Rosie’s Cafe in Hoi An

Great and cheap brunch in Hoi An. All prices are below 5 dollars.

One sultry day, my boyfriend and I decided to have some cafe fare in Hoi An.

No Grab drivers would accept us on this 800m-long ride so we had to bike.

Rosie’s Cafe has no aircon so Asian mothers would be pleased.

We biked into Hoi An Old Town, and down into one of the winding lanes. We referred to Google Maps only twice: once at the start of the trip, and another mid-way when we were near the Japanese bridge.

Overall Old Town is so small, tourists should be able to find their ways easily.

We turned in at this sign for a haircut.

We went past these buildings and a barber (this picture was taken from Rosie’s Cafe, so looking outwards).

Voila! This is Rosie’s Cafe.

Rosie’s Cafe

It was not difficult to find for us.

The interior is homely and pleasant.

VND95,000 or USD4.18 and SGD5.70. For salmon!

My boyfriend ordered a smoothie and salmon toast.

Damn millenials! VND70,000 for Avo on Toast which is USD3 and SGD4.20.

The pictured smoothie was converted from a smoothie bowl. Very good.

I had the avocado toast. I read good reviews about it online. It was delicious!

I decided to get the Acai smoothie bowl. It comes with fruits and coconut shavings.

VND80,000: USD3.52 or SGD4.80 for a lot of superfoods

Ended off with an affogato. So here’s the damage for all the food we had: VND355,000, which is about USD15.62 and SGD 21.30.  

SGD 21.30 for two smoothies, two brunches, and two coffees. Wow.

Of course we had to go there the second time.

This time, my boyfriend had a chocolate milkshake called Dark Paradise. I converted the avocado smoothie bowl into a smoothie.

VND50,000 for the Dark Paradise milkshake, VND65,000 for Green Goodness smoothie. That’s about USD2.20 to USD 2.80. For Singaporean friends, this is SGD3-4.

Ordered Rosie’s breakfast. It was good, as expected.

VND80,000: USD3.52 or SGD4.80 for all these.

My boyfriend had the french toast.

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VND60,000: USD2.64 or SGD3.60

I lost the receipt but I took a picture of the menu here. Check out those prices! the most expensive item is the salmon toast at VND95,000. Which means no item here is above USD4.18 and SGD5.70. Truly WTF.

If I could, I’d find a hotel nearer Rosie’s Cafe to eat here more often. I never had a tummyache from any of the food. It’s truly affordable and good in Hoi An.

Check out all my Hoi An 2018 posts here.

3 food recommendations in KL for weekend getaways

Recommendations for food and a bonus review of our Airbnb property.

I spent four days in Kuala Lumpur! It was a great trip for me, so here are three food recommendations for those less acquainted with the capital of Malaysia.

1. Jinxuan Dimsum

Restoran Jin Xuan Hong Kong
Damansara Jaya Sdn Bhd
59, 61 & 63, Jalan SS22 / 19 Damansara Jaya, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Mon – Sun 7 a.m – 11 p.m
603 – 7729 6866

Jinxuan Dimsum has many chains. We went to one near Atria Shopping Gallery:

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Image credit: HeyPearl

Note the fried brinjal in brown sauce, and the fried salted egg scallop and prawn dish on the bottom left.

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Image credit: HeyPearl

The amount we ate and more. Check out the hargau!

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Image credit: HeyPearl

If I had to recommend only one dish, it would be the egg tart. My friends and I aren’t really egg tart fans, but we polished off four straight plates – about one egg tart each. The egg tart will melt in your mouth. That said everything we ate was fantastic.

Do give the fried brinjal or eggplant a try, as well as the fried salted egg scallop and prawn dish (in the first picture above).

The menu comes in English as well.

One word of warning is that the restaurant staff mainly speak Cantonese. There’s a queue system to manage the huge crowd. I don’t speak Cantonese and I had no idea what numbers they called. Keep an ear out for your number, which they’ll repeat in English if there’s no response.

The damage for eating till our stomachs hurt? MYR199, which is MYR33 and about SGD12 per person.  

2. Steamboat buffet

We had steamboat at Fat One Steamboat Buffet near Sunway. It’s about MYR40-50 per person for this all-you-can-eat buffet with free-flow drinks.

Fat One Steamboat
22 & 23 Jalan Pjs 8/17, Petaling Jaya 46150
Phone: +60 12-234 8823

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Image credit: HeyPearl

The soup was addictive. We had the hot and spicy ma la one, and a generic hotpot broth with wolfberries. The buffet was plentiful – whatever food you imagine ought to be in a Chinese hotpot, they have it. These would be your usual fish balls, mushroom varieties, fish dumplings, etc.

They even have yong tau foo, fresh fish and seafood packed in ice, and fried foods.

Sadly, I do not have many photos. I was too hungry.

Do stay away from the luncheon meat. Being spam lovers, my friends and I took a few to fry. It was terrible. Do not recommend.

If you’re driving, don’t leave your valuables in your car! There were warning signs in the restaurant.

3. Bak ku teh you can’t miss

We had really good wet and dry bak ku teh here

Restoran Seng Huat Bak Kut Teh
No.9, Jalan Besar, 41000 KLANG
Selangor Daru Ehsan, Malaysia
Phone: 012-309 8303 / 012-385 5154

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Image credit: HeyPearl

The verdict is that you should buy a ticket – plane or bus – to eat this immediately.

I drizzled my rice with the black herbal soup and had some of the savory-sweet meat from the dry bak ku teh with it.

Mix the minced garlic and green chili with the soy sauce provided for an amazing dip for the tender pork ribs.


Bonus: Airbnb

Here’s an Airbnb near all these food attractions. My Malaysian friend also says the location is great. It cost us about MYR20 off-peak to get to the city for a usual Grab.

Image credit: Airbnb
We had many dinners and snacks here. Image credit: Airbnb

This is a spacious Airbnb in Subang Jaya. The space was fantastic for a large group.

There are a total of six rooms – so seven of us fit well. The beds are all not singles, but queen- to king-sized beds.

Yup, each room looks similar. Image credit: Airbnb

And to put the cherry on top, each room comes with its own shower, mirror, and sockets.  No fighting for the toilets! If I’m not wrong, each room also came with its own hairdryer.

The two master bedrooms on the upper floor had a huge bathtub.

There are blackout curtains as pictured and a variety of lighting options in each room like soft bedroom lights and brighter fluorescent lights.

Outside the house, we had a washer and dryer. No detergent was provided but that was settled with a trip to the supermarket for snacks.

The host let us have a late checkout because our flights were later in the evening.

Midway through our stay, the power kept tripping. As far as I know, the host was helpful and responsive throughout.

We discovered the cause of the trip – an errant socket in the living room – and the issue was resolved. Thanks, engineer friends!

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There was a lot of trial and error involved. We’ve also informed the host.

Hopefully, this won’t happen again, but my friends and I agreed that this was a really nice property to stay in.

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Bye! Image credit: HeyPearl

Check out the listing, more photos, and the price for yourself here – it’s really reasonable at about SGD200 a night. The cleaning and service fee may change the price.

Good food, good prices at Lavender Bistro at Johor Bahru, Malaysia

We had good food for less than USD20 or SGD25 per person.

Recently, I went to Johor Bahru (JB) again for pre-Lunar New Year shopping, eating, and grooming.

For non-Singaporeans/Malaysians, many Singaporeans go to JB for day or weekend trips because of the exchange rate.

Before we went, my friends did some research and found a place that’s well-reviewed online called Lavender Bistro. Here’s how my trip went.

Prices (pre-GST and service charge) will be indicated!

Cozy interior design

The bistro is on the second floor of the building. We went up the stairs and were seated immediately. The staff was really attentive.

The cozy decor here.
In JB, it’s hard to find alcohol. But it’s possible to have alcoholic drinks at Lavender Bistro, which is awesome.
Brunch items available.
As a seafood lover, this selection was great!
There are some pan-Asian dishes here.

Food VS Menu

So here’s how the food measured up against the menu.

To check the price of each item against SGD, divide each price by three. For USD, divide the price by four. The actual conversion at the moment is 1 USD = 3.89 MYR.

First up, we had the baked New Zealand mussels.

The service at Lavender Bistro was top notch. We did not need to ask for additional plates!

Baked New Zealand Mussels: MYR26.42

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Baked New Zealand mussels
Mmmm! The inside of the mussel was juicy.

Soul-warming soups!

The soups were great. I don’t usually have soups, but this was really worth it. If you love truffles and mushroom soups, the bisque is for you.

If there were one thing my friends and I raved about, it would be the baguette they served with the soup. It’s soft in the middle, crispy outside, and absolutely fragrant.

Chicken Chowder: MYR12.26

Truffle Mushroom Bisque: MYR15

Truffle mushroom bisque
Chicken chowder

Main courses: Plates of pasta

The pasta was the main attraction. Overall, the pasta tasted well-made. This was especially obvious with the pappardelle. The seafood tasted fresh.

I had the squid ink pasta. If you’re looking for a serious mouthful of black squid ink, you might be disappointed – it’s just black colored pasta in what tastes like vongole broth.

For me, I’m fine with either, but would have definitely liked to eat squid ink!

Squid Ink Seafood Linguine: MYR33.96

Spicy Aglio Olio Water Scampi: MYR46.23

Squid Ink Seafood Linguine (bottom) and Spicy Aglio Olio Water Scampi (top)
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A closer look at the Spicy Aglio Olio Water Scampi. Look at those huge prawns!

 

The seafood spaghetti is seafood marinara (tomato-based pasta).

Seafood Spaghetti: MYR29.25

Seafood Marinara

 

The duck pasta was a great dish. It tasted sophisticated, like something you could get at a French cafe. For SGD11 or USD8, it’s a real steal!

Pappardelle with Duck Stroganoff: MYR33

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Pappardelle with Duck Stroganoff

 

During my meal, I also indulged in two different drinks.

These two drinks cost about SGD10 in total. In Singapore, you wouldn’t even get a wine at that price!

Cafe Mocha: MYR10.38

White wine: MYR17.92

Two different drinks.

Ending it off with sweets

The best thing is that the bakery is just downstairs. You can get some breads or sweets from the floor below and enjoy them at the bistro upstairs.

The bakery has really pretty cakes going for a reasonable price. If you’re looking for a beautiful budget birthday cake that tastes good, this may be a good place to visit.

Cakes, cakes, cakes!
My favorite cakes. Unicorns are all the rage now!

I had a honey egg roll cake. I do not have a sweet tooth but I thought the cake had a really appealing taste for a Singaporean. It’s not too sweet or oily. I would have bought the roll cake home if this bakery were my last stop!

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Yummy baked goods.

Verdict

10/10 would visit this cafe again!

For MYR366.30 (about USD94 or SGD124), we had:

  • 1 shared appetizer
  • 4 soups
  • 5 main courses
  • 6 drinks

This was good quality food for less than USD20 or SGD25 per person.

The damage for 5 people: MYR366.30. This is about USD94 or SGD124.

Address

Address: 68, Jalan Serampang, Taman Pelangi, 80400 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Hours: 10am – 10pm
Phone: +60 7-335 9966

We left JB only at about 10pm, all feeling great.


Feeling like a million bucks after a day trip to JB.

Road to meeting NamChin’s parents

My trip to Korea and meeting the parents in 2012

Can’t believe I had a nightmare about sending clients a copy riddled with errors. Plus I haven’t been feeling well yesterday and today so here’s some light-hearted stuff.

The first time I met NamChin‘s parents was in the summer of 2012. After my school trip ended, we met up in Seoul and left for Daejeon where his family stayed.

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It was summer but I spotted this pretty leaf.

Road to Daejeon

Daejeon is South Korea ‘s fifth-largest metropolis. I think it is like Yishun. It’s not as glitzy but it has everything you might need at arm’s length. And it’s easy to find spaces without a lot of people.

I really enjoyed this trip because it was the first time I got to see my boyfriend’s house and where he lived! Yay!

NamChin and I took the KTX from Seoul to Daejeon. It takes around one hour.

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On a train to Daejeon in the summer of 2012
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Yongsan station in Seoul.

I was very amused when we were in Korea and NamChin knew where we were all the time because everything was foreign to me. That’s him dragging the luggage from behind on the right.

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Before leaving we had some time for lunch. I had this soup noodle thing. It was spicy.
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And of course, a snack to top it off. Waffles and ice-cream!
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Waiting for the train. No zombies.
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A different view.
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Inside the station
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KTX!
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Inside the KTX. TRAIN TO BUSAN ZOMBIES!
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On the train!
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Nice view!

NamChin’s house

Finally, we reached Daejeon. I was really excited to see where he stayed. His family has since moved to another area of Daejeon which is why we feel more comfortable posting these pics.

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Taking the taxi! So quaint
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What I saw on my way to his house.

We reached the residential area after a short ride.

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A residential area in Daejeon (not the block he stayed in). Looks like HDB flat! There’s a security guard post.
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A carpark. You can see where they stringently recycle stuff, which was the part that surprised me since in Singapore we just stuff everything down the chute.

There are even cameras to make sure people recycle their trash correctly.

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The corridor outside his home.

You can see that the houses were densely packed. One morning, I woke up to a loud shrill female voice. It was the neighbor. I wasn’t surprised though because in Singapore, I can hear my neighbors too. But I was still groggy from sleep.

Me: Hmm, I don’t think I have an Indian neighbour…
Voice: [Korean]
Me: Oh, I’m in Korea!

I reflected on it and thought that actually, Korean and Indian might sound a little similar. They have rolled Rs and when spoken really fast, can sound like a rapidly rolling marble of various sounds.


On the first day of meeting the NamChin’s parents, we went to eat fish porridge together.

We had a pretty idyllic stay. My boyfriend’s family stayed on the first floor of an apartment block. The windows were flooded with sunlight every morning and the lace curtains offered some privacy.

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Every morning I woke up to a delicious meal that Omma cooked. And the menu was different everyday.

Even though Omma has a full-time job, the menu changed everyday and we ate so much food.

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The lace curtains! Very pretty.
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The plants on the indoors balcony
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Seeing this picture reminds me of the houses in the Reply series!

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They didn’t have a sofa and a table. We sat on the floor most of the time. This table has foldable legs and they kept it folded up in one of the rooms.
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Wearing the NamChin’s “ggalggari” (the casual name for the innerwear from army), which was super warm and comfortable.

Apparently, Koreans like to joke that the “ggalggari” is the highest tech Korean military gear. I have to agree. Very comfortable.

Visited NamChin’s primary school!

I was really interested to see NamChin’s primary school so we went there. But there wasn’t a fence and people can easily walk in, which freaked me out a little because it’s a primary school! The name of the school is St. Mary Elementary School.

Apparently, when night falls, people can walk into schools to use the facilities such as the fields. I think that’s a good practice.

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The security guards didn’t stop us.
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I thought I would only see this in dramas.
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Lovely flowers.

Oh, and apparently Song Joong Ki came from this primary school. Yes, the one from Descendants of the Sun. Technically he is my boyfriend’s sunbae (lol). And sauce confirmed.

NamChin: Song Joong Ki sunbae, notice me!

The post got long so here are other stuff to do in Daejeon..

Best fish porridge in Daejeon

Wongol shikdang and nature

I had the best fish porridge ever in Daejeon, Korea.

원골 식당 (Wongol shikdang/restaurant)
254-1 Cheonnae-ri, Jewon-myeon, Geumsan, Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea

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The carpark of Wongol shikdang
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Here was the restaurant. They’ve since expanded into two more of these houses.

The first time I drank makgeolli

The first time I had makgeolli was during my first meal with NamChin’s parents. I really wasn’t expecting to drink. Moreover, alcohol at lunch time seems a bit extreme. And I was quite young back then so I wasn’t expecting to be drinking at all.

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Drank from a small cup

“Is this milk?” I asked before taking a swig. It was slightly sweet, addictive, and then the alcohol hit me.

“WTF,” I thought. “It’s only the first meal together and I’m drinking already.” And it was about 4pm when it was still bright.

Thankfully, the alcohol wasn’t too strong so nothing crazy happened.

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The tasty makgeolli!

Soon, the dishes were ready.

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The fish dish!

I wasn’t expecting much because it was a week into Korea and I was getting sick of Korean food. But this was really, really, tasty stuff. The fish was fresh.

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Covered with spicy sauce
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The porridge

The porridge was thick and flavorful, which went well with the fried fish.

After the good meal, we had a walk before heading back. The restaurant is surrounded by nature and it was lovely. Before you see more pics here’s the address again because it is THAT GOOD.

원골 식당 (Wongol shikdang/restaurant)
254-1 Cheonnae-ri, Jewon-myeon, Geumsan, Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea

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Just outside the restaurant.
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Walking around the stream. Kids were playing there too.

It was spring going summer, so the weather was good and cool. I walked a little in the stream as well.

Beautiful!

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Tsk tsk. 
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The waters are really clear. And no, the fish isn’t caught from this stream.

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It was a really lovely day.
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Looking at the fish porridge place from the stream.
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Omma made me this flower ring.

Omma made me this flower ring from flowers by the stream, which she used to do to entertain herself when she was younger.

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Delicate and beautiful.

Korean chicken

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One night, we had takeout. It was also my first time having Korean chicken.

 

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My first time having Korean chicken!

Little did I know Korean chicken would become so popular, thanks to You Who Came From The Stars.

Some sushi in Korea too.

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Besides the food, I had a great time in Daejeon. Walked around a lot but it was a pity I did not take any more pictures.

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Daejeon at night.
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NamChin buying me a red bean bun from a stall. Sadly, I did not take pics.

Now I’m much more used to Korean food, but after this trip, I rushed like crazy to my favorite zichar (煮炒) place to have some Singaporean-Chinese food. Shovelled Hong Kong style steamed pomfret with rice and sambal kangkong.

That felt really good too.

What I saw in Daejeon

Featuring Sung Sim Dang

Here’s a short introduction of what I saw in Daejeon during my trip there in summer 2012.

KAIST

Daejeon is famous for being home to the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), one of Korea’s top universities.

I’ve never been to KAIST to take a look, but I’ve been to Hanbat National University instead. It’s really scenic and quiet there.

Next!

Say department Store

1-16 Munhwa 1(il)-dong, Jung-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

This is my favorite mall. It’s similar to North Point and Golden Village in Yishun. Why I love it:

    • Has budaejjigae (army stew). It’s a delicious pot of instant ramyeon, spam, sausage, egg, baked beans, and kimchi. The first time I had budaejjigae was there.
    • Has a really comfy movie theater
    • Has Smoothie King
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My first time eating budaejjigae!
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Soupy~
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The cinema at Say Department Store
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We watched this movie and the ticket was like this. Korea was more advanced than Singapore. These tickets were purchased at the self-service booth.
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Taking the subway! It was a little smaller than Singapore’s trains.

Sung Sim Dang

Phone, +82 42-220-4153 · Address. 중구 은행동 145번지; Daejeon 301-839.

This deserves a category of its own.

Best bread and pastries in Korea! It’s conveniently located next to Old Downtown, or Eunhangdong. It’s the most awesome shopping street – not commercialized like MyeongDong. You could get nails done for really cheap!

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Outside the store. It has a lovely exterior, but after its renovations, it no longer looks like that.
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Pastries galore!

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This is what we got.
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Yum!
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I think this is apple bread.
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Sausage bread.
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Fried bun, which Sung Sim Dang is famous for.
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Inside the buns.

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Eun Haeng Dong (the street where Sung Sim Dang is located).
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Walking and exploring Eun Haeng Dong.
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Of course, we had to have this long soft serve ice cream.

Whenever I go to Korea the ice cream is a must have.

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Tons of Molang!

This brings back good memories of walking around the street on a lovely day eating street food with my boyfriend. And this was already five years ago! I’ll always cherish those innocent and carefree moments where everything felt new and fresh.

Mid-year May

Massage and good food, let’s go!
가자!

It’s May already! I’m back with a new post.

Spa and massage at Elements Wellness

One weekend evening when the NamChin (who is “NamChin“?) was not around, I decided to treat myself to a massage.

Elements Wellness is located at Centrepoint Orchard, a floor above Dal.Komm Coffee. I usually do their basic massage at a package of SGD60 an hour. Their massage service is really good and private, so I would recommend that.

Koyamaki Onsen Therapy

This treatment was a little special as I added on the Koyamaki Onsen Therapy. It is basically a good soak in the bath before the massage.

Made of Koyamaki wood, the bath is visually beautiful and apparently comes with a host of effects. For instance, the natural oil in the wood has antibacterial and antifungal properties. The wood feels quite oily when you touch it, so I guess it’s real?

Moreover, the water is “ionized” and there are “microbubbles”. That supposedly gives health benefits like detoxification and anti-aging. I have no idea how that would work scientifically.

One thing is for sure – the heat relaxes my muscles, making the massage later more effective. And the tension relief is very real!

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The bath for the Koyamaki Onsen Therapy!
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A further view of the room through the mirror. It’s not visible but there is a hairdryer.
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Loads of fresh towels! Feels good.
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You get a bag to put your clothes, and a yukata-like bathrobe to protect your modesty as you walk to your massage room after the bath.
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There’s soap, shampoo, and even hair conditioner in the shower stall.
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You’re served tea in the onsen room.
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Free flow water whenever you get thirsty from the hot bath.

If you wanna check them out, I’d recommend looking at their promotions page first to see if you want to try any of their services out at a discount.


Dinner with friends

Recently I had dinner with a couple-friend. NamChin and I could really do with more homecooked Korean food and we had a wonderful night.

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NamChin’s friend is an American who has lived in Korea for a long time but moved to Singapore last year. This year, he married his Korean girlfriend. I started appreciating Yankee candles after he lit a cranberry one during Christmas last year.
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Unni arranged this herself! The flowers were from a florist at Vivocity.
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From left: Mattang (Candied Sweet Potatoes), Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew), and a chicken dish. 진짜 잘 먹었어요.

Fresh flowers, scented candles, and homecooked food. What else could I possibly ask for?