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FIND OUT WHAT’S HOT IN BANGKOK

August 2013 08 INSIGHT News, letters, gossip and more 12 TAILOR TALK Meet the brothers behind Bangkok’s renowned Perry’s tailor shop 27 GOURMET A round up of all the best restaurant deals and gourmet events in Bangkok 50 BANGKOK’S BURGER BONANZA Chomp your way through some of the world’s best burgers in Bangkok 57 EXPAT WOMEN Health, shopping, people, and advice 58 MONSOON MIDNIGHTS The latest slice of fiction from the Bangkok Women’s Writers Group 77 WHAT’S ON Exhibitions, performance, sport, networking – we’ve got this month’s best events all wrapped up 91 SOCIAL Last month’s best events in pictures 115 DIPLOMATS HE Joan Boer talks diplomatic relations and cows 121 HUA HIN Deals and news 133 PATTAYA Hot news from the Eastern Seaboard

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9/11 and the doubts that won’t go away TWELVE years after 9/11, questions are still being asked about the attack on New York’s Twin Towers while evidence suggesting it may well have been an inside job continues to mount. Every aspect of the tragedy has been scrutinized far more thoroughly than the official 9/11 report, with senior professionals around the globe, including pilots, architects, scholars, engineers, military personnel, firefighters and police, rejecting the US government’s version of events. The majority of Americans now apparently share their view. They’re troubled on numerous practical levels, far too many to mention here, but which include the credibility of the terrorists and their supposed backers, the astonishing shortcomings of the US defence shield on the day of the hijackings, the possible use of modified aircraft and even a missile in the case of the attack on the Pentagon, and the unlikelihood that three modern buildings could have collapsed with such ease, precision and similarity, unless by planned demolition. They’re also troubled by the financial implications of the attack, including the vast sums earned from insurance and stock market manoeuvres resulting from the destruction of the Twin Towers and adjoining buildings. And they’re troubled by the fact that so many companies caught up in 9/11, either as victims or beneficiaries, share an amazing number of complex political and financial links that cannot be simply coincidental but rather hint strongly at some dark and disturbing joint action. What troubles them most, though, is the identity and motive of whoever was really behind 9/11. Having rejected the notion that the hijackers and their Al Qaeda minder in Afghanistan had the nous or the technology to plan such an attack, and dismissing the idea that their elected leaders could be responsible for such an outrage and the death of so many of their fellow countrymen, they’re now asking who the real culprit is. According to the vast majority of reports now coming out of the US, the finger of blame is being pointed increasingly at

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powerful groups and dual nationality lobbyists within America whose raison d’etre is to influence US policy in the Middle East and to protect Israel and preserve its role as a key regional ally. Aided by the insatiable appetite of America’s mighty military-industrial complex and abetted on 9/11 itself by foreign agents to maintain secrecy and prevent whistleblowers, these rogue individuals and organizations may be responsible for the attack. But we’ll never know. If this is indeed the monstrous truth behind 9/11 then the fall-out is simply too world-changing to contemplate. The US government knows it and so do those who may have worked insidiously behind the scenes to create and benefit from the attack. So, let it be a warning and hope that a tragedy on this scale never happens again.

Strong leader needed IT takes ages, decades in fact, for major projects to be completed in Thailand. Suvarnabhumi airport was first proposed in 1960 but didn’t open until 46 years later. Laem Chabang port took 30 years to build and work on various rail projects hasn’t even begun 20 years after their initiation. How different from a condominium project now being built on Sukhumvit, where work forges ahead very noisily up to 12 hours, seven days a week, admittedly much to the annoyance of neighbours. Consequently, this place is going up faster than a helicopter. What separates these examples, apart from the size, of course, is that the former three are government projects while the latter is a private investment controlled by a single entity. Government projects are notoriously slow for many reasons, including changes in ministers and key members of the civil service, with each working out ways to extract their share of the booty, without stepping on each other’s interests. It’s an inefficient system involving too many people and too many hurdles. And until Thailand gets a strong leader who can override such obstacles and clamp down on the corruption that invariably infiltrates major projects, the pace of development here will fall well below what’s needed to turn this country into a modern economic power.

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Publisher Colin Hastings editorbigchilli@gmail.com MANAGING Editor Adam Purcell adambigchilli@gmail.com Editor Nina Hastings ninabigchilli@gmail.com Assistant Editor Chutinanta Boonyamarn nanbigchilli@gmail.com Sales & Marketing Manager Rojjana Rungrattwatchai sendtorose@gmail.com Account Executive Thana Pongsaskulchoti thanabigchilli@gmail.com Accounting Manager Saranya Choeyjanya fatcatbigchilli@gmail.com Art & Production Arthawit Pundrikapa, Jaran Lakawat Photography Mini Bike Gang, David Heischrek and WJ Cover image: Arthawit Pundrikapa Contributing Writers Anette Pollner, Johanna DeKoning, Judith Coulson, Martine Olthof, Maxmilian Wechsler, Paul Hewitt, Phat Chaisongkram Our online handle is ‘thebigchillimagazine’. Simply type this into Facebook’s search box, find the image of our magazine, then just click add.

We are now on Twitter. Find out what’s happening around town, which events to attend, parties to be seen at, and read all the juicy gossip! Follow us at ‘TheBigChilliMag’ No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission from The BigChilli Co., Ltd. The opinions and views of the writers are not necessarily the views of the publishers. All details are deemed correct at the time of print, the publisher, the editor, employees and contributors can not be held responsible for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions that may occur. The editor reserves the right to accept, reject or amend any submitted artwork, photographs, illustrations and manuscripts. The BigChilli welcomes unsolicited contributions but assumes no responsibility for the safe-keeping or return of such materials damaged or lost in transit.

The BigChilli Company Ltd., 1/7 5th Fl. Room 504, Siboonrueng Bldg. 2, Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500 Tel: 02 233 1774-6, 02 266 7141 Fax: 02 235 0174 e-mail: thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com AD Foodland_May13.indd 1

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Inbox|Have your say

letters Insight

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BHUTAN SETS A GREAT EXAMPLE

LETTER OF THE MONTH

HAPPY EATER ■ THANKS for the excellent round-up of vegetarian restaurants in last month’s issue (BigChilli July 13. P.44-46). I’ve just moved here from the UK and I’m a strict vegetarian, so I was delighted when I picked up the magazine and discovered there are plenty of great places for me to go and eat. More than that, with its exploration of the benefits of going veggie, the article also provided lots of food for thought – the kind of information that meat eaters should chew over before they ever decide to criticize anyone who’d rather eat a juicy slice of carrot over a plump piece of beef. Barbara Totton, Bangkok

■ I READ with much interest your interview with HE Kesang Wangdi, the ambassador of Bhutan to Thailand (BigChilli July 13. P.116-119). His country’s unique approach to tourism is to be applauded and I really wish Thailand would emulate some aspects of it – especially on islands such as Phuket and Koh Samui, which are fast being ruined by rapid and poorly planned development. In a perfect world, the government here would establish private beach resorts where travelers pay a premium to enjoy all inclusive packages. Part of the money these tourists pay would ensure the land is protected and the rest would be split between the government and the resorts. Thanks to corruption and greed, though, this is never going to happen. I dread to think what Thailand’s beach resorts will look like in another ten years’ time. George, Pattaya

‘CIGARETTE POLICE’ AT IT AGAIN

CRITICS NEVER FORGIVE ■ AS a Bangkok resident and fan of Gosling since ‘Drive’, I was eager to be drawn-in to Only God Forgives when it was screened here, but it all looked like something Tarantino might have called ‘Kill Somchai’ – with Kristin Scott-Thomas playing Cruella de Vil and giving a pantomime performance. If it had been made in Jakarta with Jason Statham playing his usual wooden self, it would have been none-the-worse, and we locals would have been spared the pressure to go and see it. And what was the point of the female Thai lead?  I thought it was all pretty shallow and disappointing and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Unlike Drive, not even the soundtrack is worth a listen. Zero stars. Disappointed, Bangkok

■ I’VE just had a run in with Bangkok’s ‘cigarette police’ (BigChilli June 13. P.76-79) and found them every bit as intimidating as your story claimed. I was walking near Benjasari Park and was closely followed by an officer who seemed obsessed with an empty water bottle I was carrying (I was looking for a bin to throw it in). My bag slipped off of my shoulder and dropped to the floor, and as I bent down to pick it up I put the bottle down. The officer was on me like a shot, accusing me of littering and asking for money. Luckily a Thai woman came to my aid and told him to leave me alone. She made such a scene that the officer scurried off. Pedestrians beware! Linda, Bangkok

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Insight

News|Snippets

„ The number of luxury and sports cars parked at the Siam Paragon VIP (red floor) car park dropped noticeably after the Department of Special Investigation began to look into suspected tax evasion by owners of high-end cars in June. Lately, however, they are appearing again. Is the heat off?

„ How do you keep good staff? Make sure they’re not especially attractive. That, at least, is now the thinking of one popular restaurant which previously made a point of employing good-looking girls as waitresses. True, they kept the male customers coming back for more, but the girls were being constantly lured away by the fellows with the promises of a better life. The huge bouquets of flowers that arrived almost daily are going to be missed, the restaurateur admitted. „ Police continue to randomly search foreigners near the intersection of Asok and Sukhumvit roads. They order them to remove items from their pockets and also search any luggage or bags they are carrying. They don’t search females.

„ Ever wondered why shops offering fashionable watches for about 200 baht can survive and pay the high rental rates at MBK? Because they actually make money from the sale of counterfeit watches of famous brands. Just stand there for a few minutes and watch how they operate.

„ When a small but very popular burger bar got a call from a “satisfied customer” asking where it sourced its beef, the owner was more than happy to oblige. Later, but too late, he had second thoughts and made his own inquiries about the caller – only to discover that he’s actually the F&B manager of a prominent hotel that, presumably, was unhappy with its own burgers and wanted a change.

„ Despite widespread media criticism, taxi drivers continue to refuse passengers, which can be very irritating when it rains or someone is in a genuine hurry. It’s a giveaway when the driver opens the window as he wants to know where you’re going before you have a chance to open the door. If this happens, just walk away and hail another taxi.

The BigChilli Observer Interesting snippets of life in Bangkok, as witnessed by our team

„ There are at least two foreigners in Bangkok who regularly attend national day receptions without an invitation just to eat the free food and drink. One of these freeloaders carries a shabby suit in a bag and changes in the toilet of the hotel where the reception takes place. After observing security arrangements, he then sneaks inside the ballroom.

„ If you drive in Bangkok, be aware that many of the cameras mounted around city intersections actually work. Therefore, if you drive through a red light or go over the speed limit, don’t be surprised if you receive a letter from the police notifying you that you must pay a fine, along with several photos of your vehicle attached, plus details of when and where the offence was committed.

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„ Women begging while holding infants or with small children are likely to be part of a gang that rents the kids. Most of these beggars are from neighboring countries.

„ During the time of writing, the Office of the Narcotic Control Board has still not posted on its website the statistics of cases involving illegal drugs during 2012. But according to a source, the figure will be higher than in 2011. This could mean one of two things: The Thai authorities are getting more efficient or drug trafficking is on the increase. Most likely the latter.

„ Now that Viagra is out of patent, all kinds of equally effective and much cheaper substitutes have hit the market. The best deal, believe it or not, comes from the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO), whose ‘Sidegra’ sells for considerably less than its more famous drug. The cost of Sidegra ranges from 180 to 500 baht a box of four tablets, depending on where it is purchased, as compared to the 1,000 baht usually charged for Viagra.

„ Some foreigners can never get used to the sight of women cleaning men’s toilets, something common even at large Bangkok shopping malls. Is there any reason not to employ male cleaners? Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot and male cleaners were posted inside women’s toilets!

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Insight

Business|Perry’s

Wearing well after 40 years, Silom’s legendary tailors The twin brothers behind Perry’s tell Maxmilian Wechsler how they’ve won the custom of royalty, ambassadors and Hollywood stars

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Perry’s owners Narong (left) and Phonchai (right)

ALTHOUGH horror stories abound about tailor shops ripping off tourists in Thailand, the kingdom also boasts a number of ethical tailors whose workmanship is world renowned. And unquestionably one of the best is Perry’s Tailor Shop, which has been operating out of the same modest premises on Silom Road since July 1974. In fact, Perry’s Tailor Shop is rated number three on the CNN travel website’s list of the “5 best Bangkok tailors,” though many of its customers will probably tell you this ranking is too low not just in Thailand but anywhere in Asia. Considering those customers have included the likes of the Duke of Edinburgh, a couple of Secretary Generals of the United Nations, and Hollywood superstar Robin Williams, such plaudits are worth listening to.

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What sets Perry’s apart is the unerring vision, quite literally, of the 70-yearold twin brothers, Narong and Phonchai, who founded the business and continue to run it to this day. How many tailors can cut clothes that fit perfectly “by eye” − without taking measurements? This is exactly what I witnessed shortly after meeting the brothers. Mr Narong took one look at me, placed a piece of material on the table and used white chalk to draw an outline of a shirt for me. He then took my measurements, and to my surprise, they matched his outline exactly. It takes years of practice to do that. The twins look much younger than their years and have plenty of energy and wit. Both speak perfect English, though it was Mr Narong who answered most of my questions.

“My father came from mainland China to Thailand in 1928 and lived in the Ruso district of Narathiwat province in the South. He was a tailor and we learned the trade from him. He started his own tailoring business in 1935 and we began working with him in 1958. “When we opened Perry’s Tailor Shop in 1974, it was the only tailor shop on Silom Road. “Before we opened the shop, we sold directly to customers who were mainly diplomats, bankers, businessmen or people attached to international organizations posted in Thailand, like the >>

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Insight

Business|Perry’s

[now defunct] Southeast Asia Treaty Organization. We went to their offices or homes, showed them fabrics, took measurements and delivered clothes, usually suits, to them. At that time we had only an office, not a tailor shop. Our customers recommended us to their friends, so we established a circle of clients who then also came to us to make clothes for them. Why the name ‘Perry’s’? “One day in 1971 my brother and I went to see a Filipino attaché at the Philippines embassy in Bangkok. He said to my brother: ‘Your name is Phongchai? Why don’t you change it to Perry because it is easier to remember?’ Well, we agreed, and from then on we called our business Perry’s. “After opening the shop, more customers came, mainly through recom-

mendations, including Britain’s Duke of Edinburgh, former UN Secretary Generals Javier Pérez de Cuéllar and his successor Boutros Boutros-Ghali, as well as all kinds of media moguls, military leaders, entertainers, US senators and congressmen and so on. “We also cut clothes for local politicians, diplomats, businessmen and others. In fact, a deputy governor of a province near Bangkok has just dropped by to pick up his clothes.” Located beside the Sala Daeng BTS station, the shop is not large or lavishly decorated, but it is filled with rolls of the finest imported fabrics. Photos of famous customers are displayed on the walls. “We cut clothes in our workshop in the rear,” explained Mr Phonchai. “On the table on the left we cut only shirts, and on the table opposite we make trousers. Upstairs we cut jackets and other clothes. Sometimes we will cut clothes on the table in the shop front as well.”

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Perry’s after-sales service is legendary. “If you have had us cut a pair of trousers and you lose some weight and they need to be adjusted, or you get fat and the trousers are too tight, you can bring them back. Even if it is ten years later we will make adjustments for you − free of charge. And if you bring to us a sample of shirt or any other clothes we will make the same design for you. “When we opened in 1974 there were already many tailor shops in Bangkok but few had workshops inside the shop. This is essential to make good clothes and also for the convenience of the customer. But most tailors, then and now, send everything for cutting outside their shops. “We aren’t worried about competition from other tailors or department stores.

deluxe Jacquard cotton, satin twill cotton, and sea island cotton. These are all imported. We don’t use synthetic materials,” said Mr Phonchai. Is it really possible to make a suit in 24 hours? “It’s like choosing a restaurant. If you like to have good food in nice surroundings, then you can go to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. If you want cheap and fast food, go to McDonald’s. It takes at least three to four days to make a good suit. If you ask me to make one within 24 hours then I have to say I am sorry, because this is impossible.” Mr Phonchai then gave a few key tips to tourists looking for a good Bangkok tailor. “People should go to a proper tailor shop with the workshop inside, and not one that sends orders out for cutting. They shouldn’t use tailors who promise a suit

“We also cut clothes for local politicians, diplomats, businessmen and others. In fact, a deputy governor of a province near Bangkok has just dropped by to pick up his clothes.” They have their own market and we have ours. “If you need a lousy suit then you can go somewhere else. Ready-made suits usually don’t fit properly but many people want them because of the name brand. Our suits last for 20 to 30 years − some customers even complain that our suits last too long,” said Mr Phonchai laughing. Added Mr Narong: “We offer fabrics of famous brands, imported mostly from Italy, Switzerland and England. These include Ermenegildo Zegna, Loro Piana, Dormeuil and Lanificio. If you buy from the store suits made from these fabrics it will cost you more than 100,000 baht. We charge half of that or even less. “The price depends on the material, with the starting price of 20,000 baht. We don’t use local fabrics for suits.” What’s the best material for a tropical climate? “Cotton, like royal cotton twill,

within 24 hours. And they shouldn’t fall for advertisements that offer a suit and shirts for US$100 or something like that. They will get lousy materials and colours. “Many taxis take tourists to a specific shop where they can get a commission. We don’t give commissions to taxis or to anyone else. People come to us directly after being recommended by our regular customers or hotel staff. “We have even heard that some taxi drivers tell people who ask for our shop that Perry’s has closed down, and then they take them somewhere else that gives them a commission.” The brothers would like to start a school for tailors in Bangkok but they feel they are too old now. “We could teach them very well, the same way we do all our tailors. Some of the shop’s 30 tailors have been with the business for decades.” It’s good to know that the twins’ knowledge is being passed on to the next generation of master tailors in Bangkok.

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Insight

Around town|Escape Hunt

The Ultimate LIVE Escape Game Now Open in Bangkok! Escape Hunt, a new attraction that challenges you to escape from a locked room by solving clues and devious puzzles

■ ESCAPE HUNT, a brilliant new game of challenge and puzzle-solving for people of all ages, has become a top attraction in central Bangkok only a month after its launch at the Interchange Tower on the Sukhumvit/Asoke junction. The concept follows the hugely successful online “escape games” that have been a popular genre for gaming enthusiasts for years. Originating in Japan, the game features simple rooms from which players tried to escape. Later the idea evolved to include a combination of clue-hunting and puzzle-solving in order to “escape from the room.” Such was the popularity of these ‘virtual’ games that they were soon taken to a new level with real-life rooms replacing their online counterparts. Today, these ‘real’ escape rooms can be found everywhere, from San Francisco to London, Hong Kong to Barcelona. In the UK, the award-winning game centre is ranked No. 1 in over 900 ‘Things To Do in London’ on TripAdvisor. Now, Bangkok’s first escape room is rapidly climbing in TripAdvisor’s Thailand’s ranking thanks to some rave reviews. At time of going to press it was already ranked No.7 of all the attractions in Bangkok! Escape Hunt has given the basic game room idea an exciting twist by adding an adventure theme that focuses on detectives solving a murder mystery.

Designed to appeal to Western and Asian minds, young and old, tourists and locals, Escape Hunt offers fun-filled but testing challenges to teams of between two and five people who have to escape from a themed room. They’re helped by a dedicated “game master” who plays inside or watches from outside over CCTV and assists as required. Playing the part of Shylock or Charlotte Barnes and their team of detectives, the group are transported back 100 years to early 20th century Bangkok. Facing their toughest murder mystery, the only

Level B2 Interchange 21 Tower, 399 Sukhumvit Road

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way to escape from the room is to find all the clues and solve all the puzzles before the clock stops after 60 minutes. There are four different rooms split into Asian and English storylines but all share the same opulent Bangkok setting on the Chao Phraya river, ghosts and mystery. Games last a total of 1 hour and 45 minutes including the briefing and de-briefing and can be run in English, Thai, (Japanese or Chinese coming soon) using the state-of-the-art IT system and multi-lingual staff. Bookings have filled up fast thanks to the buzz surrounding this unique attraction. Those interested in pitting their wits against the devious mind of the founder, an MA in Psychology from Cambridge, UK, who is also a trained IQ test and puzzle setter, should sign up quickly on www. escapehunt.com or www.facebook.com/ escapehunt. Special initial promotion offers are available from time to time. Further information, call the Escape Hunt Manager, Khun Onchawee on 02 611 2828 or at wee@escapehunt.com. Escape Hunt is also available for corporate team building and other events and outdoor events are planned soon.

☎ 02 611 2828 :escapehunt.com

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Insight

Health|Heavy news

Obesity in Thailand: Behold the perfect storm As many as 17 million Thais are now considered overweight. All kinds of factors are behind this disturbing phenomenon. What can be done to change people’s lifestyle and attitudes? By Bruce Bickerstaff ■ THE incidence of obesity in Thailand is already significantly higher than in most other countries in the region – and far worse is yet to come. The potential magnitude of the problem has already been recognized by some Thai health experts, and a few small-scale or experimental remedial programs have been initiated. Those who wield the power to effect the necessary change are, however, likely to be slow to recognise its current extent and likely outcomes. Even when they do, they will invariably struggle to develop and implement an appropriate response. Failure to act quickly and decisively in addressing this issue will incur substantial social and economic costs for the Thai community. The terms ‘overweight’ and ‘obesity’ mean “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health” according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate the ‘body mass index’ (BMI = weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters). The WHO defines an overweight person as someone having a BMI equal to or greater than 25, and a BMI equal to or greater than 30 as being obese. Obesity is a huge and growing problem in many countries around the world. According to the Thai Ministry of Public Health, Thailand already ranks in the top five Asia-Pacific nations in terms of the number of obese people. In the period 2005-2007, obesity rates

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in Thailand increased from 10 million in 2005 to 17 million in 2007. Whilst there has been some research undertaken, and some programs have been put in place, the number of obese Thais continues to increase. Statistics from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health reveal significant increases in the rate of obesity among children. In the past five years, the percentage of obese pre-schoolers rose from 5.8 per cent to

7.9 per cent; in school-age children, the obesity rate went from 5.8 per cent up to 6.7 per cent over the same period. These statistics represent five-year obesity growth rates of 36 per cent (preschool age) and 15 per cent (school age). Among Thailand’s young adults (those in the 20 to 29 age range), the obesity rate over the same five-year period increased 36 per cent among men, and for women the obesity rate grew 47 per cent. Many of the same causal factors that are present in countries like the USA and Australia, such as poor diet, stress and sedentary lifestyle, also occur in Thailand. There are, however, a number of additional cultural, economic and environmental factors that are contributing to the problem and/or will make remedial action more problematic. Indeed, the obesity epidemic now developing in Thailand has all the makings of a ‘perfect storm.’ The shift from rural areas to the cities: This major demographic change has been occurring for some time now. Its implications include some reduction in the amount of physical activity undertaken, some weakening of family units and traditional lifestyle, and greater exposure to processed food and soft drinks. A food-centric culture combined with a fondness for sweetness: Whilst we chit-chat about the weather, Thais routinely opt to discuss what they last ate. The Thai approach to food and eating is social and relaxed, often

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featuring multiple snacks or meals at irregular times of the day or night. This approach developed in a time when most ate simple foods with low calorific content, walked more, and undertook manual labour. The outcome of introducing a sedentary lifestyle and processed and high-calorie foods into this equation was never going to be pretty. In addition, many Thai people love sweet tastes and add a considerable amount of sugar to many popular recipes. As an example, a key factor in the successful introduction of pizza to the Thai populace was the addition of more tomato sauce (which is high in sugar) than is used in pizza toppings in western countries. The uptake of processed food and fast food is being accelerated by ‘cultural cringe’: Many younger Thais are rejecting certain aspects of traditional Thai life as being decidedly ‘un-cool’ and old-fashioned, choosing instead to embrace available aspects of western culture/lifestyle. The implications of this include changes to earlier patterns of diet and exercise. As in so many other countries, fastfood like KFC and McDonalds have been enthusiastically embraced in Thailand. Unlike in the West, however, fast foods are generally not cheaper or more convenient than the local fare. Demand appears to be driven more by its western cachet. Thais have not traditionally eaten things like ice cream, chocolate, and cakes/pastries. They have, however, had access to an extensive array of snack and convenience-type foods, most of which are based on staples like banana, rice, coconut, bean or tarot. Many children now, however, would be embarrassed to be seen with anything wrapped in a banana leaf, choosing instead products that are highly-processed, advertised on TV and wrapped in colorful foil or plastic. Further, where once water or coconut juice were seen as the beverages of choice, now flavoured (sweetened) milk and soft drinks like Coca-Cola are ‘de rigeur’. What’s more, in selecting their recreational pursuits, many Thai children are now shunning traditional, inexpensive and accessible options like Muay Thai, in favor of either passive computer-based activities or more exotic and aspirational recreational activities that may often be priced beyond their reach.

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“Where once water or coconut juice were seen as the beverages of choice, now flavoured (sweetened) milk and soft drinks like Coca-Cola are de rigeur.” A shortage of free time and disposable income: Working long hours, usually for six days each week, reduces people’s ability and propensity to exercise. A similar situation applies with Thai children, whose school days are often drawn out with commuting and after-school tutoring. To make matters worse, most schools appear to place a low priority on sport and physical education. Little disposable income and often high levels of household debt mean that many are unable to afford to visit commercial recreation facilities such as modern gyms. Lessening control over, and super vision of, children: The Thais love their children and like to spoil them when they are young. This trend is expected to grow as Thailand follows trends evident in many other countries, towards smaller family size, both parents in the workforce, etc. This will likely

worsen the situation in terms of effective parental control over such things as diet and exercise. A perception of chubby as healthy: This commonplace idea in Thailand that people, especially young children, are healthier and better lookedafter when they are somewhat chunky might be due to the Chinese influence whereby chubbiness equates with good luck and prosperity. Education levels and health awareness: Many international surveys have highlighted significant deficiencies in the Thai educational environment. It is noted that, in general terms at least, more educated people are more likely to recognize the value of healthy diet and regular exercise. A ‘live for the day’ outlook on life: Whilst purely conjectural, it has been suggested that Thais are more inclined to adopt a short-term outlook on life, often seemingly coupled with a poor appreciation of the concept of cause and effect. One possible implication might be greater difficulty in associating a dietary choice made today with a medical condition such as diabetes that might not manifest itself for several years. Climate and air quality: Thailand is hot and humid for most of the year – certainly not conducive to vigorous outdoor physical activity. Dust and air pollution further discourage outdoor exercise. Modesty and a strong focus on certain aspects of appearance: This common trait amongst Thai people has

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Insight

Combodia

Health|Heavy news

Indonesia

Laos

a number of implications. On one hand, concerns about maintaining a pale appearance discourage people (esp. women) from undertaking any form of outdoor activity. Appearing tanned and/ or sweaty is associated by many Thais with uncouth people. Similarly, concerns about possible body odor issues and/or the immodesty of exercise apparel act as a further disincentive to physical activity. Poor public parks and fitness facilities: With the exception of a limited number of showpiece venues, there are few parks of adequate quality offering facilities for recreation for people of any age group. Existing facilities, such as playgrounds, are generally poorly maintained and often unsafe. Difficult and dangerous exercise corridors: Some of the factors here include broken and uneven pavements strewn with hazards such as uncontrolled electrical wiring and signage, difficulty in safely and quickly crossing roads, dangerous driving/riding habits, the prevalence of aggressive dogs in public spaces, and the alienation of footpaths for stalls and parking. Anticipated weaknesses in the Government’s response: History suggests that the Thai Government has great difficulty in formulating and implementing programs that require multiple public agencies to coordinate their activities to achieve a shared objective. An example of this is the haphazard and woefully ineffective response to serious seasonal air pollution.

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Malaysia

Myanmar

Philippines

Thailand’s endemic system of patronage which sees myriad fiefdoms competing for privilege lies at the core of this problem. Clearly this does not bode well for issues such as obesity, where there is a clear need for many agencies and different levels of government to work side by side. Another factor contributing to this situation is the imperative of ‘face’ combined with pronounced nationalism and ethno-centralism. These traits see the Thai authorities often appearing to deny or play down problems until they are impossible to ignore, usually by which time they have become entrenched and more difficult to remedy. At this point the Thai hierarchy will not wish to be seen to copy remedial programs adopted by other countries, i.e. “We are different – it won’t happen to us,” later followed by “We are different – we will find our own solution.” Such an approach will, unfortunately, invariably lead to a delay in the implementation of an effective remedial program.

A

What needs to be done? Addressing the issue of obesity needs to be assigned as a high priority, and a multi-agency Task Force should be established to: • Confirm and clarify the nature and magnitude of the current problem • Evaluate existing anti-obesity programs in Thailand as well as successful programs in other countries • Develop an actionable response, with clearly assigned lines of accountability, and

Singapore

Thailand

Vietnam

• Measure and report the effectiveness of remedial action taken To have a reasonable chance of success, such a Task Force would require adequate power, expertise, and adequate budget, as well as a deadline by which they must produce measurable results. There should be a role for government agencies, NGOs and private companies in both the work of the Task Force, and in subsequently achieving the Task Force’s objectives. The general nature of some of the likely recommendations might include: 1. Commissioning further research into cost-effective means of reducing and treating obesity 2. Developing and implementing an education program aimed at all age groups, with a focus on diet and exercise, and the harmful health effects of obesity 3. Improving and facilitating public access to healthy recreational opportunities, for example through: • Initiating a grants program to local government to facilitate the design, construction and maintenance of wellsited and adequate quality designed parks and recreation facilities • Initiating a program of subsidies or rebates to private service providers to provide free or reduced-cost access to recreational activities or treatment services (Bruce Bickerstaff is the author of ‘Your Investment Guide to Thailand’, which is available in hard-copy or e-book format, online and/or from select bookstores. See www.burning-bison.com for details)

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Insight

Business|Hotels

WE’RE VERY MUCH PART OF THONGLOR’S COMMUNITY, SAYS GM OF THE BANGKOK MARRIOTT HOTEL In fact, the location couldn’t be better. A two-minute walk away is the Thonglor BTS (Sukhumvit Line). Just beyond is Thonglor itself, Bangkok’s most vibrant, upbeat entertainment district, famed for its chic bars, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs. For shopping, there’s a choice of nearby shopping malls, as well as dozens of funky outlets and boutique shops of local Thai designers. “Thanks to our location in this lively and interesting area of Bangkok, we feel very much part of the local community,” explained Mr Gerrit Graef, General Manager of the Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit. “And our guests can enjoy a wealth of wonderful experiences they may not get in other parts of the city.” In addition to a state-of-the-art health club and rejuvenating spa, the hotel has some delectable dining options. Home-style cooking is available, for example, in 57th Street, the hotel’s all-day diner, while the finest cuts of meat are served in The District Grill Room & Bar. The Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar offers unforgettable city views and a relaxing ambiance, along with tasty dinner menus and handcrafted cocktails. And there’s nearly 5,000 square feet of space in six meeting rooms for all kinds of events.

Gerrit Graef in focus

■ SOMETIMES thinking out of the box, even for a conservative business like a hotel, works wonders. This is certainly true of the new Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, which has bucked the usual trend of being located either in the city centre or along the banks of the Chao Phraya River, choosing instead a site in a largely residential part of Bangkok. You’ll find this latest Bangkok Marriott Hotel on Sukhumvit midway between Soi 55 (Thonglor) and Soi 57. It’s the only five-star hotel in this popular area of the city, and it’s almost instantaneous success shows what a little unconventional thinking can achieve.

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GENERAL Manager Gerrit hails from Germany and graduated from the Hotel Management School, Hamburg in 1992. He joined Marriott International in 1997 as the Director of Food & Beverage at the Renaissance Hotel in Cologne, Germany. In 2000 he joined the pre-opening team for the JW Marriott Hotel and Marriott Executive Apartments in Dubai, UAE where as Director of Food & Beverage, and later as Director of Operations at the property. In 2008 he was designated the Hotel Manager for the multi-hotel preopening project of Renaissance Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott and Marriott Executive Apartments in Doha, Qatar. Thereafter he was Area Director of Operations for Marriott International (South Asia, Malaysia, Australia and Maldives), based in Mumbai, India.

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Insight

Business|Marketing

Why company culture counts

Marketing Consultant Pacharee Pantoomano-Pfirsch explains why the path to satisfied customers and a successful brand always starts by pleasing one’s staff

■ A WISE man recently told me that

company culture eats strategy for breakfast. I couldn’t agree more. A strong company culture coupled with solid internal communications is the way to engage the team that drives the company’s success. Involved team members are more likely to be happier at work and happiness is contagious. The result is an effective and efficient team which is doing its best. This helps the company to keep its brand promise to its customers. The opposite is true for unengaged employees. Disenchanted with the company, these employees often feel unvalued in the work place. Some may purposely sabotage the company’s effort. Ultimately, it can cause problems with service to the customers and have a negative impact on the bottom line. Why is your brand promise important internally and externally?

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The promise that your brand makes comes into contact with every part of your business. If your team doesn’t believe in the promise the company’s product or services makes, you can bet that those who have come into contact with your company also feel the same way. Sooner or later, others will hear about it, like that of the infamous Honda CR-V case in 2005. Honda claims that its core values are superior customer service and high quality product. This was not the case for Duenphen Silaket, who professed that she had aspired to own a Honda CR-V and saved up for one. Unfortunately, when she got it, the red-licensed plate vehicle had many mechanical problems. The blasé attitude of Honda executives escalated the matter. She called the media and publicly smashed her new car. It resulted in media frenzy with pictures

of Duenphen splashed across numerous media. There were a number of copy cats too. Eventually, the matter was settled but not without some wear and tear to Honda’s brand image. Lessons from the companies voted as being the best work place: Google: The company is well known for giving its employees many perks and some of these include a gourmet restaurant, which serves all three meals for free, plus medical and dental facilities. What’s more, it offers employees a leave of absence for up to five years and USD150,000 in educational funds. In reality, Google does more than provide great perks for its staff. The main reason it is a great workplace is because the company believes that treating people well is more critical than making a lot of money. Google does this by respecting its team members, supporting their creative endeavours, and following its motto of “Don’t be evil.” Zappos: According to Tony Hsieh, the CEO of mega online shoe retailer Zappos.com, “A company’s culture and a company’s brand are really just two sides of the same coin.” Unlike other companies which define happiness as a result of profit, Zappos views happiness as a key business driver. Hsieh boils employee’s happiness down to four things: 1) perceived control, 2) perceived progress, 3) connectedness (number and depth of relationships), and 4) being part of something bigger than yourself. He adds that “It actually doesn’t matter what your core values are. What matters is that you have them and commit to them. And by committing to them, you’re willing to hire or fire based on them, independent of actual job performance.” You don’t have to be a billion dollar company to start a company culture and internal communications program. What is important is that you define the values most central to your organisation. Once these have been established and communicated, you can then build activities to support it. Pacharee Pantoomano-Pfirsch is a Marketing Consultant at Brand Now, a boutique marketing and PR agency helping clients to communicate their brand. If you’d like to work with her on internal selling to your organisation before you do external selling, contact her at pacharee@ brandnow.asia

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Insight

Business|Q&A

Know my company:

MRI Network From international banker to a successful recruitment firm director, it’s been quite a journey for Mark Hamill Stewart

Where were you born? I was born in UK, in Portsmouth. As a triplet and one of three hungry mouths, I learnt a couple of life lessons from a very young age. One is to finish the food on your plate and the second is if you don’t open your mouth when it is time to feed, your brother gets double and you go hungry. Translated into life values, I believe we should be grateful for what we have in life and take advantage of opportunities when they are presented! What brought you to Asia? My father was in the Royal Navy and toured extensively on ships. He travelled to the Far East often for many months at a time. It seemed very exotic and I think the desire to travel was subliminally instilled in me from a very young age. And how did it happen? HSBC was the vehicle. The interview process was simple and seemed to revolve around my ability to play rugby. I know how to play and had scraped into the third 15 at school for one match. This demonstrated to HSBC acceptable leadership and team working skills and before I knew it, I was on my way to Hong Kong. Nowadays you have to be a genius to join HSBC so I consider myself to have been very lucky. How did you compare banking to recruitment? Banking can be highly stressful as the

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target is always to improve asset quality while also improving profitability. The two do not mix easily. In recruitment, we are always striving to positively change the lives of talented individuals and at the same time, providing the client with the people they really need. This is a constant challenge but ultimately also very satisfying. Tell me about MRI? MRI is one of the leading executive search companies in the world. It has 700+ offices in 35 countries. The company was founded in the 1960s in USA. It is a subsidiary of CDI Corporation, a staffing company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The values of MRI are a culture of integrity, resourcefulness, rapport and discernment. Our clients in Thailand vary from the major multinational companies to small Thai companies. What is special about MRI? Training, methodology and a fantastic

team of consultants. Thailand is a relatively low cost country and in the global performance ladder, our Thailand office is in the top 10% in terms of revenue. Not bad when you consider that salaries are well below USA, Europe and Japan. We also remember to have fun! We often celebrate success and every year we go on a white water rafting trip in Nan province. This is a great leveler and on the last trip the only person to fall out of the raft was me! But seriously, the differentiating value we have in MRI as a company is our great team of consultants. We genuinely have a winning team and I am very proud of them. We relish a challenge and the proof of our sustained success is not primarily financial reward but the achievement of the satisfaction of our clients and candidates. For more info: www.mrinetwork.com

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Gourmet p Wine and restaurant news her’s Mot cials! is spe ailand ty day s in Th

Day Maje ER’S ly on Her H T 12). ■ MO ted annual hday (Aug l to t a a r r i e celeb ueen’s B m to a m ite for The Q o treat mu our webs t o Want r? Head t me of the e b f m o so reme round up s on of fer a ). ption best o gchilli.com i b e h (t

Enjoy the Michelin Star treatment at Viu when Chef De Cuisine Michael Kempf arrives to cook up his award winning signature cuisine.. See page 30.

What’s Cooking A round up of this month’s best gourmet deals. Yummy! Page 28

Meet the chef Chef Ard Saenthip of Noble House shares his culinary secrets Page 34

Dining out

Our favourite restaurants reviewed and listed Page 46 TheBigChilli

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Gourmet

Dining|News

What’s Cooking

Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news

Mexican Saturday brunch EVERY SAT AT REMBRANDT HOTEL BANGKOK

■ AN authentic Mexican brunch buffet is now served up every Sat at Señor Pico’s Restaurant from 12pm-3pm. Live Mariachi music and a chance to win piñata prizes add to the fun. B599 per person.

Sukhumvit 18 02 261 7100 :rembrandtbkk.com

Lobster treats

THROUGOUT AUGUST AT NOVOTEL BANGKOK ON SIAM SQUARE

Rooftop Indian restaurant Maya now open ■ FOR an Indian dining experience

that’ll leave you ‘floating on air,’ make a beeline for Maya. Located at the Holiday Inn Bangkok – the largest cantilevered building in Thailand – this new restaurant stretches 20 metres out from the main building and, as a result, appears to float; an architectural achievement which, like the Northern Indian cuisine on offer, is designed to impress. Floor to ceiling windows offer superb views and there are three different areas on offer for guests to enjoy, including Khanna, the main dining area; Cigarra, an outdoor cigar lounge; and Barra, an expansive bar serving up Maya’s signature cocktails. Signature dishes include Tandoor grilled fresh lobster marinated with kaffir lime and yellow chilli; and Bishop seed and yellow chilli spiked Norwegian salmon, served with spicy prawn and mustard oil chutney.

Sukhumvit 22 02 683 4888 :mayathailand.com

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■ LOK Wah Hin Chinese Restaurant’s Chef Leung is now cooking up fresh lobster in a selection of traditional and contemporary Chinese dishes. Highlights include Lobster with mixed fruit salad; Stir-fried lobster with mango or strawberry; and Salt-baked lobster with cheese. B1,000++ per dish. KBank cardholders enjoy 20% discount on the à la carte dinner and “Come 4 pay 3” during the Dim Sum all-you-can-eat lunch (at B620++ per person).

Korean ribs

THROUGHOUT SEPT AT KONGJU KOREAN RESTAURANT

■ PATHUMWAN Princess Hotel’s popular Korean restaurant is set to give rib fans a meaty treat next month with a special menu featuring dishes such as Stewed pork ribs in pumpkin, and Fried pork spare rib with garlic and chilli (both B350 per dish). You can also order pork ribs, marinated with Korean herbs and spices, to grill at your table. Great fun. 444 MBK Center, Phayathai Road ☎02 216 3700 :pprincess.com

Siam Square 02 209 8888 :novotelbkk.com

Thai Food Without Limits AVAILABLE NOW AT SUAN BUA

■ FOR a hunger busting feast of Thai cuisine from all regions of Thailand, check out Suan Bua at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok Hotel. The restaurant is now offering its daily lunch and dinner menus for just B699 per person - and you can order as much as you like. Price includes soft drinks and herbal tea.

1695 Phaholyothin Road 02 541 1234 ext. 4169 :centarahotelsresorts.com

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Gourmet

Happy snacks at The Bar

Dining|News

AVAILABLE NOW AT NOVOTEL BANGKOK BANGNA

Michelin tastes at Viu

■ THE Bar at Novotel Bangkok Bangna is now offering selected imported beers at ‘buy-1-get-1-free’ daily from 4pm-8pm. Happy snack selections are available with highlights such as Crispy chicken wings, Grilled beef with dipping sauce, and Fish and chips in beer batter with tartar sauce.

Aug 20 – 24 at The St. Regis Bangkok

■ CHEF de cuisine Michael Kempf from the one Michelin Star Facil Restaurant in Berlin, Germany, is coming to town to take control of the kitchens at Viu Restaurant for five days, during which he’ll cook up a series of specially-designed menus inspired by seasonal cooking. B3,400++ for a four-course set menu (5,400++ with wine pairing); B5,400++ for an eightcourse set menu (7,400++ with wine pairing); and B6,900++ for a nine-course degustation menu at the Chef’s Table (8,900++ with wine pairing). 159 Rajdamri Road ☎ 02 207 7777 :stregis.com

333 Srinakarin Road 02 366 0505 ext. 1440, 144

Prawn specials

THROUGHOUT AUGUST AT PULLMAN BANGKOK KING POWER

■ JUMBO river prawns from Myanmar are the flavour of the month at the trendy Wine Pub, which is offering a special menu featuring Jumbo river prawn ceviche with crimson grapefruit, lime and coconut milk; Butter sautéed garlic and jumbo river prawn flambé with Pastis and rocket leaves; and more tasty options for B840 per dish. 8/2 Rangnam Road

02 680 9999

World Gourmet Festival ■ THE 14th edition of the annual World Gourmet Festival will be held this year at Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok from Sept 2-8. Showcasing some of the world’s best cuisine and wine in a series of lunches, dinners, and cooking classes (as well as the superb World Gourmet Festival lunch and Sunday Brunch), it’s a must visit for any serious foodie. Chefs taking part this year include Chef Jérôme Bonnet from Restaurant Daniel in Paris; Chef Vito Mollica from the one-star Il Palagio at Four Seasons Hotel Firenze; Chef Paco Perez of two Michelin star The Mirror Restaurant; Chef Markus Arnold from Restaurant “MA Pop-Up Restaurant,” Bern, Switzerland; Chef Roger van Damme from Het Gebaar, Antwerp, Belgium; Chef Hirohisa Koyama from Aoyagi Restaurant, Tokyo, Japan; Chef Miguel Laffan from L’AND, Alentejo, Portugal; and Chef David Rathgeber of Restaurant L’Assiette, Paris, France. Visiting wine experts include Ned Goodwin, Master of Wine, Japan; and Pascal Jolivet, winemaker, Domaine Pascal Jolivet, Sancerre, France. :fourseasons.com

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Mooncake specials

Aug 9 – Sept 30 at Swissôtel Nai Lert Park, Bangkok

■ NOBLE House Chinese Restaurant is celebrating the annual Mooncake festival by offering a unique Mooncake selection – made using secret recipes – with flavours such as Lotus seed paste, Red date, Durian delight, and Cream custard. The mooncakes come in a specially designed box and range from B70 for one piece up to B599 for a box of eight. Also available at Gourmandises Café and Bakery. Swissôtel Nai Lert Park, Bangkok 02 253 0123 :swissotel.com

New Sunday Brunch

AVAILABLE NOW AT CONRAD BANGKOK

■ CAFÉ@2’s new Sunday Brunch concept arrived in style last month with a superb array of international cuisine, chocolate delights, and free-flow vodka cocktails. Priced at just B1,750 per person (includes free-flow juices and vodka cocktails), it’s a great deal. What’s more, pay B2,200 per person and you’ll get free-flow sparkling wine. Kids under 8 dine for free. 87 Wireless Road ☎ 02 690 9211 :conradbangkok.com

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WINE The truth about our drinking habits

An expert gives a fascinating assessment of local tastes and trends, taxes and smuggling, the impact of wine-themed bars and restaurants, and how Thai wines shape up against foreign competition TheBigChilli

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Gourmet

Q&A|Wine in focus

Q.

How has the market for wine increased in Thailand over the past five years?

A.

The market has grown quite rapidly with far more wine focused bistros, restaurants and clubs. Exact numbers are hard to come by but you can see in areas all over Bangkok how many of these “Wine Somethings” have opened. It has changed drinking habits and forced more traditional hotels and restaurants to make their wine offer more approachable. You can see a lot of people eating out and drinking wine as much as they used to eat at home and then go to a club. The trend is to have dinner with wine and then go out to the clubs.

Q. Will it continue to grow? A. I think we may have

reached a limit on just how many of these wine-themed restaurants can survive. However, the restaurant industry thrives on wealthy people thinking opening a restaurant is a cool thing to do and there is a lot of ego and vanity involved. The smarter operators will be more cautious as the competition is fierce in this category. The number of wine drinkers will continue to grow as it is fashionable to drink wine and not whiskey.

Q. Roughly, how many wine

importers now operate in Thailand?

A. There seems to be new ones

every day and some of the older, more established importers are having to work harder to keep up. Many producers see Asia as a growing market and there are a limited number of serious agents to handle the brands. Sometimes, they turn to a smaller company to take them on with little risk on their part. This means that there are a lot of smaller importers around.

Q.

How big is Thailand as a wine consumer per head compared to, say, China, Singapore and traditional winedrinking nations?

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A.

China is not a huge market, per capita. Singapore is a good market but it is hard to tell sometimes as the re-export of wine from there skews the numbers a bit. Thailand is a very good wine drinking market but it is next to impossible to gauge the actual consumption, as a significant portion of the consumption here is not “official.” Official numbers are not so high but the reality is that a lot of wine is consumed here in Thailand on a daily basis.

demand is high and export is a low priority. We are also seeing wines from lesser known areas of places like France and Italy and huge growth in German wines here in Thailand.

Q.

Any reason for their particular popularity?

A.

Sometimes, as in the case for Chile, it is about price. For Italy and France, this used to be the case as we were flooded with cheap wines but now the value is much higher on these wines and people are drinking a bit better.

Q. Is the average wine drinker in

"Large wineries with branded wines don’t want educated consumers. They want you educated about their wine, not wine in general."

Q. Which countries are now the biggest suppliers?

A.

Italy, France, Australia, the United States, Chile and several others are the biggest players in the world. In Thailand, Australia and Chile are doing well and Italy and France are always strong.

Q. Has that changed in recent years? A. The only thing that has changed

is the growth or awareness of other countries like Argentina, which produces world-class wines but until recently, never exported them. Domestic consumption was very good and unlike Chile, which makes almost everything for export, Argentineans drink their best wines. The same is true for America, where domestic

Thailand better informed about wine than before?

A. I am skeptical as I can see

what brands hold down the top spots in the market. In order to determine the “health” of a wine market, you have to see what is selling. Large wineries with branded wines don’t want educated consumers. They want you educated about their wine, not wine in general. The more a wine drinker learns, the better the drinker becomes. This does not necessarily mean money spent but what choices they make. Nine times out of ten, there is a better wine than the mass produced one for the same money. You just have to know how to buy. I would love everyone to develop a passion for wine and learn more so that we could bring in even more exciting wines for the consumer and there would be a willingness to try. The current laws on alcohol also make it very difficult to educate the consumer.

Q. Any marked trends in wine preferences? A. I am seeing more wines that are

geared to food being sold such as German Rieslings, which are great with Thai salads and some curries. Generally, we are still seeing huge growth in the less expensive category in retail and the mid-priced in hotels and restaurants. The big brands still dominate though.

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Q.

How does Thailand rank internationally in terms of its wine taxation? Is that likely to change anytime soon?

A.

Number 1 in the world and unlikely to change for various reasons, none of which has anything to do with generating tax revenue or curbing the consumption.

Q. How widespread is wine smuggling? A. Wine smuggling is massive,

systematic, organized and well ingrained.

Q.

Fruit wine is gaining popularity – but are its drinkers fully aware of what they’re actually drinking?

A. This is something that has been

around for awhile as there is a loophole in the taxation scheme for “Fruit Wine.” By adding some local fruit juice to an imported wine and repackaging it, there is a lower tax requirement. How it is marketed and explained to the consumer is another story.

Q.

When it comes to advertising wine (or alcohol) in Thailand – does anyone really understand the rules and regulations?

A.

Technically, you are not allowed to do anything that “encourages the sale of alcohol.” This includes price discounting, free gifts, advertising or marketing. That phrase could be used to make almost anything illegal when it comes to selling alcohol. The bigger companies fully understand what they are allowed to do and what they can do without too much trouble.

Q. Will these rules ever be relaxed? A. I am not optimistic in the short-

term as there is a real battle between the anti-alcohol lobby and the reality of what happens here in Thailand. These laws have been completely ineffective in curbing drink driving, excessive consumption, domestic violence and other health-related issues. The only solution is getting the alcohol companies to use marketing funds to encourage responsible drinking and provide education and awareness. Since they are not even allowed to discuss this, we are stuck in this ridiculous Catch-22 of a situation.

Q.

What are your views about Thailand’s own winemakers/vineyards? Will they ever be able to compete with the world’s top brands/names?

What needs to happen is for Thais to see wines like Granmonte on wine lists in restaurants in London, Hong Kong, New York, Melbourne, etc… so that they can get validation outside of the country that the wines are good.

Q.

What’s the future of wine drinking in Thailand?

A.

I see it as positive. We need more education from the trade. Hotels and restaurants need to raise the bar on the standard of wine service and education for their staff. People need help with wine and it is the responsibility of the industry to help. The cultural challenges make this harder here but it only takes a few brave souls to push the envelope and not be afraid to stand there and recommend a wine with confidence.

A. In fairness and full disclosure, I

represent Granmonte for the trade and I am pleased to support their effort to make great wines here in Thailand. Nikki, the winemaker, is very good and very talented and she has a real passion. The grapes she has to work with get better and better every year since her dad is the viticulturist and just as passionate. The competition on the world stage will be difficult but it is my belief that some of the wines are very good and not a novelty.

Q.

What difficulties do you face when trying to arrange a wine course or wine tasting event in Thailand?

A.

A large scale wine tasting is simply not possible. We hosted an annual event six times before the laws changed and now, it is impossible to do this anymore. We were the only company that invited all of our wineries and winemakers to come to Bangkok and have a large-scale event for the trade and then open it up to the public. Hosting a wine course is also difficult as the way it is marketed and the words used could be construed as encouraging people to drink.

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Gourmet

Chefs in focus|Khun Ard Saenthip

SERVING UP

Khun Ard Saenthip

Most influential chef? Chef Peter Lai from Hong Kong Most extravagant dish you’ve ever made? Braised chicken and black mushrooms steamed dumplings

Noble House’s Head Chef of Dim Sum shares a few trade secrets Favourite cuisine other than Chinese? Thai

Favourite dish? Fried fish topped with seafood sauce

Worst habit of local diners? Thai diners like to compare the dishes they order at one restaurant to those they eat at another, and they always expect the tastes to be the same. The reality, of course, is that each restaurant has its own unique cooking style and such standardardisation only exists in fast food

Favourite utensil? A whisk

Easiest dish to make? Thai spicy shrimp soup

Favourite ingredients? Tongkat Ali (a Thai herb) Cool tempered or volatile in the kitchen? Cool tempered, of course

Biggest culinary myth? That “Buddha jumps over the wall” (a variety of shark fin soup in Cantonese and Fujian cuisine) is named after the belief it will enhance one’s physical strength. In fact, the dish was named for its ability to entice vegetarian monks from their temples to eat it Most overrated dish? Buddha jumps over the wall

Quality of kitchen staff in Thailand? Constantly competitive

Favourite TV cooking show? TV Champion

Chef Ard in focus ■ CHEF Ard Saenthip has been the Head Chef of Dim Sum at Noble House, Swissotel Nai Lert Park Bangkok, since 2010. With over 20 years’ experience working in Chinese restaurants for hotel chains such as Centara, Hilton, Radisson, Intercontinental, and Novotel, he is known for creating some of the tastiest dim sum to be found in Bangkok. A must try is his Prawn dim sum, which boasts a juicy and delicious crab and prawn filling.

Quality of food suppliers in Thailand? Good

Most difficult dish you’ve ever had to cook? Mooncakes

Swissotel Nai Lert Park Bangkok, 2 Wireless Road 02 253 0123 :swissotel.com/bangkok-nailertpark

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Gourmet

Pics|Events

Gourmet scrapbook

Last month’s foodie functions in focus

An all-Italian showcase ■ OSPITALITÀ Italiana, an international program that certifies the authenticity of Italian restaurants throughout the world, returned to the kingdom for the second year running to award some of the nation’s best Italian restaurants with certificates of authenticity. The event, arranged by the Thai Italian Chamber of Commerce and held at Panorama Restaurant, Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park, saw nine restaurants receiving certificates, seven of which had chefs on hand to showcase their cuisine. Restaurants receiving the certificate in Bangkok were: Biscotti, Four Seasons Hotel; La Buca; Sole Mio; L’Ulivo; Medici Kitchen & Bar, Hotel Muse; La Tavola & Wine Bar, Renaissance Hotel; Ugolini Ristorante Italiano; and, in Pattaya, Gian’s, and Pasta Pasta at Ambassador City Jomtien Hotel.

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Gourmet

Pics|Events

Australian tastes at Chatrium ■ GUEST chefs Patricia Helen Veitch from Adelaide, South Australia, and Roger Louis Poutet, Melbourne, took center stage at Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok’s Silver Wave Restaurant when the hotel brought them in to showcase their cuisine for a one-night dining promotion. The event had a ‘dining-around’ theme which saw each chef take control of a live cooking station where they offered delicious options such as Scotch egg, Peking duck pancakes and Mackerel saltimbocca with saffron potatoes. A wide range of international wines were also on offer, with some excellent suggested pairings.

Chateau Meyre at Le Beaulieu ■ EXQUISITE food, fine wines, and inspiring conversation were the order of the day when Khun Dan Hetrakul, owner of the Chateau Meyre Winery in France, hosted a wine dinner at Le Beaulieu Restaurant, Wireless Road. Held in conjunction with Siam Winery, the event featured a selection of Chateau Meyre’s finest wines paired with a six-course menu specially created for the evening by Le Beaulieu’s renowned chef, Herve Frerard. Among the highlights: Poached Perthuis asparagus, Sturia Aquitaine caviar; Grilled Madame Burgaud duck, fennel Gratin; and Slow-cooked venison saddle, celeriac purée and kampot pepper sauce.

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Gourmet

Dining out|Wine Republic

Review

L

Wine Republic

Oenophiles and foodies alike will find plenty to please them at this hipster hangout on Soi Thonglor

LOCATED right in the heart of Bangkok’s hippest street, Wine Republic has been keeping Bangkok bar flies buzzing with its extensive selection of international wines, boozy and innovative cocktails, plus international eats for three years now. Every night its outdoor terrace is teeming with young, good looking Thais and foreigners who come to feast their eyes on each other and indulge in dishes such as White wine seafood spaghetti (B280++) while lapping up the atmosphere of the street. Inside, meanwhile, the venue does a good job of transporting its guests’ senses to the trendy wine bars of inner-city New York – think dark walls and furniture, subdued lighting, a funky house playlist, and staff decked out in white shirts and brown braces. Guests can opt to drink and dine at the ground floor area, which,

with its tightly-packed tables and large central counter flanked by stools, is more bar than bistro-like. Head upstairs though and the layout is more traditional – naked lightbulbs in wire frames spilling light upon roomy tables that make a great spot for a laid-back date. The food menu, which features a selection of snacks, salads, pastas, pizzas, risotto, steaks, seafood and a few local favourites with a gourmet spin, such as Laab Salmon (B220++), is reasonably priced, ranging from B60++ for Garlic bread up to B680++ for an Australian T-bone steak. You can tuck into decent pasta selections such as Paccheri porcini and truffle oil (B350++); thin-crust pizzas like the fourcheese Truffle oil & porcini (B420++); and seafood treats such as the Canadian Lobster Thermidor (B1,050++ for 500g), which, to save diners from any meat-flicked-down-

137 Corner Thonglor 10, Wattana

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shirt embarrassment, is served with the flesh already outside the shell. A recent addition to the offerings, and highly recommended, is the Grilled tenderloin foie gras (B850++ for 200g). Made with top grade Aussie beef, the meat melts in the mouth and is bursting with juicy flavours which pair perfectly with the richness of the foie gras. Wash down your meal with an innovative cocktail such as the Gordon Roug – a refreshing Sangria-like concoction which blends white wine, vodka, Pimm’s No 1, vanilla syrup, and a handful of juicy chopped fruits – an American craft beer like Rogue, or as the restaurant’s name suggests, a glass or two of your favourite wine. Renowned labels from France, Italy, South Africa, Spain, USA, Argentina and Chile are available, starting at B200++ per glass, and B850++ per bottle.

☎02 714 7599 :facebook.com/rpb.wine

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Gourmet

Dining|BB&B

Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy

A lunch visit to The Water Library Chamchuri leaves the BB&B dining group suitably impressed

W

E made our first visit to the Water Library Chamchuri with a total of 15 diners in attendance, and this sortie was well rewarded. Before taking our seats we enjoyed several glasses of a sparkling rosé which came as a pleasant surprise featuring possibly BB&B’s first encounter with Romanian wine. The table settings nearly encircle the restaurant, enabling perhaps twenty or more to be seated at one long table, as is our wont. Dining commenced with Terrine of Perigord foie gras with mango and smoked duck, accompanied by Riesling Kabinett, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt 2011 (Mosel, Germany). In a witty speech, food spokesman Neil Pawsey had a field day lightheartedly identifying a succession of so-called problems, firstly with the terrine “that no other restaurant would serve it to us because it was incomparable.” Wine spokesman Ralph Bernet, clad for once in

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an elegant jacket, found no fault with the wine and the terrine was great. Seared US scallop with cauliflower and beurre blanc was the next dish; “the low key sauce brought out the flavour of the scallop perfectly,” according to Neil. The Petit Chablis, Domaine Bernard Defaix 2010 (Burgundy, France) did not fare with the critics quite as well as the Riesling or the scallop but, after a few sips, it was found to be a very acceptable match. Dish of the day, scoring 11 out of 10 according to Neil and several others diners, was Chilean sea bass with a light herb vinaigrette and Jerusalem artichoke. The matching wine was Chardonnay, Frank Family Vineyards 2010 (Napa Valley, USA). The sauce was delicious and the fish, cooked to perfection. There followed Wagyu beef cheek with mashed la ratte potato and beetroot (10 out of 10), prompting “Why did they serve the beef with a knife; it was completely redundant because the meat was so tender.”  I was particularly impressed by the way in which the Chef de Cuisine, Mirco Keller, had preserved both the taste

and texture of the beef. This was matched with Cabreo “Il Borgo,” Folonari 2007 (Tuscany, Italy); the only minor complaint from Ralph was that it perhaps should have been decanted as the wine opened up very well as time passed by. Dining was completed with Passion fruit pudding with raspberry and Gianduja chocolate ice cream. Completing his litany of alleged complaints, Neil confessed “he was on the smoking balcony when the dessert arrived and when he returned everybody else was reviewing it for him.” The label selected by Water Library (as was the case with all of the wines) was Orodoro N.V., Cantina Mesa (Sardinia, Italy), again found to be a good match, especially for those with a sweet tooth. Oliver Kramny, who manages both outlets of the Water Library, and Chef Mirco were on hand to receive the deserved compliments from us all. In particular, the team of servers had done a great job. We hope this will not be our last visit; the restaurant was a little difficult to find on the second floor of Chamchuri Square (best approached with taxi from Rama IV) but our tour was well compensated by a great lunch. Water Library Chamchuri, Chamchuri Square 2nd floor, Samyan 02 160 5188 : Chamchuri@mywaterlibrary.com

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cut out and keep

Dining|Recipe

Gourmet

Recipe of the month

Steamed wrapped snow fish and seared scallop with ratatouille Somkiat ‘Leng’ Buranachakorn, Executive Chef at Novotel Bangkok Platinum, shares his recipe for a tasty seafood treat Ingredients (serves 1) • Snow Fish 120g • Prawn 30g • Scallop 3pcs Ratatouille • Olive Oil 20ml • White Onion (Diced) 20g • Eggplant (Diced) 20g • Zucchini (Diced) 20g • Big Tomato (Diced) 20g • Capsicum (Diced) 20g • Garlic (chopped) 10g • Tomato Paste 15g • Bok Choy 40g • Fresh Oregano • Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Method Ratatouille 1. Prepare and cook your ratatouille a day in advance (this allows for maximum flavour).

2. Start by dicing all your vegetables. 3. Heat olive oil over medium heat. 4. Add garlic and onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 to 7 minutes. 5. Add the tomato paste and stir for about one minute. 6. Add eggplant; stir until coated with oil. Add peppers; stir to combine. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep vegetables from sticking. 7. Add tomato, zucchini, capsicum and

herbs; mix well. Cover and cook over low heat about 15 minutes, or until eggplant is tender but not too soft. 8. Adjust seasoning (store in the fridge and reheat the next day). Snow fish Cover snow fish with minced prawns. Steam for 5 minutes. Sear the scallop about 5 seconds each side. Plate your ratatouille and snow fish, and finish with the scallop. 5. Serve and enjoy! 1. 2. 3. 4.

About the chef

eng’ ‘ L t ia k m o S ef Ch 44

KHUN Somkiat ‘Leng’ Buranachakorn is Executive Chef at Novotel Bangkok Platinum. He attended the Hotel Management School in Bang Saen before embarking on an international career which, over 27 years, has included stints working at the Hilton Lyon, France; the Landmark in London; and Mango Tree in Dubai. In Thailand, he has worked for the Royal Orchid Sheraton, Sukhothai, and Peninsula hotel in Bangkok, as well as Le Méridien Phuket. Prior to taking on his position at Novotel Bangkok Platinum, he worked at the Kempinski Bangkok.

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Gourmet

Where to eat

Recommended restaurants and bars International cuisine

Zaks Wine Pub

Moments

•SEEN from the outside, Zaks Restaurant Wine Pub looks like it ought •SALADS, pasta dishes, to be expensive. The setting inside a renovated house is striking, and the modern design, spied through the windows and illuminated with warm subdued lighting, looks just as good as any other classy wine bar in Bangkok. But there’s one big difference here – the price. There’s something for every budget, taste, and occasion, with prices ranging from only B100 for a glass of House Wine, up to B4,300 for a bottle of Telegramme (France) Chateauneuf Du Pape – a steal in Bangkok for a wine of this quality. Tapas selections, thin crust pizzas, gourmet burgers, and innovative cocktails round out the offerings. Sukhumvit Soi 11. Open daily 6pm02 651 0214 1am

grilled meats, and much more are on offer as part of Moments Restaurant’s ‘Exquisite Buffet Lunch.’ Served daily 11.30am-2.30pm, the buffet offers a wide range of local and international gourmet dishes at just B449 per person. If the buffet doesn’t take your fancy, you can choose from an extensive à la carte menu (available for lunch and dinner) featuring a range of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Western options. A carefully crafted wine list features many famous labels. A wide selection of innovative and classic cocktails are also available. AETAS Bangkok, 49 Soi Ruamrudee, 02 618 9000 Phloenchit Road :aetashotels.com

Bistro M

Bei Otto

Bistro concept is given a modern twist at Bistro M. The venue is irresistibly inviting: A sun-drenched terrace boasts seating for up to 40; outdoor chalkboards are crammed with daily specials; and a chic, modern interior, blends whites, reds and creams to create a bright, modern feel. The menu offers a range of mouthwatering dishes from Thailand, India, Italy, France and more, all set at reasonable prices. Pizzas from the wood-fired oven score particularly good marks, and start from just 185 baht.

tures German eats, a ‘European restaurant,’ a German delicatessen and a clientele that usually converses in German. Open all day, many people simply drop-in to enjoy an imported German beer and a snack. Others try the numerous German dishes, including Bangkok’s best German sausages. The baked goods, including excellent dark breads, are also excellent. Although the main restaurant serves a variety of European dishes, the German items are definitely the best.

•THE good ‘ol fashioned

Marriott Executive Apartments Sukhumvit Park – Bangkok, 90 Sukhumvit Soi 24 (BTS Phrom 02 302 5555 Phong)

•THIS popular place fea-

Sukhumvit Soi 20 (BTS Asoke or MRT 02 260 0869 Sukhumvit) :beiotto.com

Mulligan’s

•AN Irish gem in the heart

of Sukhumvit Soi 11, Mulligan’s offers everything a punter could want from an expat pub experience – draught beers from a temperature con-

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trolled cold room; international sports broadcast in HD; and a kitchen churning out hearty portions of international pub grub, with popular selections such as Fish and chips (B340), Honey marinated pork fillets (B375), and Grilled beef tenderloin (B580). 22/22 Sukhumvit Soi 11 (short walk 02 255 5025 from Nana BTS) :mulliganpubs.com

atmosphere here is convivial, and drinking margaritas, having a good time, and dancing to the live Latin music is as much a part of the experience as eating.

Señor Pico’s

Rembrandt Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 18 (BTS Asoke or MRT Sukhumvit) 02 261 7100

SENOR Pico’s includes a comprehensive menu of Mexican items. Tacos, enchiladas, burritos and all those other goodies some of us love are found on the menu. The

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Italian cuisine

Pomodoro (Soi 11)

•Pomodoro needs little intro-

duction since it’s been around in various Bangkok locations since the mid-1990s. So fans of this perennially popular Italian restaurant chain will know exactly what to expect from its Sukhumvit Soi 11 outlet – a comprehensive menu of Italian cuisine with Sardinian influences, plus a choice of over 20 pizzas. Highlights include Red tuna tart Catalana and exotic Gratin cauliflower, porcini, black truffle and parmesan cheese; Spicy seafood soup at B350; pizza Super Mario at B340; and Slow cooked lamb shank and mashed potato (B560). Italian wines are available by the glass for under B200.

Sukhumvit Soi 11 02 651 1327 :pomodorogroup.co.th

French cuisine

Jojo

Aubergine

Le Vendome

real focus on taste, Jojo serves authentic Italian cuisine at its finest. The chefs use exclusive ingredients sourced from small Italian farms and put a real emphasis on rich naked flavours – simple, earthy tastes inspired by the slowfood movement. The Angus beef Carpaccio Cipriani Style is a real treat, as is the Carbonara Tradizionale with egg yolk, parmesan and crispy pork bacon. As for cheese, the Burrata, a delightful buttery soft cheese made from mozzarella and cream, is sublime. Jojo also boasts an extensive wine list, excellent service, and a choice of dining indoors or out.

inspired dishes from the stunningly converted residence that formerly housed Le Bistingo, Aubergine is an attractive option on the local dining scene. Proprietor Nunteera Cox, herself a trained chef, has a French chef with sterling credentials in the kitchen. Set lunches are only Baht 490 and include three courses and a glass of wine. Dining here in the evening is romantic, but relaxed and convivial. A large bar dominates the main room and is ideal for quaffing one of the numerous wines offered by the glass.

French restaurants has improved immensely in recent years and Le Vendome is one of the big reasons. The pleasant setting includes a garden, and private rooms for special functions. If you are looking for signal French food served with élan and presented with pizzazz, this is where you’ll find it. Although relatively expensive in the evening, the set lunches are a fantastic bargain at around Baht 500. Try them once, and you’ll be back in the evening for the Full Monty.

•Keeping things simple with a •Serving a selection of French •The quality of Bangkok’s

St. Regis Bangkok, Level 1, 159 Rajadamri Road. Open daily 6am-11am 02 207 7815 :stregis.com

Bella Napoli

•Bangkok’s archetypal pizza

parlour has been serving authentic Neapolitan-style pizza to Bangkokians for several years. Italian owned and operated, it possesses a woodfired oven and a pizza menu that includes all of the classics plus a few items unique to the restaurant. The pasta is homemade and certainly acceptable, but it is the pizza most people come for. Always busy, but reservations aren’t taken so be prepared to wait if you come on a weekend. The house wines represent excellent value for money. Sukhumvit Soi 31, (BTS Phrom Phong) Tel: 02 259 0405

Saladaeng Soi1/1, 50m Soi Saladaeng, (BTS Saladaeng or MRT 02 234 2226 Silom)

Sukhumvit Soi 31, just past the Soi Sawasdee junction (BTS Phrom Phong 02 662 0530 – but it’s a hefty walk),

Voilà!

T

HE Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit’s signature all day dining restaurant Voilà! serves international buffet lunch and dinner to a superb ‘Cuisine on Stage’ concept – which basically means you can order most of your food from live cooking stations, including a Parisian-style rotisserie and an artisan La Cornue stove. The amazing selection of dishes on offer ranges from fresh seafood and oysters on ice to Parisian bistro selections (soups and casseroles), flame grilled rotisserie meats, Italian pasta, fresh pizzas, Asian favourites, and decadent desserts. A cheese room boasts a wealth of premium quality cold cuts and delightfully pungent cheeses from around the world, and there are even 100 bottles of wine to choose from, including 25 choices by the glass. Spoilt for choice? You bet it. Buffet lunch is B995; dinner is B1,450; and Sunday Brunch is B3,200 with free-flow champagne, cocktails and house wines; or B2,250 with free flow soft drinks. Every Fri and Sat night a Seafood Buffet is just B1,999.

Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit Road Soi 13-15 (between Nana and Asok BTS stations). 02 126 9999 ext. Voilà! :sofitel.com

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Japanese cuisine

Tsu and Nami

•These are twin Japanese

restaurants on the lower level of the Marriott with stunningly contemporary interiors. Nami specializes in teppanyaki eating, where your personal chef cooks and entertains as he prepares your meal on a slab of stainless steel. Steaks and sizzling seafood are specialities. Tsu has a comprehensive menu, but is noted for its sashimi and sushi with seafood that is as wholesome and fresh as any available in Bangkok. Both places woo shoppers and office workers with set menus at lunchtime. JW Marriott Bangkok, Sukhumvit Soi 2 at Sukhumvit Rd (BTS Ploenchit or 02 656 7700 BTS Nana)

Thai cuisine

Yellow Tail Basil Sushi Bar (YTSB) •This restaurant has a mod-

Baan Khanitha & Gallery

and sashimi served in style, make a beeline for this New York-inspired restaurant at VIE Hotel Bangkok. The idea, according to the restaurant’s slogan, is to offer ‘Freshness in Style,’ a concept which applies both to the food – as fresh as it gets and presented with artistic flair – and to the restaurant’s design, which takes contemporary cool and gives it a Japanese spin. Menu highlights include traditional sushi and sashimi, as well as dishes which have their roots in European cuisine, such as Rossini Roll Sushi, which features Teriyaki foie gras and Kagoshima wagyu beef sirloin with white truffle miso sauce (B800++).

award-winning restaurant, has made its mark by rigorously insuring its food is consistently well-prepared. A wide variety of Thai dishes are offered, many reflecting the taste of owner Khanitha Akarnitkul, formerly a designer of women’s clothing. Classics are the Yam Som-O (spicy pomelo salad with shrimp and chicken) and Pla Krapong Phad Khee Mao (stir-fried sea bass with chili, hot basil, and eggplant).There is an art gallery on the site and ample parking. A sister restaurant can be found on Sukhumvit Soi 23.

•If you’re looking for sushi

ern interior, but the décor is still unmistakably Thai. There are several private rooms, making it good for a business lunch or small private function. The menu is extensive, but emphasizes light and fresh items that are easy to eat. The menu indicates the level of spiciness of each dish. The impeccable service and pleasant surroundings make this one of the best places on Sukhumvit Road for Thai food. On Sundays, Basil and its neighbouring restaurants participate in the Sheraton’s renowned Jazz Brunch Buffet. Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Sukhumvit Soi 12 (BTS Asoke or MRT Sukhumvit) 02 649 8366

117/39-40 Phaya Thai Road. Open daily 6pm-11.30pm (opening for 02 309 3939 lunch soon) Facebook: viebangkok

Hiiragi

•Great value comes as

standard at Novotel Bangna Bangkok’s traditional Japanese restaurant, which offers a mouthwatering selection of sushi and sashimi and Teppanyaki selections for a fraction of what you’d pay at most inner-city restaurants. A large

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plate of imported US Angus beef sirloin steak, cooked Teppanyaki style, is available for only B790++, while the Gyou Sushi & Sashimi set (B1,200++ with imported fish) will provide you with enough pieces to feed at least three people. For a real treat, try the Mixed Grill (B680), which comes with Beef fillet, Pork tenderloin, and Chicken breast – all served on a sizzling stone grill. Novotel Bangna Bangkok, 333 Srinakarin Road. Open daily 11.30am-2.30pm and 6pm-10pm. 02 366 0505 :novotelbangnabangkok.com

Blue Elephant Restaurant & Cooking School

•This is the flagship of an

international chain of Thai restaurants started in Belgium. It is located in the century-old and beautifully restored Thai/ Chinese Chamber of Commerce Building. There are set menus, a la carte items, and vegetarian selections.

•Baan Khanitha, an

South Sathorn Road at Soi Suanplu 02 675 4200 (MRT Lumpini) :baan-khanittha.com

You can begin upstairs with a cocktail in the stunning Blue Bar and then go down to the traditionally decorated dining room. The cutlery and plates are beautiful Thai renditions, and the food is always artfully presented. The wine menu is limited, but highlights quality Thai wines. South Sathorn, (adjacent to BTS 02 673 9353 Surasak) :blueelephant.com

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Feature

Dining out|Burgers

Chomp your way through some of the world’s best burgers in Bangkok

B

BRITS love ’em, Aussies love ’em, Americans eat ’em by the bucket load – we’re talking of course, about hamburgers – the ultimate hungerbusting sandwich first created in the late 19th century (see juicy facts) before going on to conquer the dining world. From its humble beginnings as simply a piece of beef wedged between bread and topped with lettuce and sliced tomato, the burger is now available in many shapes, sizes and forms. So while traditional fast-food burger joints like McDonald’s still serve up familiar patties in almost every major city of the world, now there are also gourmet restaurants elevating burgers to whole new levels of taste. Gone are the days when you could simply pick up a burger with your hands and eat it without squirting sauce and juices down your shirt. Trendy

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establishments the world over have taken the original burger template and literally built on it – both in height and value – and their burgers are delightfully messy and huge. So huge, in fact, that they’re often served pierced through the middle with a steak-knife to stop them toppling over like a meaty version of Jenga. Even James Bond villain Jaws would have trouble wrapping his mouth around one. Fillings such as foie gras, blue cheese, gold leaf, and truffle shavings up the gourmet factor. And then you have the meat itself – juicy cuts of top grade beef replacing the usual eyelash, toenail and who-knows-what-else offal of old. While Bangkok’s been slow to jump on the beefy bandwagon, the wheels are now in motion and a slew of new restaurants have opened dedicated to serving meat wedged between a bun (and, in some cases, even between lettuce

or sticky rice!). Whether your tastes are traditional or adventurous, you’re bound to find an option to your liking. Listed over the next few pages are just some of the meaty creations available at dedicated burger restaurants in Bangkok. Fast food outlets, standalone eateries, and even a hotel operated restaurant are in the mix, so you get a good idea of the full price and quality range of what’s on offer. Where possible, we ordered signature burgers (all beef), and all were brought back to the BigChilli office for a photo shoot. No burgers were altered to look better or worse; what you see is what you get. New burger joints are opening all the time, so if we’ve missed your favourite, please let us know at: thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com Enjoy the visual feast!

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t rme ! u o G cial spe

Burger King

Whopper Height: 7cm. Width: 10cm. B129. Various outlets around town.

Firehouse

Premium Angus Burger Height: 7cm. Width: 10.5cm B406.60 (comes with nice chunky chips). Sukhumvit Soi 11 (www.firehousethailand.com)

B lookest ing!

Bangkok Burger Co. Cheeseburger Height: 9cm. Width: 8cm B310 (Comes with salad and fries and a choice of bread). Silom Road, Mega Bangna, and Thonglor Soi 10 (www.bangkokburgercompany.com)

McDonald’s

Big Mac Height: 8cm. Width: 9cm. B158 for a large set with fries. Various outlets around town.

Piri Piri

Cheeseburger Height: 7.5cm. Width: 9cm B284 (with chips and a side salad) Branches at leading malls around town.

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Feature

Dining out|Burgers

“The best way to cook and serve a hamburger is medium rare: crispy outside and pink inside.” Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok

Wid

est!

Legendary 10 oz. Burger Height: 9.5cm. Width: 11.5cm. B620++ per set (comes with fries) Siam Square (www.hardrock.com)

The Garage Burger Signature Garage Burger Height: 8cm. Width: 9cm. B203 (with steak fries) All Seasons Place, Wireless Road (www.thegaragebkk.com)

Juicy facts ir name ers get the rg u b m a H • eaks that amburg st from the H ok with migrants to German im S. eU them to th

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Angel City Diner

Signature burger Height: 8cm. Width: 9.5cm. B299 (add B45 for cheese) Sukhumvit Soi 11 (www.angelcitydiner.com)

• In 1921, Walter A Anders on (a short order cook) and E.W. Ingram (an insurance exec) founded White Castle, the fi rst and the oldest burger chain, in Wichita, Kan sas. Their first burger sold for a nickel.

la Washington • The Walla Wal , the first, in 1889 Newspaper was e th of e nc existe to report on the . er rg hambu

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Photo by @Kamonwan

Burger king: Peter Oh Bangkok Burger Blog’s founder on the makings of a great burger When did you first fall in love with burgers? I suppose my love and appreciation for a good burger stems from growing up in a small town in Wisconsin; a good burger then was what your family/friends grilled up in the back yard. Simple, yet satisfying. Now, after living abroad for so long, when I’m looking for a taste of home, I turn to burgers (and beef jerky, but that’s another topic all together). When did you set up Bangkok Burger Blog, and what has the response been like? BBB was launched in April 2011. The response was and is surprisingly very positive. I didn’t expect it to garner the attention or following that it has. I love that there’s a growing burger-loving community in Bangkok, and I think that over the last couple of years the quality standard for burgers has risen. At the end of last year, I became a partner/co-owner of Firehouse Pub & Restaurant, and I took a little break in making posts. It wouldn’t have been right to continue with the original posting format. That said, BBB will no longer carry personal reviews, rather I hope to continue covering burgers and leave it up to the readers to comment – at the end of the day, to each his own when it comes to burgers.

Mos Burger

Mos Cheeseburger Height: 8cm. Width: 9.5cm. B93 Various outlets around town.

Do you have a strict policy regarding the burgers you feature? No. Like many foods, people’s idea of the perfect burger is subjective…so, I cover almost any type of venue. My only policy was to be consistent and fair in my commentary. I base everything on my preferences. Starting out, I didn’t want to comment about fast food venues or hotel restaurants; I wanted to find places that were less known about, and I was introduced to a lot of cool places through readers of my blog.

Tall e

st!

What are the characteristics of a great burger? Does size matter? No, size is irrelevant; what’s most important is proportion and texture. Bun, patty and toppings have to work together, not against one another – and the patty should always be the star. I prefer a patty with a larger grind that’s not formed too densely. If you overwork a patty or have too fine of a grind, the end result won’t be ideal. Should you be able to pick a burger up? Or is eating with a knife and fork ok? Pick it up!

Burger Factory

Signature burger (a classic bacon cheeseburger with caramelized onions, fresh sweet onions, and spicy BF sauce) Height: 10cm. Width: 9.5cm. B290 Soi Ekamai 10 (www.facebook.com/ theburgerfactory)

• Black Bear Re so in Minn esota, h r t Casino, locate olds the d for the b wo iggest b urger. It rld record 2,014 po w unds an d is 10ft eighs in at in diam eter.

What do you think is the best burger topping? Best cheese? I like to keep it simple. Bacon and some cheddar. I also like the creaminess of Brie and American (which I know is not technically a cheese). What’s your opinion about burgers wrapped in lettuce/rice instead of a bread bun? Well, they aren’t really hamburgers, are they. Read Peter’s blog at www.bangkokburgerblog.com

t Gover nmen WI, the US W g ty n ri er u b D ‘li • rgers ame hambu to use tried to ren ouldn’t have w ey th so ,’ es h al ic sandw ericans so ord. The Am w an ” m er G the ty Cabbage. kraut “Liber er au S d lle ca

• Animal rights gro up PETA offered N once Y $15,000 to the New Y town of H ork amburg to change its to Veggieb name urg.

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Dining out|Burgers

Feature

Pullman Bangkok Hotel G: 25 Degrees Number One Burger (includes caramelized onion, prelibato gorgonzola, bacon, arugula, and Thousand Island dressing) Height: 9cm. Width: 10cm. B330 (B389 for takeout) Silom Road (www.pullmanbangkokhotelg.com)

Deli

megshtfully sy! Carl’s Jr.

Super Star Height: 6.5cm. Width: 11cm B221 (B275 per set). Various outlets around town (www.facebook.com/CarlsJr.Thailand)

Juicy facts ume ans cons • Americ mburgers ha 13 billion gh to circle ou n e r, a yea . 32 times th r a e the

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• The b est way to cook an d ser ve a hambur ger rare: cris is medium py outsid and pink e inside.

Sweet Pista

Softest bun!

Signature burger (comes topped with onion rings) Height 9cm. Width 8.2cm. B350 Sukhumvit Soi 31 (www.facebook.com/sweetpistabangkok)

l, nicknamed • Har ry Sper d ar ry, sacrifice Hamburger H r to de or in n so id his Harley Dav rike: T r to a Burge transform it in e th in is now the whole body rger. bu m ha a of shape

•The most gluttonous cartoon ham burger fan is Poldo (J. Wellington W impy), from the Popeye show .

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Expat WOMEN p Put your feet up and indulge

Looking for a great gift for your teenage daughter? Check out adidas’ new Neo Label range of clothing. Page 60.

Insight

How Alejandra LopezZaballa started her own business in Bangkok Page 58

Shopping

Hot new products and stores demanding your attention Page 60

Agony aunts

Professional counselors Anette and Johanna help readers with problems Page 72 TheBigChilli

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Expat Women

Insight|Profile

Touring Bangkok with a Difference

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How Spanish expat Alejandra López-Zaballa turned her love of photography into a business in Bangkok By Ruth Gerson

MOVING to a new turf is never easy. Saying farewell to family and friends and leaving behind everything you love and know so well is daunting, scary, and often upsetting. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the world - a move to brand new surroundings can provide the chance for endless new opportunities. Such is the attitude of Alejandra López-Zaballa, a Spanish expat who arrived in Bangkok with her husband two years ago and quickly set about creating a new home and career for herself.

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A short conversation with her reveals the depth of knowledge she has acquired in such a short time. Coming from the high power corporate world in London, UK, where she faced endless pressures and deadlines, Alejandra suddenly found herself idle in a foreign country far away from family, friends and colleagues. Nonetheless, she refused to succumb to these “newcomer’s woes” and literally plunged into life in Bangkok. Alejandra started by putting her corporate training to good use analysing what

she would need to make her life in Thailand both productive and happy. And, as often is the case, she turned to an activity for which she had once only had time for as a hobby – photography. This old passion drove Alejandra to enrol in formal courses at the London School of Photography where she acquired a good base for understanding the concepts and the workings of the camera. She attended these courses intermittently for one and a half years. Alejandra continued her photographic training in Thailand, working with highly professional photographers who became her mentors. As her inspiration, she singles out San Diego-based travel photographer Karl Grobl, whom she met when he came to work in Asia. They proceeded to travel together to a number of destinations, with the Philippines and India as Alejandra’s favourites. The highlight of these trips was a recent visit to the Khumbh Mela in Allahabad, India, where thirty million devotees converged on a most sacred Hindu gathering in a single day. Alejandra’s photographs from that event are fascinating and dazzling due to both the unusual subject matter and the remarkable quality of her photography. In fact, such travel experiences drove her a year earlier to create her own photographic private tours, which she named Bangkok Soul. Alejandra is what we can call a “woman of the world.” Born in Madrid, Spain, she attended university in her home city as well as in Trento, Italy. Her working career in human resources ranged the wide spectrum from technology, consultancy and medicine to tobacco, recruiting and development. “I always seek new

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challenges,” says Alejandra. Her varied working career took her to eight countries where she lived and worked. Her curiosity took her even further, seeing her set foot in no less than 70 countries. Aspiring for a career in a blend of photography and private tours, Alejandra approached the subject seriously. She combined the necessary elements that would carry her on her desired route – she purchased professional equipment, trained with senior photographers to get “on the job” experience and undertook training as a National Museum Volunteers guide. She now edits her own work, spending hours in what she calls “the lab” to improve her work. From what was, at first, a difficult situation - quitting her job to follow her husband’s work to Thailand - Alejandra now recognises the move as a golden opportunity. She liked Bangkok almost instantly, finding all the charm and attraction for which the city is famed. She credits the National Museum Volunteers group for providing her the right direction and opening her eyes to the many layers of

Thai culture and art. She also appreciates the embracing warmth that the group’s members extended to her, which she lacked when first arriving in Thailand. “For me, Bangkok is special because it ultimately enables me and my husband to be together,” says Alejandra, a fact that tips the scales heavily in favour of living in Thailand. Arriving from London where both pursued separate careers and prac-

tically led separate lives, this has been a welcome change. Ever on the lookout, Alejandra decided to combine her two favourite activities, photography and tourism. Her decision was not on a whim, but rather a carefully thought out plan. She studied Thai extensively and continues to do so, having a good working command of the language, which she uses as she travels to places that are off the beaten track. At the same time Alejandra continues to study and broaden her knowledge of Thailand, and still volunteers as a guide at the National Museum. When asked about her choice of name for her business, she says it represents what she does, showing visitors the true, less frequented Bangkok by engaging with local people and getting her visitors close to the soul and culture of the place. How do people find out about her and the services that she provides? Alejandra’s first clients came by word of mouth as many still do. However, she has become known with overseas travel agents, with visitors to her website, and, of course, with users of the ubiquitous Facebook, which she updates every week. Her tours, which are in English or Spanish, cater for groups of 1 to 6 and are customised for each visitor’s needs and requests. They run anywhere from a half-day to a four-day tour, generally in and around Bangkok and also to Ayutthaya. At the moment Bangkok Soul, a registered trademark in Thailand, is a two-person business. “I wanted to start humble to give it my best,” says Alejandra. What about the future? Alejandra mulls over a long time project, perhaps a book on Asia, but for now, this dream can wait. Alejandra Lopez can be reached at: Professional Website - www.bangkoksoul.com  Professional Facebook page -  www.facebook.com/BangkokSoul 

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Expat Women

Shopping|New products

SHADES OF SUMMER NEO DELIGHTS ■ IF you have a teenage daughter with a birthday coming up and you’re looking for a great gift idea, check out adidas’ new “Neo Label” line of clothing and accessories. Designed in collaboration with singer and actress Selena Gomez, the new line features clothes, shoes and bags all designed to a punk rock theme – think studs and vibrant patterns throughout. Youngsters will love it. Available at Robinson department store, Supersports, Fit Sports and leading department stores nationwide

Talking

Shop

■ WANT to look your coolest when you hit the beach? Check out the new range of shades by Oliver Peoples. The brand’s Summer Collection boasts a selection of retro-inspired designs which effortlessly ooze retro cool. Best of all, some of the designs are unisex so you can share them with your partner. The collection is available now in leading eyewear stores in Bangkok.

Hot products and stores demanding your attention MAKE A PRINT STATEMENT ■ BEST known for its statement print clothing, Pam & Arch London has now made its debut in Bangkok’s fashion scene. The collection, Bringing Art to Life, is inspired by fashion components of the ’60s such as swing skirts, English floral gardens, and country clubs. The signature look is floral-based in pastel shades including English motifs. There’s also a pure white-lace shift dress for those who prefer something more plain and modern. The collection is now available at Zen and Isetan Department Store, Central World

SCENT OF PARIS ■ ESTABLISHED in 1961 in Paris by three fabric designer friends, French company Dyptique is now best known for creating some of the most elegant perfumes and scented products available on the market. Until recently Thai residents had to ask their friends to bring Dyptique’s products from overseas, but now they’re available at Siam Paragon. Among the collection are scented candles, home fragrances, body care products, and the brand’s famed 34 Boulevard Saint Germaine Collection. www.diptyque.com

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Expat Women

School Report / News Anglo Singapore appoints new Headmaster

ANGLO Singapore International School has appointed Low Eng Kee as its new headmaster. Low brings with him over 40 years’ education experience in Malaysia, Singapore and China, having headed three secondary Schools in Singapore and an international school in Shanghai. For his dedicated service to the education of Singapore, Low was conferred the Public Service Silver Award by the President of Singapore in 2007. Low is enthusiastic about his new role at Anglo Singapore International School and in strengthening the school to become one of the leading international schools offering the Singapore curriculum in Thailand.

A sporting first for St. Andrews

THE weekend of July 1 and 2 saw the inaugural Cognita Games take place in the stunning environment of the St. Andrews Green Valley Complex. Cognita schools from Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand came together to participate in a two day golf tournament as well as a swimming competition and a triathlon. Great fun was had by all and the children are already looking forward to next year’s event.

Cultural exchange at Assumption University

IPN EVENT

STUDENTS from Assumption University’s Martin de Tours School of Management and Economics last month welcomed students from the University of the Cordilleras, Baguio City, Philippines. The visiting students are members of the Hapiyoh Mi Cultural Group, an institutional performing group of the University of the Cordilleras Center for Creative Productions, and they came to town for a special performance dedicated to promoting and preserving the rich culture of the Cordilleran people.

New Headmaster for NIST

CANADIAN expat James MacDonald has been appointed as NIST International School’s new Head of School. Prior to his appointment, James was Head of School at Yokohama International School in Japan, which holds the distinction of being the world’s second oldest international school. Besides Japan, James has worked in schools in Canada and Singapore and has held a number of teaching and leadership positions over the course of his career. He has published numerous articles on international education and is a regular presenter at educational conferences.

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Challenges of the Millennial Generation – What Parents Need to Know

ON Aug 27, the International Parenting Network will feature guest speaker Dr Kulvadee “A” Thongpibul discussing parenting tips and strategies to manage and cope with today’s children. Topics will include: Characteristics of the millennial generation; Challenges in parenting millennial children and teens; How to effectively communicate with millennial children and teens; and Challenges in being millennial parents. FCCT, The Penthouse, Maneeya Centre, Ploenchit Road (BTS Chidlom). 6.30pm-8.30pm. Free for IPN cardmembers and B550 for nonmembers (includes presentation, handouts, dinner, soft drinks, juices and wine) Tel: 081 826 2399 RSVP:ipn@ipnthailand.com

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Review|Sawaddi Patong

Sawaddi Patong Resort This homely resort on the west coast of Phuket is a great place to enjoy a family getaway ■ IN a hospitality climate seemingly obsessed with contemporary design and gadget powered services, it’s always a pleasure when you come across a resort whose whole ethos is centered on celebrating the past. That’s not to say you won’t enjoy all the usual modern conveniences when visiting Sawaddi Patong Resort, it’s just that you’ll enjoy them in a setting which reflects the island’s rich heritage, both in design (architecture inspired by the 19th century Sino-Portuguese buildings found in Phuket Town) and in service – genuinely warm and super attentive; attributes for which ‘old world’ Thailand is renowned. Located on the west coast of Phuket, the resort is within walking distance of Patong beach and all the shops, bars, and restaurants for which the area is famed.

Its 148 fully-appointed rooms, available in Superior, Deluxe, and Suite categories, are divided between two buildings which overlook a large central swimming pool, and all come with complimentary internet access and 32” LCD TV with international cable channels. While there are plenty of local and international restaurants nearby, visitors to Sawaddi Patong will find lots of tasty options on offer at the resort’s own restaurant, Roydi, which cooks up a wide range of international and local favourites, including a delicious Tom Yaam Goong (spicy prawn soup). Other highlights among the resort’s comprehensive range of facilities include Kids’ Club, games room, snooker room, meeting room for up to 40 guests, fully-equipped fitness center, Pool Side Bar with sundeck, and

Sawaddi Patong Resort, 21 Sainamyen Road, Patong, Kathu, Phuket

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the Vara Spa – where you can arrange all kinds of stress-busting treatments ranging from traditional Thai massages and rejuvenating body scrubs, to dozeinducing aromatherapy treatments and herbal steam wraps. All are offered at great value for money. Snorkeling trips, island excursions, and visits to local attractions such as Phuket Town and the Phuket Big Buddha can be booked at the hotel’s lobby, where a qualified guide is on hand to arrange everything you need. If you just want to lounge around on the beach during your stay, you can simply hop on the free shuttle bus which runs to and from the sands. Ultimately, if you’re looking for accommodation with a family friendly atmosphere, great service, and affordable room rates, Sawaddi Patong is definitely worth a visit.

☎ 07 634 3444 :PatongSawaddi.com

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Expat Women

Special event|Living In Bangkok

Helping Bangkok’s new expats get connected Living in Bangkok 2013 will be held on Saturday, September 7, from 9am-5pm at Bumrungrad International Hospital, Sukhumvit Soi 3 ■ EVERY day, new expatriates arrive in Bangkok ready to hit the ground running in one of the world’s most fascinating destinations. Soon enough, the adrenaline-fueled excitement gives way to the challenge of adjusting to living in a new city. Helping expats settle in and make the most of their time here is what the Living in Bangkok event is all about. The event brings together people, organizations and resources to help make living in Bangkok a more fulfilling experience for expats and their families.

Make connections Visitors to the event can connect with nearly 60 exhibiting organizations, companies and community groups representing nearly every facet of expatriate life – property and relocation, recreation and sporting pursuits, travel, health & nutrition, financial services, and more. Representatives from Krungsri bank will be on hand to help expats apply for credit cards, foreign currency accounts and other banking services that offer great convenience for expats. Take advantage of their special offer of no credit card joining or annual fees.

Smoother transitions If you’re still looking for the perfect “home” in Bangkok, a number of property and relocation representatives will be on hand throughout the day. Living in Bangkok co-organizer ThaiCraft will be showcasing a large selection of its Fair Trade products crafted in villages throughout Thailand. Artisans will demonstrate their traditional crafting techniques.

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Parents & families Living in Bangkok 2013 offers plenty of family-focused appeal. Discover a wide variety of educational resources – international schools, after-school programmes, and great ideas for family recreation and fun, including Incy Wincy Yoga for kids and surfing at Flow House. Bangkok is ideal for travelling around Thailand and the Asia region – by bicycle. Check out the offerings from SpiceRoads for healthy two-wheeled travel.

Community ties Volunteering is one of the best ways to feel at home in a new city. Whether you’re passionate about music and theatre or helping a local charity, or if you’re looking for a support group, you’ll discover a full range of possibilities all in one place. Consider joining one or more of the clubs and civic groups represented at the event; this year’s roster includes the British Club, which welcomes new members of any nationality.

Entertainment & prizes Living in Bangkok 2013 offers great entertainment throughout the day. Don’t miss the music and stage performances featuring students from local international schools and community groups. And there will be great food and snack favourites from Central Food Hall available all day. There will be great prizes at the event’s lucky draw/raffle – gift vouchers from Food by Phone, watches from Groove & Groovy, Microdermabrasion treatment from Vitallife, gift hampers, a free holiday trip, plus many more. Save the date: Saturday, September 7 Living in Bangkok 2013 takes place on Saturday, September 7 from 9am-5pm at the ground floor of Bumrungrad’s main hospital building and at the Sky Lobby (10th floor, Clinic building). Admission is free, and a complimentary shuttle bus service runs from BTS Nana station (exit 1) along Sukhumvit Road throughout the day.

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Expat Women

BWWG|Monsoon Midnights

Monsoon Midnights Special places in Bangkok, as experienced by the Bangkok Women’s Writer’s Group as the tuk tuk races through the city smog, its wheels only touching the road occasionally. My hands burn as I Dear reader, hold onto the sides and try d an Midnights’, a br on not to breathe too deeply. so on ‘M to e m ’s Welco omen W ok gk an B Exhaust fumes from cars e th ies by new series of stor and buses join the exotic mix of chemicals in my hair Writers Group. and on my face. The traffic l al om come fr G W W B e coagulates as we enter the th of The story tellers ecial place sp a ve Ploenchit area. Ruthlessly, ha l al ey t th d an e over the world bu ur we run traffic lights and sc ob , ng si ri here surp nearly topple a fellow to us in this city, somew w lo ol F ered. ov sc di un t ye tuktuk as we turn the final as , unexpected , re he t corner. And now I can see gh ri es ac these hidden pl her, waiting for me, sitting . month after month on a wooden bench at a long rectangular table in a courtyard just behind a church. The building next to it now houses an office and a parking lot, but twenty years ago it was an international NIGHTFALL OVER BANGKOK school where Joy studied. This courtyard used to be the canteen of the school. THERE are some very high places in I jump out and, after a frank and Bangkok. Places where you can look out heated exchange of opinions, pay the tuktuk and see the city laid out like an interactive driver who careers off into the fume-filled map beneath you. I look at the darkening darkness. sky. Tonight, the air is thickening up. There Joy closes her eyes for a moment. The is no wind, not even a breeze. Every leaf on traffic is now a faint murmur behind the every tree hangs motionless. courtyard walls. Then she starts talking in When the sun goes down, it will get her slow, soft voice. This is her story: cooler, I think. But not tonight. Tonight the temperature rises with the night. Moisture Fai collects in my hair, my clothes, even my eye By Mariejoy San Buenaventura lashes. The spot that attracts my attention toFAI’S naming has had no effect on her night is right in the thick of the city. A place destiny, for where is her fire on this warm where many lives collide and connect. And afternoon? Oval-faced African children, fall apart again. bearded men, and South Asian women Tonight, I will not fly through the air, with their copious hair surround her, conor disperse over the swamp with the rain. fuse her with their rich colours and their Tonight, I will get to my destination in a languages. She stows herself at the end way that reflects the tradition of modern of a line, doused with shame at having Bangkok like no other: I take a tuk tuk. to take alms from a church organization This month’s story teller, Mariejoy that helps refugees and, once in a while, San Buenaventura, is waiting for me some poor Thais. A bag of rice, a few

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cans of fish, some detergent, bath soap, and toothpaste. It’s better than nothing. But one of the helpers today is a young man she recognizes from twenty years ago, one of the students at the international school where she used to work as a cook. He was nice as a child, bespectacled, giving her a small smile after she handed him his plate of food, putting the money carefully into her palm instead of dropping it impatiently like so many of the other students did. If he remembers her, he is probably wondering what has brought her to this state, among people who left their home countries to be safe. Has she not been safe in her own home? She woke in the cool of five a.m. and went to market with at least one helper, bargaining hard for the freshest produce. They loaded bunches of spring onions and packs of meat and spices on to a tuk tuk and went straight to the canteen, to its crowded white-tiled kitchen behind the serving counters. Breakfast was easy, a matter of toasting sliced bread and frying eggs, and maybe a quick stir-frying of khao pat. Lunch meant standing and stirring over a hot stove in the midmorning heat. Thirsty often, she always kept her plastic cup beside the jug of iced water. She pitied the girl who boiled the noodle soup; with all that steam, her cheeks were red and her hair inside the tight white cap was probably frizzy. They made the chicken curry interesting with lots of chilli, and even learned foreign dishes like meat loaf in gravy. The students and teachers queued up for a plate – ten baht for two dishes over rice. Some of the children could be insensitive snobs. Upon reaching the counter, they would run their eyes over the dishes and immediately turn back, saying “Nothing to eat,” thinking the canteen staff would not understand that much English. But they did understand, and she made sure to tell the students off. She told them off as well as she could. She has never been witty.

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Then there was the cleaning afterwards at about four in the afternoon, sweeping and mopping the floor, drying and stacking the plates, scrubbing down the kitchen. She bent to ease her spine. She smeared a touch of cooking oil on her peeling hands. Someone pokes her between the shoulder blades. Ah, a fellow Thai, prodding her to move forward. If he asks why she begs, she will pounce on him. Good that he keeps quiet. Why pain each other with stories? In a few steps she consumes the space between her and the woman ahead, an African mother with three fidgeting toddlers. The children stare with eyes that seem lighted in matchflames. She wonders if they see more widely, in brighter hues. She did not want to seem nosy, but to her the students seemed to inhabit different planes of existence from her own. She knew they were not all the same. There were the carefree girls jumping ropes, the loud boys tagging each other, the teenaged couples strolling and talking in low voices, club members who just finished singing or staging mock debates or planning volunteer trips. Most intriguing

were the loners who did their homework on the now clean canteen tables, pale kids who, when their cars pulled up, packed away thick textbooks and walked bent over with the weight of their rucksacks. The students were so varied, and yet they were more alike than they realized, focused on feeding their heads so that one day they would never need to scrub anything for anybody, so that one day, if they ever found themselves sweating over a pot of boiling curry, it would be for the family they loved. None of them ever haggled over vegetables. None of them had hands that burned with chilli seeds or smelled of corn oil. Then there were the teachers. When she was new to the job, she had to get over the surprise of learning that they did not all speak English the same way, and of finding herself taller than about half

of the white men. If the students lived on dimensions not her own, the teachers were a different species altogether. What would it have been like to spend the day standing and talking, whether you were listened to or not? To write comments and percentages with red ballpoint pens, feel the pleasing scratch of the tip against paper with each check mark, a scratch for the itch in the joint between the third and fourth fingers? They carried black, muscular bags. They wore ties and pencil-cut skirts and eyeglasses. Most of them pointed at the food they wanted, though some were bold enough to try speaking the name of the dish. As long as they accompanied their words with a pointing finger, she could pretend she understood what they said. She wishes she could hide behind the person in front of her. Why does she have to be so tall? It would have been all right if she had a pretty face, then she could have been a model. Now all her height is doing is showing her to that young man. She fervently hopes that he cannot recognize her. She hopes she has aged so much from her younger self, for once taking refuge in crow’s feet and fallen cheeks. It torments her because life should move only forward, and yet this donation line is the only space along which she advances. He is still fat, with rounded shoulders. If she remembers him among hundreds she served in a day, if she remembers him through his growth from childhood to adulthood, is there any chance that he does not remember her? Please, let her not be identified, let her not be identified. She came home to one of the wooden houses in the tiny alley beside the church. Not a pretty neighborhood, but it kept a breeze flowing and so was always cool, and the rent was very small. She lived with

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BWWG|Monsoon Midnights

her brother, who had just begun secondary school. She hoped to find him already home, having tidied up the house, doing homework. An adolescent doing what adolescents did after school, he often strutted in an hour after she had arrived. He was responsible enough, did his work and finished it before they turned on their small TV for the drama. He was not that fun to discuss shows with. His responses were indifferent, an attempt to be manly, and only once in a while did he react with the fascination he felt. He decided not to go to university after graduation, which was fine since they had no chance of affording it. What hurt was that he married almost immediately and went back to their province to farm. She still shakes her head at this choice. If he was intending to be a farmer all along, why didn’t he say so at once? Why did he let her bring him to the city and see him through high school? She has not been able to tell him that yet. Every time she sees him, her throat gutters in shallow words. She knows she should tell him how she feels some time, but not today. It will be six months before her next visit. The young man measures rice into plastic bags as more people than were expected have come for donations. Why should she care too much anyway whether he recognizes her or not? He might be a top-level executive now, and he is seemingly a generous person. Nevertheless he has no idea of her struggles. Nothing is freely given. Life has a bigger hand for some people. For others, like her, that hand must be poked, tickled, pounded into opening. The space before her clears. She has reached the end of the line. When she was eighteen she took a bus to Bangkok, and all throughout the ride, she put her hand on her heart to calm its flickering. She clutched her bag close to her chest, not so much from fear of robbery but from loneliness, an aching wish that the person sitting next to her was a sibling or good friend instead of the broad-shouldered sleeping stranger. She stayed with a friend of her mother’s, who found her work sewing at a factory. It was not difficult, but the hours were long, the regulations many and exhausting, the pay not much. As soon as she had saved, she

you remember.” “You were always nice. You never said bad things about the food.” “Really? Doesn’t sound like me,” he giggles. “Don’t you remember me at all?” “Sorry, I don’t.” He is lying. The eyes betray. Good of him, though. She smiles and walks away, embracing the bag of alms as if it was a candle needing walls. Softly and slowly as it started, the story comes to an end. We sit on the deserted benches, in silence. Except that there is no real silence here, ever. The traffic hums forever and turns into a roar as the tuk tuk re-appears and takes me back to the main roads. I wonder where Fai is now? If I crane my neck and hang out dangerously over the side of the tuk tuk, I can see the moon, riding high inside a dizzy veil. Once again, my lungs fill with black smoke as I look up. I will see this moon again next month, when I visit the next story teller, waiting for me already, somewhere, in an undiscovered corner of the city. Let me take you on that journey!

He is lying. The eyes betray. Good of him, though. She smiles and walks away, embracing the bag of alms as if it was a candle needing walls.

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THE Bangkok Women’s Writers Group, led by Anette Pollner, founded in 2001, is where creative women from all over the world meet to workshop their writing in a supportive and inspiring environment. Many of our members are published and prize winning authors, but we are open to all women who are passionate about writing, including complete beginners. The BWWG has published a Thai English language bestseller, ‘Bangkok Blondes,’ and various pamphlets. We regularly give readings around town and have been part of international festivals and cultural exchanges. Please contact bkk_writers@yahoo.com for more information. This month’s BWWG writer is Mariejoy San Buenaventura, usually a poet, who teaches poetry and short-story writing at Mahidol University International College and is the editor-in-chief of Hitherto: The MUIC Literary Journal. She is also a singer, her love for words further manifesting itself in her enjoyment of lyrics.

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About the BWWG

asked around, found the cooking job, and was soon swept up in the early-morning market, kitchen steam, hungry students, and strange foreign dishes. A few years later, it was her turn to pick up her brother from the bus station. His hair looked mowed and he yawned. She brought him to her cheap house in that alley beside the church. It was little and unpainted, but it was hers, theirs. The young volunteer hands her a bag of goods. “Thank you. I remember you. You studied in the school that used to be here. I cooked and served at the canteen.” “Really, Auntie? I’m surprised that

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Expat Women

Advice|Problems solved

Ask the experts Send your problems to: thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com

Expat life getting you down? Don’t suffer in silence. Send in your Wor r ied fo r my problems and get advice from d r opout d au gh t e r professional counsellors I AM very worried about my 22-year-old daughter, who has just Anette and Johanna returned from a failed stint at a University abroad. When she first

went there seven months ago she regularly contacted us and told us she was happy and also said she was getting good grades. But things suddenly changed: the University called to say our daughter was not doing well and would have to come home. They said that during her time at University, our daughter had simply stayed in her room and had failed to hand in any papers. Upon returning home she has continued to stay in her room and spends all her time on the Internet. We told her to look for a job or at least help in the home, but she won’t even clean her room. Whilst our daughter was at University she had used a credit card we had given her to pay for her living expenses, and during this period we had noticed that large amounts were being withdrawn. Shortly after she returned home, we noticed the same was happening so we confronted her about it and discovered that she has been ordering large amounts of food. We further discovered that after eating this food, she vomits, and then orders again. On average she spends at least 10,000 baht a week on food. We were shocked when we heard this. We have told her to stop, but it seems to continue. Now we have a lot of arguments and tension in the home. I am wondering what did we do wrong and how we can change the situation? Clarissa, 49, from Bangkok

Dear Clarissa,

■ This is a very difficult situation. Your daughter is suffering from bulimia, a mental condition that needs professional help. There are many possible causes for bulimia, and you would need a professional to investigate what exactly is happening to your daughter. For you and for now, though, the first step is to tell your daughter that you want her to see a doctor as bulimia causes many physical symptoms and can affect long-term health very negatively. She then also needs to see a counselor. From what you describe it seems to me that your daughter may also be suffering from depression.

• Johanna DeKoning MS is the Clinical Director of NCS Counseling Center. She trained in the Netherlands and Australia.

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The counselor will help her gain insight into the underlying issues that contribute to her illness. Sometimes sessions with the parents are also set up. If your daughter refuses to go you have to confront her and tell her with love, but firmly, that you are going to change things in the house. Do not fight, just stay calm even when she is not. You have to set up boundaries and rules: 1. You take back the credit card and she cannot use your money anymore. 2. If you want to give her some autonomy, you could give her a bank account with a certain amount of money for each month, and when that money is used she cannot go into debt. 3. You have decent meals available in the house every day so she cannot binge from the fridge. 4. You discuss with her what her responsibilities are and together set consequences if she does not keep them (e.g. if you cannot come out of your room to socialize we will have to send you to a hospital). In this way you give her responsibility for her own life and she also will discover that behavior has consequences. By letting your daughter sit in her room and have unlimited access to money you are enabling her behavior. Give your daughter the opportunity to express herself and give suggestions. 5. After agreeing to these conditions, stick to them, lovingly but firmly. The situation you write about is complicated and I do hope you will find a way to get professional help for your family. While changes in the home can help, with an illness like bulimia this really is the only way to go if you want your daughter to get better. I wish you all the best. Johanna

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S tuck in my boss’s shado w I AM in a tricky situation. For the past few years I have been working for someone who is very well known in his field and who has helped me a lot to get my feet on the first few steps on the ladder. I am very grateful to him and very much aware that, without him, I would never have had the opportunities I have now.

a bit tricky. What if one of them takes your place in the patron’s affections? Introducing the next assistant yourself could give you some continued input. Navigating such a complex power web weighed down by emotions He invited me to join his projects when I was really nothing more than a very and dependence is very difficult. It inexperienced assistant and we still collaborate a lot – in fact, so much so would help if you could find somethat I can’t find the time to work on my own and develop independently. one to talk to, preferably outside your patron’s sphere of influence. Recently, he said he needed me to stay and work with him at the exact time But in many industries, and in when I was invited to lead a project outside the country, and I stayed. many cultures, this is what you Now, he is planning a series of events that will stretch over the next have to do. Maybe you can talk three years and will require my constant presence and input. to someone who has successfully navigated this minefield already (of And so now I am in a dilemma: do I continue to assist and course, in confidence!) and learn collaborate with my patron (potentially forever, I believe) or do from him. I have the right to separate from him, at least partially, to pursue my own professional future? I don’t want to be All the best. ungrateful and selfish when he needs me, but I am also Anette worried that I will never be able to step out of his shadow. What should I do? Dear Tom,

Tom, 25, from Bangkok

■ You are torn between different loyalties, to your patron and to yourself. And I agree, the situation is tricky. The relationship between you and him is very unequal in the first place. When you met him, he had all the power. He gave you a lot of what you wanted, and a lot more than you could have obtained for yourself. In that process, he also transferred some of the power to you – if you give someone what he wants, then he has it. One way to approach this is to ask yourself: What did my patron get out of this deal? What did I give him when he took me under his wings? Did he enjoy nurturing your talent? Did he perhaps also enjoy the huge power differential? What did it mean to him to have such a talented and faithful assistant? The fact that he is now reluctant to let you go is part of your answer. He seems to be more interested in what you can do for him now than to (selflessly?) let you go on your own way. In some ways he is like a parent, but in another sense he is

• Anette Pollner Adv. Dipl. Couns., is one of seven international counsellors at NCS Counseling Center in Saphan Kwai. She trained in London and the US and worked as a staff counsellor at Bart’s Hospital in London.

more like an investor who now wants to see some return on his investment. In that case, your fears of never being able to step out of his shadow may be well founded. Depending on the industry you both work in, complete independence may not be possible or even in your interest. But just stepping back and accepting ‘second place’ doesn’t seem fair to you either. If you pursue your own career more, your patron will experience a loss in his life. Nobody likes that. He may also genuinely miss your inspiring company. It is also possible that he may really not wish you to grow and become yourself. To find out, you could run a few ideas past him for projects that you would like to develop independently and try to find out if he is open to being proud of you from a distance. If nothing else works, you could also try to introduce a temporary substitute assistant, or several. This is, of course, also

Contact details: ncs-counseling.com, anette.p@ncs-counseling.com, Tel: 02 279 8503 Send your problems to: thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com TheBigChilli

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Expat Women

Health|Flying talk

How to beat the dreaded jet lag Judith Coulson, Executive Director of BKK-Health.com, explains the best way to approach a long-haul flight

■ THE summer season’s here and for many expats that means one thing – it’s time to take a trip back home to catch up with family and friends and enjoy a welcome break from work. Before you can take pleasure in these rewards though you have to face the dreaded long-haul

flight – the 11 hours cooped up in a poky seat, the lack of a night’s sleep, the eating at odd hours and the rapid dehydration. All of which result in jet lag on arrival. Not pleasant. At all. But, unlike economy seats, long haul flights needn’t always be a pain in the bum. Below are a few tips you can follow to help you reach your destination feeling bright and fresh and ready for anything.

Stay hydrated Before and during the flight drink a lot of plain water. Dehydration, intensified by the dry cabin air, is one of the main causes of jet lag, resulting in headaches, nausea and stiffness during and after a long haul flight. When I fly I always take a water bottle with me which I can ask the flight attendants to refill. This is

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great because I don’t have to bug the attendants often (as is the case when using a small plastic cup), the bottle is easy to store, and, like the bottle, I’m constantly topped up with water.

When to sleep and when to stay awake Consider the time of arrival at your destination and plan your sleeping, reading or movie times accordingly. If you arrive at your destination in the morning, and there is a whole day ahead of you, try to sleep 5-7 hours before arrival. So in my recent case of arriving at 06.45am in Europe, I ate dinner and watched a movie for the first two-three hours of the flight and then tried to get some sleep. If you arrive at your destination in the evening or late afternoon, try to sleep the first four-five hours and stay awake the rest of the flight, so you are able to get a good night’s sleep a couple of hours after arriving at your destination.

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Choose your foods (and drinks) sensibly

Most people don’t think much about airplane food except from finding it edible or not. If you have a choice of meals and are not limited to a special diet, I would chose a carbohydrate rich meal before you want to sleep and a protein rich meal for breakfast or before arrival. I always ask for fruits instead of any other dessert option and I stay away from low-fibre foods like white bread, chips, crackers or pastry. High-fibre foods, like vegetables, help you store water, stimulate your digestion and prevent constipation. The slow release sugar in most fruits will help you to stay awake and energized after landing. I would always take some extra fruits and some whole grain crackers or mixed nuts and dry fruits with me on board, especially when flying with the kids.

“Don’t forget that sugary or caffeinated drinks will also dehydrate you. Enjoy them in moderation or skip them all together.”

Many people appreciate the free alcohol servings during most flights. Keep in mind that alcohol dehydrates you, though, and that your body is more sensitive to alcohol during flight conditions (the alcohol absorbs into your blood stream faster and it takes more time and resources to get it out of your system). Don’t forget that sugary or caffeinated drinks will also dehydrate you. Enjoy them in moderation or skip them all together. I wish you a safe and enjoyable travel season. Judith Coulson is a Medical & Lifestyle Nutrition Coach available for private coaching sessions and corporate wellness workshops. For further information on food and eating habits email: Judith@bkk-health.com

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Expat Women

Charity news|S’fare

Suited and booted – S’fare’s school uniform campaign gets off to a great start ■ S’FARE, one of Thailand’s leading fashion brands for men, has launched a new charity campaign to help raise funds to buy school uniforms for underprivileged children in Thailand’s rural areas. Called “S’fare Right & Share,” the campaign aims to raise enough money to buy 1 ,000 uniforms and will see S’fare donate money to the cause every time a customer spends B3,000 or more at any of the brand’s stores in Thailand. The campaign kicked off in style last month with a special launch event arranged by Central Marketing Group, where Thai celebs and VIP guests rubbed shoulders with the country’s top fashion designers. What makes the campaign so special and how can you get involved? We spoke to Khun Parunee Mutiwattanasawad, Vice President Apparel & Accessory 1 Division, to find out.

Please tell us more about S’fare

Has the project made much progress? Yes we have! Since launching last month we’ve already made our first donation of school uniforms to Ban Koh Phayam School in Ranong, and that was a great day; the children were very happy and all expressed their thanks. Seven more schools are now left in our plan, including Kong Mong Ta Schools in Kanchanaburi; Ban Si Bo Ya School in Krabi; Ban Wang Yao School in Suphan Buri; Ban Sub Pha Sook School in Badan Lopburi; Ban Dong Salao School (Ban Wang Hora branch) in Badan Lopburi; Ban Khok Samran School in Nakhon Ratchasima; and Ban Na Wiang Kham Siri School in Yasothon.

Have you been doing much to promote the project?

As a premium fashion brand for men, S’fare has been developed with the concept that true gentlemen always take pride in the clothes they wear. We offer the perfect combination of quality and style, so that men at work or at home can always look their best.

Yes we have. A few weeks ago we held road shows in Bangkok, Korat, Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, and Hat Yai, where we promoted “Right & Share” to anyone interested in supporting the charity.

What is the objective of Right & Share?

As our goal is to provide 1,000 uniforms to underprivileged children in rural areas, we greatly appreciate everyone who wants to get involved in the charity. Simply spend B3,000 or more on S’fare products and part of the revenue will go towards the charity. You’ll also get a complimentary S’fare T-shirt, valued at B790.

From the very beginning S’fare has always wanted to give back to society, and providing school uniforms to underprivileged children is one great way of doing this. It’s also a great fit with our brand image of presenting the ‘true gentleman’ – showing kindness, graciousness, and being willing to help others.

How can people support the charity?

S’fare shops can be found in all leading department stores in Thailand

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Y O U R U L T I M A T E W H A T ’ S O N G U I D E F O R A U G U S T 1 3

What’s on pArt pPerformance pSport pFootball pMovies & Albums pBooks

The Pet Shop Boys are just one of the big international acts set to perform at The Sonic Bang Festival . Page 80.

Japandroids

Two-piece rock and roll brilliantness is coming to Bangkok. Oh, yeah! Page 80

Volleyball

Catch Thailand’s national team in action at the World Grand Prix Page 82

Tango magic The Great Artists Concert Series takes on a Latino flavour Page 80

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What’s On|The Arts

Exhibitions Until Aug 31

Number 1 Gallery

The Mysterious Flower PROVOCATIVE and vibrant in equal measure, Krissadank Intasorn’s study of Thailand’s transgender community explores the prejudices the community faces because it eschews social conventions. 919/1 The Silom Galleria Building, Silom Road 02 630 2523 :number1gallery.com

Aug 6 – Sept 8

DOB Hualamphong Gallery

Anonymous Friends

Until Aug 25

ALIENATION, confusion and self-examination are just three of the concepts explored in this new series of paintings by Thosapol Boriboon, whose work also reveals sarcasm towards the western art movement through resized renditions of prominent paintings, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s The Mona Lisa.

Ardel Gallery of Modern Art 

See through: See true

FEATURING mixed media art created through digital printing and metal weaving techniques, Pornsawhan Jansook’s latest body of work explores how a person’s physical appearance changes over time. An image of a woman is used to symbolize life, while a metal net wrapped around this represents protection of the body and mind.

DOB Building 4F, 318 Rama 4 Road :ardelgallery.com

☎02 237 5592-4

Boromratchonnee Road. Open Tues-Sat 10.30am-7pm; Sun 10.30am-5.30pm (closed Mon) 02 422 2092 :ardelgallery.com

Until Aug 25 Until Aug 25

Ardel Gallery of  Modern Art 

Emptiness

KAMOLPAN Chotvichai turns her artistic eye on herself for her latest exhibition – a series of hand-cut print portraits exploring key Buddhist principles. Boromratchonnee Road. Open Tues-Sat 10.30am7pm; Sun 10.30am5.30pm (closed Mon) 02 422 2092 :ardelgallery.com

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Sombat Permpoon Gallery

Happiness in simplicity

THE latest exhibition by award-winning silkscreen artist Pongsiri Kiddee highlights the artist’s fascination with geometric forms, particularly the basic lines and shapes found in everyday objects. His abstract works are both colourful and graceful, and focus on the rich imagery found at Thailand’s temples. 12 Sukhumvit Soi 1, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana. 02 254 6040-6 :sombatpermpoongallery.com

Until Aug 30

Eat Me Restaurant

The Road of Excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom BANGKOK-based Scottish artist Richard Skene presents a stimulating and provocative collection of graphic designs, photographs, and video and light installations which explore the ups and downs one may experience in the pursuit of happiness. His art deals with a variety of diverse and conflicting subjects, including peace and violence, love and sex, and hope and fear, and ultimately takes viewers on a visual journey from hedonism to Buddhism in Bangkok. Eat Me Restaurant, Convent Road (next to Carmelite Monastery), Silom. Open daily 3pm-1am 02 238 0931:eatmerestaurant.com

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What’s On|Performance

Live Music

AUG 17

THAILAND CULTURAL CENTER

AUG 14

THE BEST OF TANGO ARGENTINA

ROUTE 66 (RCA)

JAPANDROIDS

TWO piece rock and roll brilliantness is coming to town this month in the form of Vancouver-based Japandroids, who, according to the Guardian, “play their rock’n’roll like a high-wire act, sounding ever on the edge of falling apart, flirting with chaos and collapse, just on the right side of din and derangement.” Should be a cracker. Tickets: B1,400 Thaiticketmajor.com

PART of The Great Artists Concert Series 2013, this special event will feature a performance by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra with soloist Rodolfo Mederos and conductor Carlos Izcaray, as well as a tango showcase by renowned dancers and choreographers Julieta Biscione and Roberto Castillo. Tickets range B500-B2,500 Thaiticketmajor.com. Show starts 8pm.

AUG 25

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL BANGKOK

PRO MUSICA QUARTET

M.L. Usni Pramoj, Tasana Nagavajara, Siripong Tiptan, Kittikhun Sodprasert and Pongsathorn Suraphap will perform Pro Musica Quartet with a recital of Antonin Dvorak’s “String Quintet Op.77”, Gioachino Rossini’s “Sonata for strings No.1 in G major” and more. Concert starts at 5pm. Tickets: B500 (B100 for students) sufm. ticket@gmail.com

AUG 18

THAILAND CULTURAL CENTER

THE PLATTERS LIVE IN BANGKOK

ROCK ‘n’ roll vocal veterans The Platters are known around the world for their romantic, unforgettable melodies, including hits such as Only You, The Great Pretender, Magic Touch and Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. Expect to hear these songs and more timeless classics when they perform in Bangkok. Tickets range B500-B2,500 Thaiticketmajor.com. Show starts 2pm.

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JUSTIN BIEBER BELIEVE TOUR THE baby-faced pop sensation is coming to Bangkok on Sept 26 (Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani). Tickets range B2,500-B6,500 from Thaiticketmajor. com. Get them early to avoid disappointment.

AUG 24

IMPACT ARENA

SONIC BANG FESTIVAL

THE Sonic Bang Festival is a one day event comprised of six stages and some 30 acts including Ash, Placebo, Pet Shop Boys, Pitbull, Jason Mraz, Owl City, and popular Thai bands such as Lipta, Scrubb and Flure. The full lineup can be found on www.sonicbang.net. Tickets range B3,000-B5,000 Thaiticketmajor.com

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What’s On|Outdoors

Sport SEPT 8

SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT, BANGKOK

ADIDAS KING OF THE ROAD

THE Thailand edition of the Adidas King of the Road Championship will feature a choice of 16.8km, 10km, and 5km routes starting and finishing at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Candidates can register until Aug 23 at adidas shops at Central World, Siam Discovery, Mega Bang Na, Central Pinklao, Central Rama 9 and Central Ladprao. Can’t be bothered to go to the mall? Simply sign up at the website below. adidaskingoftheroad.com

AUG 7

RAJAMANGALA STADIUM

CHANG CHAMPIONS CUP

MAN Utd, Chelsea, and Liverpool all came to town last month to give Bangkokians a taste of EPL-style action. Now football fans have the chance to sample some Spanish flavoured footy as FC Barcelona are bringing Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernández, Cesc Fàbregas and co. for a game against Thailand’s national team at the Rajamangala Stadium. Gates open 7pm. Tickets range B1,000-B3,500 Thaiticketmajor.com

AUG 16 – 18

INDOOR STADIUM HUA MARK

VOLLEYBALL WORLD GRAND PRIX

CATCH Thailand’s national volleyball team in action against Puerto Rico, Germany, and Russia, in this Group L showdown of the Volleyball World Grand Prix. A full fixture list and times of play can be found at Thaiticketmajor.com. Tickets B100 and B200 Thaiticketmajor.com

SEPT 21 – 29 SEPT 15

KANCHANABURI

RIVER KWAI INTERNATIONAL HALF MARATHON

THE 32nd edition of Thailand’s oldest road race will once again see around 1,500 international racers turning up to tackle the scenic course which begins and ends in front of the River Kwai Village Resort. Don’t have the stamina for a half marathon? You can always opt for the 10km course which runs alongside the main event. goadventureasia.com

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IMPACT ARENA, MUANG THONG THANI

THAILAND OPEN

NEWLY-crowned Wimbledon champ Andy Murray, World #6 Tomas Berdych, and defending Thailand Open champion Richard Gasquet are just three of the big names coming to Bangkok to compete for the $631,500 prize money at this popular annual tournament, now in its 11th year as part of the ATP Tour. Tickets range B300-B4,500 Thaiticketmajor.com thailandopen.org

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What’s On|Sport

Thai football in focus

SOCCER PUNDIT PAUL HEWITT EXAMINES WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD OF THAI FOOTBALL

From football to fashion – Steven Robb AFTER BEING RELEASED FROM SINGHTARUA FC LAST MONTH, SCOTTISH FOOTBALLER STEVEN ROBB NOW HAS HIS EYES ON A BRAND NEW GOAL – MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF IN THE T-SHIRT BUSINESS. HERE HE TALKS ABOUT HIS CAREER IN THAILAND, HIS FOOTBALL FUTURE, AND HOW HE PLANS TO SCORE IN THE CLOTHING INDUSTRY

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WE last caught up with Steven Robb for an interview in June 2011. Since then, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge for the winger from Perth in Scotland. A League Cup Final appearance in 2011 was followed by relegation from the TPL in 2012. And in July, he parted company with Singhtarua FC after two and a half years at the club. Now, at 31 years of age, Steven has embarked upon a new phase in his career as he enters the fashion business with Bee Inspired Clothing. Here, Steven looks back on his time in Thailand and looks ahead to life after Singhtarua, and after football.

there from last season: me and Kim Bawe. We got the feeling early on that we were surplus to requirements. We didn’t mind that but nobody was really honest with us until the day they told us they wanted to change. Only three weeks earlier we were told nobody was leaving. So making preparations in a difficult transfer window wasn’t easy.

DO YOU THINK YOU HAD A PROPER OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW PEOPLE IN THAILAND WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF ON THE PITCH? I MEAN, YOU WERE OFTEN A SUBSTITUTE AND PERHAPS DIDN’T GET AS MUCH PLAYING TIME AS MIGHT HAVE BEEN EXPECTED. Yeah, I agree! There were times when I thought I should have played but, for example, this season, with the foreign quota of 3 + 1, the foreigners used were YOU’VE JUST BEEN RELEASED FROM through the spine of the team. We never SINGHTARUA AFTER, WHAT, TWO AND really had any Thai strikers so two foreign A HALF SEASONS? WHAT HAPPENED? strikers were playing every match. Coaches WAS THE SPLIT AMICABLE? would rather use the quota for forwards Sometimes in football your face doesn’t fit. and defenders than for wide midfielders. Everything at the team changed this But saying that, when you play well in one season: new management, staff and players. match and the next game you’re not even There were only two signed foreigners in the squad then it gets really frustrating.

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DESPITE THE FRUSTRATIONS, WHAT ARE YOUR BEST MEMORIES OF YOUR TIME AT SINGHTARUA? AND WHO ARE THE BEST PLAYERS YOU’VE PLAYED WITH AND AGAINST IN THAILAND? My best memories will be of the fanclub, a few of the goals I scored and the friends I have made over the last two and a half years. It’s hard to pick any one player out but Teerasil at Muangthong is a very talented player. This season Ali Diarra has been a standout at Singhtarua. It was always good to play with him – clever player!  YOU’RE NOT OLD, BUT IT IS FAIR TO SAY THAT THE GREATER PART OF YOUR PLAYING DAYS ARE BEHIND YOU. SO IS THIS BUSINESS VENTURE, BEE INSPIRED, YOU BEGINNING TO THINK ABOUT LIFE AFTER FOOTBALL? When you get to 30-plus you know football’s not going to last forever, so I’d been thinking about the next step for a year or so now. There are a few things that interest me: sports management, coaching and obviously the clothing industry. It’s important to me that I do things I enjoy so that’s why I have started the t-shirt business now.

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What’s the story behind Bee Inspired? Is it your brainchild? Me and my friend, a footballer in Scotland called Mark Corcoran, always spoke about making our own clothes, brand, logo and so on. We used to share an apartment in Glasgow, so with me being in Thailand right now there was no better place to start! How is it going so far? What’s the response been like from fellow pros? It’s started great, better than I’d expected! You don’t know if people are going to like your designs or ideas. But everyone back home, footballers I’ve played with and against, have all been great by supporting us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. We will use footballers in the Premiership, Championship and SPL to promote the company. Who came up with the designs? Can you explain the ideas behind them? Some of the images are quite surreal. The designs are a bit of a mixed bag! I enjoy doing a bit of Photoshop work on the laptop. My partner in Scotland is also pretty good at creating. We have a graphic designer and two tattoo artists working on designs; they have been a great help. It’s good having ideas to bounce off each other. We have three on the website now but we already have a catalogue of designs. Is everything made and sold in Thailand? Everything is made in Asia jor now, not just in Thailand. We are selling everything from my base here and by my friends in the UK. I plan to launch in Thailand soon. I would like someone to translate the website into Thai; that would help a lot! Will you now look for another club in Thailand? Try your luck in another country? Go back to the UK? Or chuck in football altogether and concentrate on the fashion business? Right now I have a couple of options. I have spoken with a couple of Thai teams, but like I said before the bosses would rather use the foreign quota on strikers thinking they’re just going to score goals; they don’t actually think about players who can create chances for the team! The league is all about impact here. I have the opportunity to return to the UK, so I am weighing up what is the best option. I’m only 31; I still feel good so no reason to stop playing yet! Could you really go back to Dundee after two and a half years in Bangkok?! I don’t think I’ll be moving back to Dundee but my son is at school there so I will be spending a lot of time there! I’m actually from a small village called Alyth, 30 minutes north of Dundee. It’s actually a nice place to live, lots of golf courses and so on! I really can’t plan anything until next month, so we’ll see what happens. I won’t be too far away from Bangkok in the future that’s for sure! Visit Bee Inspired Clothing at www.beeinspired.bigcartel.com and follow Steven on Twitter: @srobbo16 AD Destination_Dec12.indd 1

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What’s On|Screen And Stereo

Movies & music

AUG 15

ACTION/ADVENTURE

PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS

BASED on Rick Riordan’s fantasy adventure series of the same name, this second big screen adaptation sees demi-god hero Percy (Logan Lerman) facing all kinds of mythical beasts as he and his friends, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), go in search of the Golden Fleece – a powerful talisman they must use to save their threatened home, Camp Half-Blood.

AUG 22

ACTION/COMEDY

SEPT 5

EXPECT laughs, gore and action galore when Kick Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) take to the streets once again to defend their city from crooks and thieves and a new super villain – The Motherf*****. Also stars Jim Carrey as vigilante crime fighter, The Colonel.

RIDDICK: RULE THE DARK

KICK-ASS 2

SEPT 19

ACTION/DRAMA

ACTION/SCI-FI

FOLLOWING on from 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick, this Sci-Fi actioner finds the gravelly-voiced hero (played by Vin Diesel) left for dead on a sunscorched planet where he must fight for survival against terrifying alien predators. Can things get much worse? Sure they can: Riddick activates an emergency beacon that alerts two ships – one carrying a new breed of violent mercenary; the other, a man from Riddick’s past.

ELYSIUM

IN THE year 2159, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The only man with the chance to bring equality to these worlds is Max (Matt Damon), an ordinary guy who desperately needs to get to Elysium; so he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission – one that pits him against Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her hard-line forces. Movie screenings are subject to change. Keep up to date at movieseer.com

MEMORY LANE

NEW MUSIC INVISIBLE EMPIRE

THE NEXTWAVE SESSIONS

(Release date: Aug 6)

(Release date: Aug 6)

KT TUNSTALL SWAY

BIG TV

(Release date: Aug 20)

(Release date: Aug 20)

BLUE OCTOBER

WHITE LIES

HAIL TO THE KING

CARRIER

(Release date: Aug 27)

(Release date: Aug 27)

AVENGED SEVENFOLD

THE DODOS

RIGHT THOUGHTS, RIGHT WORDS, RIGHT ACTION

LATER…WHEN THE TV TURNS TO STATIC

(Release date: Aug 27)

(Release date: Sept 3)

FRANZ FERDINAND

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BLOC PARTY

GLASVEGAS

TOPPING THE UK CHARTS AUGUST 1973

1. Donny Osmond—Young Love 2. David Essex—Rock On 3. Drifters—Like Sister And Brother 4. Perry Como—For The Good Times 5. Hudson-Ford—Pick Up The Pieces 6. First Choice—Smarty Pants 7. Bobby Goldsboro—Summer (The First Time) 8. 10CC—The Dean And I 9. Medicine Head—Rising Sun 10. Dawn featuring Tony Orlando— Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose

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Send your jokes to thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com

Just for fun

Entertainment|Humour

Jokes

HTS THOUG E H OF T MONTH

GIVE US FIVE LEE MACK 1. The wife and I had an argument over kids again. I’ve wanted to have one for five years. She wants to keep one forever. 2. I got a letter in the post the other day; it said ‘Do Not Bend.’ I thought, how am I supposed to pick it up? 3. Ask people about God nowadays and they usually reply: “I’m not religious, but deep down, I’m a very spiritual person.” What this phrase really means is: “I’m afraid of dying, but I can’t be bothered going to church.”

SMARTY PANTS

4. I was on a phone call with the HSBC and they said when are you gonna pay off this overdraft? I said, ‘you know what, outside Southeast Asia, it’s rude to call people up and ask them for money!’ 5. I was told by the doctor that I was infertile and I couldn’t have children, three weeks after that he told me that my girlfriend was pregnant....who’s the daddy?

WHISKY WOES

QUASIMODO walks into a bar, strolls straight up to the barman and says: “I’ll have a whisky, please.” The barman asks: “Bell’s alright?” Quasi replies: “Mind your own business.”

1. I’ve been diagnosed with attention deficit di… look at those lights. 2. I’ve just finished my book, The Anti-Climax. The first part was good… 3. Have you noticed how all pine forests smell of air-freshener? 4. My school was run by a bloke with no arms, no legs and no body. He was called the Head. 5. Reading between the lines is dangerous if you’re waiting for a train. – Milton Jones

TURNING ON THE CHARM

ON the way from a party, a wife says to her husband: “Have I ever told you how handsome, sexy and irresistible to women you are?” The husband is very flattered, “Why no, I don’t think you have.” His wife replies: E “Then what in hell’s JOKTHE name gave you that OF NTH idea at the party?”

A UNIVERSITY lecturer addressed a class for the first time and said: “If there are any idiots in this room, stand up now.” One student stood up. “That’s interesting,” said the lecturer. “Why do you consider yourself to be an idiot?” “I don’t,” replied the student. “But I hate to see you standing there all by yourself.”

MO

DEVILISH OFFER

A LAWYER is sitting in his office when the Devil appears before him. The Devil says: “I have a proposition for you. You can win every case you try. Your colleagues will stand in awe of you, and you will make embarrassing sums of money. All I want in exchange is your soul, and the souls of all your relatives.” The lawyer thinks about it for a second, and then says: “Ok. So what’s the catch?”

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Social  Last month’s best events in pictures

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American Independence Day Picnic BANGKOK’S American Community was out in force for the 2013 edition of AMCHAM’s annual Independence Day Picnic, which once again featured a wide selection of fun games and activities, superb live entertainment, and delicious food and drinks on the grounds of KIS International School. A highlight of the event, as usual, was The BigChilli Cook Off, which was won this year by Bangkok Airways.

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Movers and Shakers unite THE June edition of the Movers and Shakers charity networking night brought together a large number of executives and entrepreneurs for a night of eats and drinks and inspiring conversation at the Holiday Inn Bangkok.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Hard Rock’s treasure showcase HARD Rock Café’s world famous travelling memorabilia exhibit, Hard Rock’s Treasures, arrived in Bangkok in style with a big party featuring an exclusive concert by The Voice Thailand artists Keng-Tachaya, Max-Nattawut, Suay-Sarocha, and King-Pichet. The exhibit, on display from June 27 – July 3, featured iconic outfits previously worn by Mick Jagger, Johnny Cash, Gwen Stefanie, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Elvis Presley, Robbie Williams, Prince, Justin Timberlake and more.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Apoteka makes it two Apoteka, the 19th century apothecary inspired lounge and bar on Sukhumvit Soi 11, celebrated the launch of its second branch, on Thonglor Soi 12, with a huge party featuring an evening of free-flow booze and energizing music. Photos by Arjun Sikand.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Nations unite at Sundowner’s MEMBERS of the Netherlands-Thai Chamber of Commerce (NTCC) and Belgium/Luxembourg-Thai Chamber of Commerce (BLTCC) gathered to enjoy an evening of networking with the European ASEAN Business Centre (EABC) at Sundowner’s, The Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Full speed ahead for The Cruz THE owners of the Cruz Grande Caribbean, a resort-style condominium project in Pattaya, celebrated the condo’s rapid success by hosting a special dinner party for buyers, shareholders, VIPs and media. At the event they also announced the winner of their “Buy at The Cruz, Win a Chevrolet Cruze” competition.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Aloft goes live ALOFT Bangkok – Sukhumvit 11 launched its new series of ‘Live at Aloft Hotel’ events at w xyz bar with a lively acoustic performance by Max Kosin and Pla AF9. Up-andcoming local artists now perform at the bar every Saturday night. For details about who’s playing check out www.facebook.com/aloftbangkoksukhumvit11.

Siam@Siam goes underground

FUNKY beats and innovative cocktails set the scene for a great night of partying at Siam@Siam Design Hotel & Spa’s Party House One. The second edition of a new monthly series of events showcasing international underground DJs, the event featured Funky Pony Records’ legend Heston spinning deep funky tech house, and a set of soulful funky tunes by the hotel’s resident DJ, DjK.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Model celebration for Rembrandt THERE was plenty of glitz and glamour when the Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok celebrated its 20th anniversary with a Mexican-style fiesta at the hotel’s popular Señor Pico Restaurant. Executives, hotel managers, and VIP guests joined representatives of Elite Model Management to enjoy a night of Mexican dishes, boozy margaritas, and Latin dancing.

Media moguls at CM² ME Magazine celebrated its fifth anniversary with a party at Concept CM² nightclub, Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square. The event culminated in the presentation of awards to the Best 10 CEOs of various business fields, such as Suriyon Sriorathaikul of Beauty Gems; Vorasit Issara of Sripanwa Charn Issara Development; Sirium Pakdeedumrongrit of Biocos Professional; Akarat of Mushroom Television; and Wiboon Leeratanakajorn of Search Entertainment.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Double the Chinese taste FOODIES were out in force for the opening of Ping’s Thai Teochew Seafood Restaurant and Ping’s Hot Pot Restaurant at the Pathumwan Princess Hotel. The two Chinese restaurants were opened by HE Mrs Chua Siew San, Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore to the Kingdom of Thailand, and the event featured a Chinese trio band fronted by Koh Mr Saxman, a cooking demonstration by Master Chef Ping, and a full Chinese buffet. Among the special guests were celebrities and movie stars such as Chua Eu Liam, and Manchester United legend Bryan Robson.

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Rotary welcomes new president THE Rotary Club of Bangkok South officially introduced its new president, Michael Schulz, with an Installation Dinner at the Dusit Thani Bangkok.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

LEVELS TURNS ONE FREE-flow drinks, live entertainment, and a glamorous crowd were the ingredients for a great night of revelry when Levels nightclub, Sukhumvit Soi 11, celebrated its first anniversary last month.

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SAN MIGUEL GETS FIT AND FIRM ATHLETES and gym goers were out in force for the 2013 edition of San Miguel’s Fit and Firm Buddyb Search, which was held on June 28 at Design Bar, Kaset Nawamin.

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SOCIAL LAST MONTH’S BEST EVENTS

Ballet and opera meet

THE upcoming performance of Suriyothai, the latest work by Somtow Sucharitkul, was announced at a special press conference and cocktail event. Blending western narrative ballet and Thai dance drama, Suriyothai tells the story of Thailand’s famous warrior queen, and the cast includes hundreds of dancers, singers and extras. The production has been composed to honour the present Queen of Thailand and performances will be held on August 23-25 at the Thailand Cultural Centre.

Stylish party at Signor Sassi

RENOWNED hairstylist Mai-Ratchada celebrated his birthday with close friends and celebrity clients at Signor Sassi Bangkok. Khun Apichai Taechaubol, the owner and the restaurant master franchisee, stopped by to congratulate the host and personally welcome his distinguished guests to the Italian restaurant, located on the 37th floor of the Anantara Bangkok Sathorn.

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LUSH at Le Fenix Hotel & QBar

Vespa Event at W Hotel

Italia Independent Eyewear Launch at Bed Supperclub Italia Independent Eyewear Launch at Bed Supperclub

PARTIES AT A GLANCE PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID HEISCHREK

Italia Independent Eyewear Launch at Bed Supperclub

Italia Independent Eyewear Launch at Bed Supperclub

Miss South East Asia Beauty Pageant

LUSH at Le Fenix Hotel & QBar

Italia Independent Eyewear Launch at Bed Supperclub Vespa Event at W Hotel

Furla Event at WeDo Gallery

LUSH at Le Fenix Hotel & QBar

Italia Independent Eyewear Launch at Bed Supperclub

LUSH at Le Fenix Hotel & QBar

Miss South East Asia Beauty Pageant

Furla Event at WeDo Gallery

LUSH at Le Fenix Hotel & QBar

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Social|Around Last Month’s town Best Events

Dining with the artists

RENOWNED artists Khun Ying Kwanta Devakula and Khun Thiphavan Techavijit jointly hosted a dinner for close friends to distribute the first lot of invitation cards to their 2nd Charity Arts Exhibition, which will be held at Siam Paragon from July 26 – Aug 4.

Wraith rolls into town

ROLLS-Royce Motor Cars Bangkok celebrated the arrival of The Wraith in Thailand with a special closed-door launch event at the Grand Ballroom, The Okura Prestige Bangkok. The luxury two-seater coupé is inspired by the great Grand Tourers of the ’50s and ’60s (think power, style and drama) and comes with a starting price tag of B30.9 million. The launch of The Wraith also marked the first anniversary of Thailand’s first Rolls-Royce Motor Cars showroom, located on Rama 3 Road.

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Novotel Bangkok Platinum turns one

THE Hotel and Platinum Fashion Mall board of directors and the Novotel Bangkok Platinum management team celebrated the hotel’s first anniversary by hosting a monk’s blessing ceremony, followed by lunch, at the hotel’s ballroom.

Sporting fun in Bangna

THE management and staff of Novotel Bangkok Bangna got together to enjoy a day of fun games and activities at the hotel’s second annual Sports Day. Hosted by hotel GM Prasert Boonchu, the event ended with a “Rock Party Night” featuring free-flow drinks and food.

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Diplomats p Meet the people uniting nations

HE Joan Boer

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Diplomats

HE Joan Boer|Netherlands

Dutch Master of diplomatic solutions Helping his countrymen facing problems in Thailand takes up much of his time, the Ambassador of the Netherlands tells Maxmilian Wechsler

H

HUMANITARIAN, linguist, sculptor, musician and a man with a well developed sense of humour, The Ambassador of the Netherlands to Thailand, His Excellency Joan Boer, also happens to be a seasoned diplomat with extensive experience in Africa and South America before his appointment here. That sense of humour fits in nicely with the herd of 28 ‘cows’ that greets visitors to the Dutch embassy on Wireless Road, (See box story) even though Mr Boer himself is not directly responsible. Relations between the Netherlands and Thailand began way back in 1604. The current embassy premises were acquired in 1949, though the first consulate opened in 1858 – a result of the growing number of Dutch ships calling with goods to trade at the port of Bangkok. The consulate was upgraded to consulate-general in 1881 and to an embassy in 1957.   The ambassador said the embassy is “a fantastic place and also a part of the Thai cultural heritage. It is a compound with a history, as one of the princes who objected to the constitutional reform in 1932 lived here. Many Thai people who come here know the history of this building, so they like to come here.   “To live inside the embassy has its advantage because you can avoid the traffic and save a lot of time travelling to work. The disadvantage is that you are always in the work environment, but complaining about living in a place like this would be foolish. It is a beautiful building and we are trying to keep it this way. “Presently there are about 42 people working at the embassy. Ten are Dutch nationals and the rest are Thais, including two who can speak Dutch, which makes a difference. We also have four gardeners because the garden is large and really important to us,” Mr Boer said.  

Background

Joan Boer was born on January 9, 1950 in Haarlem, the Netherlands. “I have been happily married for 40-plus years and we have two grown children. We always say it is still a relationship under construction. It is fun. My wife is really my soul mate.” Highlights of his career include: A master’s degree in Anthropology from the Free University of Amsterdam.   After working with the Netherlands Volunteer Service in Kenya and Rwanda, Mr Boer joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 1979 to work in matters involving science and technology, and thereafter headed the ministry’s food aid, agriculture and food security unit.

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He was head of the MFA’s South America Department and held a directorship in urban and rural development. He was appointed deputy director-general of international cooperation in 1998, in charge of bilateral development co-operation and overall policy development, a post he held for almost six years.      From 2004 to 2009 he served as ambassador to the Organization of Economic and Social Development (OECD) in Paris. During that period he was also chair of the OECD Committee on External relations, in 2007 and 2008. In 2009 he was appointed an inspector of the Foreign Service, a post he held until his appointment as ambassador to Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

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Working his way around the world

“I made my first trip to Thailand in the same year I joined the MFA [1979] in my capacity as a project officer working on science and technology matters; one of the elements of the job was agricultural innovation. I was working with Chiang Mai University on a program to provide assistance with integrated fish farming, which you see all around now, but then it was a modern innovative technology for small farmers.   “At that time Bangkok was still very rural in a certain sense, no high-rise buildings or Skytrain. The traffic was already difficult, however, but not as dense as nowadays. Back then I also had projects going in countries like Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Chile, Peru and in Africa.   “My most extensive field experience is actually in Africa. Before starting with the MFA I worked in Tunisia, Kenya and Rwanda. The Central African Republic is the only African country I have never been to over the years. I have been to all the rest several times. The same applies for Asia and Latin America. I have visited Indonesia about 20 times and Thailand 10 times during the past 30 years.   “I am a traveller, and what I have found is that if you come back to a place after a couple of years, you see things that you don’t notice if you live in the country. This is one of my ‘specialties’ – watching and comparing countries’ progress and development over the years,” the ambassador said.   Asked to name the most difficult working environment for him, he replied: “I found Chad [in West Africa] difficult at certain moments. Of course, Rwanda just after the genocide was also extremely difficult, and so were Ethiopia and Eritrea. It was very dangerous to work in Columbia at the time because the drug cartel war was raging on. In comparison, Thailand is a relatively easy assignment.”  

Coming to Thailand

“I became ambassador in Thailand in 2011 and arrived just before the general elections and not long before the flooding started. At that time I was not yet accredited, which was actually a very big advantage because I could move around more freely. In that time I visited some refugee camps along the Myanmar border without a protocol, just in a small group. This is the kind of visit where one learns the most. “I also went to other parts of the country, like in the Northeast, and I was talking to people without them knowing I was an ambassador. The first trip I took was by train and it was really fun. “Now, when people see the diplomatic plates on my car, the glass will come down between me and the people. Everything is arranged, and the Thais are very good in that, but to be an ambassador puts you in a cocoon in a sense. That’s what I find difficult sometimes, because I enjoy walking in the city, going up-country without a driver, looking around and talking to people about what’s going on here and there. “I can go anywhere I want, but I am not really free as to what I can wear. For example, I can only wear a T-shirt when I am at the beach, not when I’m walking in town. We have about 10,000 Dutch people living here and as I am often in the media they know me…It is like living in a glass-house.”   Mr Boer has a strong linguistic background and speaks several languages but his frustration at not yet attaining fluency in the Thai language is apparent. “Thailand is the first country I have been posted where I don’t speak the language, and this is a terrible handicap. This is one of the things I am missing. “When you put me in Kenya, my Swahili is not bad, but here…at times I know the words but I don’t understand what

the people are talking about. I like to contact people and to listen to their stories. Not being able to express myself adequately with words, I have to depend on my eyes and smile to get close to people.”     Working and living in the Dutch environment at the embassy takes away some of the incentive to learn Thai, he said.   The term for an ambassador for the Netherlands is from three to six years. Mr Boer’s term here lasts until mid-2015, making it more than four years, after which he will probably retire. The retirement age in the Netherlands is now 65 years, but it will go up to 67. Noting that the retirement age in Thailand is 60, Mr Boer questioned whether it makes good economic sense to require that people retire when they are still productive, and then making them dependent upon pensions and social welfare.   “This is a big issue in Europe. We have 25 percent of the world’s gross national product, but a large part of it goes into social spending. That means that our competitive position is more difficult these days as compared to regions with less social provisions. You can call it a euro crisis, but it is also due to our social development model in a sense.   “However, I would rather retire in Europe than, for example, in the United States, because the pension system in Europe is far better than anywhere else in the world. You have to pay for it, but it impacts your life favorably in later days.”  

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Typical working day

“I normally rise between 5.30 to 6am, because when the birds start singing that’s when I should start my day,” said Mr Boer jovially. “I read Twitter a bit, then some swimming to keep up my physical condition. I also do a bit of reflection in the swimming pool − to develop ideas for the day.   “I start the workday around 8am making the rounds at the embassy, asking the consulate people whether there’s something special that’s come up from the day before. A normal working day has a couple of appointments inside and outside the embassy. I like to go outside the embassy because then I can see what is going on. I spend about one week each month in Myanmar.   “I don’t travel every month to Lao PRD and Cambodia because we don’t have as much capacity to serve these countries. Of course, Thailand is my primary responsibility – we have around 200,000 tourists visiting Thailand yearly from the Netherlands, with the number always increasing, compared with several thousand going to Laos.   “We have 300 companies based in Thailand from the Netherlands as opposed to five or six in Laos. So, there’s a relative importance that must be weighed. Since consular and economic matters are the main reasons for being here, that dictates where we should go.”  

Sights on scammers

“I spend quite a lot of my time in consular duties. Dutch pensioners may have problems with residence permits, for example. Then there are the tourists. More than 90 percent of Dutch people will return home very happy after a trip to Thailand, but sometimes there are small difficulties, brought about by scammers and other bad elements. “For example, someone rents a motorcycle or jet-ski and when he comes back the owners will tell him there’s damage and he has to pay. There’s the issue with tuk-tuks in Phuket where the ride costs six or seven times more than in Bangkok. In worst cases people get beaten up for refusing to pay 200 or

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Diplomats

HE Joan Boer|Netherlands

take the passport of a foreigner is illegal. This is very important because when you want to rent a motorbike, for example, if the tourist has to choose between not getting the motorcycle and giving the passport, he will give the passport. “However, when you give your passport you can’t walk away from a scam or other bad situation. If you only give a copy, you can walk away. This very much de-escalates the situation. This is one of the concrete things our group of ambassadors has been able to accomplish, together with the Ministry of Tourism and Sport. We are going to see how this works in Phuket.”  

Bilateral relations

The Ambassador with one of his sculptures

300 baht to scammers. This is unacceptable. This is not the friendly attitude towards tourists that Thailand is known for. “There is room to expand tourism in Thailand, but if tourists are just viewed as cows for milking, at a certain point they will stop coming.” The Netherlands is one of 18 EU countries who recently lodged a complaint with the Phuket Governor, Maitri Inthusut, concerning scamming and tourist protection in Phuket, but Mr Boer says he tries to avoid criticizing the Thai government. “I did not participate in that visit to Phuket since I was on leave,” Mr Boer said. “What I try to do,” continued the ambassador “is systemic solutions for our citizens. I am in contact with the Thai government about scamming and other issues. Protection is a dual responsibility. For example, many of our tourists who would never ride a motorcycle in the Netherlands enjoy riding one here. But often they are uninsured or don’t want to wear helmets, and when something happens they will start to blame the Thais. That’s not very fair and we as embassies have a role to play here towards our own citizens.        “Along with other ambassadors, I am working with very good collaboration from the Thai government to come up with solutions on scamming and other problems. We are also talking about long-stay issues. We view it as a shared responsibility, and I am putting a lot of my time into it.   “One of the results of these talks is that the Thai government has now indicated that for a business owner to

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“We have a community of between 5,000 to 10,000 Dutch expats residing in Thailand permanently or semi-permanently. I don’t know how many Thai people live in the Netherlands, but I have met them in many parts of the country. “There are about 300 Dutch companies in Thailand, including some big ones like Shell, Unilever and Foremost. One Dutch firm in Chiang Mai makes the trolleys for almost all air companies. It is a very high quality product and yields good employment. We have a jewelry factory in Hua Hin with 200 women working there. Recently we had an agricultural fair in Thailand where 70 to 80 firms turned up with new innovative products.   “Thai companies are also investing in the Netherlands. It is a two-way street. For example, PTT has a presence in the Netherlands. We recently had a very interesting visit from ten Dutch dairy farmers visiting their counterparts here in Thailand. “One of the first questions people here ask me is, when they go to the Netherlands will they be able to find Thai food. I tell them that this is not a problem whatsoever because there are many Thai restaurants in the Netherlands.”   Mr Boer then gave more specific information on bilateral trade, saying Thailand’s imports from the Netherlands stood at US$1.15 billion in 2012. The Netherlands remains the 5th largest exporter in the EU to Thailand, after Germany, France, the UK and Italy. About 30% of Dutch exports are machinery and components for the electronics industry, and also include iron and steel, leather, plastics and optical equipment. As for Thailand’s exports to the Netherlands, in 2012 they totaled US$4.18 billion, somewhat less than in previous years due to the crisis in the EU. The Netherlands maintained its position as the largest destination for Thai exports to the EU in 2012, reflecting its strategic geographical location. About 50 percent of Thai exports to the Netherlands are electrical supplies and appliances.  

M Cultural promotion

“Our embassy aims to promote Dutch culture in different ways. We hope that by organizing cultural events, Thai and Dutch people will mingle and learn from each other. We will participate in the Bangkok Dance and Music Festival in September. We are sponsoring four Dutch jazz groups to play there and we hope and know that Thai jazz artists will come and visit us. “We also host concerts at my residence. In July we presented a concert by Dutch classical piano player Frederic Voorn, and we invited a diverse Thai audience.  “The Dutch museum, Baan Hollanda, in Ayutthaya opened on April 3. The museum is located on a historical spot where Dutch traders had a post 400 years ago. The museum is

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open from Wednesday to Sunday. There you can learn about the history of the Dutch in Thailand, and enjoy Dutch food, like Stroopwafels and enjoy a good cappuccino before moving on,” said the ambassador. “We were very honoured when His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej sent His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and Her Royal Highness Princes Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to the coronation of the Netherlands’ new King Wilem-Alexander on April 30, 2013. Their visit was very much appreciated by our Royal Family. “There’s a continuous flow of Thai officials visiting the Netherlands and ours coming here as well. There’s no need to send Dutch politicians to Thailand to do some bargaining and so forth, as our relationship is deep and longstanding.   “We have about 100 Thai students at any moment studying in the Netherlands. Furthermore, there’s collaboration between universities – for example between Chulalongkorn University and Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and Kasetsart University and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands in water management, and so on.   “During the floods in 2011, I was in a boat at Don Mueang floating in 1.6 meters of water, knowing that this was in the city of Bangkok. I saw a tremendous potential for assistance. We have been continually offering assistance in water management because there are many similarities to the situation in the Netherlands. The Dutch have the technology to prevent flooding, and not just that. We also have the institutional and dialogue experience to be of assistance. “This is one of the things I would like to accomplish in my time as ambassador here. I haven’t got there as yet. It takes time. I am here for four years which is not a very long period, so I am really standing on the shoulders of my predecessors, and maybe someone will stand on my shoulders to finish the job, which is ok. You can’t expect trees to fully grow in four years.”  

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Appreciating and living art “My wife always says that I have too many hobbies. We both really like modern art in all senses of the word. It is discovery. The Thai way of creating art is different from the European way, but there are similarities in techniques, etc. and that’s what I find very fascinating.   “I am an admirer of modern ballet and modern dance, and my wife and I like to dance, so whenever we have a chance to dance we will not shy away.   “My real passion is sculpting. Thailand is really a source of inspiration for me. I just went to Saraburi to buy stones from a quarry, marble and other types. “Sculpting is like a conversation with the stone. A very slow conversation, but then again it is a reflective process. Working with new stones that behave differently from those I know from Europe is just fantastic.   “I don’t paint but my wife does. She is a portrait painter. She does a lot of portraits of people she meets here.   “We appreciate art in a broad sense – both looking at it and also doing it. My wife plays piano and I play a bit of accordion. My instrument was made in a very small Italian village called Castelfidardo where I go every time I am in Italy. I know the makers. My accordion was made in the 1950s. This brand has a very romantic sound that no other maker can produce. For sculpture I can find time; for playing accordion, much less.”   Ambassador Boer visits the Netherlands two or three times a year with his family and admitted that he misses the cooler weather back home.

Private life

“My job is a lot of hard work, and frankly, sometimes I think I don’t have enough time for some of the social aspects which come with the job, like all the receptions. Fortunately I do have time to travel privately as well as officially. I have visited many places in Thailand. It’s a big country and there’s always something new, which is the fascinating part.   “I would, for example, like to visit the Northeast again and to have conversations with politicians and officials, just to see what is happening in the country without any preconceived agenda. This is what I really find interesting.”   “One thing I like very much in Thailand is the food. It is fabulous and not only in the restaurants; the street vendors also serve up fantastic food. They are specialists. It is the best cooking in town. When I go up-country and have ‘Pad Thai’ for 40-50 baht it is very good. When I go and buy food from the street food vendors in Bangkok, like along Sukhumvit Road, it is very good. I’ve never been ill from eating at these places. The Thai kitchen is so rich.” Asked what he doesn’t like about Thailand, Mr Boer paused briefly and said that sometimes he finds the Thai people “too shy.”   “Our people are quite straightforward. Maybe we are too direct and this makes Thai people a bit shy. I find it difficult in Thailand to get into a relationship where people do not shy away but tell you what is really happening. It is complicated. I feel that the Dutch look rude in the eyes of Thais. Dutch people don’t talk so much. We look and we do.”

EU Herd of Cows lands in Bangkok THE EU Herd of Cows is the result of a joint initiative of the Netherlands Embassy in Prague and the organizers of the Cow Parade Prague in 2004. All of the life-size polyester cows in the herd were painted by artists and school children, using typical national symbols. The Dutch cow, for example, is decorated with tulips. The aim of the project was to bring the enlargement of the EU in May 1, 2004 from 15 to 25 countries closer to the people. After accession of Bulgaria and Romania on January 1, 2007, two more cows were added. The 28th cow represents the EU and features its flag: blue with yellow stars. On the occasion of the Dutch EU presidency in the second half of 2004, the EU Herd of Cows was adopted by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The herd travelled to various locations in Europe and Asia and was also exhibited at the Bangkok’s Emporium shopping centre and Benjasiri Park in May 2008. The last show was at the Dutch Garden in Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2011 in Chiang Mai. The herd no longer travels and enjoys the green compound of the embassy.

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HUA HIN

Cha Am • Pranburi • And beyond...

Anantara Resort’s popular annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament returns this month. Page 122.

News & deals

Hua Hin’s hottest promotions and deals await inside Page 122

Job fair

Skal International hosts its first job fair this month in Cha Am Page 122

Mate’s Rates Friends or family visiting Bangkok? Let them know about these deals! Page 132

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H ua H i n

News and Deals

Dim Sum delights at Hilton Hua Hin EVERY Sat, Sun and Public Holidays, Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa’s White Lotus Restaurant is now offering its authentic Dim Sum for the special price of B520 per person. With its elevated views of Hua Hin, tasty food, and swift and efficient service, the restaurant is a great option for any occasion. ☎ 032 538 999 : huahin.hilton.com

Elephant Polo comes to town Freshly baked treats at Dune Hua Hin CRAVING delicious homemade desserts? Head down to Dune Bar and Restaurant and you’ll find all kinds of sweet treats currently on promotion. Among the tasty offerings: ‘Berry Crumble,’ a sweet and tangy berry crumble with thick vanilla sauce; and ‘Tart Tatin,’ an upside-down caramelized apple tart. B190++ each. ☎ 032 515 051-3 Email: md@dunehuahin.com

ANANTARA Resort’s popular annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament returns this month with four action-packed days of fundraising competition from Aug 28-Sept 1. With teams coming in from all over South East Asia and beyond, this year’s competition will feature around 30 elephants and their trainers – who, in the name of the game, must pound around the 100-metre pitch, on elephant back, using three-metre-long mallets to whack the ball. Alongside all the action on the pitch, the event also features a spectacular opening parade, celebrity matches, Chang Noi Day (Children’s Day) with a baby elephant camp and fun fair, and this year for the first time, Ladies Day with prizes for the best dressed. A Moulin Rouge themed Auction Gala Dinner tops off fundraising efforts with all the proceeds donated to various projects for the betterment of Thailand’s elephants. Admission for spectators is free. : anantaraelephantpolo.com

University Student Internship & Job Fair 2013 SKÅL International Thailand will host its first ever Internship & Job Fair 2013 in Hua Hin on Thurs Aug 8 at Silpakorn University Petchaburi IT Campus (Cha-am). The event will start at 12 Noon, and businesses are welcome to join the fair to provide working internships for graduating students and to recruit future staff.  One table will be provided for each company for upwards of three representatives. Lunch is also being provided.  For more info: skalhuahin@gmail.com

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Golfers set their sights on Dubai GOLF Citizen members George Skewers, Michael Lausch and Ulf Kaiser have reached the Thailand Golf Citizen Open Series Grand Final after winning last month’s qualifier at the Imperial Lakeview Golf Club. Winners of the final, which will be held at Banyan Golf Club on Dec 14, will win an all-expenses paid trip to Dubai to play in the 2014 Omega Dubai Desert Classic Pro Am alongside elite professionals.

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H ua H i n

News and Deals

Grand Buffet Dinner at Hyatt Regency FOR a Grand Buffet Dinner which really lives up to its name, check out the feast on offer at Hyatt Regency Hua Hin’s Figs Restaurant. Available daily from 6.30pm-10.30pm, the spread includes a wide selection of gourmet international cuisine, with all-time favourites such as French oysters, lobsters, blue crab, roasted beef, foie gras and more. B1,500 for adults and B750 for kids aged 6-12. ☎ 032 521 234 Email: huahin.regency@hyatt.com

Special treat for mums at Villa Maroc LOOKING for a charming location to enjoy a memorable day with your beloved mum? Pay a visit to Villa Maroc Resort. In celebration of Thailand’s Mother’s Day, held annually on Aug 12, the resort’s Casablanca Restaurant is offering 20% discount off its Moroccan and International food and non-alcoholic drinks. Every mum will also receive a complimentary chocolate lava cake served with Moroccan mint tea. Available daily from 11.30am-10pm. ☎ 032 630 771 : villamarocresort.com

Amari Hua Hin offers package deal for families A TWO night ‘All Together Family Package’ is now available at Amari Hua Hin starting at B15,466 for accommodation in a family suite. Price includes welcome gifts for two children, kid’s club benefits, daily ice cream, set lunch or dinner for two (one time per stay), late check-out, and daily buffet breakfast. Valid until 31 Oct 2013 with 10% discount on additional nights. : amari.com/huahin

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Beers in great company THE July edition of Hilton Hua Hin Brewing Company’s monthly ‘Stammtisch’ dinners saw Hua Hin’s most influential male residents gather to enjoy the launch of three home-brewed beers – Elephant Tusk Ale, Dancing Monkey Lager, and Sabai Sabai Wheat Ale. On hand to discuss more about the beers was Brew Master Khun Sukij Thipatima.

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Hua Hin

Review|Shine Spa

Review

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Shine Spa

Top of the range treatments are the order of the day at Sheraton Hua Hin’s splendid new spa

BUFF away all the stresses and strains of daily life and you’ll finally have the chance to shine – at least this is the philosophy behind Sheraton Hua Hin’s new spa, a tranquil haven which offers a wide range of personalized treatments aimed at putting the spring back into the step of anyone who’s feeling rusty and wound-up. Tucked away on the ground floor of the hotel’s main building, the spa blends classic and contemporary design elements to create a serene yet welcoming atmosphere. Lulling visitors into an immediately relaxed frame of mind is the music – hypnotic Asian flutes and strings – as well as the spa’s signature fragrance – mandarin and mint; calming and invigorating in equal measure. Shine Spa’s warren of wellness comprises 12 treatment rooms, including single/twin rooms with en suite steam

room and rain shower; VIP suite and Junior suite with steam room, rain shower, chromatic Jacuzzi, and lavatory; and a traditional Thai Massage treatment room. Every experience at Shine Spa starts with a consultation with one of the spa’s expert therapists who, with treatment brochure in hand, will help to create a therapy that meets all your needs – be it revitalizing your tired muscles, rejuvenating your spirit, or promoting a glow from the inside out. Popular signature packages include Shine Massage (B3,700/B4,700 for 90/120 minutes, respectively), a combination of traditional Thai massage, Thai herbal compress and long strokes massage; Shine Body Glow (B2,500), a one hour treatment featuring a gentle scrub and uplifting massage to help soften

Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa, 1573 Petchkasem Road, Cha-Am, Phetchaburi

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and renew the skin; and Awaken Earth Ritual (B6,200), a 150-minute tension relief treatment which sees warm, precious stones artfully placed on the body to foster youthfulness and well-being. If you’d prefer a standalone treatment, highly recommended are the Deep Balance Massage (B1,500 for 30 minutes), Harmony Foot Ritual (B1,900 for 60 minutes) and Hot Stone Element Massage (B4,000 for 90 minutes and B4,800 for 120 minutes). Sport massage, body scrubs, hair waxing and facial treatments are also available. All treatments at the spa finish with a serving of dried tropical fruits and freshly brewed ginger tea in the aptly-named Relaxation Lounge. Put your feet up, take a sip of the refreshing tea, and, with stress suitably busted, you’ll once again feel ready to shine.

☎ 032 708 000 :sheraton.com/huahin

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Accommodation

Hua Hin Where to eat Papa John’s Grill Restaurant & Beer Garden

La Paillotte

■ In business for over 13 years, this popular diner has established a large and loyal clientele of locals and returning holidaymakers. The secret to the restaurant’s success is the owner’s welcoming nature and an extensive menu of good honest well cooked food. Papa John’s is a spacious open-sided restaurant with a bar area ideal for pre-dinner drinks while you survey the excellent selection of dishes on the menu. Try the fillet, T-bone or rib-eye, each very reasonably priced. The ideal venue for European comfort food and a drink with friends.

■ This charming French restaurant is the ideal place to enjoy an evening of fine food in relaxed surroundings. The fresh and colourful décor brings to mind citrus-scented Mediterranean evenings, as do the excellent range of aperitifs, wines, beers and digestifs. Although the culinary roots of La Paillote’s cuisine are classically French, the kitchen team enhances a rich culinary tradition with contemporary touches. An a la carte menu and nine set menus are available. Open daily from 11am till late. 

1/54 Soi Moobaan Khao Takiab, Nong Kae, Hua Hin Tel: 032 514 295

174/1 Naresdamri Road, 77110 Tel: 032 521025

Chom Talay

■ This delightful beachfront restaurant is a great spot for alfresco dining. Pushed up against the water’s edge it has an easy going charm, good food and drink. The menu features a wide selection of delicious seafood dishes. Of note is the stir fried mud crab with X.O. sauce. A piquant tom yam with fresh prawns, pineapple and the flesh of young coconut offers an interesting variation on a classic dish. Open from 11am till 10pm. Phetkasem Road, Hua Hin, (next to the airport). Tel: 032 547 253-4

White Lotus

■ The Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa’s signature Chinese restaurant serves up a wide range of authentic Szechuan and Cantonese dishes, including a signature Roast Peking Duck with pancakes, which is a must try. Factor in the restaurant’s elegant contemporary design and breathtaking views of the ocean and mountains, and it’s no surprise that it never fails to impress first time visitors. Dinner is served Tues-Sun 6pm-10.30pm; Dim Sum Lunch on Sat, Sun and Public Holidays from 11.30am-2.30pm. Tel: 032 538 999 Email: fb.huahin@hilton.com

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Mcfarland House

■ FAMOUS for its history, McFarland House is a two-storey open-sided traditional Thai house set on the beachfront. This casual bar and dining pavilion offers snacks, Thai and Western cuisines served tapas-style and element set menus. A wide range of fresh fruit juices, cocktails and wines by the glass are available. The relaxed and chilled-out atmosphere is complemented by background lounge music. McFarland House is also an excellent choice for Sunday Brunch. 91 Hua Hin, Khao Takiap Road Tel: 03 252 1234 www.huahin.regency.hyatt.com

The Veranda Grill ■ The Veranda Grill offers both a relaxed outdoor atmosphere on the beachfront, as well as an indoor dining experience, featuring exceptional views across the Gulf of Thailand. The setting is perfect for sampling some of the sea’s freshest delights. You can choose from a wide selection of authentic Thai cuisine along with continental dishes, all of which are carefully prepared to the chef ’s exacting standards. Veranda Lodge, Hua Hin Beach, 113 Soi Hua Hin 67, Petch Kasem Road, Prachuab 77110 Tel: 032 533678 email: huahin@verandalodge.com   www.verandalodge.com

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TRAVEL

HUA HIN

Hua Hin Where to drink Fountain Lounge

Lotus Sky Bar

■ AN ideal place to meet with friends for an afternoon or evening of relaxation and drinks, Hyatt Regency Hua Hin’s open air bar overlooks the resort’s lush tropical gardens and exudes a cozy atmosphere. As you’d expect from a 5-star hotel, the bar offers a wide selection of superior teas, fresh juices, cocktails and light snacks.

■ This vibrant roof top bar at the Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa serves up a great variety of innovative and classic cocktails and boasts superb panoramic views of Hua Hin and the Gulf of Thailand. Live DJs keep the atmosphere upbeat and draw in a young, lively crowd every night of the week. The bar is open daily 6pm-11pm.

91 Hua Hin – Khao Takiap Road Tel: 032 521 234 www.huahin.regency.hyatt.com

Tel: 032 538 999 email: fb.huahin@hilton.com www.facebook.com/lotusskybar

Oceanside Beach Club Cocktails ■ Set in the beautiful Putahracsa Hua Hin resort, this relaxing beachfront restaurant offers a great selection of international food, drinks and music. You can tuck into seafood with piquant Thai sauces or devour huge slabs of meat fresh from the grill. The Jumbo Tiger prawns, Rock lobster, and New Zealand lamb chops score particularly good marks here. Other bonuses include a great sea view, and a long list of delightfully boozy cocktails. Open 5pm onwards. 22/65 Nahb Kaehat Road, Hua Hin Tel: 032 531 470

Sala Wine Bar and Bistro ■ No visit to Hua Hin is complete without a trip up to Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, home of the award winning Monsoon Valley Wines. Here you can journey into the vineyards to learn more about New Latitude Wines, or simply head straight to the winery’s Bistro, which is housed in a beautiful sala and serves a wide range of Thai and international eats and, of course, Siam Winery’s finest wines. An onsite shop sells premium Thai wines, souvenirs and other quality grape-based products.

Mondo Vino

■ This stylish-yet-casual wine bar should be the top of any oenophile’s list of places to visit in Hua Hin. You’ll find a large range of wines from new and old worlds (with an emphasis on Italian brands), available by the glass or bottle at more than reasonable prices. Accompanying the premium wines is a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, fresh hams, pizza, and pasta. Monthly promotions and wine tastings mean there is always something exciting going on here – simply check the website to keep up to date. Tel: 032 531 493 www.mondovino.co.th

Dune Sky Bar

■ Located on the rooftop of the boutique Dune Hotel, the Dune Sky Bar offers sweeping views of Hua Hin and is a great place to drop by for boozy cocktails and tasty international eats. Recently given a New York-inspired overhaul, the bar is stylishly furnished with eco-friendly furniture, including dining chairs made of recycled plastic bottles. Chilled out beats and subdued lighting make this one of the hippest relaxed hangouts in town. Dune Hotel Hua Hin, Tel: 032 515 051-3 email: md@dunehuahin.com

Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, Tel: 081 701 8874-5, 081 701 2222, 081 701 0444 www.huahinhillsvineyard.com

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B angk ok deals Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok:

s ’ e t a M s rate

Available until Sept 30, a special ‘Spa Package’ starts at B7,360 per room per night in a Deluxe Room and includes buffet breakfast, a choice of one spa treatment, 20% discount off food and beverage, and 3pm check out. Rate applies to a minimum stay of three nights. ☎ 02 206 8788  shangri-la.com/bangkok

amily f r o s d Frien kok? g n a B visiting now about k Let them e deals thes

S.M. Grande Residence: Valid until Oct 31, the ‘Stay 3 Nights & Save 20%’ deal offers rates starting at B2,440 for a Deluxe Room when booking three or more consecutive nights. ☎ 02 656 0818  smgrandebangkok.com

Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside: In conjunction

Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre: Until Sept 30, a Grand Executive package is available starting at B9,000 per night for a one-bedroom Executive Suite, B15,000 for a two-bedroom World Executive Suite, B25,000 for a Royal Suite Master Bedroom, and B39,000 for the Royal Suite with Master Bedroom and three other bedrooms. Rates include breakfast, a spa treatment, airport transfers, a sunset drink, and tickets for up to eight persons at Madame Tussaud’s Bangkok. ☎ 02 100 1234 Ext 6362 and 6753 email: cgcwcorp@chr.co.th

with the Sonic Bang 2013 music festival, the hotel is offering limited room packages (for stays between Aug 23-25). Rates start at B6,000 for a single room and include tickets to the event, buffet breakfast, 4pm check out, and transportation to and from the music festival. Triple sharing and extended stay rates are available upon request. ☎ 02 688 1000  ramadaplazamenamriverside.com

GLOW Trinity Silom: Available until Dec 31, the hotel’s ‘Stay 3 Nights and Save 20%’ promotion offers 20% discount on bookings of three nights or more in Deluxe or Premier room categories. Rates start at B1,520 per night for a Superior Room. ☎ 02 231 5050  glowbyzinc.com/silom

Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square: Book any room and stay before Aug 15 to receive 10% discount. Deal includes daily breakfast for two, a one-day Skytrain pass, Bangkok map and shopping pack, complimentary upgrade to next room category, and 3pm check out. Deal valid for Visa Credit Card holders only. ☎ 02 209 8888  novotelbkk.com

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Northgate Ratchayothin: The hotel’s ‘Stay 2 Weekend Nights & Save 20%’ promotion offers 20% discount off Studio Rooms when booked for two nights or more (between Fri-Sun). Rates start at B1,760 for two persons, and the deal is valid until Dec 31. ☎ 02 939 7949  northgatebangkok.com

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COAST CO PATTAYA

Kok Chang • Wong Amat • Jomtien • Bang Saray • Sattahip • Rayong

Enjoy a fun-packed family day out at Art in Paradise. Page 136.

News & Deals

The Eastern Seaboard’s hottest dining and hotel promotions Page 136

Sailing away

Discover the history and magic of The Royal Varuna Yacht Club Page 134

Social

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P a t t aya Ins ight

Sailors’ paradise in Pattaya For six decades, the Royal Varuna Yacht Club has been at the heart of sailing in Thailand

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FTER another grueling work-week in Bangkok, what could be a better way to reboot the system than a couple of hours’ sailing in the Gulf of Thailand? Having shed its image as an elite sport years ago, sailing is now a popular and surprisingly inexpensive way for people of all backgrounds to enjoy the real outdoor life. And Bangkok expatriates as well as Thais with an interest in sailing are extremely fortunate here in Thailand to have the Royal Varuna Yacht Club (RVYC), relatively close by in Pattaya. This family oriented members’ club is notably friendly and thoroughly cosmopolitan, with some 20 nationalities

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represented in a total membership of over 400. Its core purpose is to promote and encourage sailing in the seas off Pattaya and is therefore open equally to sailors of all abilities, from newcomers to serious racers. Located on a beautiful cove with its own secluded beach between Jomtien and Pattaya, RVYC has been the kingdom’s premier sailing club and centre of sailing in Thailand for almost 60 years. A year-round sailing program with cruising and racing is organized, including fun races to the many offshore islands. Fully qualified instructors arrange comprehensive training for beginners as well as more advanced courses for adults, and there is an extensive sailing program for children during the holidays plus supervised sailing

for kids on the weekends. Great facilities include a spectacular clubhouse, formally opened in 2003 by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, an excellent restaurant, two bars, swimming pool, junior club-house, lawns and gardens, boat storage and accommodation featuring rooms for up to five people. Although many members own their boats, the club has others for rent, including Lasers, Hobies and Optimists. A team of skilled boat handlers, some of whom have been with the club for more than two decades, are on hand to help rig the boats, advise owners on defects and recommended repairs, help with launch and, when necessary, rescue operations.

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"A team of skilled boat handlers, some of whom have been with the club for more than two decades, are on hand to help rig the boats, advise owners on defects and recommended repairs, help with launch and, when necessary, rescue operations." Purists may believe that real sailors should rig their own boats, but many club members rather appreciate the idea of boats appearing on the beach, correctly rigged as if by magic, and then disappearing after a weekend’s sailing. The history of the RVYC, which was founded in 1957, is virtually the history of yacht racing, sailing and cruising in Thailand. There’s no doubt the popularity of sailing was greatly enhanced when His Majesty the King and some other members of the Royal Family participated in club events. In 1965, the King bestowed Royal Patronage on the club and its original name was changed from Varuna Marine Club to the Royal Varuna Yacht Club.

The club moved to its present site –one of the most attractive locations on the entire Eastern Seaboard – in October 1967. Over the years, it has hosted numerous regattas, big and small, attracting sailors from all over the world. Apart from sailing and training programs, the club is also a great venue for mid-week corporate days, teambuilding sessions, company meetings and parties.  Most importantly, though, the RVYC is a wonderfully peaceful haven where sailors can indulge their passion in idyllic surroundings. For more information visit: www.varuna.org.

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P a t t aya

News and Deals

Family fun at Art in Paradise IF you’re looking for a quirky and fun activity to enjoy with your family in Pattaya, look no further than Art in Paradise. Open daily from 9am-9pm, this art museum boasts over 5,800 square metres divided into 10 galleries – each one featuring stunning 3D interactive artworks where you can enjoy taking some mind-bending photos. 78/34 Moo 9 Pattaya Second Road Tel: 03 842 4500 Entry is B150 for Thais and foreigners with valid work permits (B500 for foreigners without work permit or residency).

eforea: Spa launches family treatments EFOREA: Spa at Hilton Pattaya launched its new ‘Emerge Family Package’ last month with a special showcase of the treatments it offers parents and their kids. The event was attended by a large number of Thai celebs and also featured cake decorating, pool activities, and aqua aerobics. The family package is now on offer at the spa for B5,800 per package. :eforeaspa.com

Special offer for mums at Amari Orchid Pattaya AMARI Orchid Pattaya is celebrating Mother’s Day with a special promotion offering discounted rates for guests who stay at the hotel with their mum. Valid for stays of two nights in a Deluxe Room, and available for booking from Aug 9-25, the deal includes a guaranteed free upgrade to Family Room with bunk beds and daily buffet breakfast, complimentary Persimmon and Almond Tart, one dinner or lunch, a one hour spa treatment, and 10% discount off additional nights. Prices start at B10,296. ☎ 03 8 418 418 :amari.com/orchid

Squid Fiesta at Cape Dara ALL this month, Radius Restaurant at Cape Dara Resort is serving up a special menu swimming with squid-based options such as Squid and avocado salad; Black ink squid soup; Squid with spicy lime sauce; and Crispy dry seafood with cashew nuts. Available daily 11am-10pm. :capedarapattaya.com

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The Pattaya Players: Broadway Under the Stars THE Pattaya Players will present their premiere all-singing, elegant, cabaret-style program of musical theater standards and contemporary Broadway favourites on Sept 21 at Baan Souy Resort, Jomtien. Tickets for the fundraising show are B1,600 per person and include the show, a Kir Royal welcome drink, a gourmet buffet dinner and a limited-edition goody bag. The event will start at 7pm. :thelittleboxoffice.co/pattayaplayers

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P a t t aya

News and Deals

Joint chambers’ meeting at the Hilton MEMBERS of the South African, American, Australian and British chambers of commerce got together for an Eastern Seaboard networking evening in Pattaya recently. Host of the event, the Hilton Pattaya, put on a wonderful spread of food and drinks for this enjoyable event, which allows participants a great forum for exchanging ideas and business plans.

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Pattaya

Review|Hilton Pattaya

Review

Dining with an Edge

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Daily themes, a superb view, and excellent value are just three of the highlights at Hilton Pattaya’s international restaurant

A SWEEPING view of the Gulf of Thailand sets the scene for some good ol’ fashioned feasting at Hilton Pattaya’s allday-dining restaurant, Edge. Located on the hotel’s 14th floor, the restaurant, well-known for its hearty selection of international cuisines, makes the most of this view thanks to a dramatic floor-to-ceiling window which sweeps across the front of the restaurant. Carefully considered seating in front of this gives almost every diner the chance to admire the visual splendour beyond the glass, and, even better, there’s even an outdoor terrace where the views are complimented by the cooling caress of the ocean breeze and the sound of the surf below. Competing for diners’ attention inside the restaurant meanwhile is a bustling open kitchen and, of course, the buffet itself: a smorgasbord of flavours from all areas of the globe.

If you’re visiting Edge at lunch you’re in for a treat because each day the restaurant takes on a different cuisine theme, starting on Mondays with the Post Weekend Barbecue (B420) – featuring freshly grilled sausages, Korean style pork cuts, and chorizo burritos – and finishing on Sundays with the superb Sunday Brunch (B1,200), a family friendly banquet which does its best to burst the buckle off your belt with its extensive international offerings and tempting desserts, including homemade ice cream, an irresistible chocolate fountain, and even authentic Austrian apfelstrüdel! In between this there’s Mediterranean Fare on Tuesdays; Burgers, Salads & XXL Sandwiches (B420) on Wednesdays; Asian Favourites on Thursdays (B420); Pattaya Seafood on Fridays (B480); and, on Saturdays, Classics & Confectioneries (B480), which includes all kinds of sweet treats

from Thailand and abroad. As for dinner, every Mon-Thurs, and again on Sat-Sun, the International Dinner Buffet is just B850. On Fridays, the Seafood and Wine Buffet is great value at B980 and B800 per guest. If you are a fan of Asian cuisine you should definitely try the restaurant’s Khao Soi, a traditional dish from the north of Thailand which features soft and tender chicken drizzled with a sweet and spicy curry. Alternatively head to the Indian corner of the buffet, where you’ll find a delicious Tikka Massala – just perfect when scooped on a roti or poppadum and enjoyed alongside yoghurt raita and sweet chutney. Diners with more international tastes, meanwhile, will find all kinds of palate pleasing options on offer, including pizzas, pastas, cheeses, imported grilled meats, and much more. Ultimately, for casual dining in stylish surroundings, it doesn’t get much better than this.

333/101, Moo 9 Nong Prue, Banglamung, Pattaya. Open daily for lunch 12pm-2.30pm; dinner 6pm-10pm. Sunday Brunch 12pm-3.30pm.

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The Bangkok BigChilli. August 2013  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. August 2013.

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