PIctures note

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Xiaomi Note Launch 15 January 2015

Its not everyday I tune in to launch events but its good that one of the biggest smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi does their launch events in the same timezone that I stay in.
So todays event in Beijing is about their Mi Note. It was a long wait as their CEO slowly unveiled feature by feature until he finally showed off the phone. And he unveiled not one but 2 versions of it!

So what are some of the key takeaways?

Xiaomi Note Standard Edition
1. 2.5D front curve glass display - the sides are chamfered
2. 3D back glass - Now this is a first. The whole back housing is a single piece of curved glass! Xiaomi really up the game here as this is really a premium design. Can't wait to see a sample.
3. 13Megapixel rear camera with OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
4. 4Megapixel selfie camera which uses the sensor from HTC's camera which has 2micron pixels (this gives very good low light performance)
6. 5.7" 1080p JDI display with 95% NTSC color gamut
7. 4.4V 3000mAh high capacity battery from LG
8. Its only 6.96mm thick and weighs only 161grams
9. CPU is Snapdragon 801 and comes with 3Gb LPDDR3 RAM
10. Uses high quality audio components to have claimed HiFi quality sound

And the price is RMB2299 for the 16GB version and RMB2799 for the 64GB version

But the big surprise is the Xiaomi Note Special Edition or "Plus"
Major difference to the standard edition is
1. 5.7" 2K display (this is really cool!)
2. CPU upgraded to Snapdragon 810 and 4Gb LPDDR4 RAM - take note that its LPDDR4
3. Comes with 64GB of ROM (standard onboard storage)

And the price is RMB3299 which is just RMB500 over the 64GB Standard Edition which is actually quite a good value considering we now get the better CPU and display!


What a launch. They also launch a pro headphone set (RMB499) and also a miniaturize Mi Box(RMB199). Overall, I guess Xiaomi is now targeting the big display crowd with their very premium handset! Its good to see Xiaomi entering with a premium product with such high quality finishing. Now lets see if their supply chain can deliver enough of it to sell!
Available in China from the 27th January 2015 so good luck grabbing one.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bao Shen Steamboat at Luzhou, New Taipei City, Taiwan

Located along Changrong Road (I think its at 399) in Luzhou, there is a steamboat buffet place that is not high end but serve some decent selection for a reasonable price. The place is called Bao Shen and its a bright colored shop with a really large seating capacity. 

The shop is restaurant is open from 11am to 11pm and they have different pricing depending on the time you dine there. Another moot point is that one is limited to eating for only 2 hours only. But for the price of less than TWD300 per pax (children is half price), you get what you pay for I guess. I would say the highlights here would be the meat section where they have the pork, lamb and beef slices. During winter months, they also have venison meat too. 

Besides that, there are no options for soup base and its only a clear stock which is available. On the other hand, they also serve a selection of cold and hot dishes as well as drinks. All in all, pretty decent for the price that we pay for and gobble as much as you can eat in 2 hours. Enjoy.

The entrance with the pricing stated based on the time. Do note the finer print of 10% service charge

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bangkok Lane Famous Mee Goreng, Penang

Im sure I have heard of this place before but surprisingly never knew where it was till one day while I was hungry and happened to just park my car at Bangkok Lane, which is located at Pulau Tikus area, and then did I stumbled upon this place.
At first, I was wondering, why was there so many people eating here and then I just did some survey and notice that there is only 2 options. Curry fish head from the Nasi Kandar or Mee Goreng. Thus I opted for the Mee Goreng and lo and behold, it came in a red plate with a bunch of chopped lettuce on top. I thought, hmm, nothing too special, only did I realize that the Mee Goreng was filled with squid. Then I thought, this sure taste like the Mee Goreng Sotong and it does actually. The noodles were well cooked and the sauce not overly wet until it soaks the noodles. Overall, I like it and its a good challenge to the one at Esplanade foodcourt. At least I have another option now. They are close on Monday though. Opens from the morning till evening otherwise.

 Looks pretty decent huh

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pingxi Train Station in New Taipei City, Taiwan

On the East of Taipei, there are many old mining towns with Jiufen probably one of the most infamous and always full of tourist. But if one follow the old train tracks, there are actually quite a few more interesting towns along the Keelung River. The trains are still running albeit I think its just full of tourist hopping the mining towns :)

Anyway, Back in June, was lucky enough that my buddy Mark brought my wife and my little boy at that time to Pingxi Town Station and even though it was raining, but I think it was pretty bearable. As I look back at the map, there are quite a number of towns along the river and Shihfen is probably one of the most popular one here. I will write another one about that too.

So at Pingxi Station, I feel its really a small but lively town. We went on a weekday and was glad that it was pretty quiet unlike at Shihfen. You get a nice cobbled street up to the station and along it there are many souvenir and snack shops. Of course you can also light up a sky lantern too here which is probably one of the highlights of visiting one of these townships.

Do check out the photos below ya. These were taken with my handphone :)

The streets leading up to the train station

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Yongkang Street - Great place to hangout!

There are an abundant of places in Taipei to walkabout but one that I find really enjoyable is a place called Yongkang Street located at Daan District.  Just get off the yellow line MRT at Dongmen station exit 5 and its just less than 50m away.
As one exits the station,  Im sure you will notice a shop that has an abundant of people forever queing up! That shop is non other than the famous Din Tai Fung! It also happens to be the first shop in this famous eateary and its very popular with tourists! To me, unless you really want to put a checkmark saying you have visited,  then my suggestions to skip it.

The view of Taipei 101 as you exit the MRT
Yongkang Street is the first lane on the right

Sunday, September 7, 2014

New beginnings in Taipei

Since the end of August, my family and I have moved to Taipei due to work. So slowly as we settle down, I will be exploring and writing more about my findings here. With that, I hope that will continue to have more writeups, as I do notice there aren't many English food blogs here! Cheers!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ramadan Buffet and Peranakan Cuisine at Eastin Hotel Penang

For the month of Ramadan which is from 29 June - 27 July  2014, Eastin Hotel's Swez Brasserie is having their highly anticipated Ramadan Buffet Dinner and it is an event or should I say feast which many will not want to miss!
As usual, Chef Bakri and Chef Fauzi will be bringing lots of traditional flavors to the table and some with a modern twist. One of the items which will be making headlines will be their whole roasted lamb (whole lamb will be available once there is over 50 pax for the buffet else it will be a roasted leg of lamb). The succulent lamb which is roasted daily will be irresistible.
Now, the buffet is starts daily from 6.30pm till 10.00pm and priced at a very affordable RM88++ (adult) and RM44++ (child). Those using Bank Islam credit/debit card are entitled to a 15% discount while Citibank and Maybank card users can enjoy a Pay for 5 and the 6th dine for free!

As for lunch, they will be having a Peranakan Cuisine theme and thus one can savor different flavors for both lunch and dinner! How awesome is that right? The lunch buffet is priced at RM50++ (adult) and RM25++ (child).

So do check out some of the highlights below.

The chef proudly presenting their creations!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ramadan Buffet at Sarkies of E&O Hotel

Well, its that beautiful time again of the year where our Muslim friends will be celebrating the month of Ramadan and what better way to enjoy the breaking of fast at E&O Hotel for the exquisite buffet at the renowned Sarkies!
From 28 June 2014 till Hari Raya, one will be able to enjoy their buffet spread which encompass some local delicacies specially prepared to celebrate the occasion.
Among the highlights would be their wide selection of Ulam Ulaman, Pasembur, Bergedil and Acar Rampai which you can serve with a selection of mouth watering dressings which includes sambal belacan, budu, tempoyak, cincalok, salted egg and fish, pickled fruits and an assortment of crackers! Then for soup lovers, there is Sup Ekor which is ox tail soup and this is one soup not to be missed.
For mains, one can sample their tomato rice, Daging Masak Kicap, Kari Kambing with potatoes (This is an item not to be missed), Ayam Goreng Berempah (its better than the fried fast food chicken), Telur Dadar, Ikan Panggang (we can't missed grilled fish can we) and many more! They even serve a mean Bubur Lambuk (porridge).
And finally to satisfy the sweet tooth, there will be an assortment of Malay Kuih, Bubur Kacang, Buah Kurma (dates), a variety of fried items such as Pisang Goreng and a wide choice of local fruits!
The buffet is priced as below

Jamuan Buka Puasa
28 June – 27 July 2014 (7pm – 10.30pm)
Sundays – Tuesdays RM96++ (adult) RM48++ (child)
Wednesdays – Saturdays RM110++ (adult) RM65++ (child)

‘Salam Aidilfitri’ Hi-Tea
Monday & Tuesday 28 & 29 July 2014 12 noon – 2.30pm RM78++ (adult) RM39++ (child)

‘Salam Aidilfitri’ Buffet Dinner
Monday & Tuesday 28 & 29 July 2014 7pm – 10.30pm RM110++ (adult) RM65++ (child)

Some of the yummies on my plate :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Chicago Ohare Airport and American Airlines Admirals Club Lounge

I was pretty surprised with the size of Ohare Airport of Chicago and as this time when I depart from Ohare, its during the daytime and I'm glad too as I finally get to take some interior photos of this place. I particularly like the fact that the walkway is made with a transparent roof which allows alot of natural light to fill the place. Well, when I was there during spring (March), they had flags of different countries lining the walkway, but I didn't happen to see Malaysia's. 
I was very lucky as I got to visit and use the Admiral Lounge from American Airlines, but frankly, the lounge has nothing to shout about as the only freebies you get is coffee and tidbits. I guess this is typical of USA airlines compared to Asian or Middle Eastern ones where you are really pampered. So do check out whats install for you if you happen to be flying business or first class using American Airlines.

The open skylight and bright ambiance

Official Opening of TGV Cinemas and The Amazing Spiderman 2 Premiere Screening at Gurney Paragon Mall

I have to thank some lucky stars, and of course John & Angelia of KayaButterToast as well as Regina of TGV Cinemas for inviting me to the grand opening of TGV Cinemas with IMAX at Gurney Paragon. In conjunction with this launch, I also got the opportunity to watch the premiere screening of The Amazing Spiderman 2: The Rise of Electro, at the IMAX with 3D hall!
With the opening of TGC Cinemas in Gurney Paragon, Penangites now have another avenue to fulfill their movie watching cravings, what more with TGV now bringing the first IMAX cinema to Penang or should I even say the Northern region of Malaysia. This is definitely great news as previously one would have to head to KL to catch one of these screens. Moreover, the IMAX at TGV Cinemas Gurney Paragon is of the latest design and comes with 3D. It features the latest in digital projector technology as well as immersive surround sound for a truly remarkable movie experience.

The official opening was kick started by registration of the special guests as well as media and what is more is that TGV prepared some games for all to participate in, and easily win some TGV souvenirs! Food was also generously provided and the host was really energetic to keep the pace of the event moving.

After the launch, all were invited for the premiere screening of The Amazing Spiderman 2 and after that, there was the record attempt for the "Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Spiderman!" I have to say, the support and turnout was truly spectacular and the whole floor area of TGV Cinemas was "flooded" with your friendly neighbourhood hero!

As for the movie experience, I have to say that this was the first IMAX 3D movie I have ever watch, and the expectations were high. As we entered the hall, it was well lit and easy to spot your seats. A note to all, The row numberings at the front row nearest to the screen start with "A" and not vice versa. So do take note when you make your bookings.
The 3D glasses were well sized and comfortable even for those wearing glasses and I had no issue experiencing the 3D effect. The technology have really evolved and with the use of dual digital projectors as well as the well designed seating arrangement, there isn't really a "bad" seat as IMAX terms it. I got to experience this via seating in the second row from the front and even though the experience of 3D was good, the strain on the neck wasn't. It was a very immersive experience as the size and curvature of the screen makes it look as if we are fully encompass by the view. I sometimes had to look left and right to get the full picture, and that is how "BIG" the view was. 

And finally the premiere of The Amazing Spiderman 2 : The Rise of Electro was just a great way to highlight what IMAX 3D could achieve. Spidey's amazing agility as he zips around the skyline of New York was truly breathtaking and I believe the director took full advantage of creating this when he directed the movie. Hmm, I'm wondering if I should divulge more about the movie as that would mean giving out some spoilers, I think I will not. I just have to say that the movie, really tries to explore more about Peter Parker and there were also some clues into the mysteries of his parents. His girlfriend (Gwen) and close friend (Harry) are all main characters in this movie and it was interesting how Electro came into the picture. There is the usual love story with a twist and I will not divulge the ending but if you look at the poster, you will notice that besides Electro, there are more nasties which Spiderman have to overcome to save Manhattan from being smashed to smitherines! Last but not least, I guess this movie will prelude to another future episode but the 142 minutes spent watching this is truly worthwhile!

After watching this movie, I have to really encourage movie lovers to at least experience IMAX or even better yet, IMAX 3D once with a movie that was designed for it. Some of those which I'm now looking forward to are Godzilla and the ultimate one, Transformers : Age of Extinction! which is shot partially with digital IMAX 3D cameras!

So do checkout the photos and captions below, and head over to TGV Cinemas for that truly spectacular movie experience.

TGV Cinemas with IMAX! Maybank is their official financial provider too.