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.

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.

Sumiya at Orchard Central

A Japanese gem in the heart of town.

There’s a gem in town.

Sumiya at Orchard Central (Facebook) has a “happy hour dinner”. The price of a meal that is typically very luxurious costs 50% less. Moreover, I’ve been there twice, once directly after my trip in Japan. The quality of the food here is comparable to that of food served in restaurants in Japan.

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The menu. Do you see something you like?
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The menu. Do you see something you like?

The price is reasonable for the taste of the food. I think this restaurant cares about the aesthetics of the dish as well, which is important to me when assessing the quality of a Japanese restaurant. For example, the plates they use are very beautiful such as this seashell shaped dish.

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This seashell dish is so cute!

Here’s the food!

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Unagi and tempura double don.

The tempura is well done. Not oily, lightly fried, and I can still taste the fragrance of the prawn. I love that they didn’t douse the rice with tons of sauce as some restaurants do. Wet rice is not nice. I was able to eat the entire dish with only chopsticks, Japanese style!

Needless to say, the unagi is very good. The egg is also a winner in my heart. It isn’t heavy at all. That’s the reason I keep going back – to get that taste of Japan back in my mouth.

On to the next don…

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Seared Japanese Wagyu Shabu Don with Crab Meat and Salmon Roe

The crab which I think is the main draw isn’t very flavorful. I clarified with the staff there that it’s snow crab, which I really love for its taste. Altogether, this was a very nice tasting and well-balanced dish. The wagyu is quite tasty, and I could tell it was not the usual shabu meat. I would say nothing really sets this dish apart, but I could be wrong, as I had finished the entire bowl previously. Good to give it a go nonetheless.


Why do I look for high-quality Japanese restaurants in Singapore?

Usually Japanese restaurants are very expensive, but I find that the taste is lacking or incomparable to the food I had in Japan. That’s totally understandable. That is why I am happy with Sumiya.

A couple of months ago, I returned home from Japan. It was my second major trip away from Singapore with my boyfriend. Also, Japan was one of the countries I wanted to visit for a while. So we went there, and even till now, I am craving all the food from Japan. Tamago, dorayaki, tea, and even konbini foods like the latest spicy mentaiko onigiri.

We ate this tamago at Kyubei Sushi in Ginza. We really recommend this place for sushi! The service we received was top notch and the food was beyond words. Again, my boyfriend is Korean and intercountry relations are iffy. We didn’t experience any racism in Japan and not in any of these restaurants. People were very kind to us.

Tamago, one of the dishes served at Kyubei Sushi, Ginza

I really wanted to have eel in Japan, especially after our insane sushi experience. I was especially blown away by the fact that the chef made the distinction between sea water and fresh water eel. The Japanese really care a lot about food and the quality of their work.

Nearing the end of our trip, on our 5th anniversary, we decided to go to this place in Kyoto to have eel. I had mine paired with hot sake.  It was my treat to my boyfriend 🙂 Service in this restaurant was impeccable. Japanese girls are all so cute.

Boyfriend’s food. One way to eat this is to have it like a normal rice bowl. Another way is to pour the “tea” provided into the bowl, mix, and slurp it up.
I chose the set which was slightly more expensive. It was very good.

The trip to Japan was very memorable, especially because we celebrated our fifth anniversary in Kyoto. This is a pendant from J.estina. I’m a fan of ice skater Kim Yuna and she endorses this jewelry.

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Gift from my boyfriend for our fifth anniversary!

Dal.Komm Coffee Singapore

This cafe is a throwback to Descendants Of The Sun – a mix of cute and whimsical

Recently, my boyfriend’s friend’s family opened a new cafe in town. To my surprise, it’s Dal.Komm Coffee. This cafe is very popular because of its appearance in a Korean drama called Descendants of the Sun. Dal Kom, spelt 달콤 in Korean, means to have a sweet taste.

The storefront.
The storefront with the Descendants Of The Sun poster.
Part of the menu and prices. I found it rather affordable for coffee in a central location.
Part of the menu and prices. I found it rather affordable for coffee in a central location.

Coffee culture is pretty strong in Korea and many people go to cafes to have “sogetting” (소개팅). This word is basically an abbreviation for “introductory meeting” (소개-미팅), which is a meeting for people to meet the opposite sex and date.

Decor

The first thing I thought of when I entered the premises was, “After a while, many students would come here to study!”

But hmm, maybe not. Well, the place is not dimly lit, but definitely cozy and bright enough if you’re just looking to do light reading, chat, and have coffee. Plus, it’s large so it’s not very noisy at all.

Cozy and large!
Cozy and large! This is just part of the premises.
Korean cafe decor - a mix of cute and whimsical.
Korean cafe decor and a throwback to Descendants Of The Sun – a mix of cute and whimsical.

I like Song Hye Gyo, but I didn’t really enjoy Descendants Of The Sun. My boyfriend is Korean but both of us prefer to watch Western dramas like House of Cards and Westworld. We really recommend those shows. I think the only Korean drama we watched bits and pieces together was Wang’s Family, with his parents after dinner back in Korea. They were really fascinated by the drama.

We had an interesting conversation once. He’s very critical of Kdramas, grabbing his head and lamenting the state of the Korean scriptwriting industry. This happened more often during Westworld, because frankly, the creators are geniuses. I asked him not to be too critical of his country’s dramas – they are very popular despite their formulaic plots and scenes, and that’s really respectable to me.

Kdramas can be very interesting especially when they are dealing with family and class relations. When I used to watch Kdramas on Channel U, dubbed in Mandarin (he finds it terrible because the voices don’t match and sound shrill to him), sometimes, I can feel quite emotional watching them. I remember following Likeable or not quite closely!

Nowadays, I think China is catching on with catchy dramas though. When I see videos trending on Youtube, there are always good looking actors, some click bait title with a video that delivers like 总裁女朋友穿着太朴素,店员竟然瞧不起将其赶走,最后后悔了 (Company president’s girlfriend wore clothes that were too plain. The sales assistants looked down on her and chased her away, only to regret it!!!). Their copywriting skills are formidable.

Drinks

First, we ordered drinks. My boyfriend is a big fan of goguma latte (sweet potato latte) and always drinks it when he’s back in Korea, so he and his friend had that. I’m not a big fan of the milky taste and needed some caffeine so I went with mocha instead.

Our three drinks.
Our three drinks. These were regular sized but it was a good amount.

Overall, the goguma latte taste was authentic. If you need a Korean fix or you want to try something new, this cafe can deliver it.

Food

We ordered a croque monsieur. It was slightly pricey, but tasty nonetheless! The sandwich came with a nice dose of creamy cheese on top, which added to its fragrance. My boyfriend and I finished it pretty fast. I am personally a big fan of ham and cheese sandwiches and would recommend this dish.

Our Croque-monsieur (baked ham and cheese sandwich).
Our Croque-monsieur (baked ham and cheese sandwich). It was SGD9.

Overall, what makes me like this cafe is its huge space and cozy ambience. A nice place to chill and hang out!


Address: The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road #01-01/02, #01-03/04, #01-05/06, #01-103 238843, 102 Nanyang Cres, Nanyang Meadows – Block 102, Singapore 637820
Hours: 10AM–10PM