Where NOT to eat in Chinatown

Where NOT to eat in Chinatown

Review of China Buffet – Chinatown

On the 29th of October it was my birthday and I turned 22. In celebration of this I thought I’d go to a Chinese restaurant as it’s food that I love and it’s part of my heritage. What better place to go to than Chinatown in Leicester Square to experience the awesomeness that Chinese food generally is. I went with my sister to a restaurant in the heart of Chinatown called China Buffet – a mistake and one that I won’t be repeating. It looked great on the outside and it had most of the Chinese food that I enjoy eating. (Sweat & Sour chicken being one of my favourite Chinese dishes)

So what was actually wrong?

Just take a look at this picture of food that looks like had been sitting there for hours:

horrible food at China buffet

And of course, the food tasted bland, as it was quite obviously not fresh. Sure, one will argue it’s a buffet, but buffets still need to taste nice and this is a Chinese restaurant, so I expected something that tasted authentic and I definitely did not receive that. Perhaps my standards are a little high due to myself living in Taiwan for the past 2 and a half years, but this food was sub-standard and even my sister did not like the food. Bland is the perfect adjective to be using and it’s the last word you would associate with Chinese food.

How were the staff?

I can’t complain too much about the staff; however, the reason why I even have this sub header is because I experienced another customer receive the poorest customer service that I have experienced before.

A customer asked:

“Where are the bins?”

Worker responded by saying:

“We have no bins” and then simply walked off.

I was quite baffled by this and attributed this to the worker’s poor English skills. Either way, I was shocked, and so was the customer asking the question. I almost wanted to use my Chinese skills to tell the worker that it’s not acceptable to respond in such a way.

The decor

The decor was just dreadful. It looked like it hadn’t been updated in a decade. The lighting was also quite poor and it was as if they were trying to hide the poor decor by dimming the lights a bit. I also didn’t like the fact that tables were so close to each other, and this really stops any chat during eating a meal there. It just makes things so awkward.

Would I go there again?

No. It’s just sub standard food and I would not touch that place again. My recommendations to them is have someone review the food every 5 minutes to make sure it’s at least presentable, and to ensure that food is replaced after a certain time; not only if a certain tray has been finished, but if food has simply been sitting there for over an hour. They would also do better to clean up the place and re-do the entire decor. It looks rancid and should not be representative of the cheap Chinese restaurants you should be going to in London.

Note: I know this is quite negative, so I’ll definitely review other restaurants in Chinatown, and hopefully give more positive reviews. Like most people would, I only went to China Buffet as it was cheap and it looked delicious from the outside. Unfortunately my taste buds disagreed.

More pictures:

5 Ways to Treat Your Loved One in London

5 Ways to Treat Your Loved One in London

Shakespeare's Globe

Photo Credit: Ania Mendrek

If you’re planning a trip to London with your loved ones, say for a birthday, anniversary, or even just because, you may want to treat them to something a little bit extra special, something out of the ordinary that will make your trip go from sightseeing visit to something truly unforgettable.

To get you started, here are some ideas of ways to make your visit extraordinary.

1. Shakespeare’s Globe

London is famous for its West End shows, but if you’d prefer something a little more personal, Shakespeare’s globe is constructed on the site of the famous globe theatre where Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed in the 1600s. For the ultimate in luxury theatre experience, you can hire a private box, where you’ll be served champagne and three course dinners in the theatre brassiere. This experience also comes with a dedicated host and play synopses. You and your guests will enjoy the ultimate in luxury, as you watch the play from your own private box, where you can also enjoy petit fours and further champagne.

2. Harrods

No visit to London is complete without a trip to Harrods. From its humble beginnings as a tea shop, Harrods has gone from strength to strength and grown into the feast for the senses which stands there today. With 3300 departments, you could easily spend all day there; quite apart from the visual beauty of the store, if you’re looking to buy something special, you will find it here. Make sure to visit the beautifully laid out food hall, where you can buy luxury Harrods food hampers to take home with you, and don’t forget to visit the Egyptian staircase in the back, which holds a memorial fountain for Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed. 

3. The Shard

When you think of birds-eye views across London, most people would think of the London Eye, but why not try something a little bit different? The Shard, London’s newest visitor attraction is the tallest tower in Europe. It’s sleek, modern design offers 360 degree views over London, and unlike the London Eye, you can stay there as long as you wish. Inside, London’s history is brought to life with amazing multi-sensory displays, and the gift shop offers unique, bespoke items. 

4. Cookery Masterclasses

Do you and your guests fancy yourselves as the next Gordon Ramsey? Learn how to cook the perfect Sunday roast, with this master class from luxury hotel Claridges. Guests will learn about the traditional Sunday Roast in the gorgeous Art Deco foyer of the hotel, move onto the cooking lesson, and then be served a traditional roast in the hotel’s restaurant. Claridges also do classes in Chocolate, British Pudding, Fish and Game, as well as the Sunday Roast class. The tips you will learn from London’s top chefs will allow you to cook the perfect roast, even when you return home.

5. Dinner Cruise

Harking back to a more glamorous era, you and your loved ones can enjoy a jazz cruise up the Thames, while sipping champagne. Sailing on the Millennium Diamond, the newest addition to London’s luxury riverboat fleet, you can even dance to the band as the boat makes its way up the river, past Canary Wharf, taking in all the sights of night-time London. 

London is a wonderful city full of culture, with so much to do that is can be overwhelming, so I hope this little list has been useful to you in planning your dream trip with your loved ones.

GumTree – A scammer’s wet dream

GumTree – A scammer’s wet dream

htc-one-scam-gumtree

I’m writing this as I’ve recently been scammed out of 235 pounds.

I’m of course now going through that stage where I’m thinking I could have handled things better.

I basically looked on GumTree for a HTC One smart phone and came across a great deal. In fact, a deal so great, that it sounded like it was too good to be true. That is something that I’ll never make the same mistake on again. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably bloody well is.

What actually happened?

I sent an email to the person who listed the HTC One smart phone on GumTree and he responded to me fairly quickly. He asked for my mobile number so he could speak to me. I obliged and gave it to him. In no time he gave me a call and we discussed what would be happening. Apparently the guy I was dealing with is from Luton, so it’s quite a fair while away from where I live.

He seemed trustworthy as he actually wanted me to visit Luton to pick up the phone and make the transaction. I told him that Luton was quite far away and asked if he could send the smart phone to my address via post. He said okay, and said it would cost around 5 pounds. He then went on about how this was the first time that he had done something like this and that didn’t want to get scammed. (Heh!)

Note: the only reason I went through with this is because he originally wanted me to go to his house to pick the phone up and make the payment in cash.

I asked if he could send me some form of ID and he did via email. (I have his home address, ID card and bank details; if that means anything)

I then sent him the payment after he sent me a text with his bank details.

Payment sent and then he was supposedly off to the post office to post my newly purchased phone. I kept sending him texts and he said he had made it to the post office and sent it all off. He was likely just at the bank withdrawing all the money I had just deposited into his account. Contact ended at around 5:40pm. He didn’t answer my calls or texts anymore. At around 7:00pm, when I tried calling him it was just going straight through to his voicemail. I was trying to believe that he had simply run out of battery, but I knew I had ultimately been done.

It’s 11:44pm as I type this up now, and I still can’t get in contact with this guy and he’s not responding to anything I throw at him; not even his email.

I’ve been had. That’s all. I’ll never make a purchase like that again and if I do, I’ll use PayPal, as I’ll be able to take action much faster than you can with banks. If I can, I’ll try and do a chargeback, but that might not even work if he’s withdrawn the funds already.

Takeaways…

  • Ask to speak to them on their home phone. (SIM cards can be too easily obtained and thrown away)
  • If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably god damn well is.
  • Ask for more than ID. Ask for a picture of a utility bill, or more than one form of ID with address on it.
  • Pay via PayPal. Direct bank transfer payments are not as protected as PayPal payments. Especially if you’re purchasing goods that are actually tangible.
  • Don’t be a moron like me.
  • Use Ebay. Ebay has tracking setup so that you’re protected if you don’t receive your goods, plus PayPal is quite secure.  (Probably something I should have told this asshole, or no deal)
Thinking of Moving to London?

Thinking of Moving to London?

London Borough Comparison

I moved back to Lon­don a cou­ple months ago in May and while I don’t have the money to pur­chase a house in Lon­don, it’s cer­tainly inter­est­ing to see the sta­tis­tics of the 32 bor­oughs in Lon­don. I live in Newham and sur­pris­ingly this bor­ough fairs quite well com­pared to other bor­oughs that have bad rep­u­ta­tions. It’s actu­ally not that bad liv­ing here, even though Chan­nel 4 berated the bor­ough in 2007 and ranked it as being the 3rd worst bor­ough in Lon­don. How­ever, ever since the £15 bil­lion pound spend on the 2012 Olympics the area has been revi­talised and busi­ness has picked up. I don’t think it deserves that 3rd posi­tion on that Chan­nel 4 list any­more and it should no longer be on that list.

Repairing your laptop at one of Oxford Street’s computer repair shops

Repairing your laptop at one of Oxford Street’s computer repair shops

asus broken charger port

As you can see from the picture above, my laptop recently broke and I had to pay out £60 to get my laptop repaired. I work in Central London at Tottenham Court Road near Oxford Street. This area is renowned for being expensive, so this would have been the last place to go to get my laptop repaired. I, however, had no choice but to go to Oxford Street as I work near there and any other alternative, like going to Stratford for example, would have been too difficult and monotonous.

What did I do to get my laptop repaired?

Oxford Street has many computer or laptop repair shops and the fact there are so many of these types of shops allows you to pick the best shops and this allows you to not have to rely on a single quote and you can shop around to see who will offer you the best price.

I think I visited around 3 computer repair shops and had offers that ranged from £40 to £100. Of course, the thing you shouldn’t do is give in to the first offer that you find. I almost made that mistake until the idea of going next door or down the road to another repair shop came to mind.

The first quote

I first got an offer for £40 and the only reason I didn’t take that offer was because he said he’d fix it by tomorrow and he would not be able to fix the cause or rather he would only fix the immediate problem. That was simply soldering the wire that became detached from the charger port. Instead of paying someone to do this I could have done it all by myself and bought the equipment to do it. I respectfully declined and said I’d look elsewhere for a cheaper quote and for someone that would do an all-rounder in fixing the whole problem meaning that I would not get persistent issues in the future.

The second quote

This is the funny yet disturbing one. I walked in and I immediately asked the person behind the counter if they did laptop repairs, he said yes and referred me to another guy behind another counter. I went over to him and asked him whether he would charge me for simply looking at my laptop’s issue. He said yes, and I tried explaining to him that if I showed him the issue that it wouldn’t take too long and that I would choose his shop to fix my problem if he thought he could repair it. Instead, he kept insisting that I pay £50 upfront for him to look at it and that if he could repair it, he would only charge me £40 to repair the issue, bringing the total amount that would’ve been paid to £90. I said no, and then he started going full-retard by telling me how many customers that he had yesterday. He was almost trying to imply that he didn’t need me. Either way, I’m so glad that I didn’t pick him.

The last and best quote

I thought I’d save the best till last and this was definitely the most straightforward out of the laptop repair shops that I went to. First of all, he addressed things like a professional. While the others immediately stated how much I was going to pay, the guy in this shop asked me to look at what needed repairing and then quoted me a price. This is basic sales 101, which the other repair shops disregarded altogether. It seems that they purely wanted the money and made it quite obvious which is a huge mistake on their part. It’s the reason why I chose this shop over the others.

Latop Repair shop front

A big shout out to this store! Apparently their store is called “WORLD” and I don’t think they have a website; otherwise, I would have linked to them.

And finally, my laptop is now working and it seems they done a good job on fixing the issue at hand. I will still have to buy superglue to glue down the corner part where they had to replace the charger port, so they haven’t fully fixed it. However, I’m just glad that I now have a laptop that is in full working order. I’m still working on saving up for a new laptop — that is however work in progress.

The lesson here: (tldr)

  • Don’t take the first quote and definitely don’t buy into a sales pitch.
In turns out unpaid internships aren’t so bad

In turns out unpaid internships aren’t so bad

I’m glad, ecstatic, amazed, overjoyed and every other happy adjective you can think of. Today I was told that my internship was turning into a full-time job. I’m to start work as an employee on Monday (12th of August) and I’ll finally get paid for the work that I’ll be doing after suffering 6 weeks on no income and purely just burning through my savings.

What’s the job

I’ll be working in Central London of off Oxford Street for a division that does Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for clients in the United Kingdom. I don’t have an assigned title yet, but I’ve kind of crowned myself as an SEO Specialist. I’ll be working on 50% technical SEO and 50% content marketing. Essentially I’ll be doing a mixture of both and I’m hoping to improve my technical knowledge of implementation and simply doing things correctly. The reason I’m doing this type of job is because when I was 16/17 I managed my own web hosting business and it taught me about digital and I naturally learned about SEO. In fact, this job is quite ideal and is the perfect job opportunity and I’m hoping to grow out and become a professional in this field as I’m already quite passionate about this type of work.

What did I do to stand out

This is a question that is quite specific to the job that you’re doing. The main things that I did to stand out was to ask as many questions as I possibly could come up with and to act upon those answers immediately. While I am reluctant to go into specifics of what I had done, I feel I can confidently say that I achieved quite a bit for the team. If you can achieve and become successful by going the extra mile and doing significant things then you’ll get noticed and you’ll possibly turn that unpaid internship into something. I think that getting noticed and doing work that looks credible is essential and being consistent in doing well is another eye opener.

Abolishing Unpaid Internships

I hear the argument for abolishing unpaid internships and I do partly agree with this. I however feel that this argument has been struck down by the very fact that I’ve managed to turn my internship into a job. Also, I don’t think internships are bad and people have a choice as to whether they’d want to do an internship. I mean, it’s not as if you’re being forced to do the work and it’s a way to learn and become part of an office experience and generally looks good on a blank CV. (My CV was not blank!) I also hear the argument that people are desperate and that employers are taking advantage of that fact; I’m afraid this is just the beginning of changing times and while I’m not a heartless bastard and I did indeed do an internship myself and as long as the business or company you’re interning with isn’t forcing you to do things you don’t want to do then I don’t see a problem. I’ve done a 6 week unpaid internship and I doubt the people arguing against internships have actually been interns before and if they have, I doubt they succeeded in getting job through their internship. (Otherwise they wouldn’t be complaining)

What does the future look like

The future looks quite bright. In fact, I’m looking to do a part-time course at Birkbeck University for Web Technologies. It’s a foundation degree that will help me excel and become more qualified in the field that I’m aiming for. They also have a campus in Stratford, although my new job is actually nearby to Birkbeck University’s main campus. I’m not yet sure if the course would be feasible for me as I’ll be working full-time and I have no idea if the part-time course could cater to my needs and if I could do the course around my job. However, if I can then great! I’ll definitely have to look into it and sign up for a course! Though I do have that feeling that I’ll be unable to do any external courses due to the nature of that job that I’ve entered.