5.272 Char Koay Teow

Cycle 5 – Item 272

4 (Sat) October 2014

Char Koay Teow


at La Cafe

(Laguna Hotel)

-Waigini, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea-

with CAL

Mission to Papua New Guinea (Day 2)

In Port Moresby.  Here to provide technical/legal support to the National Department of Health in updating their tobacco legislation, which hasn’t been touched since 1987 – nice work if you can get it.  Uncertain, however, about dining prospects for the week.


We’re staying at Laguna Hotel.

It just opened a few months ago.  Very modern and swanky.  Quiet – too quiet.

The internet at the hotel is absurdly expensive.  After 50 MB free per day, additional data costs 1 PGK (1 Papua New Guinean kina = about 40 cents) per 1 MB.  To put that into perspective, in this day of graphic-heavy interfaces, 50 MB (about 20 USD) allows for perusal of maybe 1 website and 2 emails.

Rooms are spacious, but in an odd way, with a lot of awkward emptiness.
In addition to booze, cup ramyeon and kimchi are traveling essentials on long missions, especially for destinations outside of Asia.

Ordinarily, spending extra time in a new country would be a good thing.

In Papua New Guinea, however, due to security concerns, official policy prohibits us from traveling anywhere unless in a WHO or UN vehicle.  High inflation, high unemployment, low police enforcement = high crime rate, much of it violent.  WHO staff members in the country office, all victims of incidents at one point or another, pay $50,000 or more a year to live in buildings with armed guards.  They’re also granted R&R leave every 3 months.  Upon arrival, CAL and I were given walkie-talkies, each assigned a call number (mine is “Hotel 92” – everyone from WHO gets “H/otel” for “health”), and briefed on how to call in a UN security team in the event, say, of getting carjacked or mobbed.  PNG is the only country in our Region with such protocols; in other Regions, the protocols apply to countries like Afghanistan and Syria.

The point is that we can’t explore the country in our spare time.

Barbed wire fences (electric, for all I know).
The balcony has 3 locked doors, the last one requiring a digital card key.

Second, the restaurants here, at least any restaurant where an expat/tourist could reasonably/safely be expected to go, such as restaurants in hotels/malls, generally tend not to serve local cuisine.  The sole restaurant at Laguna Hotel offers Euro/American and Malaysian dishes only (for whatever reason, Malaysians own a lot of businesses in the country).


The food at La Cafe was okay, fortunately.  I anticipate many meals here.

Beef Rendang (2.5)

One difference between Singaporean and Malaysian char kway/koay /kuay teow, other than spelling, would seem to be that the former involves cooking the sprouts during the stir-fry process, while the latter adds the sprouts raw at the end – or maybe that’s just here.

SP Lager Beer (“SP Brown,” as per the locals): my first PNG beer!

(See also BOOZE)



These are screen-shot comments from the prior site. If you wish to leave a new comment, please do so in the live comment section below.

Leave a Reply