Sunday, December 10, 2017

Narita - To Eat (10Dec2017 Ramen Bayashi, 三芳家)

Japan Narita - To Stay
Japan Narita - To Do
Japan Narita - To Eat 
Japan - To Buy
Narita - To Eat
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Ramen Bayashi
(In Narita Village)

Ramen Bayashi is probably the original crew joint. Crew from all over have been signing in here over the years. Ramen Bayashi is a famous joint in the area and other shop owners immediately recognize it as the go-to place for Ramen.
 Google lists it to open at 11am, but they were already open at 10.30am on a Sunday.
Ordered On:
Shoyu Ramen 880Yenn
*Went with the Shoyu recommended by the Tea House stall owner down the street. The noodles and pork were pretty good. Nice flavor and fat distribution for the pork, and noodles of a good springy consistency. The soup base was pretty light and finished. However it was found to be a little bit on the salty side. This was also confirmed by past diner who found it to be so as well. There are other soup based ones as well which can leave this place as a possible return to if in the mood for Ramen. The great thing here is that they have Ramen Vegetarian options!*
Fed 1 at 880Yenn
A decent Ramen stall especially if in the mood to have something warm and soupy. They have water and clean bathroom on site. The place has its charm with crew singing in the guestbooks and leaving warm wishes.
Click here for ABBA location of 三芳家 386-2 Nakamachi, Narita, Chiba Prefecture 286-0027Walk too fast and you might just past by this dessert/tea house completely. Just off the main walking street, hides this oasis of zen garden. I'll definitely try returning here for a tea and dessert, whilst enjoying the well kept serenity of the place.
Ordered by Chan.H.Y on previous visit

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Shanghai - To Eat (07Dec2017 Millennium hongqiao Dim Sum)

Shanghai - To Stay
Shanghai - To Do
Shanghai - To Eat
Shanghai - To Eat
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Mellenium Hong Qiao
Dim Sum Buffett

Click here for ABBA Location of Millennium Hong Qiao 2588 Yan'an W Rd, Changning Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200336Millennium Hong Qiao offers a daily Dim Sum Buffet at 113RMB during the weekdays and a little bit more on the weekends. Located on the second floor, Yam Cha (Dim Sum) Sessions starts from 1130am till 2pm. 
Ordered On:
 Marinated Fish Skin and Bamboo Shoot with Chilli Sauce
*Won't order again. A little boring after a while*
Salted Pork In Jelly in Shanghai Style
Marinated Seaweed
*A good pallet cleanser*
Honey Glazed Barebeque Pork and Peking Duck
 *The stand out for sure! Its SSSSOooooooooooooooooo good. Can fight with or even beat Hong Kong joints. Great fat distribution in the pork and the duck skin is crispy, with sweet tender meat. We had a good 4 orders of this and each wiped clean. This alone was totally worth! Maybe one could consider coming here for an a la carte order.* Deep-fried buns with condensed Milk
*A Hai Di Lau staple that's simple and easy to do. A must do at home next time!*
Stir-fried Bombay duck fish in spicy salt
*That what pictured bottom is. Don't order! There's nothing Bombay or Duck about it.*

Buns stuffed with Egg Custard*Pretty good standard*
 *Pretty standard*
Scrambled egg with barbecue pork
 *Boring* Durian Puff Pastry

*The durian flavors weren't strong enough. Subtle flavors but the
Steamed Rice Flour Roll with Dried Shrimp

*Horrible. Its like having food court chee cheong fun. Dry and hard*
Herbal Pudding
Soy-Bean Milk
Fed 4 at 113RMB Each on a weekday
Bad weather outside and haven't been to Hong Kong in a long while? This place is perfect. The BBQ pork, and Peiking Duck is amazing and totally worth it. The fried Man Tao with condensed milk was a great order too. Most of the standard stuff were good but there were definitely some fails.

None of the cold dishes we ordered were a hit and the fails were the Steamed Rice Flour with Dried Shrimp and the
Stir-fried Bombay duck fish in spicy salt. Don't even bother to order these two.

Great for their roasts and some of their Dim Sums. There's a huge variety and like most Dim Sum Joints, 3 to 4 people would be perfect.
Alternatively if willing to walk out a little bit more. Jardin De Jade Restaurant features celebrity chef ZhuJun, unique Chinese eats at around the same price range (About 125RMB/pax).
Click here for ABBA Location of Millennium Hong Qiao 2588 Yan'an W Rd, Changning Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200336

Sunday, December 3, 2017

London - To Eat 01Dec2017 (Bao)

London - To Stay
London - To Eat
London - To Do

London - To Eat
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(Soho Branch)

Came recommended by others. 450m walk from Piccadilly Circus


Bao is a trendy/hipsterish Taiwanese bistro that has a modern take on fresh Baos using in house wheat flour and a tangzhong starter. The interior is small and has a nice Japanese feel to it.

The recommended order size is two Baos and probably one or two sides per person. There is a Lunch set menu going for £15. A discretionary service charge of 12.5% is automatically applied to each bill on check out.
Free wifi on site, tap water and a clean toilet facility.
Ordered on
Classic £4.50
Braised pork, peanut powder, fermented greens, coriander
*A twist on the classic pork and bun. The use of sugar peanut powder was nice textually and the pickled vegetables often had with Gui Chap/Teo Chew Porridge added that sharpness to balance out the pork. A very slight twist on a classic.*
Fried chicke
n £5.0
Soy Milk Marinated chicken, Sichuan Mayo, Golden Kimchi, Coriander, Sesame Bao
 *Really loved this dish. Using pickled Kimchi was smart to balance the flavors with the crispy fried chicken and they all worked well together. Its a little bit spicy but a really good flavor combination*
 Yalkut Float £5.50Fermanted Pineapple, Soda, Yakult Float
*Am not one for mixers usually, but the 'sourness' from the Yakult with a dash of salt played off the sweet pineapple for a refreshing drink.*
Total £16.88 fed 1

Ambiance 4/5
Service 3.5/5
Food 4/5
Value 3.5/5

The place fills up incredibly fast. 5mins Before doors open on a Friday at 12pm, there's about 6 people in the queue. By 12.25pm the place was almost near capacity. Seating space is limited, but the Japanish cozy diner does add to the atmosphere. Go early and get a seat fast.

I'd return to try their other Baos which go more as sliders than full on burgers. The place also has sides which I didn't get a chance to try but, the Aged Beef Rump and the Peanut milk that were being served out looked like great order options as well. Asian dishes with a twist.
Flat Iron, for flank steak is located nearby.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Singapore - To Eat 30Nov2017 (Don Quijote)

Singapore - To Stay
Singapore - To Eat
Singapore - To Do

Singapore - To Eat
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Don Quijote

Located at Dempsey is Don Quijote, features Spanish cuisine.
At the get go, the place was understaffed. The Topping up of drinks was slow to come by and the usual warm bread served table side was only available after a reminder. When queried on the menu, there lacked any real 'sales' or enthusiasm for any particular dish.
Ordered On:
 Aguacate con cangrejo SGD15
Crab Scallop dip served with toasties
*Visually it looked like it taste. An absolutely waste of time. Vegetable was not dressed and toasties were more like crostini straight out of a bag. Arguably the crab scallop puree was passable at best.*
Rollitos de Esparragos y Bricon SGD12
Asparagus rolled in bacon

*Simple but too salty by fact of the bacon. It could have done well using large sweet asparagus, instead of the cheaper baby asparagus alternative. One can have better at any yakitori.*
Gulas SGD13
Mock Angulas (baby eel)

*Simple. Garlic, olive oil and dry chilli with the smooth eel. Good flavor and texture. Its like having noodles with the fragrant fry.*
Rabo de Toro SGD16
Ox Tail Stew

*Nice and meat falls right off the bone. A pretty good portion for two to share.*
Seafood Paella Valeciana

*Their signature dish. Made to order which as a disclaimer on their menu takes about 40mins to make. It is a little on the salty side, but having a pretty respectable amount of ingredients was a plus. Good flavor, but the char bits may or may not be part of it. Half of the base pan was charred and tasted like clay-pot rice.*
SGD104.80 fed 2 

Ambiance 3/5
Service 3/5
Food 3/5
Value 2.5/5

Won't be returning. Perhaps their two day advance orders like the suckling pig and chicken are worth a visit in a large group, but for those ordered it wasn't that interesting. The tapas selection had were relatively normal and their mains were pretty alright. We didn't even bother to stay for the dessert, instead went down the road from there to have Durains at Dempsey durians (83m away) 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Children of the Magenta - Automation is always best?

Disclaimer! This is NOT an opinion piece, but rather a collection of various readings and clippings which serve to spur further exploration in the topic. These are not full articles but simply excerpts from the bulk of reading material that is available.  As much citation and references were taken with regards to the topic. Legitimacy and accuracy of the clippings are read at your own discretion.

Children of the Magenta

At the time of this video in 1997, 68% of airline accidents involved “automation dependency.” Savvy airline training programs were actively discouraging airline crews from becoming “automation managers.” Subsequently many high visibility accidents like Air France 447 and Asiana Airlines flight 214 (the “seawall approach” at San Francisco) have proved the disabling effect of automation. Now we are experiencing this same phenomenon in smaller planes as the technology propagates downward into piston planes. Increasingly the evils of “task saturation,” “loss situational awareness,” and “deterioration of hand-flying” are implicated in deviations or accidents.

One antidote is careful monitoring by the pilot or crew to detect either task saturation from automation dependency, loss of situational awareness or just confusion about the operation of the flight management system in general (“what’s it doing now…?”).

The necessary action is to step down a level of automation or take over the flight manually. For this reason it is imperative that every pilot maintains confident hand flying skills to fly accurately and improve the outcome of any flight. Pilots and crews that lack hand flying skills and/or confidence are increasingly involved in accidents. The FAA has issued a SAFO (Safety Alert For Operators) on the importance of hand flying citing an “increase in manual handling errors”.  The new FAA Advisory Circular on flight reviews advises flight instructors to watch for automation dependency and weak hand flying skills during flight reviews.

Similarly every pilot must monitor and correct their own automation dependency. It is incumbent upon the careful pilot to maintain and sharpen their hand flying skills with regular practice or dual flight. “George” usually does a great job flying  (embarrassing too  !) but please remember to turn off the magic, take a turn flying and stay sharp!

Image Source

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Mitigated Speech - Speaking upwards

Disclaimer! This is NOT an opinion piece, but rather a collection of various readings and clippings which serve to spur further exploration in the topic. These are not full articles but simply excerpts from the bulk of reading material that is available.  As much citation and references were taken with regards to the topic. Legitimacy and accuracy of the clippings are read at your own discretion.

Mitigated Speech and Plane Crashes

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell discusses what linguists call “mitigated speech.” Mitigated speech is when we speak in a deferential way in order to be polite or show deference to authority.
For example, “If you want your boss to do you a favor, you don’t say, ‘I’ll need this by Monday.’ You mitigate. You say, ‘Don’t bother if it’s too much trouble, but if you have a chance to look at this over the weekend, that would be wonderful.'”
In most situations, mitigation is a very good and polite thing. But there are some situations where it creates a problem. The cockpit of an airplane on a stormy night is one such instance.
6 Levels of Mitigation in Speech
Gladwell points out that there are six ways for a first officer to persuade a captain to change course. These reflect the six levels of mitigation in speech:
1. Command: “Turn thirty degrees right.” That’s the most direct and explicit way of making a point imaginable. It’s zero mitigation.
2. Crew Obligation Statement: “I think we need to deviate right about now.” Notice the use of “we” and the fact that the request is now much less specific. It’s a little softer.
3. Crew Suggestion: “Let’s go around the weather.” Implicit in that statement is “we’re in this together.”
4. Query: “Which direction would you like to deviate?” That’s even softer than a crew suggestion, because the speaker is conceding that he’s not in charge.
5. Preference: “I think it would be wise to turn left or right.”
6. Hint: “That return at twenty-five miles looks  mean.” This is the most mitigated statement of all. (Outliers, p 195)
These six levels of mitigation are helpful. Mitigation is a good way to show courtesy and respect to others. Teaching mitigation is even a key part of raising kids. For example, we teach our children not to say to us “Give me some orange juice.” They need to say, “Please may I have some orange juice?”
So it is good manners to use mitigation in our communication, and this seems to come naturally to most people.

But sometimes this can get tricky. There are times to use less mitigation than others. For example, I don’t like it when people give me hints. As Gladwell says so well, “a hint is the hardest kind of request to decode and the easiest to refuse.” A lot of times, if someone is giving a hint about a course of action to take, it is too easy to interpret them as simply making an observation. Not until after the fact do I realize, “Oh, they really mean that I should have turned left there.”
Mitigation maybe unclear
and may not be picked upon in compressed time!

The worst example of all comes in situations where lives are at risk and clear, decisive actions need to be taken. Those are instances where mitigation creates problems.
It is mitigation, in fact, which “explains one of the great anomalies of plane crashes.” The anomaly is this: crashes are far more likely to happen when the captain — that is, the more experienced pilot — is in the flying seat. (Related to NTSB studies on serious plane accidents between 1978-1990. Sound Decision by Captain is made more difficult when he is PF)

The reason is mitigation. The first officer wants to show deference to the authority of the pilot. So if the pilot is making a mistake, he mitigates. If things have gone wrong, the captain is low on sleep, and other complexities abound, the captain can fail to pick this up and decode the fact that the first officer is actually saying that a critical action needs to be taken.

Gladwell gives several instances of how this became the decisive issue in commercial airline crashes. As a result, it is ironically the case that “planes are safer when the least experienced person is flying, because it means the second pilot isn’t going to be afraid to speak up” (p. 197).

Fortunately, in recent years “combating mitigation has become one of the great crusades in commercial aviation in the past fifteen years.” Crew members are taught how to communicate clearly and assertively and a standardized procedure to challenge the pilot if it appears that he or she has overlooked something critical.

The result? “Aviation experts will tell you that it is the success of this war on mitigation as much as anything else that accounts for the extraordinary decline in airline accidents in recent years.”

The lesson? The way we communicate matters. Be respectful and be polite. That is crucial to preserving the human element of our interactions. But know when times call for increased directness, and how to be tactful in spite of having to use less mitigation. And, above all, be clear.

You maybe interested in - Speaking Up? - Silence that may kill