If you are looking to get off the beaten path in Singapore, take a tour of the brewery that makes Singapore's first major lager, Tiger Beer. The brewery provides a 3.5 hour tour, detailing its history, which dates back to 1931, the basics of the brewing process, and wraps up with cold brews in the tasting room. My family all met up and it was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Here our tour guide is kicking off the history of Tiger. You can hear his heavy accent. It was a bit difficult to understand what he was saying, but I got the hang of it. The original founding company was named Malayan Breweries Limited. It is now merged with Heineken under the subsidiary Heineken Asia Pacific. The case below shows Tiger's evolution of bottles and various historic merchandise. The next room teaches the 4 essential ingredients of beer: malt, hops, yeast and water.
After a walk through the actual brewery facility, we moved on to the pouring room. We were instructed on the proper techniques for a perfect pour. While I was confident that I already know how to properly pour a beer, I learned the importance of having head at the top. While many think that there should be no foam on a poured beer, the foam, caused by the carbonation, brings out aromas.
Of course, they save the best for last. They have an Irish pub style tasting room with lively music and atmosphere. We enjoyed kicking back a few and chatting with the other visitors.
Plenty of folks are satisfied to pass the days poolside sipping on cocktails and Krabi is the perfect place to do so, but I also like to explore. Here’s my itinerary from my three days at the Centara Grand Resort. But first, a montage with highlights from the resort, the night market, and island hopping.
We arrived late in the day so we spent the day settling in and recovering from our trans-Pacific flight. The resort hosted what they called a Thai Hawker Buffet. It was an abundant buffet of Thai specialties and perfect for tasting many dishes. The meal was accompanied by a culture show with traditional dances and a fire performer.
The breakfast at the Centara was a grand production. For more on that, see Eating Asia: Thai Edition. As absolute foodies, we took our time at the buffet each morning. We spent part of the day relaxing by the pool and discovered the local monkeys who steal unattended edibles. In the afternoon we trekked the Monkey Trail to town, browsed around downtown Ao Nang, ultimately reaching the Krabi Night Market. The market is alive with music, street food, and souvenirs. It was fun to walk through the stalls and browse all sorts of exotic delicacies. It's a large market. We likely spent a few hours there. The mango was so incredible everywhere we went that we could never pass on mango with sticky rice. A popular souvenir were these soaps perfectly carved and painted into orchids, chrysanthemum, and lotus. We finished out the day with dinner at the generically named, Food Center, located next to the Ao Nang Holiday Inn. Like a food court, the eateries here served exquisite eats for cheap.
A popular activity for Krabi visitors is island hopping. There are many picturesque, uninhabited islands off the coast. We arranged a 3-hour, private tour with the hotel and boarded a long-tail boat to a couple of islands for exploring and snorkeling. It was nice to see some different sights. While our snorkeling wasn't impressive at our first stop, we found a giant iguana and explored a cave. Each stop had something different to offer. Our last stop was Railay Beach which was a cool little town and the perfect stop for a beer and something to eat. We finished off the day back at the Food Center for dinner and Thai "fried" ice cream, illustrated in the video.
What would you look forward to doing in Thailand?
Eating Asia: Thai Edition
Ancient Temples of Cambodia
Arab Street: This Hippest Neighborhood in Singapore
I loved traditional Cambodian food. I found it to be similar to Thai food with curries, satays, fried rices, and flavored with lime, cilantro, and lemongrass. On our day of visiting temples, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch and had a classic Khmer dish, Amok, pictured on the right, and served in a coconut. This was a rich and flavorful fish curry. Our second dish was bok choy with beef which was light and a nice contrast to the Amok. Of course nothing accompanies a meal like this better than a bottle of the local beer - Angkor. We did a happy dance over this meal.
Breakfast was our favorite meal of the day. Our resort, The Golden Temple Hotel, had an adequate buffet with French pastries, tropical fresh fruits, a variety of American breakfast standards and an omelette and coconut waffle station. But what stole our hearts was the noodle soup station. We initially just thought we'd give it a try. You pick a meat and noodle option and it's made fresh. You can add onions, chilis, lime, and other condiments. The flavoring of the broth was out of this world. We ordered it everyday.
On our final night, the resort treated us to a three course meal. All courses were beautifully presented and highlighted classic Khmer flavors.
Appetizer: Green Mango Salad with calamari and shrimp; vegetable egg roll
Entree: Spiced beef with cilantro sauce, fried rice, and roasted pumpkin
Dessert: Apple cake with poached apples and vanilla gelato.
The stand out here was the green mango salad. I have always seen it on menus but never had it before. This salad is such a refreshing appetizer; balanced with sweet mango, tart lime, and savory calamari and shrimp. Every bite was exquisite. We certainly ended our visit on a high note.
Ancient Temples of Cambodia
3 Day Itinerary for Krabi, Thailand
Arab Street: The Hippest Neighborhood in Singapore
Anna Fleming, the Curly Vagabond, roams like a local, searching for adventure, tasty cuisine and the best craft beer; all with a sense of humor and a budget any working stiff could appreciate. Home base is Oceanside, CA in North San Diego County.