Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Marketing In Bangkok

Marketing in Bangkok is a unique experience when compared to many other cities and certainly when compared to American cities. First, the Asian culture is completely different from the west. Second, although the overwhelming majority of people in Bangkok are Thai, there are also sizable communities of people who speak Japanese, English and Chinese. This means that trying to reach people through Traditional media can be difficult since there are Thai, English and Japanese newspapers here and radio stations in Thai, English and Chinese. And the mass market TV stations are all in Thai.

Since reaching people through traditional media is difficult many forward-thinking marketers are turning increasingly to the internet. There are many Thai language websites here in Thailand but many Thais also use English-language sites to a certain degree. Therefore, many marketers that are trying to reach local audiences for different products have quite a number of options. YouTube and Google, for example, get large numbers of Thai visitors and there is also a Thai-language versions of Google.

There are also a few Thai-language video sharing sites, although they receive very small amounts of traffic compared to YouTube. So, marketers here are producing content that is in English or Thai and also using tags in both languages to experiment with the effectiveness of tags that are not in English. Since Thais search in both languages this should ultimately prove to be successful.

Marketing companies in Bangkok are also using email marketing as part of their mix although reliable email lists are hard to come by here. However, there are some small lists available that are relatively reliable and there is at least one company that we know of – www.contactbangkok.com – that sends out weekly newsletters to its 40,000-strong database of businesses and you can pay to put an HTML ad inside it.

And, as connection and download speeds become faster here in Thailand, the use of video is becoming more and more important to marketers looking to use the fastest-growing and most effective method of communicating ideas. As mentioned above, there are very few Thai video-sharing sites but the major video-sharing sites in the world are becoming more popular here and traffic is on the rise.

As in other more developed countries, Thailand is also turning to the internet but the progress here has been somewhat slower. With recent technology and infrastructure improvements here, however, that progress should quicken and propel Thailand into the ranks of its more advanced neighbors.

Online Marketing In Bangkok

Online marketing in Bangkok is a relatively new trend as most Bangkok-area business people have been slow to realize that their websites are becoming more and more important in terms of bringing in business. While this may seem a bit strange to people in more developed countries, it is nevertheless the reality here in Thailand.

Because of this, the entire SEO and online marketing industry here is very small and not very advanced. A survey of company websites that purport to be SEO and online marketing consultants will quickly illustrate that almost every one of these companies has very little idea of what is actually involved in creating a successful SEO marketing campaign. One of the companies that does seem to have a very clear idea of what to do in this field has a site called MarketingBangkok.com and also offers an SEO and online marketing training course.

In general, though, the pickings are slim when it comes to real expertise in the field of online marketing and the prices that some people are paying here for the meager results they get seems to suggest that it may be better to do your online marketing using your own personnel. This necessitates training but there is, as mentioned above, a resource for this so it is possible to achieve. However, there are a number of factors to consider when attempting to create your own online marketing department inside your company.

First, make sure that your marketing plan includes all of the elements that are needed to pursue a well-rounded strategy. This means you need to do article marketing, post videos on sharing sites such as YouTube, post article and videos on news and citizen journalism sites, create a blog or multiple blogs, do link building (of the Google-approved variety), make use of social network sites and do bookmarking. These are the basic areas that are essential for most businesses, although yours may not utilize all of them right away.

Once you have mapped out the strategy you want to employ then you need to ensure that your personnel are trained well enough in the specific areas of writing, simple video production and basic skills that are needed to post content on external websites, use bookmarking sites and make use of social networking sites. These basic skills, along with a good database of websites to post content to, are all that are needed to put together an effective online marketing program that will drive more traffic to your website and increase your business.

SEO Training In Bangkok

SEO training in Bangkok is extremely limited at the time of this writing (December, 2009) as there is only one company in the city that regularly offers classes in this field. One of the reasons for this is that Thailand is quite a bit behind the U.S. and other countries where the internet is more a part of the business atmosphere. And, since this is the case, there is much less demand for people who are proficient in helping business owners drive traffic to their websites.

This lack of a widespread need for SEO services and other online marketing services is an indication of the present state of website marketing in Bangkok but the SEO training situation should gradually change as more and more businesspeople continue to realize that the future of their business is closely tied to the internet. This is especially true for people in the tourism and export industries, since their business comes largely from overseas, but it is also becoming increasingly important for companies who depend almost solely on business from local residents.

There are some areas already where local businesses are finding ways to use the internet to increase their customer base and income. Facebook is a prime example, especially for businesses like restaurants and bars. More and more of these businesses in Bangkok are setting up their own groups on Facebook and using them to reach people with news about promotions, specials, parties, menu changes, anything that might be of interest to their regular customers while at the same time adding to their friends list to keep building their group.

It will probably only be a short period of time before these people realize that while Facebook is helpful, there are also many other things that they can do to grow their business using online channels. Perhaps article marketing will be the next step they take or possibly using videos and video sharing sites to advertise their product and set up links to their sites. They would also then discover more link building techniques and also bookmarking sites and the advantages to using them.
So, as their interest in the internet as a marketing tool increases they will also need more and more expertise to successfully carry out these marketing functions.

This will spur the need for real expertise and knowledge and they will then require the services of a training company who fully understands all aspects of SEO and online marketing. These people will then also discover that the basic concepts of SEO and online marketing are easy to understand and carry out. All they need is someone to bring their attention to these techniques and help them acquire the basic skills that will allow them to become successful at SEO and online marketing.
Although the state of the training industry for SEO and online marketing is now confined to just one company this is bound to change in the coming months and years and more and more businesspeople in Bangkok realize that the future of their businesses really does lie on the internet.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Link Building Information from Marketing Bangkok

http://www.seonorthamerica.com Useful information from SEO North America about how link building is used to help your SEO efforts.

Content Creation Information from Marketing Bangkok

Useful information from Marketing Bangkok about content is used to help your SEO efforts.

Bookmarking Information from Marketing Bangkok

Useful information from Marketing Bangkok about how bookmarking can help your SEO efforts.

Blogging Information from Marketing Bangkok

Useful information from Marketing Bangkok about how blogging can help your SEO efforts.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Student Experiences at Online Marketing Excellence #7

See what Online Marketing Excellence student Linda has to say about her experiences in the course.

Student Experiences at Online Marketing Excellence #6

See what Online Marketing Excellence student Ian has to say about his experiences in the course.

On-Site SEO Information from Marketing Bangkok

Useful information about how to optimize your onsite SEO from Marketing Bangkok.

Keyword Information from Marketing Bangkok

Useful information about how to use keywords from Marketing Bangkok.

Student Experiences at Online Marketing Excellence #5

See what Online Marketing Excellence student Claire has to say about her experiences in the course.

Introduction to Online Marketing Excellence #2

Find out about some of the reasons to take the online marketing training course that's offered by Online Marketing Excellence in Bangkok.

Introduction to Online Marketing Excellence #1

Find out about some of the reasons to take the online marketing training course that's offered by Online Marketing Excellence in Bangkok.

Website Design at Marketing Bangkok

Find out what makes good website design and what needs to be done to rank high in Google's listings.

Student Experiences at Online Marketing Excellence #4

See what Online Marketing Excellence student Supinda has to say about her experiences in the course.

Student Experiences at Online Marketing Excellence #3

See what Online Marketing Excellence student Paweena has to say about her experiences in the course.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Marketing Bangkok Blog

SEO North America Blog

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Introduction To Thai Food

Thai food is by now fairly well known in many parts of the world and this is due to several reasons. Before explaining why this is so it is important to first say that the term Thai food is hard to define because there are so many varieties of Thai food to consider. This itself is due to several factors, the most important being the fact that the population of Thailand is made up of many different ethnic groups. Since all ethnic groups have food that is particular unto themselves this has given Thailand a very large base of cuisines to work with and defining a national cuisine is therefore a bit difficult.

Examples of different regional cuisines in Thailand include the deep southern dishes that have their roots in the Muslim-Malay cuisine of northern Malaysia, the far northwestern dishes that come from the Chiang Mai and Chiang areas with their hilltribe influences, the dishes of Isaan in the northeast that have Lao and Khmer roots and the many dishes in the central area of the country and in Bangkok that have numerous Chinese influences.

Thus, Thai cuisine is a true melting pot of influences, ingredients and cooking styles and this has created a national cuisine that has hundreds and hundreds of different dishes that draw on these varied roots. This is one of the reasons, as mentioned above, that Thai food is so well know around the world and so popular. There are so many different dishes and flavors associated with Thai cuisine that it always appears fresh and interesting to diners the world over. This variety undoubtedly contributes greatly to the universal appeal of Thai cuisine.

Another reason for the popularity of Thai food is the perception that it has of being healthy, at least healthier than most western cuisines. This is due mainly to the extensive use of rice and vegetables in many dishes as well as chicken and seafood. Pork is popular in many dishes too, and is also used in many decidedly unhealthy ways, such as very fatty sausages, but beef is not as prevalent. Also, many of the herbs and spices that are used have healthful qualities. So, overall, Thai food is quite healthy and with the trend towards healthier eating in the past several years this has contributed to its popularity all over the world.

A final factor, although probably the least important, is the exotic image that people have in their minds of Thailand as a country. It is certainly not well known to many Americans, in particular, or Europeans either although there are many more visitors to Thailand from Europe than from the States. This bit of mystery about the country, its culture and its people must also be a contributing factor to the increasing interest in Thai cuisine. All of these factors and more are combining to make Thai food one of the world’s most well-known and popular cuisines and this is a trend that seems to keep gaining momentum as the years pass.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Japanese Cuisine, Part One -- Teppanyaki

Japanese food may be a bit of a mystery for many people and there are many who may think it consists only of raw fish, something they would never want to eat. Well, the good news is that there are many different forms of Japanese cuisine and most of them involve cooking.

In fact, unless you live in a area that has access to really fresh fish, the Japanese restaurants in your town will have a hard time presenting top-quality sushi and sashimi, the most common forms of raw Japanese cuisine. This is because sushi and sashimi are dependent on having both high-quality fish and extremely fresh fish. A real sushi or sashimi aficionado would turn up his nose at a dish that wasn’t prepared with only the freshest of fish.

But that’s okay because there are many other forms of Japanese cuisine that depend on the talent of the chef and the skillful preparation of ingredients that include beef, fish, shellfish, shrimp and vegetables. These ingredients are used in a variety of cuisine styles including tempura, sukiyayi, teppanyaki, hot pots, shabu and more.

Probably one of the more popular styles for western audiences is teppanyaki since it involves grilling and beef, vegetables and seafood are used the most. This type of cooking is what you will find at the popular chain Benihana’s, for example, although at these restaurants you will also be treated to a show by the chef as he prepares the dishes.
That’s because teppanyaki is prepared at large tables that are basically flat metal grills with seating around them in some sort of arrangement. Customers are literally sitting right in front of the chef and watching as he prepares the dishes. This provides diners with a show as well as a meal as it can be very entertaining seeing how the chefs actually cook. This aspect of teppanyaki is also undoubtedly one of the reasons why it is a popular form of Japanese cuisine.

Be advised, however, that not all Japanese restaurants have teppanyaki tables. Smaller establishments may not because these tables are both quite expensive and rather large so they need a lot of room. Smaller Japanese restaurants will most likely have to cook teppanyaki dishes in their kitchen. This doesn’t mean the food won’t taste as good; it just won’t be as entertaining an experience.

Generally, you’ll pick which items you want grilled from the menu and maybe even what type of preparation you want as well since different sauces are sometimes used. Depending on the restaurant, you may see pork or chicken on the menu as well as the standards — beef, seafood and vegetables. Some upper-tier restaurants may also have some of the more exotic varieties of Japanese beef such as kobe or wagyu. These are premium forms of beef and are very rich, tender and flavorful as well as being quite a bit more expensive than even the best forms of American or Australian beef. If you’re a fan of great beef, however, you owe it to yourself to try them as the taste experience is well worth it. Just don’t eat too much, though, as they are quite rich due to the extensive fat marbling.

This is but a brief look at teppanyaki, one of the more popular forms of Japanese cuisine and one that almost every Japanese restaurant will have in some form. It’s also a great example of Japanese food that is cooked and not raw, so anyone should be happy with ordering it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

SEO Bangkok - PART 1

See some basic search engine optimization (SEO) tips from Bangkok.

White Cafe Caters the Coco Chanel Movie Premiere in Bangkok

http://www.whitecafecatering.com White Cafe Catering provides great food for the Coco Chanel movie premiere at the Emporium in Bangkok on August 19, 2009.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tom Aikins Reporting On Personal Investments In Thailand, Part Three

Tom Aikins interviews Mr. Chatrapee Tantixalerm, CEO of Ayudhya Fund Management in Bangkok, about personal investments in Thailand and other personal financial matters. In this interview, a look at making investment goals.

Tom Aikins Reporting On Personal Investments In Thailand, Part Two

Tom Aikins interviews Mr. Chatrapee Tantixalerm, CEO of Ayudhya Fund Management in Bangkok, about personal investments in Thailand and other personal financial matters. In this interview, a look at the wealth ratio.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Basics Of SEO And Website Marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) is now one of the most important topics for website owners to understand. Anyone that depends on their website to bring them business needs to know the ins and outs of SEO in order to maximize their website’s potential. And if you want your website to have a high Google rank then SEO is essential.

What is SEO? The answer to this question has many different parts because there are a number of elements that make up SEO but quite simply it is the process by which you make your website as easy to find as possible by Google and other search engines. This is important, obviously, because if your site is not easy to find by people searching for goods and services then you will miss out on doing business with them.

Therefore, good SEO for your site is very important. The good news is that it is not expensive for most people to optimize their sites and it is not that technically difficult. Having said that, though, many people simply hire an SEO company to make the required changes to their site and maybe also engage in some website marketing and promotion. These are two separate subjects but they go hand in hand if you are really serious about gaining more traffic for your site.

According to Peter and Tom from IT Ready, a Bangkok-based SEO and web marketing firm, SEO is the process of making your site more visible to search engines and website marketing is the process of using external websites to drive traffic back to your site. When both of these processes are done correctly then your site has the best possible chance of getting maximum traffic and sales.

There are many aspects to website promotion and many opinions as to how to go about it. Many companies use Google AdWords, for example, to target specific demographic segments with pay per click ads. Others use article marketing and content posting to build awareness and traffic through back links. Acccording to the guys at IT Ready, a combination of these is probably the best for most businesses, but careful analysis of the AdWords program must be done at all times to ensure that the money being spent is being done so in the most cost-effective manner.

There are many more aspects to SEO and website traffic promotion that website owners should explore and if you can find knowledgeable people to help you then your website could experience a significant increase in traffic. One thing is certain, however – SEO and web traffic promotion are becoming more and more important every day so don’t wait to start optimizing your site and driving traffic to your site because the longer you wait the more business you could be losing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Computer Support In Bangkok Not Easy To Find

Computer support in Bangkok can be a difficult and frustrating experience. There are many people who claim to be capable of helping you with your computer by providing business support, business maintenance or other forms of IT support in Bangkok but most have no qualifications and can cause harm to your system.

One important thing to look for when you are thinking of hiring an IT support person in Bangkok is Microsoft qualifications. Everyone who is Microsoft qualified will have an official ID card from Microsoft. If people do not have this card then they are not qualified by Microsoft and you will be taking a chance by hiring them.

Another thing that is difficult here when you’re looking for computer repair, laptop repair, IT consultants and other computer services is dealing with Thai people who have poor English language abilities. This makes it difficult for them to communicate with English-speaking people, who make up a large percentage of expatriates who are looking for computer support in Bangkok, which can lead to problems in itself.

The biggest problem is not being able to understand explanations of your basic computer repair problem. If you can’t understand what went wrong in the first place you may end up causing the same problem again by repeating some sort of unsafe action. Also, it is difficult to ask questions about computer repair problems if you have trouble communicating with the technician who is trying to help you.

Therefore, many people, myself included, like to deal with people who are native English speakers and who provide IT support and IT maintenance plans as well as computer repair and laptop repair problems. It makes it much easier and faster and you have greater peace of mind. I have had a lot of experience over the years with computer repair problems and have had lots of problems. So when I recently found a good person who is qualified and speaks English I felt a lot better about any IT support issues I might encounter in the future.

This is not meant to be just an endorsement for this Bangkok company, IT Ready, but they do have technicians who are Microsoft qualified and are native English speakers so they fulfill my two major requirements for computer repair specialists. There may be other companies that have the same type of people; I just haven’t found any others recently that meet these requirements.

So, if you need good IT support in Bangkok, remember to look for Microsoft-qualified technicians and, if possible, people who also speak English. It makes the whole process easier and will save you time and, in the long run, money. And, with the importance of your computer system to your business or home applications, it doesn’t pay to take a chance using incompetent or unqualified people.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Introduction To Bangkok Dining Tours

http://www.bangkokdiningtours.com
Get all the basic information on Bangkok Dining Tours culinary tourism travel package.

The Ambassador Hotel In Bangkok

http://www.bangkokdiningtours.com
Find out all about the Ambassador Hotel in Bangkok's Sukhumvit entertainment and dining area.

Kalapapruek Thai Restaurant In Bangkok

http://www.bangkokdiningtours.com
See some of the great menu items of the Kalpapruek Thai restaurant in Bangkok that are part of Bangkok Dining Tours' Asian Cuisine Tour.

Ten Sui Japanese Restaurant In Bangkok

http://www.bangkokdiningtours.com
See some of the great menu items of the Ten Sui Japanese restaurant in Bangkok that are part of Bangkok Dining Tours' Asian Cuisine Tour.

Sri Ganesha Indian Restaurant In Bangkok

http://www.bangkokdiningtours.com
See some of the great menu items of the Sri Ganesha Indian restaurant in Bangkok that are part of Bangkok Dining Tours' Asian Cuisine Tour.

Blue Elephant Thai Restaurant In Bangkok

http://www.bangkokdiningtours.com
See some of the great menu items of the Blue Elephant Thai restaurant in Bangkok that are part of Bangkok Dining Tours' Asian Cuisine Tour.

Lok Wah Hin Chinese Restaurant In Bangkok

http://www.bangkokdiningtours.com
See some of the great menu items of the Lok Wah Hin Chinese restaurant in Bangkok that are part of Bangkok Dining Tours' Asian Cuisine Tour.

Thien Duong Vietnamese Restaurant In Bangkok

http://www.bangkokdiningtours.com
See some of the great menu items of the Thien Duong Vietnamese restaurant in Bangkok that are part of Bangkok Dining Tours' Asian Cuisine Tour.

Xing Fu Chinese Restaurant In Bangkok

http://www.marketingbangkok.com
See some of the great menu items of the Xing Fu Chinese restaurant in Bangkok that are part of Bangkok Dining Tours' Asian Cuisine Tour.

Red Indian Restaurant In Bangkok

http://www.bangkokdiningtours.com
See some of the great menu items of the Red Indian restaurant in Bangkok that are part of Bangkok Dining Tours' Asian Cuisine Tour.

Suda Thai Restaurant In Bangkok

http://www.bangkokdiningtours.com
See some of the great menu items of the Suda Thai restaurant in Bangkok that are part of Bangkok Dining Tours' Asian Cuisine Tour.

Arirang Korean Restaurant In Bangkok

http://www.bangkokdiningtours.com
See some of the great menu items of the Arirang Korean restaurant in Bangkok that are part of Bangkok Dining Tours' Asian Cuisine Tour.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mediterranean Restaurant At The Swissotel Nai Lert Park In Bangkok


A Mediterranean restaurant in Bangkok is not a common sight but there are a few and the best one may be La Dolce Vita at Ma Maison. This restaurant has an interesting pedigree, starting out in the early 90s as a high-end French restaurant that for years was considered one of the top two in the city. Its present incarnation draws on that heritage as well as a strong Italian influence – hence the Italian name – to produce a dining spot that serves a mix of cuisines with the common thread being ingredients from Mediterranean countries.

A survey of the menu reveals exactly that: rabbit and truffles and gorgonzola cheese mix with olive oil, mussels and yellowtail tuna to offer diners an eclectic mix of dishes that is as varied as it is interesting to people with a real passion for fine food. The dishes themselves are mostly fusions of Italian and French dishes that are contemporary and innovative. There are also sections of risottos and pastas that are primarily Italian in nature.

On a recent trip I sampled four dishes that ran the gamut of the different styles and ingredients presented here. From the appetizer menu I selected a Caesar salad, even though there were many other interesting dishes in this section, primarily because I wanted to see it made from scratch at the tableside. This is something that few restaurants do anymore and it takes a good bit of training for a waiter to be able do it properly at the table. The waiter here was very knowledgeable and quite accomplished, creating a Caesar whose dressing had just the right amount of garlic, anchovy and mustard, at least for my tastes.

A black truffle soup, which leans far into French territory, was topped with a cannellini bean foam and a couple of slices of truffle, giving it both a lightness and yet a very rich flavor to top off the delicious essence of the soup. A spaghetti dish with Maine lobster and a tomato cream sauce was also successful, most likely because the acidity of the tomato sauce was softened by the cream and didn’t intrude upon the delicate flavor of the lobster as much as it might have otherwise.

My final dish was a veal loin topped with foie gras and, again, some black truffles that displayed the true richness of French cooking at its best. The thick, perfectly cooked loin was served on a bed of spinach with some other vegetables also. This dish represented the true roots of the restaurant – a pedigree of fine French cooking – that manages to co-exist with the lighter fare on the menu that uses Mediterranean ingredients in different styles of cooking. Uniting these styles together into a consistent menu is not an easy thing to do but La Dolce Vita at Ma Maison seems to have accomplished it easily ad gracefully.

Drinking Cider In Bangkok

Tom Aikins samples Stowford Press and Weston's ciders at the Queen Victoria Pub in Bangkok.

Roadhouse Barbecue's 3rd Anniversary - July 16, 2009

Tom Aikins reports on the 3rd Anniversary party at Roadhouse Barbecue on July 16, 2009


Chili Cookoff At The Annual 4th of July Picnic In Bangkok

Tom Aikins reports on the chili cookoff at the annual 4th of July Picnic In Bangkok.

How To Make Great Smoked, Barbecued Ribs

Chef Dana Edward Caron shows how he makes great smoked, barbecued ribs at Roadhouse Barbecue in Bangkok.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bangkok Nightlife At Its Best At The Bank

Check out Bangkok's best nightlife at The Bank with Thai girls, karaoke, massage, entertainment and more.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Don Giovanni Italian Restaurant In Bangkok

Don Giovanni, the Italian restaurant in the Sofitel Centara Hotel, is indeed named for what may the greatest opera of all time. At least, that’s what the menu introduction here says and not being an opera buff I can’t comment on that one way or another. However, I do know that they orchestrate some very nice dining experiences as I’ve had dinners and lunches here on a number of occasions over the years and have always been satisfied with the food and service.

Some parts of the menu have changed over the years and some have stayed the same as different chefs have come and gone. However, the basic philosophy has remained in place and that involves serving top-quality food and wine with formal service and attention to details. Also, the menu always has always had many traditionally-based dishes as well as some updated versions of classic dishes from the chefs’ own repertoires.

One thing that is definitely classic at Don Giovanni is their strict adherence to the traditional way of making a Caesar’s Salad. This is, I believe, the only place in town where you can get a Caesar’s Salad made at your tableside. This may not seem like a big deal but to some purists a Caesar is not a Caesar unless it’s made at the table. I’m not that strict about it personally but I do think that the original recipe should be followed or it’s really not a Caesar Salad is it? Many times I have eaten in a trendy Italian place, or others too, and the chef in the restaurant decides that his interpretation of a Caesar Salad is superior to that of Chef Caesar Cardini who originated this creation in his Tijuana, Mexico restaurant in 1924. The results sometimes are ludicrous with the chef throwing in everything but the kitchen sink in a vain attempt to put his personal mark on this signature dish. They should just do themselves a favor and follow the original recipe as they do at Don Giovanni’s. It will taste better, the purists will be happy and the gastronomic gods will smile upon them.

There are other dishes here, though, where the chefs have used their own ideas as to how certain dishes should be presented. I don’t always agree with them: carpaccio, for example, should be made of beef and not tuna or veal, but usually we’re on the same page, so to speak. In the appetizer section there’s a great example of mixing top-end ingredients when they serve a goose liver creme brulee with pan-fried foie gras, apple mousse and black truffle sauce. The richness of foie gras and truffles together is just plain delicious and only on the edge of overdoing it.

The rest of this ample menu contains enough choices to keep anyone happy whether you want something simple like spaghetti with an oregano and tomato sauce or something a little more elaborate like a baked rack of lamb with black pepper crust and tarragon-infused lamb sauce. My own favorites include the deep-fried seafood plate, the Australian sirloin and the pan-roasted tenderloin wrapped in pancetta bacon with foie gras. There are many more that I like from all the sections of the menu – risottos, pastas, soups, appetizers and the meat and fish entrees – but these are the ones that have left the deepest impression.

There are plenty of good wines to accompany your meal here as well in the enclosed wine cellar inside the restaurant. These, along with the service and the food here, will have you singing Don Giovanni’s praises yourself, perhaps not in an operatic style, but joyously nonetheless.

Bangkok Nightlife At Its Best At The Bank

Check out Bangkok's best nightlife at The Bank with Thai girls, karaoke, massage, entertainment and more.


ISO International Restaurant In The Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel

Tom Aikins visits the ISO international restaurant in the Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel in Bangkok.


La Dolce Vita Mediterranean Restaurant At Ma Maison In The Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel

Tom Aikins visits the La Dolce Vita Mediterranean Restaurant at Ma Maison in the Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel in Bangkok.


Tom Aikins Reporting On Retirement Mutual Funds In Thailand

Tom Aikins interviews Mr. Chatrapee Tantixalerm, CEO of Ayudhya Fund Management in Bangkok about retirement mutual funds in Thailand.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel In Bangkok

Information on the great facilities at the Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel in Bangkok.


The Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel In Downtown Bangkok

A five-star luxury hotel in Bangkok, Swissotel Nai Lert Park offers a unique city retreat in Thailand’s bustling capital with award-winning restaurants and a beautiful eight-acre lush tropical garden. A few minutes’ walk from the Skytrain station and all main shopping malls, with easy access to the business districts and Bangkok’s famous nightlife, the hotel is the perfect choice for both business and leisure.

It’s 338 luxurious guest rooms feature private balconies overlooking the pool and gardens, while the Executive Club and exclusive suites serve the demands of even the most discerning traveler. Additional facilities include spa and fitness centre, five dining venues, two bars, seven meeting rooms, a grand ballroom and a large, free-form swimming pool that is surrounded by lush vegetation.

Swissotel Nai Lert Park's eight restaurants, bar and cafe offer a deliciously diverse array of cuisines ranging from French to Cantonese and Japanese to international, with hints of Thai local specialties. The hotel also features an alfresco dining terrace. Whether it is an elegant special occasion or an informal relaxed meal, there is a cuisine and setting option for you. Live entertainment is available in the lobby from 5:30PM daily except Sunday. The resident band takes the stage at the premier bar at 9:00 PM.

Genji’s cool interior hits you long before you enter. The doorway to this Japanese restaurant is framed by cool, blackened stones and ceiling-hung flamingo flowers. It’s a promising beginning to a journey of authentic Japanese cuisine and glorious garden views. The highly-rated lobby-level restaurant includes a sushi bar, two teppanyaki rooms, public area and private tatami dining rooms. An All You Can Eat Buffet Lunch and special lunch/dinner sets are ongoing promotions.

Refreshingly different in style, Noble House brings together the best in traditional Cantonese tastes and showcases them against a background that is undeniably avant guarde. Turquoise corners provide relief against the more traditional reds/golds, while the ubiquitous round tables have been replaced by square ones. It’s a setting that attracts both large groups and small. Most popular for its Dim Sum lunch and one-priced dinners, the restaurant has become a popular draw for locals seeking quality, ambience and value for money.

With soaring panoramic views of our lush garden and pool, ISO is the ideal venue for any time of the day. Whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, ISO features the best of Eastern and Western cuisines. Weeknight buffets start on Thursday with an international spread, then get fishy in time for Friday’s Seafood Carousel buffet. On Saturday night, there’s a BBQ night, and Sunday, it’s time for a family Sunday Brunch Buffet..

A total of 10 meeting and conference rooms on the ground and lobby floors provide Swissotel Nai Lert Park with 17,150 square meters of prime meeting space, and a variety of excellent venues for meetings, seminars or product launches. With magnificent views of the garden, the 652-square meter ballroom is the ultimate choice for any celebration, seating up to 800 people.

The event management team is on hand to assist with room selection, layout and services. From refreshments to audio-visual support, guests enjoy seamless efficiency and heartfelt services.

And in addition to the wide variety of event space on the hotel premises, Swissotel Nai Lert Park’s catering department also puts on parties and other celebrations outside the hotel. Numerous VIPs are counted on their list of companies and individuals who have enjoyed the hotel’s outside luxurious catering, not least His Majesty King Bhumibol himself, for a variety of events.

So no matter what you need from a hotel, the Swissotel Nai Lert park can provide it. It’s a quiet, luxurious retreat in the center of a bustling metropolitan city that provides excellent facilities and hospitality.

Genji Japanese Restaurant In Bangkok

Japanese restaurants in Bangkok are plentiful but ones that combine great attention to detail, authentic surroundings and good value are not so common. Genji Japanese restaurant in the Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel is one of those Japanese restaurants that combines all of these attributes. Along with attentive service and high-quality ingredients – a must for a top-level Japanese restaurant – Genji offers its guests an inviting place to eat good food.

I’ve eaten in many Japanese restaurants in Bangkok over the years and yet am still impressed each time I visit Genji. It’s an unpretentious place and yet elegant at the same time which creates a calm and serene atmosphere. The main dining room presents a more formal atmosphere than some Japanese restaurants that have sushi bar seating and teppanyaki grill tables, with its sushi bar separated as well as two teppanyaki rooms. There are also a number of private rooms with traditional tatami seating setups.

There is a large menu here that includes both ala carte items as well as set lunches and dinners and a special all-you-can-eat lunch buffet that is quite popular. On my last visit for lunch here I tried several items that were new to me, the most notable being a soft-shell crab tempura. I’ve had many types of tempura over the years but this was the first time I’ve had soft-shell crab and it was a welcome addition. Soft-shell crab has to be cooked with a very high heat to get the right amount of crispness and the chef did it perfectly here. I also enjoyed some salmon and scallops from the teppanyaki grill, miso soup and a sushi California roll set.

I could have ordered one of the set lunches which offer a variety of Japanese cuisine styles including grilled fish, teppanyak, sukiyaki, tempura and others along with the traditional Japanese Bento box lunch that is also on the menu. And the prices of these punches are all quite reasonable.

At dinner there are more set menus covering different specialties such as yakizakana and yakiniku as well as more teppanyaki items including Kobe beef. There are also, of course, a large selection of ala carte items covering all of the cuisine styles mentioned above. Basically, Genji can cater to just about every taste in regard to Japanese food.

So although there are many choices in Bangkok when you’re thinking about good Japanese food, Genji offers an attractive place to enjoy high quality food in an authentic setting with very good value for money.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ayudhya Fund Management And Investments In Thailand

Asset management companies in Thailand are plentiful but few companies have as good a track record as Ayudhya Fund Management (AYF). The prestigious international Lipper Group Awards (an international industry evaluator of fund managers around the world) that this company has received in the past few years are evidence of this, as they are given to companies who provide the best returns for their clients.

AYF specializes in several areas including mutual funds, the Thai stock Market (SET), RMF and LTF investments, asset management, equity funds and fixed income funds. For more than a decade, AYF has offered this full range of investment products and services to their clients.

AYF was founded in 1996 as Ayudhya Jardine Fleming Co., Ltd. (AJF), a joint partnership between Bank of Ayudhya PCL and Jardine Fleming. In July, 1997 AJF successfully launched its first fund, the AJF Star Capital Fund, amidst the Thailand economic crisis. In 2001, the company changed its corporate name to Ayudhya JF Asset Management Ltd. to reflect a change in the shareholding structure of Jardine Fleming Asset Management Holdings and Chase Manhattan Corporation. In October, 2006 the company changed its corporate name again from AJF to AYF to reflect a change in the shareholding structure as the company is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of Ayudhya PCL, the fifth largest commercial bank in Thailand with over 560 nationwide branches and more than 8,500 employees.

AYF’s stated commitments to their clients include offering the most appropriate investment portfolios that best suit each client’s unique objectives and risk appetite. Working with their Operational Risk Department and Compliance Department, the company’s fund managers gather to set up each portfolio's specific requirements (Risk, Return and Liquidity) and feed them into the highly sophisticated Charles River Investment Management System (CRIMS) to complete the client’s portfolio.

The company is led by Mr. Chatrapee Tantixalerm, its CEO. It’s been under his three-year tenure as CEO that Ayudhya has garnered its prestigious Lipper Group Awards. And it seems that his own personal philosophy towards his job is one of the reasons for the company’s success, “For me, the most satisfying feeling is returning benefits to our clients.”

Whatever the reason, AYF is one of the most successful asset management companies in Thailand and one of the most knowledgeable when it comes to investing in the Thai stock market and Thai government bonds. And, as their past record indicates, they are internationally recognized as one of the most effective companies in the country in delivering value to their investors on an ongoing basis, the most important trait for any asset management company to possess.

Tom Aikins Reporting On Long-Term Equity Funds In Thailand

Tom Aikins interviews Mr. Chatrapee Tantixalerm, CEO of Ayudhya Fund Management in Bangkok about long term equity funds in Thailand.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Party In Bangkok At the Bank -- Bangkok's Hottest Entertainment Option

If you want to party in Bangkok – really party – where would you go? There are lots of clubs in Bangkok but not many have what The Bank has. The bank is Bangkok’s hottest party club no matter what the occasion. Whether it’s live music and dancing you want, or karaoke, or special shows or a place to throw a wild bachelor or birthday party there’s something for everyone at The Bank.

The Bank is three floors of entertainment facilities so that you don’t have to go anywhere else to party in Bangkok. Live music, beautiful hostesses, the best karaoke rooms and the monster private party room offer all the alternatives you need to party in Bangkok.

And don’t forget about the special shows that The Bank presents on a regular basis. Whether it’s a concert by famous Thai bands like Carabao or sexy lingerie or fire shows, The Bank knows how to offer you the finest entertainment available. There are other gentleman’s clubs in town and other karaoke bars and also many clubs that have live music but none of them offer everything that The Bank does under one roof.

You can start off with some relaxing games of pool in the lounge, check out the live entertainment starting at 10 PM and then go to a private karaoke room for a great private party with some of the hottest women in Bangkok. What a great way to party the night away and at The Bank you can do it until late, late, late.

Come with your friends or impress your business associates. Have a great day out on the golf course? Top off the day with a fun night at the best party bar in Bangkok. Come to The Bank and let the party experts show you how to have a good time in the party capital of Southeast Asia. On your next trip to Bangkok, visit The Bank and see what all the excitement’s about. Or if you’re already here, then don’t wait. We’ll see you tonight for a wild party.

Bangkok's Hottest Party Place -- The Bank

See the beautiful women and great facilities at Bangkok's hottest party place -- The Bank.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

An Affordable Way To Get Into Top U.S. Universities

Is there any way to beat the insane admissions process and high cost of sending your child to a top US University?

According to one admissions counselor, Dr. Robert Clyne, who ran a highly successful college admissions counseling service, there is. “College admission is just crazy nowadays. My clients spend up to 30,000 dollars in preparation expenses trying to get into a top school and some still don't get admitted. Clients sometimes spend 10,000 dollars just in test preparation from classes to private tutoring.

“In today's highly uncertain economy it is harder and harder to justify this super-expensive, super-time consuming admission process, particularly if you are not a native speaker of English and need to take TOEFL. Getting high grades, gaining a leadership position in extracurricular activities, and achieving high test scores on up to four different tests is often too demanding.. Sometimes each of these tests need to be taken several times just to get into a top American college. Is the American college degree from a top school worth it? Is the admissions help to get in really worth the money.

“My new system is inexpensive and pretty much allows everyone a chance to attend a top US university if they are willing to do the work. The do not need high grades in high school, any extracurricular activities, and a very modest TOEFL score is sufficient. They definitely don't need expensive admissions counselors. For about one tenth of the average price paid for admissions counseling in Asia I can put you on a solid path.

“The key to this system is going to a top American junior college or community college and transferring to a famous four year university after two years. California has the best community colleges in the country, offering a wonderful range of experiences from major city life to beautiful beaches to beautiful mountains. Top California state universities also give preference to California Community College graduates. In short, your best chance of getting into a top school is by transferring from a California junior or community college to a famous California University like UCLA or Berkeley.

Better yet, if you go this way, you absolutely never have to take an SAT test. All you need are good grades in the right courses at a community College. At Best Path USA we help you choose and get into the right community college, we help you take the right courses, and we help you choose the right university for YOU. We even help you with housing and getting a job to pay for your education.

“There is no other service like ours and we charge you only a fraction of the cost that other counselors do. Help yourself get the education of your dreams with Best Path USA.”

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Best Path College Entry Strategy

In American society, attending college was a hallmark of being or becoming middle class. However, with the downturn in the economy, expensive tuition and expensive admissions counseling is now out of the reach of most. But there is a way to get into a top school in an affordable way.




more about "The Best Path College Entry Strategy", posted with vodpod

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tom Aikins At White Cafe Catering In Bangkok

White Cafe Catering is one of Bangkok’s premier quality catering companies and its owners have a long history in the food business, stretching back over 20 years. This solid base of experience helps explain how the company has built an extensive business in the catering industry, with over 600 events every year that range from weddings and private parties to large public events of up to 4,000 people.

Tom Aikins Talks To Ms. Benya From White Cafe Catering

White Cafe Catering is one of Bangkok’s premier quality catering companies and its owners have a long history in the food business, stretching back over 20 years. This solid base of experience helps explain how the company has built an extensive business in the catering industry, with over 600 events every year that range from weddings and private parties to large public events of up to 4,000 people.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Quick Workouts That Will Keep You In Great Shape

Here are two different workouts -- one for your chest and shoulders and one for your back and biceps -- that will keep your upper body in great shape and don't take a lot of time. And they use equipment that you'll almost certainly be able to find at your fitness club.



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mamacita's Brings Real Mexican Food To Bangkok


Mexican restaurants in Bangkok have always been few and far between and good Mexican restaurants have been pretty much non-existent. There have been, and are still, a couple that are OK and there are also a couple of American-themed restaurants that offer some Mexican items that are also OK but there hasn’t been a place in Bangkok that really understood what Mexican food is all about until the last six months or so.


That’s when Mamacita’s, a tiny place on Sukhumvit Soi 15, opened for business. Khun Bee, the owner and chef, lived in Mexico for six years while she was married to a Mexican national and immersed herself in the cuisine of the country, learning the intricacies of using the ingredients and spices that go into this interesting and vital cuisine.

On a very recent visit I sampled a number of her dishes and realized that she really does understand what Mexican food is all about. Since I lived in Los Angeles for six years I picked up a healthy appreciation of Mexican food and learned what’s real and what isn’t. I can still remember the taste of the margaritas at Gardens Of Taxco in West Hollywood, a taste I’ve never seen duplicated anywhere.

Anyway, Bee, from Singapore herself but a Bangkok resident for 21 years now, knows what she is doing and does a good job of recreating the tastes of Mexico. She cannot put all of the dishes she would like to on the menu because of problems with the supply of key ingredients but she can make these dishes for special events or parties. What she does make is very good, though, and as true to the cuisine as you’ll find in Bangkok.

I liked all of the dishes I tried as well as her sauces: albondigas (Mexican meatballs), tortillas soup, tacos, flautas, guacamole and cliaquiles verdes (tortillas immersed in a green chile sauce with sour cream and cheese). Her salsa ranchera and salsa verda sauces were as close to the real thing as she can get also, even though she has substituted some local ingredients. After talking to her, I don’t think there is anything on the menu that isn’t as authentic as she can make it. And if she can’t do it right then she doesn’t do it at all.

So the next time you have a taste for Mexican food, Mamacita’s is the best place for authenticity. It’s not real fancy and it’s not real big (call ahead if you have a big group, 02-253-2795) but it’s real and that alone is enough.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Easy Way To Find Apartment Rentals In Bangkok

Apartment rentals in Bangkok are plentiful and not expensive by world standards but it can be difficult, because of language barriers and other reasons, to find exactly what you want on your own. That's why a company like EasyHomes.tv can help you find exactly the right type of Bangkok property that you want and save you a lot of time doing it. Whether it's an apartment rental in Bangkok or a Bangkok condo that you're looking to purchase, EasyHomes can help you avoid many of the pitfalls you can encounter in looking for any type of real estate in an unfamiliar market.

On the Easyhomes website you'll find over 1,000 different pieces of Bangkok property listed at any given time and there are new listings being added daily. And when you go on the EasyHomes website you'll find a number of different ways to search for apartment rentals, condos and houses for sale or rent. You can search by price, area, number of bedrooms and type of Bangkok property that you want. And you can even look for properties that are close to Bangkok's two mass transit systems, the BTS Skytrain and the MRT underground train, or properties that are close to universities or international schools. The EasyHomes website is simple to use and will help you find what you're looking for in no time.

But EasyHomes isn't just about finding a Bangkok condo or other type of Bangkok property to look at. The EasyHomes staff will help you negotiate leases and ensure that contracts are in order before you make any rental or sale commitments. And if you’re completely unfamiliar with the city then the staff will make recommendations to you as to what areas in the city might best suit your needs.

And one of the most important things to consider when choosing any company to help you find a place to live is the commitment to service that the company possesses. EasyHomes has been helping people for over three years now and has a great record of customer service and accountability. Neil McDonough, the Director of EasyHomes makes his company’s philosophy very clear: “We like to think of ourselves the same as we do our customers and treat everyone the way they deserve. We decided from the outset that all customers were equal regardless of budget. And although we do not specify and charge for an after-sales service, we still make every effort to help our customers whenever we can even after we have found them a great place to live.”

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Michele Chiarlo Wine Dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok
The upcoming Michele Chiarlo wine dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok to be held in the Biscotti Italian restaurant on May 15.
http://www.associatedcontent.comarticle/1727004/michele_chiarlo_wine_dinner_at_the.html

Friday, May 1, 2009

Future Looks Good for Japanese Companies in Thailand
In the face of worldwide economic problems there are still pockets of positivity in some places and Thailand's Japanese business community seems to be one of them.
http://www.associatedcontent.comarticle/1702687/future_looks_good_for_japanese_companies.html

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fluid Asia Pacific at St. George's Day In Bangkok

Tetley's Smooth Flow, Kronenbourg and Stowford Press Cider brighten up the St. George's Day Celebration in Bangkok on April 25.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Great American Restaurant In Bangkok, Thailand #2

Enjoy American food in Bangkok at Roadhouse Barbecue, located on the corner of Surawong and Rama IV Roads. This three-story restaurant/bar is home to great American food including American barbecue specialties like barbecued ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, barbecued chicken and many more that represent true American barbecue at its best. There’s also a large selection of American favorites from burgers and steaks to soups and sandwiches.




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Great American Restaurant In Bangkok, Thailand

Enjoy American food in Bangkok at Roadhouse Barbecue, located on the corner of Surawong and Rama IV Roads. This three-story restaurant/bar is home to great American food including barbecue specialties like barbecued ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, barbecued chicken and many more that represent true American barbecue at its best. There’s also a large selection of American favorites from burgers and steaks to soups and sandwiches.




more about "Great American Restaurant In Bangkok,...", posted with vodpod

Adidas Launch Catered By White Cafe

White Cafe Catering is one of Bangkok’s premier quality catering companies and its owners have a long history in the food business, stretching back over 20 years. This solid base of experience helps explain how the company has built an extensive business in the catering industry, with over 600 events every year that range from weddings and private parties to large public events of up to 4,000 people.




more about "Adidas Launch Catered By White Cafe", posted with vodpod

New Beer Products Available In Thailand

Products now available from Fluid Asia Pacific in major Thai markets include Tetley’s Smoothflow, Weston’s Cider, Stowford Press Cider, London Pride bitter, Kronenbourg 1664, Foster’s, Pure Blonde, Victoria Bitter and Crown Lager.

Innovation Keeps Mobilux On Top With Mobile Storage Systems

Innovation is the quality that keeps companies on top of their respective industries over the long term and in the office storage systems industry a Thai company has been leading the way for years now. Tellus Systems Ltd., located in Bangkok, has continually improved upon its product line of mobile shelving units used by companies for their compact storage of files, documents and general office supplies.




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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Innovation Keeps Mobilux On Top With Mobile Storage Systems

Innovation is the quality that keeps companies on top of their respective industries over the long term and in the office storage systems industry a Thai company has been leading the way for years now. Tellus Systems Ltd., located in Bangkok, has continually improved upon its product line of mobile shelving units used by companies for their compact storage of files, documents and general office supplies. Using an original idea, from some 60 years ago by the Compactus company of Switzerland, Tellus has continually upgraded the features and capabilities of their products over the last 10 years and has now launched a new brand name for their line of products called Mobilux.

Mobilux office storage products have many unique features but the most important fact about these ever-evolving products is their basic function – they save great amounts of space, and therefore money, for the people who use them. Many people may not be familiar with mobile shelving units but if you have an office that generates paperwork that must be saved and accessed easily then Mobilux products can provide some great solutions for almost any business.

And, Mobilux’s storage shelving is not limited to just offices. There are numerous applications that businesses as diverse as schools and retail shoe outlets have found for these products and there are new applications being devised all the time. As Mobilux keeps adding features to their product line and therefore making their storage shelving systems even more adaptable and flexible in their functionality, new ideas for using these modular storage systems keep presenting themselves.

There are many technical reasons why Mobilux products are superior to their competition but the overriding advantage that mobile storage units have over ordinary filing cabinets and shelving units is that businesses that employ these systems save money on the rent they pay for space. This simple fact alone means that these storage systems pay for themselves over the long term. This is their primary advantage for businesses that are looking to their bottom line but there are many other more intangible, and yet important, advantages as well.

One of the benefits that mobile office storage systems offer is ease with which employees can access files, documents, merchandise and any other materials that are stored in mobile shelving. A company can much better organize its storage systems and place needed documents and materials easily at hand for employees. The time saved because of this can greatly affect employees’ productivity resulting in a more efficient and profitable company.
Also, from a purely aesthetic standpoint Mobilux storage systems create a clean, uncluttered look for any business. And with the many design choices that the company offers, any office or workplace can become a more stimulating and pleasing environment in which to work. It’s hard to quantify these advantages in numbers but the effect on employee morale and mindset is still a definite advantage.

And, as stated above, Mobilux is ahead of its competition in the development of these flexible storage systems and manufactures the highest quality systems available. Lightweight materials, superior design characteristics and greater flexibility in configuring the systems are just some of the reasons why Mobilux continues to stay ahead of other companies in the industry. Mobilux has built its business with products that are second to none in quality and innovation along with a service philosophy that offers individual attention and problem-solving for every customer, big or small.

If your business has not explored using mobile storage systems then now may be the time to do so. For all of the reasons stated above and more, the use of Mobilux storage systems can help your business to expand and grow in an orderly, organized and profitable way.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Muay Thai Training At Fighting Spirit Gym In Bangkok, Thailand

If you’re not into fighting or boxing or any other kind of martial arts you may never have heard of muay thai but it’s one of the hottest trends in international fight circles radiating outward from its home base in Thailand. Basically, muay thai is Thailand’s form of boxing only kicking is a big part of the sport and elbows can be used as well. And with the increase in interest in the sprort internationally has also come an increase in muay thai training and the establishment of more muay thai schools.

One of these schools is Fighting Spirit Gym, a new muay thai training center conveniently located in the middle of Bangkok on Silom Road, one of the major thoroughfares in the city. Fighting Spirit is owned and managed by Dan Lyons, an Australian with a wealth of experience in both the fitness field and also the world of fighting. Dan was a boxer in his native country and also fought in mixed martial arts tournaments in Japan so he has a well-rounded perspective in regard to many forms of training including fitness training as he is also now the chief trainer for California Wow fitness clubs in Thailand. And, to complement his background he has hired top muay thai trainers to work at Fighting Spirit, former muay thai boxers, some of whom were champion fighters and all of whom are very dedicated to the sport of muay thai.

So, to get a first-hand look at what muay thai and muay thai training is all about, I visited Fighting Spirit recently and went through a workout, albeit a brief one, with one of the gym’s trainers. I say brief because when all was said and done I probably only did about the equivalent of one round of fighting but it felt like a lot more. A brief disclaimer here: I do work out on a regular basis and have for many years. However, the ravages of age – I’m 53 – and the rigors of fighting in any style tired me out rather quickly. You really have no idea how physically demanding fighting is until you try it. These guys are in the kind of shape you will probably never be in in your life. Trust me on this.

Anyway, I arrived and changed into my shorts and shirt – no shoes in muay thai – and promptly had my hands wrapped, making me feel like a real fighter, by my trainer, Nan, a former champion muay thai fighter. I reassured him that I wouldn’t hurt him during our workout and he seemed a bit relieved to hear this. After donning my gloves, which fit my hands very tightly, I climbed into the ring and got ready to RUUUUUMBLE.

We started right in with me throwing punches at the heavy hand pads that Nan was holding. They were basically jabs, left and right, straight at the pads. We then shifted to some uppercuts which are more difficult to aim but I managed to make pretty decent contact with some of them, although not as good as the jabs. After taking a short break so that Nan could catch his breath we were at it again only this time it was kicking as Nan held two large pads for me to whale on. There was a nice cracking sound when I hit the pads just right which was rather satisfying. Then it was knees and then on to elbows. Elbows may have been the hardest in terms of making contact squarely. It’s harder to aim your elbows, I found, but you can make some pretty solid contact if you do it right.

All in all, I probably worked for about five or six minutes but it was enough – for Nan. Poor guy was so tired we decided to call it a day. I worked up a great sweat in the open-air atmosphere of the gym, under cover but with two open walls that are chain link. And, I learned one important lesson: this is not easy. It was interesting and exhilarating in a way but fighting is a tough thing to do.

However, if you’re interested in getting a good workout and you’re tired of machines and typical gym atmospheres this is a good way to take a break from that type of scene. Many of the people who come here are not fighters but just ordinary people who like the atmosphere and think it’s fun, both men and women alike. So don’t be intimidated by this place. It’s fun and friendly and the trainers love working with beginners, even with old guys like me. But, if you’re real serious about learning more about muay thai boxing they have the people here who can take you to any level you want. Although this is a new place it’s a good place to be introduced to muay thai training whatever your experience in fighting. To see a video of my experiences go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YWeUQ5jcDA.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Port Wine Dinner At Benjarong Thai Restaurant In Bangkok


Billed as Bangkok’s “first-ever” port wine dinner, an event on April 9 at the Dusit Thani Hotel will feature the Royal Thai cuisine of the hotel’s Thai restaurant, Banjarong, and port wine from the W & J Graham vineyards in Portugal. The five-course dinner will be prepared by the hotel’s Executive Chef, Erwin Eberharter and Benjarong Chef Surasak Kongsawat. And Mr. Jorge Nunes will be on hand from the winery to provide information about the ports that will be served that evening.

Pairing Thai food with any type of wine is a daunting task as the varied flavors in most Thai dishes, as well as the spiciness that is usually present, present real challenges to anyone attempting to come up with the perfect wine for a particular dish. Adding to this challenge is the sweetness that is associated with ports so it should be very interesting to see what the chefs come up with to make this combination work.

The main point of interest is whether or not the recipes of Chef Surasak will have to be altered to accommodate the flavors of the port. As a matter of principle the chef is very strict about only cooking his dishes according to quite traditional recipes. I purposely did not contact either of the chefs or Food & Beverage Director, Mohamed Elsayeh in advance to find out what will be done with the food as I prefer to be surprised on the night of the event. It may be that the chefs will create some dishes that are not on the regular menu of Benjarong – or not. We’ll just have to wait and see what they come up with.

In any case, it will be an interesting evening and it will even be topped off by an after dinner cigar and port session in the open-air area right outside the restaurant’s glass wall that borders the inner courtyard of the Dusit. Two things are definite about the evening, however. The first is that it will be a very high-quality affair as are all the Dusit wine dinners. The second is that the reasonableness of the price – 1,000 baht plus tax and service (about $30) – is bound to attract a good crowd to experience this culinary first in Bangkok.

Monday, March 30, 2009

White Cafe Catering Has Deep Roots In The Food Business

White Cafe Catering is one of Bangkok’s premier quality catering companies and its owners have a long history in the food business, stretching back over 20 years. This solid base of experience helps explain how the company has built an extensive business in the catering industry, with over 600 events every year that range from weddings and private parties to large public events of up to 4,000 people.

Top-Name Clients

There are also product launches and fashion shows and many other types of catering events that involve clients such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Mercedes, Toyota, Lancome, M.A.C., Central Pattana, Central Trading, ICC, Sansiri, Martha Stewart Furniture, the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, Adidas, Reebok, L’Oreal and many more. Although these demanding, high-profile clients hold events that vary greatly in terms of scope and theme there is always one element that they value above all else from White Cafe Catering – reliability. The events are always produced on time and as promised and that is something that is vital to anyone responsible for any kind of event.

There are other things that set White Cafe Catering apart from other caterers and that is their approach to selecting just the right food for any event. As Benya Nandakwang, co-owner and chef says, “If you tell me who you are, I can cook for you.” This is why the company’s team of account executives collects as many details as they can about the client and their wants and needs. With this information they can better design a menu and setting that will give the client exactly what they want.

Top-Level Quality

The food that White Cafe can deliver covers just about any type of cuisine that you could want and it is all prepared using only the finest of ingredients. This is another underlying philosophy of the company – quality is important. As Benya says, “Choose the best ingredients.” This is why their client roster is so impressive. Their clients are people who demand quality and depend on White Cafe to deliver it again and again since many of the company’s clients are regular customers and have been for years.

Another factor that has made the company so successful since its inception in the year 2000 is an intangible one that nevertheless may be as important as anything else these talented people provide their customers. That’s the element of creativity and as Benya puts it, “daring,” that the company thrives on. They love to try something new and different, something they’ve never done before and it’s this intangible yet vital element that helps set White Cafe apart from many other catering and events companies in Thailand and makes their events just that much better than their competitors.

A Great Time

So if you’re thinking about how to make your event be a memorable one your first call should be to White Cafe Catering. And not just for the food either. They can help plan all aspects of the event including the theme, and with their huge variety of props and decorations they can create just the right atmosphere for your guests to enjoy great food and drink. Don’t provide your guests with a good time; call White Cafe Catering and provide them with a great time.

Monday, March 23, 2009

D'Sens Wine Dinner At Dusit Thani Hotel In Bangkok


Wine dinners are tricky affairs from the perspective of an attendee. You never know exactly what to expect unless you have an intimate knowledge of a particular winery and its products as well as some idea of what the hosting restaurant is like. So you often have to take things on faith, which makes the decision on whether or not to attend the dinner based a great deal on the credibility of the establishment hosting the event. It seems obvious that the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok has quite a bit of credibility in this regard because their latest wine dinner on March 20, featuring Chateau Ste. Michelle winery from the U.S. state of Washington, resulted in a full house at the hotel’s top-floor French restaurant D’Sens.

Not knowing what to expect from the winery, but knowing the restaurant, I wasn’t sure what to look forward to but knew that at the very least I would experience a great dinner since the restaurant has a reputation for top-quality nouvelle French cuisine, having been originally created, along with the hotel, by the Michelin award-winning Pourcel twins from France. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that the wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle were as delightful as the food and were expertly paired with the dishes by the hotel staff – probably F&B Director Mohamed Elsayeh, Chef Julien Lavigne and D’Sens manager Thomas Delledalle.


Whoever was responsible, the end result was very enjoyable and the wines themselves were certainly the best I have ever tasted from the state of Washington. Many people think of Washington and have visions of an eternally rainy Seattle in their heads but Chateau Ste. Michelle is located in the eastern half of the state where the annual rainfall technically qualifies it to be a desert. This means that irrigation allows the winemakers to give the vines exactly as much water as they want and makes controlling the growth of the grapes much easier, the same advantage that California and Australian winemakers have.


In fact, the style of the wines that were served at this dinner reminded me of these other two wine producing regions with great fruity reds in the form of a 2004 merlot and a 2005 cabernet sauvignon and a 2006 chardonnay that was crisp, smooth and refreshing. Also served was a 2007 riesling which went well with the first course of various crab concoctions and a methode champenoise sparkling wine that was poured during the cocktail period before dinner. And a blanc de noir rose finished off the evening with the chocolate-based dessert and its restrained sweetness perfectly complemented the confection of the dish.


All of the pairings, as mentioned, were successful and this is the real test of any wine dinner. The chardonnay was matched with turbot ravioli accompanied by a coco bean puree and chorizo cream and this versatile wine with a citrus character balanced the cream sauce well. The cabernet offered a nice counterpoint to the earthy, slightly salty taste of crispy frog legs with wild mushrooms and the merlot was well-suited to the seared lamb and seared foie gras that it was served with, the strong fruit flavors and licorice undertones accenting the richness of the foie gras.


The restaurant itself contributed to the success of the evening, perched on the top of the hotel and providing panoramic views of downtown lights and activity. Together with the muted shades inside the restaurant and the plush surroundings it created the perfect atmosphere for a night of hedonistic pursuits. Taking things on faith can sometimes end up with less than stellar results but the Dusit Thani proved again that it is a place to be trusted when it comes to fine wines and food and the wonderful interaction that can be created between them.  


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Thursday, March 19, 2009

ITB Berlin Offers Little Near-Term Solace For Asian Hoteliers

The recent ITB travel show in Berlin, the largest in the world, ran from March 10 to 14 and provided Thai travel industry analysts and experts with conflicting signals as to what the future holds in store for the country’s beleaguered hospitality sector. On the one had it appears that the short term picture looks bleak but on the other hand the long-term prognosis is tending towards the positive. At least that’s the impression that can be gleaned from reading quotes from the head of the Thai Hotel Association (THA) and the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) along with thoughts gained directly from Greg Duffel, the CEO of the Pacific-Asia Travel Association (PATA), both of which are located in Bangkok.

Mr. Prakit Chinamourpong, the president of the THA, was one of the more pessimistic of the industry leaders in regard to the reception that Thai hotels received at the show from European buyers stating that, “Buyers were asking some Thai travel agents and hotels to revert to 2008 rates and hold them until March 2011. Some five-star hotels faced the prospect of selling a room at Bt400 per night, down from what they thought was a bargain Bt1,400 a night.”


ATTA president, Mr. Apichart Sankary added that European travel agents were asking for bigger discounts to stimulate bookings, but in the case of the UK market there is evidence that tour operators are cancelling summer programs to Thailand as the numbers have dropped below breakeven. He also suggested that the government should focus its tourism marketing efforts on local media in each targeted country and concentrate on niche segments such as the family market. He recommended cuts on regional media spending, citing wasteful advertising in CNN and other TV channels that spread across continents but lack depth in individual country markets.


Mr. Duffel of PATA had similar thoughts in regard to the marketing efforts that should be adopted by Thai hotel operators stating that niche marketing will be very important this year. He also felt that repackaging of the hotels’ products was something that should be done and that a more forceful sales effort in general was going to be needed. He noted the increased recruiting of hotel sales people as a positive sign that hotels were aware of these factors and willing to do something to address them.

In the short term Mr. Duffel also felt that while the numbers do not look good now that could change as the year goes on, one reason being that travelers are now booking their holidays in a much shorter time frame with many now waiting until only a couple of months at the most before making a commitment. Traditionally, travelers book much further in advance especially for long-haul destinations which is what Thailand is for European tourists. He felt that there were several reasons for this, including currency fluctuations which might cause people to wait for a better exchange rate as well as overall fears about the economy.


However much doom and gloom has been forecast for the immediate future the long-term outlook for travel in general is good and for the Asia-Pacific region it is very good. Mr. Duffel also attended the recent International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin which ran from March 9 to 11 and there were some positive indications from that gathering. Most importantly, the ongoing hotel projects in the region are almost all proceeding as planned although some projects have been slowed to a small degree. New projects are a problem as bank financing is difficult to arrange but this is not affecting the ongoing developments.


Additionally, although RevPar is down in the region by 30-40% right now it is matching 2006-2007 levels so overall profits should not be greatly affected. Another positive sign in the region is the growth of low-cost airlines which will spur intra-region travel and is what is generally agreed upon as being one of the most necessary elements that is needed to offset the large losses being suffered in the European markets.


So the way forward looks to be one of some difficulty but with a light at the end of the tunnel. More hard work will need to be done in the sales arena, more niche markets will have to be discovered and exploited, hotels will have to repackage their offerings and re-energize their sales forces and government agencies will have to work more closely with hotel operators and national airlines. If all of these efforts can be maximized then 2009 will not be a disaster and 2010 should be a solid year for the Asia-Pacific hospitality industry.


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Monday, March 16, 2009

Madison Changes Focus For Seafood Promotion In Bangkok, Thailand




Photos





Madison Changes Focus For Seafood Promotion In Bangkok, Thailand | Photo 02

Madison Changes Focus For Seafood Promotion In Bangkok, Thailand | Photo 02

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uploaded by TomAikins




Madison is a restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok that is known for great steaks but an upcoming promotion that runs from March 20-29 will shift the focus to seafood imported from Europe and Australia. This is not something completely different for the restaurant since there are eight seafood dishes on its regular menu ranging from Canadian lobster to Tasmanian salmon but the promotional menu created by chef Anchalee Ponrungsit presents dishes that are quite a bit more elaborate than the regular offerings which tend more to simpler grilled preparations.


A week before the promotion I was able to sample a representative selection of the dishes that were to be served on this special menu and came away with a new sense of respect for Chef Anchalee’s abilities and the restaurant’s attention to detail, the driving forces behind this consistently superior dining spot.


The regular seafood menu contains some appetizing dishes but as mentioned above, in a much simpler vein than the creations that will be served during the restaurant’s promotion. Creativity seems to be the main theme that guided the chef’s preparations for this special offering and it came through in a number of the dishes we were served during this special tasting. It was evident from the first dish we were presented with – three shot glasses that contained sea urchin in various sauces. The ingredients of these silky smooth shooters varied from champagne to a Tabasco-based red sauce and a vegetable-laden concoction and provided a very intriguing start to the evening’s menu.


Two salad-like dishes followed, an oyster and black mussel combination that contained crunchy white radishes lightly covered with a mustard oil that gave the dish a tangy vinaigrette-like taste, and a blue jellyfish, octopus and scallop mixture that was accompanied by cucumbers and capsicum. Jellyfish does nothing for me but the delicious scallops paired with the vegetables were enough to recommend this dish and the oyster/mussel creation was very tasty with the light sauce complementing and not drowning out the taste of the seafood.


Baked sardines on a tomato tart with capers and a tomato salsa followed along with a pike quenelle with yabbies, small lobster-like tails, in a coulis made from the yabbies. We were also presented with a mixed seafood stew that was basically a bouillabaisse with a lighter sauce and contained scallops, shrimp, mussels and razor clams – something that you very rarely see in Thailand. A braised smoked cod with vegetables and crisp pancetta and mud crab with a ginger, leek and black pepper sauce completed the evening’s fare.


All these dished were beautifully presented and imaginatively created. The black cod’s smoked flavor was accented by the pancetta, an Italian bacon, for example, and the seafood stew again had a sauce light enough to keep it from smothering the delicate seafood flavors. And the yabbie coulis was delicious enough to warrant cleaning the bowl with a piece of the restaurant’s excellent bread.


Other ingredients that will be featured during the promotion include halibut – in a Wellington preparation with braised cabbage and a truffle emulsion – spiny Atlantic lobster poached in a sorrel sauce and a baked whole orange sea perch among a number of other interesting looking preparations including also a home-made crab soufflĂ©.


And the meal was made all the more enjoyable since it was accompanied by an excellent champagne, a Pascal Cossy Brut Reserve that will also be served during the promotion. So although you may have enjoyed great steaks here in the past, for 10 days you can also taste some inventive seafood dishes at Madison, a restaurant that is able to effortlessly present wonderful cuisine no matter what the ingredients may be.





     


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