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Monday, January 19, 2015

Crowne Plaza Hotel, BeiJing ZhongGuanCun

During my trip to BeiJing, my colleague book a room for me in Crowne Plaza BeiJing ZhongGuanCun Hotel. I stay for 3 nights-ish (?). I check in on 3.30 am on my first night and check out on 5.30 am on the day I leave. In total I spent less than 20 hours in the 4 star hotel and it cost me RM 1.9 K including Limousin pick-up from airport.

Photo credit to IHG

The company I am working for has a branch in BeiJing which is located in ZhongGuanCun (中关村), hence they book the nearest hotel. The hotel is accessible via subway, but the nearest subway station to the hotel is HaiDianHuangZhuang Station (海淀黄庄站) or ZhiChunLi Station (知春里站) of instead of ZhongGuanCun Station (中关村) 

Sorry for the low resolution blurry photo. I am only able to take photo using my phone, didn't bring any camera. 3 laptop is heavy enough for me.
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Please allow me to say, the room is AMAZING!
I think hotels don't have single bed room any more these day, or do they? When I was in Thailand, the hotel also gave me double bed room. Though I should warn you there are superstitious about the unoccupied single bed. Look it up on the internet,  I wouldn't want to pollute my blog with *cough* you know....

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The TV and the working table is quite standard.

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The best part is the wash room. I was so excited, I didn't even took off my jacket yet. 

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Beside the sink, you can see various toiletries like shampoo, conditional, face lotion, and body shampoo. 

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A separate cubicle for the toilet and shower, 

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the other side, the big @$$ bath tub.

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Like I said, I check-in on 3.30 am. By the time I finish taking a bath and unpack my stuff, it's already 4 am. I was so shocked when I looked out form the window, it was really bright, almost like 8 am in Malaysia. Yeap, that's the first time I taste Summer, long day and short nights. 

I was really confused, I am not sure I should sleep or continue work or get my breakfast first.    
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The pantry doesn't look promising, so I went to work. My support was not online as well, so I went back to sleep.

The breakfast buffet in the hotel was very good though. I didn't took any picture, too busy to stuff my mouth and gobble it down. The only dissatisfaction is that the dinners talk very loudly. Typical CINA-MAN.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Trips and tricks for Traveling to Bei Jing (the Malaysian folks edition)

I was in BeiJing half a year ago for a very short, urgent and pack trip. I reach Bei Jing on early Thursday morning like 2 am and return on Saturday morning on 7 am. Since this is a company business trip, I am coming here representing my company and department for a meeting, I didn't have any luxury time to discover the city but I manage to get some luxury food and great accommodation.

Quick tips and trip swhen traveling to BeiJing (from Malaysia).
1. China has most of your familiar online social media and tools banned, so no Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, Don't even try to navigate with your Google map, or check weather with Google Now. Not that I done that, who? Me? No! As if~

2. Download a few Chinese apps and familiarize it before you come, if you can reach Chinese. Baidu is like the Chinese Google.

3. China has different power supply, get a few adapter ready. My suggestion is to get 1 or 2 extension instead of getting one adapter for each electronic items you have. Even if you do, the hotel doesn't have that much of power plug for you.

4. If you are Vegetarian, be very specific. The vegetarian that Chinese understand is Pescetarian. This is because Muslim (yes, China has a looot of Muslims) don't eat pork and their poultry, beef and lamb has to be prepare in a certain way, just like the Muslims in Malaysia. For seafood, it's mostly ok, except amphibian. So when the waiter or cook receives an order for vegetarian, their quickly assume it's a Muslim request because Muslim also usually order non meat dish. This happens to my Malaysian colleague that travel with me. Poor baby, he has to eat plain rice.

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Even if you order veggies and specifically request a vegetarian one, you will still get shrimp with it.

5. The air in BeiJing is not good. Just merely 1 hour from leaving airport, my nose is so clog with boogers that I have to breath with my mouth. Bring along face mask and your sore throat remedy.

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6. Although it might be summer and it might appear to be humid enough, bring along your chap stick. My face and skin feels ok, but my lips are severely dehydrated and I am in forever electrostatic mode.

7. Subway are really cheap in Bei Jing, don't bother catching a cab and frighten to death because from experience, my driver drive so dangerously that it feel like my life is going to end at the junction. Not sure that's just a cab thing or everyone in BeiJing drives the same way. No one follows traffic lights and as if the lane didn't exist. Top of my scariest traffic experience, pulling down Thailand.

8. Some of the cab drivers doesn't turn on AC even in the summer. You have to "remind" them, even if you do they might scold you and say they already did.

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Click HERE for the large size Bei Jing Subway Route Map

9. There are 15 subway routes in BeiJing. Most of them are very congested. When ppl say "going down?" or "要下车吗?" means excuse me. I know the this phrase doesn't sound polite at all, but on the subway, it's the most polite way to ask other ppl to make way. As a foreigner that has the local face (at least my Grandparent are from this region), I have no idea how things work. When I say excuse me, no one seems to understand or gave way, and when they say "要下车吗?", I just reply no and turn away. LOL they must have cursed me this ignorant village people. Any China Chinese, if you are reading this, I am so sorry, I didn't meant to be rude, I just don't understand your slang. Sigh... that's the huge disadvantage of being a foreigner that can speak the language but are not local...

Have you been in China? What is your check list when traveling to China from your country? I would interested to heard about it.

For the rest of my trip in BeiJing, you can navigate using this list.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Of Braised Pork Leg and One Plus One Sausage from San Ban To [Non Halal]

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When I first heard about this restaurant I couldn't identify what style of cuisine it server. The name sounds like Chinese or Japanese, but from the reviews I read, it serve German pork knuckles and German beer, when I reach there I see pavlova (New Zealand dessert) on their special menu and the Ramen promotion banner on the side.
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Then I see 1 very common thing, they have pork in every single main dish. Ah! it's a pork place! Indeed, they have a sister company that call "The Pork Place" located in Bandar Puchong Jaya. Will definitely check it out next time, but do check this out as well:
32, SS2/63,
Petaling Jaya,
47300, Selangor
Tel: 603-78761728
Fax: 603-78761725

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So I ordered the One plus One Sausage, RM 24.90
It comes with salad and mash  potato sides. The longer one is the hot dog type where the meat are process, so the texture is quite bouncy. The shorter one is a real sausage while the meat is just slightly grind with garlic and maybe some herbs.
I prefer the longer one, mainly because the garlic taste from the shorter one. Usually this kind of bad garlic taste only exist you use use rotten garlic. I am very disappointed with it.

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My partner ordered the Braised Pork Leg, RM 17.90
The taste resembles a Chinese confinement dish ping trotter with vinegar (猪脚醋). The meat is fork tender, I bet it was braise for  hours. However, when I bite into it, it's just tough dry broom stick :(

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The skin are so soft, like your Micr@s@ft Window which can break down any time when u give em pressure.

Other than cook food, Sanbanto also sell raw pork and other process pork like sausage, bacon etc. They labeled their pork in both English and Chinese, and give you suggestion on how to prepare them. I never bought any pork from them yet, but I am interest to try them out next time and give you an update. Till then, stay put, I'll be back in a flash!

Overall: 8/10 [A new restaurant concept, instead of focusing one cuisine with different ingredient, this restaurant has one main ingredient with different type of cuisine. I just tried 2 dish, so it's still hard for me to judge.]
Taste bud indulgence: 7/10 [Not perfect but I appreciate the variety, it's hard to maintain so many different type of cuisine.]
Purse Saver: 9/10 [RM 25 for a meal is a bit expensive but compare to most German restaurant that serve sausage with a more expensive price, their house sausage is not that bad at all.]
Location: 8.5/10 [Located in a very jam area that is very hard to find parking, along the market street. Not the best place I would choose to have my restaurant, but its definitely easy to find.]
Service: 8/10 [I am a bit concern with the restaurant hygiene because they sold fresh meat with the same time. What would you feel if you have your lunch beside a transparent fridge with uncooked meat? It might just be my imagination, I feel I smell some pork foul smell in the back of my head. The other thing that trigger my nerve is the leaking air-cond. We didn't complain, we didn't change table, we just moved a way from the leak park. Hope they can improve on these aspect.]