Eat Your Way to Happiness

This is a series of food blog which I have decided to document down on food places or restaurants I been while traveling. So, eat your way to happiness in Seoul, Korea.

Jinsadaek

If you are looking for a traditional Korean meal in the shopping area, Myeongdong, you’ve got to check out Jinsadaek. Tucked in a small lane in Myeongdong. The restaurant has an unassuming entrance, however once you’re up on the rooftop it was as if you were transported to another place – in a courtyard of a traditional Hanok house.

Each room in the “house” is a private dining area good for large group. Let me show you what they serve. Please note, i might have missed out a couple of dishes as i was busy enjoying my 14 course dinner.

Abalone porridge

Vermicelli with mixed vegetables

White kimchi

Salad

Steamed pork and spicy squids

Pan fried pork and spring onions with sesame

Pancake

Oyster and sashimi

Beef Bulgogi

Fermented yellow corvina

They even had a singer dressed in traditional Korean dress, Hanbok, to entertain guests. A great way to end the night on a “high” note!

Advertisements

Singapore Outlet Mall – Changi City Point

Last minute shopping before catching your flight out in Changi airport? Do check out Changi City Point mall for great bargains! The mall is located next to Expo MRT station, one station before hitting Changi.

Take the East-West line towards Pasir Ris-Changi, alight at Tanah Merah station and change to Changi line.

Drop-off at Expo station and you’ll see Changi City Point mall from the platform. Take the right exit when you leave the station.

Cross the traffic light once you’re out from the station. It’s that convenient!

Here are the brands found on the ground level…

More shops on 2nd level…

You can easily spend 2 – 3 hours here and if you’re hungry fret not there is a wide selection of restaurants and a food court in the mall to fuel you up. Items found in the outlet mall are at least 20-30% cheaper than those in the downtown. As you can see in the pix each shops has their own promotion/ bundle deals.

Happy shopping!

 

 

 

Eat your way to happiness

Seriously, who doesn’t like Thai food. Sweet, sour and spicy hot especially on a rainy day with a bowl of Tom Yum.

Bangkok offers more than the typical Pad Thai and Tom Yum. From the street food on the weekend market to fine dining. Many hidden treasures for the foodies in this land of smiles.

Chatuchak (or JJ) Market

A massive market compromises 15,000 stalls selling old and new clothes, home accessories, pets, antiques and of course food stalls.

Chicken paella in this last pic tasted so… good… The rice is moist and flavorful. Each grain coated with broth and spices cooked in a large wok. And the chicken was nicely done, not too dry – still tender and juicy. Judging by the queue I’m sure this is one of the favourites among the tourists and Thais a like. A plate of this delicious yummy paella costs 160 baht. Very affordable. Good to fill my tummy but still have room for more small bites.

 

Pop-up Night Market

Night markets are like fashion shops in Bangkok! They have pop-ups!

As I was exploring the malls in the Shopping Belt I chanced upon a pop-up night market on the ground floor of MBK.

There were bar counter seats and a common dining area setup. A smaller establishment as compared to a full-fledged night market – Rot Fai night market, but it gives you a snippet of what a typical night market offers. Do keep your eyes peeled when you’re on a shopping hunt.

 

EmQuartier – Cafe D’Ark

D’Ark’s coffee was good. A much needed caffeine fix to kick start my day. I also ordered a club sandwich for lunch. Glad I did. The toasted were neatly stacked with hard boiled eggs, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken, lettuce and drizzled with some in-house sauce. Served with chips and some greens. A hearty meal indeed.

Overall, I was very happy with my meal and their service was prompt. The place was packed but they turn around fast. I’ll definitely be back to try their other items.

What not to be missed in EmQuartier is their lush greenery. The garden is located on the 7th floor in the same building. A nice walk after a good meal.

In the basement of the mall there are many small eateries and food court. You can also find restaurants, supermarket, pharmacy and Japanese bakery.

 

Vietnamese – Winner House Vietnamese Cuisine

For some strange reason I had a craving for Vietnamese food when I was in Bangkok and a friend recommended Winner House Vietnamese Cuisine. This restaurant started off as a small shop in the neighbourhood and it grew into a chain. A believe they have a few outlets across the city.

Out of the 4 dishes ordered my favourite is the crystal meat wrap. There were minced meat, chopped vegetables, mushrooms and shrimp in each crystal wrap. And you eat it with a special sauce which comes with the dish.

Next most interesting dish is the crispy paper thin egg wrap with minced pork, shrimp and bean sprout. I never had this when I was in Vietnam and so I never associate wrap to Vietnamese food, more of an Indian cuisine to me. Very interesting.

Isao – Japanese Fusion Sushi Bar

This sushi bar is fabulous! A must to try. If you do not have a plan for your evening and not in a hurry then I would recommend this restaurant. As you can see the number of people waiting in the first pic do not come to this place if you’re starving. It took me an hour to get a seat at the bar counter and another half an hour for my food to arrive but it was worth the wait. They have very interesting dishes, like, sushi sandwich and Jacky roll.

 

Karmakamet Diner

A very interesting shop/restaurant. The shop comprises of 2 section – perfumery/spa and restaurant. It was rather quiet when I was there, only a few diners in the restaurant and no one in the perfumery area. And I was left alone exploring.

Their essential oils were rather unique. Can’t really describe, a good mixed but definitely not your typical lemongrass, rose or jasmine. Not too floral and the scent lasts even after a dinner and a 2-hour movie.

Lastly the usuals… Pad Thai and Japanese… You can easily find them in any food court or mall.

 

 

 

Singapore Biggest Outlet Mall – IMM

 

Where do the locals shop in the most expensive city? Outlet mall.

Many tourists to Singapore knew about Gardens by the bay, Marina Bay Sands and the Merlion. All within the city central area and the variety of Asian and local food in the hawker centers found in many of the civic district area. Most tourists do not know there are outlet malls in Singapore! A hidden gem.

Located in the western part of the country the outlet mall houses many international brands like Agnes B, Coach, Furla and internal designers. The mall is very accessible by the public train – SMRT. Just drop at Jurong East station (NS1/EW24). If you stay in the city center area it is best to take the East-West (Green) line, the fastest and most convenient way.

Once you went of the station look for the sign which directs you to Westgate which is a mall itself.

Once you in the mall look for the sign which directs you to J-Walk

Keep walking as directed and you’ll the sign which directs you to IMM and that is the outlet mall – IMM.

J-Walk is a sheltered link bridge which you will have walk through a section of the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital to get to IMM. Keep looking for the sign which directs you to IMM and you’ll get there. It’s a 5 – 10 min walk from the train station.

Once you get to IMM you’ll be greeted with all the international and local brands.

Click here for more information on the brands in the outlet mall. Happy shopping!

  • There is a parcel delivery service counter in the mall itself. They do provide international delivery services. Check on their website (https://www.yamatosingapore.com/ta-q-bin-collection/) for more information.
  • Tourist privileges. Remember to bring your passport to collect tourist privilege booklet. More information click here.

 

How to get to Keukenhof

Spring! It’s the time of the year where the flowers bloom and the forest comes alive. And that reminds me of Keukenhof garden. I have been hearing so much of this place. The variety of tulips in a single location!

When you touched down in Schiphol airport head straight to I amsterdam  Visitor Center

In the Visitor Center you can:

  1. buy the entrance ticket to Keukenhof garden and
  2. get a 1 Day Amsterdam & Region Travel ticket which enables you to take the train, bus, tram and metro

If you are like me staying in the city you would need the 1 Day travel ticket because Keukenhof is located in another region and it would require you to take train from city to Schiphol airport and then catch a bus from the airport to the garden.

The bus stop is located at the side of the airport just look out for the bus with lots of tulips on it.

Once reached the garden you will be greeted with brightly coloured tulips! Lots and lots of them!

Remember you bought a 1 Day Amsterdam and Region Travel ticket? Do plan your day before you make your trip to Keukenhof. What I did was… I took the first bus and went to Keukenhof garden in the morning and it took me a couple of hours to finish the garden. After which i used the region pass and travel to Haarlem for lunch and explore the town.

Finding toilets in Europe is such a pain!

For those who have been to Europe you would know that finding a toilet in Europe is a pain! Italy, Spain, Portugal, France and the Netherlands… You have to pay to use one.

So, where can you find toilets? Are are some places where you find free toilets…

 

 

Museums and tourist attractions. Typically, these places have toilets. Before you leave do pay a visit to their restrooms. You never know when you’ll come across one along the way.

Malls. Major shopping centers do have toilets. You’re safe if you do spotted one.

Cafes. Most cafes in Europe do have toilets. So, take a break and enjoy your cup of coffee and croissant before you take a leak. Most cafes would require you to buy something before you use their bathroom.

Starbucks. Thank god for international brands… All Starbucks i came across in Europe do have one. And usually the staff do not ask.

MacDonald’s. From my experience, you don’t have to pay to use with the exception for Amsterdam. That’s the only time that i have to pay to use their toilet. If i remember correctly, it was 70 cents euro.

Do you know you can use google map and search for the nearest Starbucks? Just type Starbucks in the search bar and google map will return all Starbucks’ location which are close to you. A very handy feature.

Paris Paris Paris!!! Day 4

Off to see Paris on bike!

Go on a Blue bike tour to see Paris city. This 4-hour tour will bring you to Notre-Dame, Orsay Museum, Eiffel Tower, Flame of Liberty, Grand Palais, Palais de l’Elysee, Place de la Concorde, Orangerie and Louvre Museum. A word of caution, some parts of the tour we ¬†were on roads. As a not-so confident cyclist it was a little overwhelming for me to keep an eye out for both pedestrians and vehicles, but i sure did enjoy myself.

 

Le Grand Musée du Parfum

Unlike Louvre, Pompidou and Orsay, perfume museum documents the history and explains how the sense of smell evokes memories and emotions. This museum uses multi-sensory exhibits and installations to help visitors understand the different scent, and the process of extracting them to make perfume. A very educational trip indeed!

Paris Paris Paris!!! Day 3

Montmartre

Sacre-Coeur Basilica

Sitting at the top of the hill is Sacre-Coeur Basilica, or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. The highest point in the city where you can get a panoramic view of Paris.

I started my day early. Set off from my hotel at 8am, grab a muesli bar and coffee from a nearby Starbucks and off i go… Montmartre.

Entrance to the Basilica is free. However, if you want to go up to the dome or the crypt you’ll have pay.

Getting to Sacre-Coeur is relatively easy. You can get there by metro. Just alight at Anvers station.

While you’re at the Basilica do¬†explore the neighbourhood. Montmartre is known to be the gathering for the artists, and many drew their inspirations from the area.

 

Flea Market

In the same area you can find a Sunday flea market (Rue des Martyrs).

I would definitely recommend exploring this flea market. It has many interesting findings like, vintage Chanel brooches and trinkets, refurbished retro furniture, old coins, books, toys, porcelains, etc. If you like treasure hunting, this would be the place.

Canal Saint Martin

A young trendy neighbourhood with cool cafes and hipster shops.

A pleasant surprise during my trip, a popup flea market in an existing premises. They even had crepes at entrance! How interesting.

There were a few cafes that were packed when i was there. Hence, i didn’t get the chance to try out the food. However, i did enjoy my time having my sandwich and juice by the canal. It’s not hard to find a supermarket and get sandwiches in Paris. Plus, there are many parks and spots in the city to sit down and have your take-outs.

 

 

Paris Paris Paris!!! Day 2

 

Palace of Versailles

Other than Louvre, Palace of Versailles is the most visited place in Paris. When i mean most visited i kid you not, loads and loads of coaches packed with Chinese visitors will pack these places. If you want to have a good tour in the area be the first few to be at the gate waiting for it to open.  The advantages to be an early bird:

  1. You get to avoid the long queue
  2. Touring the place at a leisure/comfortable pace without having someone to hurry you
  3. Less noisy
  4. Toilets are spanking clean. Not that i’m very particular about cleanliness, the place can get very awful after the many¬†tour groups
  5. The entire estate comprises of the Palace, gardens and Marie-Antoinette’s estate

Give yourself 4-5 hours to complete the entire estate.

You can get the details on how to get there in this page.

Gardens of Versailles

The gardens cover some 800 hectares of land and to maintain it is no easy feat. The construction¬†of this gardens was under the instructions of Louis XIV. It was carefully managed under the King’s directions. Within the park, there are water fountains, grand canal and water garden.

Marie-Antoinette’s Estate

Located at a corner of the estate is Marie-Antoinette’s. A¬†getaway place for Queen Marie-Antoniette from the Palace. What’s interesting in this estate is the Queen’s Hamlet, a¬†mockup village¬†around an artificial lake.

Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle was a royal chapel. It was constructed to house the relics of Christ which includes the famous Crown of Thorns. And it is prime example of a gothic architecture style. What’s stunting in this chapel is the row of tall stained glass windows. Magnificent!

Conciergerie

If you’re visiting Sainte-Chapelle you might want to consider to swing by Conciergerie, located just next to the chapel. It was a royal prison. This building played an important part in the history of France.

If you want to understand the history of France and how the French revolution came about take a tour in Conciergerie it will provide you an overview of the sequence of events which led this country to behead their monarchy and became a republic.

 

Centre Pompidou

This industrial looking building is both a public library and museum which has the largest collection of modern art in Europe.