Chopsticks – I find them really fascinating eating utensils. It is definitely a skill – handling these. Otherwise, it is daunting to think that one can be satisfied eating with these. Many years ago in Singapore, I was put to shame for stuffing my face with a fork and was not able to enjoy my hosts’ hospitality that spanned a 7- course meal. No kidding! You might say I learnt the hard way but learn I did! Looking back now, almost 20 years, I must say I am glad I ate humble pie and learnt something new and different. It is now second nature to me at any Chinese restaurant. My heartfelt gratitude to my Singaporean hosts’ wherever they are for challenging me to enjoy many Chinese meals since that embarrassing lunchtime at a classy restaurant on Orchard Road.
A couple of evenings this week we decided to drop by the Hees Chinese Restaurant in Mill Hill for dinner. We were in the neighbourhood and it felt kinda good to take in the long days and stay out until about 9pm or 10pm at night.
On both occasions as usual, service was immaculate, fast and pleasant. We have been there a couple of times so I reckon you could safely call us Hees regulars.
The place is clean, warm and so tidy. The food is absolutely delicious. For starters, try the beef satays and salted and pepper pork spareribs, the ever popular (with me that is) chicken sweet corn soup or salted and pepper squid.
For dinner, you may want to try the shredded chilli beef and fish Peking style and mixed vegetables. Ambience and sumptuous food, superb ‘express’ service and a friendly team keeps calling us back.
The menu goes on forever. That’s what I like about restaurants – long menus and feeling spoilt for choice is my kind of eatery – posh or non-posh.
As we left the restaurant smiling and absolutely smashed with great yummy morsels I couldn’t help thinking wow! Hees done it again!
Yesterday it seemed as if everyone returned to the city to check it out and take advantage of the after-Christmas sales and movie or theatre matinees. The crowds on the high street were incredible! Three things I wanted to do: have lunch at Thai Square – the popular Thai restaurant close to Trafalgar Square, go to John Lewis store on Oxford Street and to pick up some ingredients at the Japan Centre for a favourite Japanese dish.
At Thai Square, food and company were great. I even ran into someone I know – fancy that in a big city of about 12 million or so people!
After lunch, I went to Oxford Street to check something out at John Lewis. Wow! the pavements were absolutely choc-a-bloc with people – shoppers! and was so glad I could get away from there as soon as I could. It was kind of exciting in a weird sort of way.
My second last stop was at The London Picture Centre, to collect a painting. This painting caught my eye when I first walked into this gallery. I think it called me name when I walked in…but beauty as they say is in the eye of the beholder.
My last stop was the Japan Centre on Lower Regent Street, down from Piccadilly Circus, to collect some ingredients I needed for a Japanese dish.
On the way home, as I reflected on my afternoon in London, I figured out a couple of things which are so mundane they seemed unimportant but I reckon food for thought nonetheless. These are my shopping tips for post-Christmas or New Year sales.
If you wanted to take advantage of the post-Christmas or New Year sales at the shops along Oxford Street and Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Street, go during the week – there are less people to jostle your way through. The other option is to be standing outside the store when it opens and be the first in.
Know what it is you really want to buy and where to get it in the shop.
If there are more than one item you are interested in, you need to give yourself at least 2 hours. Be mindful of queues outside the fitting rooms, and the sales assistant who has to check the stock shelves for your correct size while you wait.
When in a hurry enlist the help of a sales assistant to help you find matching tops to your long pants, find your correct size or match the colours that go well wth your complexion.
If the store you are in doesn’t have the item in stock ask the sales assistant to check with their other branches or stores nearby which carry the same brand or label.
Remember, most stores have a return policy so if in a hurry, buy the garment and try it at home. Ensure the price tag is still on and no marks on the item. Return it if not happy for a reimbursement or exchange it with another item of the same quality and price.
Check sales items carefully for any marks, tears or a missing button(s) etc.
If you like something you’ve seen and know in your heart of hearts that you must have it, go ahead and buy it. Guaranteed it wont be there when you go back in a month’s time. In some cases the store would have sold out on your size, colour or style.