gives you that pleasure soon afterwards. The burn lingers. And it’s welcomed.On the first visit there one of the surprisinghorizoners got the Tom Yum Soup I believe and it nearly blew his brains out. But in a good way. On the second occasion we shared some other dishes; the green curry was tasty and flavourful, the phad thai juicy and succulent, and we got some sort of shredded beef which was also delicious. Beer wise you can wash everything down with a Singha beer.

Go there. With friends.

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