Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from NYC!

It's been a while since my last blog post but I thought I would do a live update from NYC!!!  It's not my first visit to the Big Apple but this is the first time I actually have plenty of time to sight-see in this beautiful city.  All my previous trips were kind of rushed...

I brought my mom with me this time so my itinerary is super relax... (We are covering 2 POIs a day on average, which is actually what most tourists do but I am usually a "walk-a-holic" when I am traveling...)  She is also forever reminding me to be frugal... Thus, I didn't splurge (as much) this trip... I am just glad that there is delicious food in NYC for every budget!

The Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center
We had to fight crowds to get to it!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Addiction Aquatic Development (上引水產)

Came here with high expectations since my friends raved about it in their last trip to Taipei.  I think this is the problem with me.  I am always disappointed when I go to a place with high expectations and this is unfortunately no exception...

I want this - grilled to perfection!
But I wouldn't be able to finish the whole thing - so it got to live another day...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Coffee Alley (Zhongxiao) (咖啡弄) (忠孝店)

Since the Causeway Bay shop in Hong Kong is always busy, I made it a point to visit the original shop when I was in Taipei.  Of course, there is no line here!  Yay!

There are many branches of Coffee Alley in Taipei.
Of course, I came to the original shop.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mánzhe Diē #1 (瞞著爹1店)

As mentioned in my previous post, I was very impressed by Mánzhe Diē shop #3 and concluded I have to splurge at shop #1.  Shop #1 specializes in omakase.  Looking back, the price (NTD1880) wasn't too bad based on the quality and quantity of the food offered!  I would definitely do it again!


[Taipei] Mánzhe Diē #3 (瞞著爹3店)

The name of the restaurant itself has a back story.  The son wanted to open up restaurant but because us Asians don't view "chef" as a glamorous job for the most part, he had to "not tell" his dad about it.  His restaurants became very successful now (the owner has opened up 4 shops to date) so I guess there is not a need to "not tell" the dad anymore?  Like I always say, if you have a passion in something, go do it.  If you love what you do, it will not feel like work even a day in your life!


Saturday, November 9, 2013


One of the things I miss much since I moved back to Asia is believe-it-or-not, Mexican food.  It's been so hard to find good tacos here!  I have been hunting for good Mexican food since and then I found Brickhouse!


The Spotted Pig

Fabulous news.  I will be spending Christmas in NYC this year.  (It so happen I am going there for work for a few days.)  *cheers*  I have been to NYC a few times myself but I am still thrilled every time I get to go.  (I usually don't get thrilled by cities...  Tokyo and NYC are probably the only exceptions...  Perhaps London too but I have never been... yet...)

Anyways, as I am planning on what to do and where to eat for this upcoming trip, I dug up the Spotted Pig from my archives.

Picture from the Spotted Pig's Official Website
(as usual, I was too hungry and forget to take pictures of the actual restaurant)
No copyright infringement intended.

Friday, November 8, 2013

School Food

I saw School Food got on the #1 spot on Open Rice today and I know I can delay no more on this post... otherwise, what is the point?


Another rant... Salon Services and Beecrazy

You and I both know how much y'all loved my rants... so here's another one...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Weekend Getaway: Taipei, Taiwan (October 2013)

I was in Taipei for 2 weeks for work last month.  This is only my second time to Taiwan and I finally had the chance to check off a lot of the restaurants on my bucket list.  (I will do separate posts on those I felt are worth mentioning.)  You just need to be more patient with me now since my current job demands a lot more of my time and attention.

my first attempt on "light" photos
This post is going to be a short (?) summary on what I managed to do with the very limited amount of free time I had so it might useful for anyone who is planning a short trip or business travelers who is clueless on what they can do in Taipei over the weekend.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Above & Beyond (天外天)

I have wanted to try Above & Beyond (天外天) in Hotel ICON for some time now and the perfect opportunity presents itself the other night when my friend happened to be in town for his business trip.  It's always good to see old friends and share those memories so fresh in our minds but were so long ago in time.  

Above & Beyond (天外天)

A great place to take your out-of-town friends for dinner.
Great view (request the window seat if you can) and great service!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Meet & Sweet Cafe (蜜蜜見)

Meet & Sweet Cafe (蜜蜜見) is a new cafe / restaurant recently opened in my neighborhood.  My friend and I decided to give it a try the other night for dinner.  It has a very "Taiwanese" vibe to me but it serves no bubble tea or Taiwanese fried chicken (to my surprise!).  Instead, they serve coffee, beer, cider, English breakfast, pasta, risotto, and even fish and chips!  (well, I like the surprise!)  It opens early till late so I find it a nice alternative to the typical Chinese and Japanese restaurants in the neighborhood.

We went on a week night, so the place wasn't very crowded.
It also seems to attract the younger crowd here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Roselle Tea (洛神花茶) and Island East Market (港島東農墟)

I have a thing for farmers market and this past Sunday, my friends took me to the Island East Markets (港島東農墟).  The market is smaller than what I was expecting but it's still good to see fresh, organic produce from the local farms.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Eggplant Salad (涼拌茄子)

It's been a while since I cooked but it doesn't mean I have forgotten how :)  Yesterday I went to the nearby wholesale market and bought some eggplants at a ridiculously cheap price (5 for HKD8!!!) I grabbed a bunch of cilantro and green onions (HKD3) and I know I have my meals covered until at least tomorrow evening!!! (that's 4-5 meals right there!)


Monday, September 30, 2013

Preview: Inner Mongolia

It's been 2.5 months since I am back from my trip and I am still processing my pictures.  I am still stitching the panoramas for the most part... I normally don't spent this much time post-processing my pictures but Inner Mongolia is too beautiful and I want to make my pictures look as close to what I saw when I was there...  (and I have iPhoto problems again...)

Here's a preview of some of the pictures I took from the trip.  All of them on this post are panoramas as it's the best way to show the beauty of Inner Mongolia and its vast landscape!  Hopefully I will be able to get to my blog posts on the trip soon!!!

Beautiful canola fields in Inner Mongolia
who would have guessed!
I know I wasn't expecting this!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Qianmen Street (前門大街)

I wasn't familiar with Qianmen but it was a place my mom wanted to go.  As soon as I arrived at the station, I remembered.  "I've been here", I said.  "Yes, you were", my mom answered.  It has been 20 years since I was last in Beijing and I still remembered... amazing!

Qianmen Station @ 2013

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lama Temple (雍和宮)

To be honest, Lama Temple was not in my original itinerary.  Yet, since it was on the same subway line as the Temple of Heaven, we decide to make a stop.  After all, as a true fan of the Chinese television series "Scarlet Heart" (步步惊心), I cannot skip a chance to visit the resident of Emperor Yongzheng when he was still Prince.  By the way, I can't wait to watch the sequel - "Scarlet Heart 2" (步步惊情)!


Friday, September 13, 2013


家家寶 is a relatively unknown Thai restaurant in my neighborhood.  It's been around for a while but it's my first time visiting.  (My friends suggested this place for a dinner gathering recently...)  Most Thai restaurant offers a similar menu so I wasn't expecting much until I tried their deep fried water spinach (炸通菜)!!!  This restaurant immediately entered my "keeper" list...

醃炸通菜Thai Style Deep Fried Water Spinach

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Australian Dairy Company (澳洲牛奶公司) and Nam Ping (南屏雅敍)

Australian Dairy Company (澳洲牛奶公司) is another restaurant that has been on my radar for quite some time.  It's like Hong Kong's version of Nam Ping (南屏雅敍), which is one of my favorite cafes (茶餐廳) in Macau.  I finally had the opportunity to try their delicious set meal (常餐).  The eggs were so smooth and creamy and the milk is rich!  (In other words, it was delicious!!!)

The regular set comes with a glass of hot milk,
2 scrambled eggs / sunny side up and 2 slices of toast

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cafe Deadend

Sunday brunch is almost a must every time I visit my friends in Hong Kong.  This time, our choice was between Azure and Cafe Deadend.  In the end, we picked "deadend".  hehe~


Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Boqueria is a transplant from NYC and I have wanted to try this place for quite some time now.  Finally, my friend and I went during this year's restaurant week.  


Monday, September 9, 2013

Shing Lung Hong (成隆行 蟹王府)

It's almost that time of the year!!!  Time for mooncakes and hairy crabs!!!  Hairy crabs are native of Yangcheng Lake and considered an autumn delicacy in Shanghai cuisine.  The best time to enjoy this crab is between the ninth (female) and tenth (male) lunar calendar month.  Due to over-fishing and pollution, the yield of this delicate crab has been declining steadily.  Most crabs sold these days are no longer from the Yangcheng Lake.  On the other hand, these crabs were spotted all the way in Germany when they are considered an invasive species there!  (Just send a few Chinese hairy crab tasting tours and we will take care of the problem.)


Friday, September 6, 2013

Temple of Heaven (天壇)

I don't know why I am so fascinated by this place.  Perhaps because it's used to be so restricted that only the Imperial family and his highest ranking officials can walk the grounds of this temple?  As the name suggests, this is the place where the Emperor worships the gods for good harvests in the ancient days.

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Donglaishun (東來順 北京大柵欄店)

Donglaishun (東來順), another century old brand from Beijing, is famous for its lamb hot pot.  Just like other century old brands, the story of their beginning is humble and inspirational.  (Click here for their story, Chinese only.)  However, it is always harder to keep a successful enterprise running and Donglaishun is no exception.  Fortunately for them, they were the better ones among the lot...  Please keep up the good work!

A bronze statue of the founder

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tianjin Goubuli Baozi (天津狗不理包子 王府井總店)

Tianjin Goubuli Baozi (Go Believe) earned its fame from the Empress Dowager Cixi from the Qing Dynasty.  Maybe the buns were exceptional in her era but the buns nowadays have a disappointing reputation.  Everyone who went there returned with a frown on their face.  I wonder what "Dogy" (the creator of the original buns) would say is he ate these buns... 

The famous buns from Tianjing.  The shop opens early and closes late.  The Empress Dowager Cixi endorsed it too.  I think she needs better chefs... 不吃後悔,吃了更後悔。

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fly by Knight Courtyard Hostel (夜奔北京 四合院客棧)

I have always wanted to stay at a traditional courtyard residence - siheyuan (四合院) - when I go to Beijing.  I finally have my wish fulfilled in my recent trip to Beijing!


Hometown Glory

Note:  Consider yourself warned.  This is a rant.  It originated from my 1 hour commute this morning.

If you ask people about Macau 10 years ago and now, you will get very different answers.

10 years ago, people will tell you Macau is a very laid back town.  A town where you will want to retire in.  People maybe loud but they are friendly and have their hearts in the right place.  Now, people will tell you "Oh! The Las Vegas of Asia."  Gambling was, is, and will always be the bread and butter industry but it has blown out of proportion in the past 10 years, after the government increased the gambling license from one to three.

Senado in 1985
Senado now

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hilton Beijing Wangfujing

Location, location, location!  The Hilton Beijing Wangfujing is located in the heart of Beijing and is extremely convenient if you want to stay close to popular tourist destinations such as the Forbidden Palace, Tienanmen, Wangfujing, Jingshan Park and more.

Thank you WM.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

36 Hours in Beijing

If you only have 1.5 days in Beijing, where would you go?  What would you do?  It was a tough choice since Beijing has so much to offer.  I have been to Beijing many years ago (when the sky is still blue) but the memory has faded.  I am so glad I get to visit this cultural city again after so many years~

There is blue sky still in Beijing
but you will have to see it on a plane.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Paddington House of Pancakes (Macau)

Dinner #1 failed to satisfy our hungry stomach so we walked around to discover other dining options...  and we stumbled across Paddington House of Pancakes!  In fact, I passed by this place recently when I went for coffee at Terra Coffee House.  (By the way, this is a very good local coffee house!)


Friday, August 30, 2013

Loja Sopa De Fita Cheung Kei (祥記麵家)

If you love to try traditional Guangdong style noodles, this is the place to go, or used to go.  It reached hallmark status among the tourists when popular food critics have nothing but praises for this place.  At the same time, it's the beginning of yet another nightmare for us locals...

Picture from the Internet.
No copyright infringement intended.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Today I want to share with you one of my favorite restaurants in Philadelphia, PA - Amada.  I don't think I need to repeat myself but I love Spanish tapas!

The cocktail is delicious too.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sen-ryo (千兩)

I first tried this restaurant after relocating back to Asia in January 2012.  See my post here.  It has soon become a favorite when I want quality sushi at affordable prices.  Similar to Henri's Galley, I felt I have been subconsciously leaving out this restaurant from my blog... If it's one of my favorite restaurants, it deserves an individual post on my blog at a minimum, right?


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Saboten (勝博殿)

A friend of mine recommended this place to me a long time ago and I finally had a chance to give it a try.  Saboten has been around since 1966 and focus on serving the best tonkatsu.  It is now one of the largest Tonkatsu chains with over 500 shops in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, China and the Philippines.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekend Getaway: Ocean Park, Hong Kong (June 2013)

It's been a ridiculously long time since I last visited the Ocean Park.  I have been wanting to visit during the Halloween fest. but most of my friends are too timid to be scared!!!  I finally seized the opportunity and tempted my friends to go to Ocean Park with me.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Weekend Getaway: Hong Kong (June 2013)

For my birthday this year, my friends celebrated with me in Hong Kong for the weekend.  We had a lot of fun~  Thank you ladies for spending the weekend with me :)

my birthday cake this year
a surprise from my friends!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Henri's Galley Restaurant (美心亨利)

This is the restaurant I take all my out-of-town visitors to.  There are a few other good Portuguese restaurants in town but Henry is by far my favorite.  I know I mentioned this place before in my other post but it is curious I never did an individual post for this place.  I guess subconsciously I must be trying to save this place from the rest of the world...

Inside Henri's on a weekday

Friday, August 23, 2013

Yung Kee Restaurant (鏞記酒家)

Yung Kee has been around for over half a century and is renowned for its roast goose.  It's listed in my friend's the Lonely Planet guide.  Although I heard the quality is not what it used to be, my friends and I decided to give it a try.

Trying out the popular restaurant in Central.I was hesitant coz people keep telling me it's a tourist trap.  I am glad to report the food wasn't too bad.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Weekend Getaway: Ngong Ping 360, Hong Kong (May 2013)

I finally found a willing travel partner to visit Lantau with me using the Ngong Ping 360.  (Most of my friends are not the outdoor adventure type.)  We had a great time and I highly recommend it to anyone planning a trip to the Lantau island.

For those of you who are worrying about the safety factor of the cable car, the most recent accident (that I am aware of) happened in January 2012.  Click here.  I also found this article pretty useful.  I believe the company takes the safety of the passengers very seriously and that incident didn't hinder me to ride the cable car.  However, if you are the risk adverse type, you should carefully consider all your options.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Laziness is costly.  On a fine Sunday morning, instead of making my own bagel and cream cheese at home, I went to Classified.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Weekend Getaway: Hong Kong (May 2013)

A friend came to visit in May and we spent a weekend in Hong Kong together.  We had a great time and I was able to do some touristy things too :)  Here's a quick run down on our itinerary for Saturday.

We went to Harbor City at Tsim Sha Tsui and saw the duck.  My friend almost didn't believe me when I said there will be a crowd.  (The crowd is always unbelievable when there is an exhibition :/)


Monday, August 19, 2013

Hitachi Hada Crie CM-N820

If you have been a fan of the Clarisonic, I would like to introduce you another product that reached "Holy Grail" status on my skin care routine - the Hitachi Hada Crie!  (There's been a hype over this product and the Nu Skin machines in the market lately.  I decided to go with the Hada Crie since it's more economical and satisfies my skin care needs.)


Pablo vs Rikuro's

If you are a foodie and have been to Osaka before, the names of Rikuro's and Pablo are probably no news to you.  If you haven't heard of them, they are two of the more popular desserts shops in the city!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chasing Sakura - Japan (22) - Akame Shijuhachi Taki (赤目四十八淹)

Finally, this is the last post of this series and this was only a 9-day trip!  I have about 8 hours before I have to leave for the Kansai airport and decided to maximize the value of my Kintetsu pass and went to Akame Shijuhachi Taki (赤目四十八淹, "Akame Waterfalls").  The train tickets cost JPY1,960 if bought separate and the Kintetsu Pass is only JPY3,800!  Not to mention the train ride from Nagoya to Osaka alone was already JPY4,150!  This waterfalls is not as popular as some other other tourist attractions in the area but for some reason I just want to go there.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Shizuka (志津香)

Shizuka (志津香) is just off the main street between the Nara station and Todai-ji.  It's very easy to find.  As mentioned in my previous posts, a lot of Taiwanese bloggers recommended this place so I have to come and try it myself so I know what the rave is all about.

Don't be fooled, it gets crowded as soon as it opens.
(This is taken before 11:00 am, when I was on my way to Kasuga Shrine)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Chasing Sakura - Japan (21) - Nara: Todai-ji Temple (東大寺)

"Todai-ji (東大寺, "Great Eastern Temple") is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara. The temple was constructed in 752 as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan and grew so powerful that the capital was moved from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 in order to lower the temple's influence on government affairs."  --- Japan Guide


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chasing Sakura - Japan (20) - Nara: Kasuga Taisha Shrine (春日大社)

"Kasuga Taisha is Nara's most celebrated shrine. It was established at the same time as the capital and is dedicated to the deity responsible for the protection of the city. Kasuga Taisha was also the tutelary shrine of the Fujiwara, Japan's most powerful family clan during most of the Nara and Heian Periods." --- Japan Guide


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chasing Sakura - Japan (19) - Nara, Kyoto, and Osaka

Busy is such a lame excuse so I am just going to say I have been slacking lately... (honestly I have been quite busy lately... and it looks like it's only gonna get busier from here on...)


Monday, August 5, 2013

Kururu (樞)

One of the reason why I wanted to visit Nagoya is to meet up with my friend I haven't seen in many years!  I was so glad she was able to make it!  In fact, I got to meet her husband and son as well.  We had a wonderful time while tasting one of Nagoya's best - the Nagoya Kōchin (Nagoya Chicken).

Ready to taste the famous Nagoya chicken!!!


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