Chatime takes off into the skies

Craving for Chatime? Flying AirAsia lately? Now crave no more as you can now skip all the long queues to wait for your cuppa Chatime.

Imagine sipping your Chatime 30,000 ft up in the air and choose from Roasted Milk Tea with Red Bean or Mango Green Tea with Rainbow Jelly at only RM8!

I know it is a wee bit expensive than your normal ones in the store but nothing beats enjoying your favourite Chatime brand up in the skies.

Skip the usual Chatime queue and have it on board instead from 1st July 2012!

*Available on Malaysia AirAsia (AK) flights only.

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Singapore Airlines adds more A380 Down Under

Singapore Airlines betting big on the A380 for Australian flights

Singapore Airlines this week announced that it will increase its presence Down Under with additional A380 flights into Melbourne, making it two out of three return flights on the SIN-MEL route later this year (which the airline has only one thus far). Currently, the airline also operates two out of three A380 flights on the SIN-SYD route.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Singapore Airlines’ Regional Vice President Subhas Menon said that “the bulk of its increases in capacity worldwide this year would be on routes to Australia and China due to the strengths of their economies and demand for premium travel.”

Mr. Menon also said that Singapore Airlines wishes to “operate as many A380 as we can” to Sydney and Melbourne. Singapore Airlines has also recently partnered with Virgin Australia making it a strong alliance between the two airline to compete with Qantas which is forecasted to lose more than AUD$450 million by end of this year.

Singapore Airlines will also increase its 7 times returned flight on the Singapore-Adelaide route to 10 times weekly from July 2 onwards. This is in fact not a new thing as this was recently removed earlier this year by the airline. The airline will also add additional flights into Perth and Brisbane later this year of which it will be announced soon.

Ladurée is opening in Sydney in July

The squeals of delight from every foodie and fashionista could be heard echoing around the realms of Facebook, Twitter and all over the social medias when it was recently announced that iconic French patisserie Ladurée would finally be opening a store in Sydney in July!

Ladurée is slated to occupy one of the empty shoplot in Westfield Sydney CBD and of which I can imagine the queue will be as long as when Topshop and Topman first opened its flagship store in Melbourne’s South Yarra suburban back in 2011.

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The macaron are the most famous creation of Laduree …. created at the beginning of the 20th century by Pierre Desfontaines the second cousin of Louis Ernest Laduree who first thought of taking two macaron shells and joining them with a delicious ganache filling. Once cooked the macaron are put to one side for 2 days before going on sale …. according to Laduree, the time it takes to achieve the perfect balance between texture and flavour.

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I first discovered about Ladurée during my trip to London back in July 2011 for my brother’s convocation when he introduces this macarons to me. I have been to Paris before on two occasions in 2002 and 2007, none of which I knew of Ladurée at all.

You will be surprised that there is STRICTLY NO PHOTOGRAPHY in the shop itself and if you have your professional DSLR cameras out to your smallest digital camera, you will either be asked to keep the cameras away or leave the shop immediately. Yes, it is how strict it is.

Commercial Arrogance: The Wi-Fi Debate

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Should our luxury hotels charge for the use of wi-fi? It has been a norm that hotel industry throughout the world have been charging exorbitant prices just for the usage of wi-fi.

In this 21st-century, internets can be easily obtained almost everywhere, any corner on this planet. Hotels should treat the Internet like a cup of coffee – something of which should be available in every room.

While wi-fi is easily made available and complimentary in many cafes, bookstores and even in hostels, it’s commercial arrogance for a 5-star hotel to charge guests between $25-$40 a day for internet access on top of the room tariff.

While we all know that business travelers these days have the spending power as most of their companies will cover their travel expenses, it is by no means that a 5-star hotel should impose a nominal fee on the Internet access versus the treatment of backpackers staying in a hostel with complimentary Internet access.

My travel around Australia and across Asia recently took me by surprise to see how much 5-star hotels are charging Internet access for its business travelers. I stayed in Singapore back in February, the hotel publishes its Internet rate at SGD$45 per day (subjected to 17% GST) and this I thought was absolutely a cut-throat pricing. In Kuala Lumpur, it is not that far-off as well where the pricing has gone up to as high as RM60-RM70 per day (subjected to 16% government tax and service charge).

In Sydney, 5-star hotels charges ranging from AUD$30-$40 per day depending on the brand of the hotel but there is absolutely no standardize charges if you visit any of the hotels around Sydney.

We all know how easy it is and how cheap it is to install the whole Internet system but it is unfair for the hotel to pass on the installation fees’ burden onto its guests. Hotels should be able to somehow slipped in the Internet charges into its room rates and this will make its guests feeling much more comfortable rather than charging it separately.

The travel industry is as wide as an ocean with everyone owning a mobile, laptops, tablets and any electronic device that has an internet connection with it. What’s the point of having the hotel with a great reputation and great review online and it is being stained with a bad reputation just because of a comment on the Internet fee?

While I have seen many hotels offering complimentary access to its guests who are of high status on its loyalty programme but hotels still have more to do to maintain it’s other clientele who may not travel as frequent as the business travelers do.

As for me, booking a hotel which offers me complimentary internet access is my utmost priority. You offer me free, I will be loyal to your brand. And hotels shouldn’t be surprised if the clientele they gauge don’t come back.

Aireen Omar names AirAsia Berhad Malaysia new CEO

Photo: A new chapter for our new CEO, Aireen Omar! :-D

AirAsia Berhad Malaysia, on Monday (18th June 2012) appoints its new chief executive officer (CEO) and executive director for the Malaysian based office. She will assume the role effective 1st July reporting directly to AirAsia Group CEO, Tony Fernandes.

“I am delighted with the appointment of Aireen, who has consistently demonstrated her capabilities and commitment in propelling AirAsia to new heights. She has long been an invaluable part of the senior management team of AirAsia and possesses the vision and leadership qualities crucial for the company’s growth in its second decade,” Fernandes said in a press statement sent to “Of Travel and Food” media team on Tuesday.

Aireen, was Regional Head of Corporate Finance, Treasury and Investor Relations. She joined AirAsia in January 2006 as Director of Corporate Finance. Aireen was, among others, instrumental in securing the financing for AirAsia’s fleet expansion, a vital component of AirAsia’s success. Her role included handling the negotiations with Airbus for the record purchase of 200 Airbus A320neo aircraft that was announced at the Paris Airshow in 2011.

SilverKris Heathrow closes for facelift

Singapore Airlines, in an email to all its Krisflyer members stated that their SilverKris Lounge at London Heathrow International Airport (Terminal 3) is now closed for a major refurbishment from 18th June till 15th July 2012. The lounge will re-open again on the 16th July 2012.

During this time, ground staffs will be available to assist passengers on alternative facilities available.

Muar’s Glutton Street 贪吃街

Muar, or Bandar Maharani Muar (the Empress Town) as it is popularly known amongst the locals and tourists alike is famous for its “T’am Cjia Kuay” literally “the glutton voracious eating street” by the Chinese befitting its reputation as the food haven of the town.

Located along Jalan Haji Abu, it stretches for approximately 100m from the junction of Jalan Meriam and ending on Jalan Ali. Being a Muarian myself and my late grandparents house is located just along Jalan Haji Abu (upstairs in one of the shoplots), I can’t be ever proud to be in the midst of the food haven in Muar Town.

Did I say Pork Satay? Yes, indeed! Here you will find the Muar’s famous Pork Satay and mind you that queuing is essential and waiting for your turn. How about some pork intestines satay on skewers? It is also one of its delicacy in this stall. You will be amazed by its variety of choices served there.

Pssst. Sometimes the order mounts up and the owner not knowing where the original customers are, just admit that it is your plate if you did order it slightly later. My dad has done it and I know it does work.

Muar is also famous for its otak-otak (乌达). It is a cake made of fish meat (usually mackerel) and spices. Traditionally wrapped in a banana leaf, it is then grilled on top of a charcoal fire.

In my opinion of being a Muarian, your trip is incomplete without first savouring the mouth-watering otak-otak. Trust me, it is worth the try before you hit the roads leaving Muar town.

How about a plate of “O Chien” literally means fried oysters. However, this dish is just more than just a plate of fried oysters. The oysters are fresh, juicy and huge fried with omelette and starch. You will find a slight variation with the O Chien found here in Muar and of other places as it is usually the softer type as to compare to the ones with crust.

Are you feeling bloated yet? Still on the same Glutton Street, you will find yourself eating “Wan ton mee” (Noodle tossed in the black soya sauce with slices of char siu (BBQ pork), veggies and a bowl of wanton (dumpling) soup).

You will also realized that the Char Siew served on your plate is not of the normal charcoal roasted darn brownish colour but it is red roasted colour. This is the trademark that you will find it in Muar only.

After consuming all these food, why not stop by for a glass of herbal tea – it is a mixture of herbs that is believed to quench your thirst and “heatiness” from within your body.

Address:

Muar’s Glutton Street
T’am Cjia Kuay” (贪吃街)
Along Jalan Haji Abu (between Jalan Ali to Jalan Meriam junction)
Muar 84000
Johor Darul Takzim
MALAYSIA 

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