Cafe Hopper Review: @Cake, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand

I was scheduled to have a meeting at 9am, so I decided to wake up early to buy my breakfast before the meeting. I planned to do a take away (Sai Tong Gab Ban) and come back to the centre to prepare for the meeting. After I bought my breakie, I decided to just walk further down the street and to see if there is anything else that I can buy back for the meeting. As I walked and walked, I came across a cafe that I have been wanting to visit since after a few days I got here. Since I still had some time, I decided to walk in and experience this little cafe that looks really rustic from the outside. I went in and I think I found a little piece of heaven in Soi Sarmsibkanya. I love the simple and rustic decor of the cafe and the staffs were very friendly. I tried to disguise as local and of course I did very badly at it. Once I opened my mouth they will know I come from some distant country. I ordered a piece of chocolate cake and my usual latte. Oh guess what, they do latte art here. I was so taken by surprise that I could get latte art here. It was a simple leafy design but I think its pretty cool! I sat down at this cosy corner and the more I spent a minute there, I wanted to order something else to experience the cafe a little more. I decided to order a pasta. Then a staff came and approached me asking about something which I obviously couldn’t quite understand. Later then I knew that she wanted to offer Chinese tea to me.

I must say that the latte is one of the better ones I have tasted here. It has a mild after taste of the roast. The cake is interestingly nice as well. It is soft and it is not as sweet as I thought it to be. The chocolate can be richer though but it is a pretty reasonable piece of cake for just 30 baht. I must say that the pasta was good and very beautifully decorated. The sauce is not too sweet or too sour and just nice to cover the pasta.

My overall experience  there is that the whole place makes me feel very comfortable and at ease. I feel that I can be relaxed there. I am sure that if I am with a group of friends, we would have a lot to chat over a cup of coffee there. Well, if you happen to be found in Nakhon Ratchasima, do look out for this cafe at Sarmsibkanya.

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the gatekeeper

 

Cafe Hopper Review: Weewa Cafe@Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat)

First time in Korat I visted a cafe. This is Weewa Cafe. Thanks to the staffs at Alpha Students’ Centre. They decided to bring me to this cafe. The cafe has a very rustic courtyard. You will be greeted by a stretch of koi fish and some sitting area as well. However, honestly you would’t want to be sitting outside because it can be pretty hot in the noon time at Korat. Given the hot weather we rather be sitting indoor with air-conditioning. When I went in, the thing that really caught my eyes was the stained glass window at the sides. They are very simple stained glass window but it gave the cafe interior a very retro feel.

Because this is a totally new environment to me, I wanted to try something different too. I ordered the iced caramel boom coffee. I also ordered a lemon pastry. I must say I am still not satisfied with the coffee here. I am not sure if it is the way the barrista did it, but the coffee doesn’t bring out the after taste and you really do feel like you are just drinking soft drinks. But I must say this as well, the pastry is quite impressive. The lemon pastry I ordered tasted very rich and every mouth of it really tasted lemon and giving a very refreshing touch to our taste buds. I was also impressed by the banana chocolate cake. There is really like real banana in the cake and the sponge tastes rich with banana.

We didn’t sit there for very long but it was quite a good chill out. The atmosphere is a plus for this cafe and needless to say, the pastries. I guess the coffee thing is really a nation-wide thing. Generally, its not easy to get good coffee in Thailand. They still have a long way to go before gourmet coffee can take off.

the gatekeeper

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Cafe Hopper Review: ‘爱自己‘ 论 (续)

昨天说到一大堆马桶论。今天让我们来说说为什么我们会有这些‘不合理’的要求?人本来就是一种不容易满足的动物。上帝给了亚当和夏娃一个这么美好的花园,丰衣足食,不愁吃也不愁穿,但他们还是不满足。他们要更多但不一定更好的。人会有对自己的‘不合理’要求是因为我们不满现状。我们一直以为我们现在所拥有的是不够的。其实你想想:我们为什么要的更多呢?别误会,我不是说上进是不好的。我赞成进步与发展,但在进步与发展的当而,我们要懂的知足常乐。当你知足的时后你就拥有全世界。记:人心不足蛇吨象啊!

the gatekeeper

Cafe Hopper on a mini Food Trail in Korat (Nakhon Ratchasima)

I walked out of the Alpha Students’ Centre, thinking of just having something simple for the evening. The stall that I normally frequent happened to be closed and I decided to walk down further to a little mini street paradise just at the junction of Soi Sam Sip Gaan Yaan and the main road. Honestly I didn’t want a heavy meal this evening. I ended up having a little feast, hopping from stall to stall. I started with the stall that always display this whole lot of pork trotter, selling pork trotter rice and wanton noodle. I am not a fan of pork trotter so I gave that a skip. I decided to use my sign language to order whatever I think is possible to order. I pointed here and there and the lady seemed to understand what I was trying to order…actually I didn’t even know what ordered. I sat there and while waiting for my food to arrive, I decided to order my favourite som tum again. This time I told her “mai phet” meaning non spicy. Last night I ordered from the same stall with “phet” and trust me it was spicy!!! Miraculously I finished the som tum last night.

My “finger-pointing” food finally arrived. It turned out to be a very decent bowl of wanton noodle with roasted pork on top of it. I must say that I don’t normally enjoy soup-based wanton noodle. This is one that I enjoyed and it was really tasty. The soup is very rich and the ingredients compliment each other very well. The noodle is of the right texture…it doesn’t clog together and you can taste the soup in every strand of noodle. There’s so much of ingredients in it that every mouth of it is great. The som tum this time round tasted much better without “phet”. It’s crunchy and the veggies are very fresh. I thought for a moment that was it for dinner. I decided to walked down to Seven-Eleven to get some snacks for myself. Before I could reach there, I stopped by at this stall that sell all kinds of satay like stuff, like fish balls, fish cakes, fried wanton and etc. I was so tempted…no I was tempted indeed to buy two sticks of it. I actually tried them yesterday and it was really good….so I decided to buy again today. So, since I got this as snacks, I would suppose that’s it. No….it didn’t end with the satay.

Before I could turn into Soi Sam Sip Gaan Yaan, there is this stall that sells dessert. They sell toast like those in toastbox (Singapore). I was tempted again to order a set to try and I did. Trust me….this stall is not inferior to toastbox. The toast is crunchy and with all the spread…mine! This is a perfect dessert after dinner. I was given a little surprise. The stall owner made a pot of tea for me after the dessert…you tell me that’s not value-added service?The tea was just perfect to make you feel less sinful after a heavy meal like this. Guess what? At the end of it, I still headed down to Seven-Eleven to buy a pack of snack just in case I really need it tonight.

Mine! That was really a mini food trail. I think I have tried almost everything along that small stretch. Look at the pictures below and you will know how much I have enjoyed my dinner tonight. Thank God for such a time.

the gatekeeper

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Cafe Hopper Review: Thai and Burmese Cuisine

Due to my long stay in Bangkok, recently I am pretty much exposed to a whole lot of Thai cuisine. For some reason, I am not tired about trying out the various Thai dishes, as long as they don’t involve the internal organs. I particularly love the Som Tum here in Thailand. Som Tum is basically the papaya salad. The Thai would use the unripe papaya, shred the papaya and mix them with whole lot of ingredients into a cold dish. The ingredients usually involve palm sugar, fish sauce, peanuts, long beans, cherry tomatoes, green tomatoes, lemon and etc. Sometimes, Som Tum is eaten plainly…at times it comes with fried fish, pork or even raw crabs. The one that comes with raw crabs is something that I dare not to venture. The fried fish version is very appealing to me.

Although I can’t eat too much of sticky rice, but honestly, during my one month more stay in Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat), I have fallen in love with the sticky rice here. It’s so different from those that they make in Singapore. The sticky rice is fragrant and it really taste well as a snack or even as a main meal. It is normally eaten with an accompanied dish such as pork floss (different from those in Singapore), friend shredded pork or ribs. What the Thai would do is a mouth of sticky rice and a mouth of the accompanied dish. It really tastes good. Sometimes the sticky rice is also eaten with friend assorted stuff like fish balls, fish cakes and etc.

I am sure people who frequent Bangkok, will sure know Som Tum and the sticky rice. I have fallen in love with Som Tum so much that I am going to learn how to make it myself. You will very soon see my own version of Som Tum.

I went back to Singapore for a short while and interestingly a friend introduced to me Burmese food when I met up with him. That was the first time I tasted Burmese food. He ordered this Bee Hoon salad for me and besides it being very spicy, I think the taste is great. I began to explore the Burmese cuisine a little more and I made him promised to bring me for more Burmese food when I returned to Singapore. Interestingly, the Burmese cuisine comprises of a lot of different types of salad or cold dish as well. I was particularly very interested in the rice salad that I saw from Youtube. Go Google or Youtube Burmese salad…I am sure you will find many!

the gatekeeper

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Cafe Hopper in the Land of Smiles (Thailand)

Its been about one month since I first arrived in Bangkok on the 3/12/2012. I still remember that it was right after my Standard Charted Full Marathon. Before I could be fully recovered, with all the aches in my muscles, I made my way to the airport. The impact of the 42 KM and slightly more was still on my body but still I felt a sense of relieve to be leaving the country to doing something very different in my life. This is really something that I have never tried….to leave home for more than a month and to step into unknown arena. But I must say that this venture has been a very fruitful one and I have learnt a lot about overseas works and I have also discovered a lot about myself. Trust me, there is so much of dying to self and being alive in God. I am not just saying this out of my head knowledge of the Bible. Dying to self is not something for the Apostles of old…it is real and everyday I commit a murder…sometimes with great violence I killed them. Sometimes the process can be very bloody and of course some are easy to kill. There are more to be killed…I don’t know how long more before the killing stops. I am sure that as long as I am alive, I will kill!

I have left Cornerstone Students’ Centre as of 14/1/2013 and I travelled up to Korat on my own. I have never done that in Thailand and that was the first time. Turned out that it was not difficult to travel from Mochit to The Mall in Korat. The nature of the work in Korat is very different from Latkrabang. In Latkrabang, the work is more direct as far as teaching is concern. In Korat, there’s alot of pioneering works to be done, such as BB, Boonwattana and etc. My every week would probably be packed with many activities and meeting with various people to build bridges and establish connections. I sort of like it so far.

This is my second day in Korat officially and I am sure that I will be expecting exciting times ahead. May God bless my journey here in Korat!

the gatekeeper

Cafe Hopper on Special Task Part 2

Right now I am taking my Christmas leave from the works in Korat. Although I was only in Korat for a few days but I have experienced much of the work there. I know that the work in Korat is extensive and I really respect people like Kim Yien and Pastor Dickson and the rest of the team for holding the fort there. I saw everyone so eager to do God’s work and they all contributed in so many ways big or small just to share the gospel with the community. Really a beautiful bunch of people.

After a few days there in Korat, I am having a clearer picture of my role there. I thank God for showing me clearer what I am suppose to do in Korat. I thank God for the people that I met in Korat, both locals and friends from Singapore. I am thankful to God for Mark and Angela for also ministering to me by praying for me before I leave for Bangkok for my Christmas break. They have been a tremendous blessing to me and I am sure to the people at Alpha.

So what did I do in Korat for the past few days. Honestly, The things that I am doing is only such a small fraction of what the whole team in Korat is doing. Basically for the past few days, I have been going for one Christmas event to another Christmas…and all these events are organized with just one purpose – that is so that the people can hear the gospel. For the past few days, I have been following them from Christmas party to caroling…then the Christmas service on Sunday. We also go to members house to pray and bless them. Then it was meeting at the university and at Boonwattana. The meetings were basically our way of building bridges to the various schools and institutions. Its been very exciting and I pray for God to bless the works of our hands. Unless the Lord build the house, the laborer would labour in vain.

Well, at night I am usually all by myself in the house of God. I live in the church and I will be living there for the second round when I am in Korat. Its simply amazing because this is really a dream come true. I always wanted to be a gatekeeper in the house of God and there you go…I am a gatekeeper for the past few days. At night I would do some housekeeping by washing my clothes and hanging them up. I would also iron my clothes so that I can look presentable at times in the ministry. I find worship in doing all of these. They are not chores but a worship unto the Lord. Sometimes I would help mop the floor of Alpha Cafe, which is at the first floor. I also helped to tidy up the place to make sure that the place is ready the next day.

Once all of those things are done, I will go to the Lord in prayer using the Book of Common Prayer. This is really my personal time with God and it has been most wonderful standing before Him and to worship Him; to give thanks to Him the day’s works. I do the same in the morning. I pray the Morning Prayer and offer the day to God and to His work in Korat.

For now, Merry Christmas to all my readers and May the Lord richly bless you!

the gatekeeper

Cafe Hopper on Special Task (Nakhon Ratchasima or Korat)

On the 19th of December, I followed Pastor Dickson to Korat after meeting him at Cornerstone Students Centre, Latkrabang. I stayed in Latkrabang for about one and a half week and had a wonderful time with the university students there. Although our times were short but I hope this brief friendship that was fostered will carry on for a good cause. Indeed, I am thankful for Pastor Andrew for giving me this opportunity to serve and to learn in the centre. To be honest, when I first came to Bangkok, I wasn’t exactly sure what the Lord would lead me to. Perhaps the whole sentiment of uncertainty and unsure-ness have made me feel a bit lost at first. However, as I seek the Lord during my time alone with Him, the Lord showed me clearer and clearer what He was leading me into. Like what Pastor Dickson said, the vision should get clearer and not more blur. I look forward to seeing the friends in Latkrabang.

On my way up to Korat, I had a very nice chat with Pastor Dickson. The first time when I met him, back in June this year, he was already a very friendly man and he was always ready to help in many ways. This time when I met him, I must say that I have a deeper respect for this man of God. On our way up to Korat, he was sharing with me and challenging me to continue to seek the Lord for what is the direction in my life. It was him who dropped me the idea of tent making ministry. I sort of know this concept but I do not know why it didn’t dawn upon me what the Lord is leading me to is tent making. He also cautioned me about being too indifferent towards expectations as some expectations are not expectations…they are obligations. They are naturally expected of us. I must say that the simple truth he was sharing to me really spoke to my heart. I felt that the direction now is clearer and he was like a light that suddenly shines on me and I suddenly see where I am heading to. He has also taught me about self-less giving in the mission field. I see this man as a giving man. He is always giving. There is not a single moment he is not giving. There was one day, Pastor Dickson told me one of the most important truth about leadership. He said that leaders are there to solve problems. There are not here to create problems. When there is a problem, it is always no-problem to a leader. Because of this principle, he always avails himself to solve problems.

Pastor Dickson has made me feel how small I am and there is so much I have to learn from this man. He is so simple and yet so profound in his faith to God. Its not easy for a man to leave his family in Singapore and come here all alone to avail himself for God and for His people. Yet at the same time, he has not neglected his family as well. Pastor Dickson, keeps reminding me to update my family about my whereabout and my well-being. I always assure him that I did call back home. I am determined to learn from this man about doing God’s work and to be more effective in my service to God.

I mentioned about tent making and somehow the Lord has allowed to meet fellow tent makers. Mark and Angela are so much more senior than me, and honestly through their sharing, I have learnt so much about tent making and how they give themselves in various ways to the mission field. They could have just enjoyed their retirement back at home and travel to many parts of the world. But they have chosen to avail themselves for God’s work. Beautiful people they are and again meeting them is really a humbling experience for me. This is my first update on my three months attachment with Anglican Church in Thailand and I know very well that the Lord will continue to speak to me and mould me and make me into the person that He wants me to be. Praise the Lord for all the people I have met and not forgetting Kim Yien and her team of church staff at Alpha Centre. They have done so much for the Lord and their works are sincere and full of love for God and for His people. I have deep respect for all these people. May the Lord have mercy on me and forgive me of my pride and arrogance. May the Lord have mercy on me and forgive me of my ignorance and stupidity in all of my previous ways. God help me!

the gatekeeper

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