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Tien Ma’s at Makati Avenue

Tien Ma’s: Great Taiwanese food at Makati Avenue.

Tien Ma’s serves the usual Chinese oriental cuisine we love and know with quality more than what you pay for. It’s good, and the Xiao Long Bao experience was something that made us come back.

The restaurant is located across Union Bank, beside Angel’s Pizza. Just around Next Door North Park’s vicinity.

Tien Ma's opens its branch along Makati Avenue.

Tien Ma’s opens its branch along Makati Avenue.

We gambled on trying Tien Ma’s for the first time. We were usually North Park and Next Door North Park regulars but their quality and service have dropped through our visits. And Tien Ma’s: It did not disappoint. It’s a place worth going back to again.

More than dimsum and dumplings, they offer a fair variety of savoury oriental choices. So far we haven’t tried any rice meals yet.

So what’s our favourite at Tien Ma’s?

Tien Ma's Xiao Long Bao

Tien Ma’s Xiao Long Bao explodes inside your mouth.

Tien Ma’s Xiao Long Bao

Order their Xiao Long Bao. This dumpling is infused with pork broth soup inside. You have to eat it while it’s hot, otherwise you’re missing out the experience of the soup exploding inside your mouth. Also, don’t let it sit long, otherwise the soup gets absorbed by the flour.

It’s hot, be careful, but the infusing bite is worth the experience.

Tien Ma’s Xiao Long Bao comes in three flavors:

Mixed Xiao Long Bao

With the Mixed variant, you can try all of Tien Ma’s Xiao Long Bao variants.

Original – 8 pcs.; Php200; The most value for your buck.

Cheese – 8 pcs; Php240; We haven’t tried it personally, but our friends loved it and said it tasted great. So, we’re definitely going back for the cheese Xiao Long Bao.

Black Mushroom – 8 pcs; Php240; We didn’t taste much difference between the original and this variant. The mushroom bits were too tiny to infuse as strongly as the broth.

Mixed – 3pcs Cheese; 3pcs Black Mushroom; 2pcs Original; Php240

Oriental Offerings

More than dumplings, their Taiwanese offerings also include rice bowls, rice toppings, and savoury oriental recipes.

Their Three Cup Chicken caught my attention, but we haven’t tried it yet. That’s next on my to try list.

We have to go back to try them all.

No service charge

Since their fairly new on the Makati Avenue strip, I’m not sure if their price and no service charge policy will stay for long. As we have mentioned, their current quality is really good. We hope that it retains since right now, their really fairly new.

They have other branches across Manila, but bringing it near our Makati vicinity opens a new pool of regular customers. Not to mention, Makati Avenue is a nightlife strip where foreigners frequent.

Tien Ma's Makati Avenue branch.

Tien Ma’s Makati Avenue branch.

Operating Hours

Makati Avenue Branch is open from 8AM-2AM. They seem like they’re picking up popularity as the place usually gets 70% full.

We’ll definitely be back. This one’s for sure.

Millennials: What’s different with our parent’s generation?

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A group of ‘millennials’ stroll through a train station in downtown Nagoya, Japan.

Nothing much different, or is there?

This post is a deconstruction of the millennials and their critics. It is a perspective coming from a millennial myself, not an anchor of what is universally right and sound. It is an observation. 

Articles are filled with millennials (M’s) whining about life, how true are they? Debates fire up as to which birth years do millennials come from: To what extent does this question matter?

We hear countless  stories of millennials cluelessly dealing with life. We know because they post their problems in social media. They post what they want to become, the bills they need to pay. They post what’s on their mind.

It has become a hot potato game. The ‘millennial’ term becomes a word to demean. They use it to set themselves apart from disliked individuals who get to their nerves, or their social feed.

Amidst this, when I step back: All of these issues don’t seem to be an exclusive case only with the millennial generation.

Older and younger ones exhibit similar behaviours. Regardless of which years they come from, It could just be a case of you reading the current generation’s posts just now: because the internet has evolved into an acceptable media for our gripes.

Maybe it’s the technology

Technology has become an acceptable friend. The generation today converses heavily through smartphone on our fingertips. It was a luxury for generations before us to get a beeper message, and here we are, breathing each kilobyte even before we sleep.

Millennials and the economy

The Millennials: for all we now, could have been started as a marketing initiative. We should be aware that, it could be a strategy to target the economically able of our time.

As Millennials become the working and earning Continue reading

Kyoto 京都 Kyōto: Arinco Roll at Arashiyama 嵐山 Park, Japan

Arinco was a most delectable matcha experience I had to date during my Arashiyama (嵐山) Park visit in Kyoto, Japan

I visited Kyoto, Japan last November 2016. This was one of the fanciest things I have stumbled upon during my day trip at Arashiyama (嵐山) Park, in Kyoto, Japan.

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If you look closely, the chocolate was made of delectable refined milk, sugar, and matcha powder. For some reason, it was really an unforgettable treat. The sensation of how it melted as I took my bite has not been paralleled by anything I know, yet.

As you can see here: This matcha chocolate was hand crafted right there and then at Arino.jp branch in Arashiyama (嵐山) Park, Kyoto, Japan.

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The lady right on the photo above is seen crafting the Matcha chocolate by hand.

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I wasn’t able to try this Kyo Roll on the photo. I know I’ll have to try it when I go back. It’s one of those things you’ll need a friend to share it with. Since I went to Kyoto, Japan alone, I decided to skip it during my last visit.

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I’ll tell you a secret. This Matcha chocolate, actually, fell on the cement floor.

Yes. I ate it. It costed gold– and even if other tourists saw me, they’ll never remember who I was. Plus! It makes a great story now. Clueless Commuter's LOL smiley

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The set comes with hot matcha milk. The drink didn’t quite made as much impact compared to the matcha chocolate, but they definitely blended memorably as a pair. The drink also became memorable as it was warm during the chilly November autumn weather.

The matcha drink is actually available in a hot or cold variant.

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A few high school students seemed to have also been enjoying another local treat from Arashiyama (嵐山) on these photos.

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Try Arinco’s matcha chocolate and goodies if ever you get to visit Arashiyama Park in Kyoto, Japan. It’s just a delectable as how it looks. It was so refined and delectable, I can vividly recall how it the sensation of melting matcha felt inside my head.

Meanwhile, leave a comment below if you’ve got a similar matcha experience to share. Until next time!

(:

 

Japan: Budget Internet Sim for Tourists

Get a budget data sim card when you visit Japan

If you’re looking for cheap internet in Japan, a budget travel sim card might be just right. I got one during my Japan trip last November 2016.

I went on a solo trip to Japan as a tourist, so a pocket WiFi would have been too much for my use. A good internet data access was a necessity since I didn’t speak their language and its easy to get lost in Japan.

Need first time travel tips for your Japan trip? Chat Clueless Commuter here.

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I got myself an internet data sim card during my stay in Japan.

Internet access for tourists

When I visited Japan, getting a pocket WiFi as a solo traveler would take a huge chunk on my budget. With research, I came to know how Japan has many internet service providers, so, apart from renting a pocket WiFi, and using your hotel’s WiFi, you can get internet access by either:

  1. Renting a pocket WiFi

    Although convenient, this option can be a little pricey. Kiosks can easily be found in airports, but I wouldn’t recommend this, especially when you’re on a budget trip or there’s only one or two of you.

    If you’re traveling alone, it’s better to get a data sim card with your own open-line smartphone.

    An open-line smartphone, for those who need to know, is a phone that will accept any carrier sim card. They are not locked to one network and can work with a Japanese telco sim. A closed phone line will be of no use in Japan unless it was set to roaming before the trip.

  2. Go on roaming

    When you do not have an open-line smartphone, you’ll need to ask your telephone service provider’s help before you travel. I’m biased against getting roaming services. I think of them as overly expensive. Telco fees vary, plus you’ll need to seek approval from your Internet Service Providers. I can’t vouch for roaming, really, as I’ve never tried it before.

    Which brings us to a third option.

  3. Buy a data SIM card

    This is the cheapest option for getting internet when visiting Japan. A data sim card is available for tourists who are staying in Japan for a limited time. You will need to bring your open-line smartphone for this during your travel.

    My data sim card only costed around 1700¥ + 10% tax during my week-long stay. That’s around ₱822 during my visit. Again, you have to be a tourist to get this sim. The cashier will ask for your passport upon payment.

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    A full section of internet data sim cards are sold in Japan.

Free FB, Viber, WhatsApp, etc.

Some data SIM cards offer free messaging apps, which is a must if you get lost and need to chat a friend or Clueless Commuter while in Japan. Others offer free text messages for local mobile numbers, while others, additional data.

Nonetheless, if you decide that the data SIM card is what’s right for you, read on for a few more tips.

Bring these when you buy your data SIM card

If you’re not getting a pocket WiFi in Japan, I strongly recommend that you get yourself a data SIM card when you visit as a tourist. Make sure you bring the following during your purchase:

  1. Your money in Yen.

    yen-currency-in-japan

    Don’t forget to bring Yen in Japan stores and shops.

  2. Your Passport and Japanese Visa (if applicable)

    Travel SIM cards, as far as I know, are only for tourists. You have to be identified as a temporary visitor in Japan to be able to buy them. You will also need to prove you are eligible to do transactions.

    Also, a number of shops promote TAX FREE Shopping.

    NOTE:  The tax free policy only applies to (A) Single receipt consumable items (make-up, food, etc.) worth ¥5000 or (B) Single receipt non-consumable items (clothes, gadgets, toys, etc.) worth ¥5000. Only tourists are eligible for this so they ask for your passport when you avail of tax free shopping. NOT all shops exercise this just like the one in this post.

    japan-visa-approved

  3. Your open-line, data-capable smartphone

    The store will need to configure it for you, so it’s better to bring the device when you buy. You can configure it by yourself when you go back to your hotel but I don’t recommend you do this. Even if the SIM pack comes with a manual in English, it’s better to have your internet working ASAP before you go.

  4. Determination, patience and understanding

    Japan is a non-English-speaking country. They understand key English words but locals will have to use sign language to get a message across. There will be English speaking staff, but, most likely, the one who approaches you first will be a local speaking staff. Just remember to respectfully and nicely ask, especially as you are the tourist here.

    Most importantly, you will need patience. You will have to wait for your turn since there are fewer English-speaking staff and a number who might be tourists. They are doing you a favor by helping you with your internet needs.

How and where to buy your internet data sim card

In Japan, the electronic stores such as Yodobashi and BIC / BIG Camera will be located around the city or train central stations. So, what you’ll need to do is:

internet-data-sim-card-in-nagoya

I found an electronic store near Nagoya Station’s vicinity, in Nagoya City Center. There, I bought my internet data sim card.

  1. Go to city centers or central train stations

    Electronic shops can be found there.

    electronic-stores-in-japan

    I got my internet data sim card from BIC Camera store in Nagoya City Center.

     

    They’re just lying around there, waiting to be discovered. You will find them by walking around. If they have appliances, cellphones or electronic devices displayed by the entrance, it’s most likely going to be an electronic store. You won’t be able to read much since the characters will be in Japanese too.

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    The electronic shop signages are in Japanese, so take note of this brands in their store entrances.

  2. Communicate

    Ask where the internet SIM Cards are. Say keywords such as, “English” to let them know you do not speak Japanese. They will find an English-speaking sales person for you. Or you can directly say “Internet Data Sim Card.” As I have mentioned, staff can understand basic English words. They just won’t be able to reply back. By saying this, they can lead you to the isle full of internet sim cards!

  3. Choose your sim card

    Take your pick from the wide variety of telco sim cards. Read the packaging, since they’re mainly written for tourists. Meanwhile, consider your:

    • Length of stay
      Some sim cards are meant for 7 days, 14 days, while some are good for up to 30-90 days. Just check the package details.
    • SIM Card size
      Make sure it will fit your smart phone or the device you will use it with. That’s why it’s important to bring the device you will be using with you during your purchase.
    • Coverage
      Make sure it will work if you plan to go to Neko Island or other far-flung destinations in Japan. Ask your English-speaking crew about the internet company handling your chosen sim card for coverage.
    • Freebies
      The sim card I got had free Facebook, Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, etc. with it. It meant more data for searching in Google.

    sim-card-options-in-japan

  4. Have it installed

    The sim card still need to be configured so it’s better to have it installed before you leave the shop. There’s a few cheaper brands that seem to charge additional fees for installation. I did not pay extra since my manual had an English translation in it.

    In case you need to pay the minimal installation fee, I recommend you do so, instead of risking the chance of going home and not having a functional sim card.

Bring your own device during your trip

You will need to bring a separate open line smart phone if you plan to do this. I assure you– as a budget traveller, this will cover your basic internet use. It might be slower (than a WiFi) but it will cover basic GPS, maps, Google search queries and sometimes, free messaging Apps. There will be a lot of carriers to choose from. Others have better Sim Card networks which may be a bit more expensive with 4G or LTE capabilities. Just ask your English-speaking sales person.

Also, since the Sim Cards are for tourists, you may also read the packaging since they are usually in English.

Just the right internet for the basics

During your Japan trip, your internet data sim card will meet your basic internet needs. It will have a decent GPS for maps. It will have a decent internet coverage for doing quick searches. And for starters, you will most likely just roam around known tourist places where there’s always going to be internet coverage.

Better brands will have better GPS accuracy and internet speed. Just ask the English-speaking sales person on this. At the end, I just bought this since I will only stay there for 9 more days.

cheap-budget-internet-sim-card-in-japan

I got this data sim card since it was cheap, and it was all that I would need.

It’s the internet for tourists

Internet data sim cards are really for Japan tourists to discover. For me, finding myself a cheap internet sim card was an experience on its own.

I also found it fascinating how my friends from Japan did not know of this. They also do not frequent the shops I have mentioned here since their telco providers usually offer and deliver electronic services in package deals.

After all, it has to be for tourists.

Izakaya Hideyoshi: Japanese food in Makati Avenue

Their choices are very decent and a bang for the buck.

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If you’re craving for some Japanese food around Makati Avenue, check out Izakaya  Hideyoshi just across A-Venue Mall. It’s a good go-to place and I’d highly recommend around the Makati Avenue.

I’d say that Izakaya Hideyoshi is at a middle price range. There’s very few of them that rings a bell along the strip. More so, there’s fewer that offers quality Japanese for their price range around the vicinity.

8 pcs Gyoza at P180

For example, their gyoza set costs P180 as of my writing. They use flour on their mix. It’s not as juicy and scrumptious as Mendokoro‘s gyozas, still tasty. But maaaan? 8 pieces at P180? You have got to be kidding me.

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Katsudon at P280

We also ordered a Katsudon set. Their Katsudon costs Continue reading

Visit University Burger and Try Their Ice Scramble Milkshake

I visit University Burger every once in while for one reason: their Ice Scramble Milkshake sends me back my childhood. 

I come back to University Burger for their Ice Scramble milkshake.

University Burger is a new burger joint on JP Rizal Avenue in Poblacion, Makati. It’s sending waves because of its affordable, home-grilled, yet agreeable Angus beef patties. If you’re on a tight budget but are still looking for great-tasting burgers in the metro, consider this your day.

University Burger's home grilled burger.

University Burger’s quality home-grilled burgers.

Where is University Burger?

The shop is two blocks away from Makati Avenue if you’re coming from the Makati City hall complex.

Look for Robelle Hotel and Funeraria Filipina along JP Rizal Avenue. The tiny street between these two landmarks will lead you straight to University Burger’s doorstep.

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How to Commute to University Burger

If you’re commuting from EDSA-Guadalupe, find a jeepney that goes to L. Guinto or Munisipyo ng Makati. It will pass through JP Rizal.

After the jeepney crosses Makati Avenue, go down at Robelle Hotel. It’s a huge green building to your left. University Burger is on the street next to it.

You’ll recognize the joint by its chalkboard-decorated interior and yellow-lit, high-school-hangout vibe.

What’s in the Menu?

Their shop caters to budget trippers! You can get a home-grilled meal for as low as Php90. Check their full menu here.

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During my previous visits, I have ordered…

  •  Mr. Nice Guy – Quarter pounder basic burger Php 90
  • Cheese Quesadilla – Php 55
  • Choco Loco Special Shake – Php 100
  • Big Bully – Half-Pounder Burger – Php 140

If you’re on a diet, visit on cheat days so you can splurge on extra with their novelty milkshakes. I tried Chocoloco and I did get loco with the choco mallows inside the mug. 

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Chocoloco specialty milkshake at University Burger

What to Expect

The store has a tambayan setup that can accommodate 4-8 foodie groups at a time. They say there’s more seats upstairs, but I haven’t checked the second floor yet.

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If it gets cramped, there is a second floor. Otherwise, share a seat and earn a friend!

The ground floor can get a bit crowded due to the store’s rising popularity. Make it a consideration if you’re going as a group. If you’re going alone, I recommend just sharing a seat and gaining a friend if the place becomes too cramped.

The shop also has reminiscent classroom interior in it. It’s the perfect place to invite your high-school friends for a mini-reunion. Or, you know, invite your highschool crush for a budget date.

Open Hours and Delivery

Take note though, they’re only open from 3pm-2am. I know–you can’t visit them at the normal lunch hour. Just visit them after work, maybe?

Also, they said they CAN deliver, but only within Makati’s vicinity. And for a minimum of Php 700. If you could, just visit them so you could also enjoy their grilled burger right from the kitchen. For more details, visit their facebook page.

Final Thoughts

University Burger is the best place to visit when you’re on a budget and you’re still craving for quality burgers. It’s also great if you’re looking for a budget date in Makati during pre-salary periods.

Lastly,  the store’s interior makes for a fun environment to reminisce school memories. I was actually surprised to learn that some of the owners were my high school batch mates!

Got more questions about University Burger? Like their facebook page and contact them!

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