Singapore 2017

I am the worst. Why has it taken me so long to write about my 2017 Singapore trip? Considering that I fell in love and want to move there (I say that about every new place I visit), but I mean it this time. Really!

Yes, I abhor humid weather and temperatures above 75 degrees. Yes, Singapore is ridiculously hot, all year round. It’s only one degree above the equator, if that helps you gauge the punishing scale of heat.

So why, Asian Fatass? Why?

First and most importantly, FOOD. Singapore is a food lover’s paradise. Hawker centres are everywhere you go.

The ones we visited were:

People’s Park Food Centre

Chinatown Complex Food Centre

Tekka Centre

Chinatown Food Street

Bedok Market Place

Telok Ayer Market

In Singapore, you get a mix of Chinese, Malay and Indian food. There are also others, but those will be the main ones you find in the hawker centres. So cheap! You don’t need to rely on just those, however. There are many regular restaurants, with a wide range of different cultural cuisines! I was told by my cousin that in Seoul, it is cheaper to eat out than to buy groceries. Singapore is the same, which is perfect for me.

SINGAPORE SKYLINE
TEKKA CENTRE

Second, Singapore’s reputation as an immensely clean, very safe place is internationally known. I can attest to the fact that there is no exaggeration with these claims. During my stay, there was an area or two where I actually saw overflowing trash bins. Besides that, the cleanliness of the city is no joke. Nor is the feeling of safety. Walking around, you’ll see workers cleaning every crook and cranny of space on the streets and sidewalks, daily. Something else you’ll notice is the many CCTVs mounted around you. If you don’t like your daily routine being recorded, Singapore may not be the best place for you.

Third, public transport. You can get anywhere on their MRT (Mass Rapid Transit). Efficient, easy to use, and clean! And the fact that you can get a MRT ride directly from the airport to anywhere, and vice versa? Living in a not so big city in in the Midwest, that concept is amazing to me. One of the benefits of living in a tiny country.

Fourth, everyone speaks English! Singapore’s official languages are English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. So it was very easy for Nathan, our friend Ha, and I to get around.

Ah, but this is a food blog. Let the photos commence!

TELOK AYER MARKET

MURTABAK

So after a drunken night at a high end Japanese bar (a bit more of information on that later), we all walked back to our stays and through an Indian section of the neighborhood. At this establishment we tried Murtabak the first time. Suffice to say, it was amazing.

STEAMED BUNS STALL IN PEOPLE’S PARK FOOD CENTRE

Nathan and I stayed in China People Complex. It was a very centrally located Airbnb, actually in the same building as a big mall with the huge People’s Park Food Centre attached!

I recommend the area for a bustling scene, unending food options and cheap prices!

PEOPLE’S PARK FOOD CENTRE

The Laksa (top right) was one of Nathan’s favorite dishes.

BEDOK MARKET PLACE

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Nathan and Ha loved Burning Oak, which is a famous little spot in Bedok Hawker Centre. I liked it, but it definitley wasn’t my favorite. It was a little too western for me.

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BEDOK MARKET PLACE
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NASI LEMAK IN CHINATOWN COMPLEX FOOD CENTRE
NASI LEMAK

This was easily one of my favorite meals, found in the Chinatown Food Centre. Nasi lemak, and everything I chose was vegetarian and incredibly delicious! When I go back to Singapore, I’m going to make a beeline for this place!

STALL IN PEOPLE’S PARK FOOD CENTRE
CHAR KWAY TEOW

Singapore style Char Kway Teow, very different from the ones we tried in Penang. I liked it!

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SUGARCANE JUICE

Sugarcane juice, meh? Overrated?

HONG KONG SOYA SAUCE CHICKEN RICE & NOODLE
FAMOUS SOYA SAUCE CHICKEN

This restaurant is famous for being the cheapest Michilen Star restaurant on the planet!

STALL IN TEKKA HAWKER CENTRE
MURTABAK & GARLIC STUFFED NAAN
NASI LEMAK IN TEKKA CENTRE
NASI LEMAK
SMASHED CUCUMBERS
VIEW FROM OUR AIRBNB

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BUDDHA TOOTH RELIC TEMPLE & MUSEUM

My favorite temple to date. Beautiful exterior, interior, and I enjoyed reading about all the individual Buddhas and who they protect. Nathan and I also got to watch a little ceremony, a man and a monk reciting a chant and playing a gong to his Buddha. (You do have to pay to have that done.) I’m an atheist, but it did make me a little emotional, not gonna lie.

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I was born in the year of the Dog, so my Buddha is Amitabha. They have descriptions posted that explain who your Buddha is and how he influences your life.

SRI THENDAYUTHAPANI TEMPLE

We didn’t get to go inside this one. I think there was an event going on at the time inside.

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INDIAN MARKET
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GARDENS BY THE BAY
GARDENS BY THE BAY

Singapore is incredibly tiny but very modern. I loved being immersed in the Chinese and Indian neighborhoods, and I also fell for the more modern and high end areas. Sitting right at the water with the tiny but beautiful skyline, I felt so peaceful and safe.

What are the cons of Singapore?

Well, speaking for alcoholics everywhere, it is incredibly expensive to imbibe here. They tax the crap out of alcohol, so when you go out with your friends to a nice Japanese bar and try various whiskies, for example, it really adds up.

Did I mention the heat? It’s hot as balls here, people. Fortunately, there is powerful AC everywhere you go. So it’s not all unbearable.

We were only in Singapore for four days, and we all agreed that it wasn’t nearly enough time. Guess we’ll see you again soon, Singapore!

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Montreal & Old Quebec 2016

For our 2016 trip, Nathan and I went to Quebec! It was my first time to Canada. Nathan and I stayed in Montreal for half the vacation, and then Old Quebec for the second half.

I never posted a blog about this trip because I had my wallet stolen in a grocery store parking lot. (To be fair, I’m the idiot who left it in the cart I had been using.) When I got home, I realized what I had done, but by the time I got back it was too late. Luckily for me, I received a letter from the store notifying me that they had my wallet. My phone was gone, but for some reason all my cash and cards were still intact. There was around $300 in there, and my phone was pretty old, so I couldn’t be that mad!

My point being that I had lost all my Canada photos. However, I’ve decided to blog about Quebec anyway, because it was a great trip and I want to be able to look back on something!

MONTREAL

Montreal is Quebec’s largest city. We stayed in a downtown area, at a centrally located Airbnb. There was a lot of construction going on at the time, and I think it had something to do with preparations for some sort of anniversary? Montreal has a mid to big city feel, but more relaxed. The amount of diversity of people is apparent, which I loved.

We were out a couple of late nights, and I noticed that the area we were staying at died down quite a lot. It’s not something I’m used to. I’ve always loved the more frenetic late night big city feel, like Gangnam in Seoul and Ximending in Taipei.

OLD QUEBEC

Old Quebec is very different from Montreal. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a historic neighborhood of Quebec City. It was a bit of a shock when we first drove into the area, going through their fortified city walls. It almost felt like a different country. We had a fantastically located Airbnb right on a busy strip, very close to Terrasse Dufferin and the St. Lawrence River. It was quite nice to sit out there at night and look over the water.

The city is incredibly tourist heavy and expensive to dine and play in. Jammed with eateries, there are plenty of options but be aware that it’s not cheap!

Old Quebec is certainly lovely. I had the most fun just walking around everywhere, exploring, checking out both Upper Town and Lower Town. The history and the sites make this place a must visit.

I loved both Montreal and Old Quebec, for very different reasons!

FOOD

I recently remembered that I had reviewed my favorite restaurant on Yelp after the trip, so these are pretty much the only food photos I have.

Un Thé au Sahara

SAMPLER PLATTER

We enjoyed the sampler platter but the spicy lamb sausage was easily the star of the plate. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was amazing. That, along with the Lamb & Prune Tagine, were my favorite. I don’t eat lamb anymore but damn. So good.

LAMB & PRUNE TAGINE
LAMB & ARTICHOKE TAGINE

Listed below are other restaurants that were too good not to mention.

Montreal:

Le MajesThé – Fusion, Asian

Old Quebec:

Bello Ristorante – Italian

Chez Temporel – Cafe

Seoul Part Two: Food Market, Street Food, And A Bit Of Etc.

Gwangjang Market

Visiting Gwangjang Market located in Jongno-gu was awesome. It is one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in Korea, and it was so much fun to experience. Crafts, souvenirs, clothing, traditional medicine, textiles, and food food food! We went during a public holiday, and I don’t know how it usually is on a regular day but it was packed. When I go to Korea again, this will be the first place I’d like to re-visit.

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GWANGJANG MARKET

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There was jeon (Korean pancakes) everywhere! So many different varieties, with cute old ladies manned at every station. Many of these food stations have seating available so you can plop right down and feast. So cool. And be prepared to leave with the smell of grease on your clothes!

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JEON AND ASSORTED FRIED FOOD
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FRESH SEAFOOD AND A BUNCH OF MEATS
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I ALWAYS FEEL BAD FOR THE CRABS BUT GODDAMN, DOESN’T THIS LOOK AMAZING?
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FRESH SEAFOOD
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WHAT A GORGEOUS SIGHT

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HUGE ASSORTMENT OF DIFFERENT NOODLE, SOUP, AND RICE DISHES. AMAZING!
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DDEOKBOKKI

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Myeongdong 

Myeongdong is an area in Seoul that is very famous for its shopping, which includes Korea’s booming skincare and cosmetics economy. Endless streets and corridors filled with stores with  street food that is very fusion, very creative, and sometimes weird! From roasted chestnuts to cooked corn on a stick, to little egg bread and french fry covered corndogs. There’s a lot of unique things to try!

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CREPE FILLED WITH NUTELLA, BANANA, CRISPY WHEAT CEREAL THEN ROLLED UP

I’m not a big sweets person but this was pretty delicious.

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TWIST POTATO

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As I mentioned earlier, I’m not much of a dessert fan but ice cream is the major exception.

Insadong

Insadong is popular for its representation of traditional Korean culture. Here you can find a plethora of crafts and goods unique to Korea and not easy to find elsewhere. It’s also a hot spot for artists and art lovers!

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SIDEWALK BAR

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You can order booze, right outside on the sidewalk. They make your cocktail, put it in a sealed plastic bag with a straw poking through, and you’re on your merry way. Aaand, why don’t I live here?

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This guy puts on shows with the ice cream, and those are all cones you see stacked around the stall. After a minute of him hiding my scoop and making me look at other things to distract me, I told him I just wanted my ice cream. Please.

And Etc.

I was very curious how Seoul does food from other countries. I wanted to experience some of my favorite foods, pho and sushi, in Korea and see how much it differed, if at all.

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VIETNAMESE APPETIZERS
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PHO ADD ONS

The pho sides were quite different from what I’m used to. They still use chilies and sprouts, but you also see tangy and sweet marinated onions and pickled radish. I definitely missed my holy basil and lime.

PHO
PHO

The broth was very beefy, and not complex and delicious as what I’m used to. The meat was lean, and if I’m remembering correctly, they didn’t add tendon or tripe. However, I only went to one pho place so of course, I’m not speaking for the whole city.

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COLD SOBA, SUSHI AND TEMPURA MORI

I love cold soba but I have only known one place here in GR that served it, and it was temporary. The tako sushi (octopus) really stood out to me. It was incredibly tender and so tasty.

That’s the conclusion of my vacation in Seoul! If you’re obsessed with food, travel, and rich culture, do yourself a huge favor and book yourself a flight to this vibrant, energetic, cuisine filled city. Keep in mind that while the scene is vast, it’s not the most diverse. You may not be able to indulge in wonderful Ethiopian or Middle Eastern food, for instance. (Maybe in Itaewon, the foreigner’s district?) However, there is so much deliciousness entailed with traditional and fusion fares in Korean culture and all of it is a must try! You won’t be disappointed. This trip certainly reignited my passion for it.

You Love Food? You’ll Become Obsessed With Seoul!

I’m back from South Korea! Actually, what I truly mean is, I’m back from South Korea. 😦

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GWANGHWAMUN

Nathan and I stayed in Gangnam, and we spent time in Myeongdong, Insadong, Gwanghwamun, Soondae, and Jamshil.  We were outside of the city as well in Yongin, Gyunggido.

Seoul is a food city. Cuisine steeped deep in tradition, Koreans love their fresh, pickled, and fermented veggies, meat, seafood, noodles, rice, and spice. You can’t go anywhere without a plethora of delicious options  right at your feet. Local little eateries line up and are smushed side by side down tons of vibrant side streets and alleyways. The main streets have more variety of food from foreign cuisines. Street food is everywhere and cheap (although not Penang cheap). Oh, and coffee shops? Do you like coffee? Because in Seoul, there is no escape. They are everywhere, and they will haunt you.

I don’t even know where to start. I’m getting overwhelmed as we speak, trying to figure out how to go at this without incessant excited rambling and bombardment of 200 photos!

Let’s start off with food from the restaurant Donwoori, located in Soondae! It is one of my favorite Korean barbecue places to eat at. (It’s not just because my cousin runs it with the owner, who is also his best friend.) This restaurant is all about pork and delicious food! The service is great here too.

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KOREAN BARBECUE
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FRESH LETTUCE AND SESAME LEAVES
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BANCHAN
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BANCHAN

Korean barbecue is a staple in the culture here. In nearly every restaurant there are grills installed right onto the table top, or stove ranges for simmering food in shallow woks or cooking meat on metal domes. You order various choices and cuts of meat, usually pork or beef. Served with a bunch of banchan, which are various side dishes, you grill your meat, pile it up in fresh healthy greens, and choose how to top it off before you wrap it all up and shove it in your mouth. That’s sangchu ssam. Of course you also have your savory stews, water spinach, palette cleansing and heat calming soups, egg omelet cooked in pots, fish cake, tofu, salads, kimchi kimchi and more kimchi. And that’s maybe just half of them!

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SANGCHU SSAM

I like to assemble mine with fresh lettuce, steamed rice, fatty meat, fresh hot peppers, raw garlic, and gochujang (red chili sauce that Koreans put in everything).

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FISH CAKE & POTATOES

Fish cake up top and sweet potato at the bottom. Have you ever had Asian varieties of sweet potato before? Oh man, you’re missing out if you haven’t. I grew up with my mother just steaming them whole, peeling them like a banana and eating them plain.

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DOENJANG JJIGAE – SOYBEAN PASTE STEW

Another one of my favorites! I love jjigae and this may come as a shock to you, but I just have to eat this with rice.

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GAERAN JJIM – STEAMED EGG CASSEROLE

I was very surprised at how good this was. I was expecting it to be like Japan’s Chawanmushi, but I liked this much more. Light, fluffy, and more flavorful than I expected.

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BOKKEUMBAP – SPICY FRIED RICE

My cousin made this dish, and I just want to note that it was a big hit!

Now onto other places and foods.

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GAMJATANG – POTATO PORK BONE SOUP

This is one of my favorite Korean dishes, if not my favorite. Eat it with rice, and it’s one of the best things in the world.

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MOOL NAENGMYUN – WATER COLD NOODLE SOUP

I love mool naengmyun. I could eat it all year round, even though this is a dish that is popular in the summer time. I don’t care, I want it right now. I like adding hot mustard and more vinegar to mine, but it’s delicious as it comes as well!

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MANDOO – DUMPLINGS
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MOOL NAENGMYUN 
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SOON DAE – STUFFED INTESTINES BLOOD SAUSAGE
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MAKGEOLI

What are we looking at here? The creamy looking white substance in those bowls is Makgeoli! Soju isn’t the only alcoholic beverage from Korea. Made from rice or wheat, this lightly sweet and slightly carbonated beverage was my favorite to imbibe with. It is usually drank from bowls.

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MODEUM JEON- VARIETY OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF KOREAN PANCAKE

There are so many different types of jeon, which are Korean pancakes. These dishes were so fun and delicious! I grew up loving these, and I believe jeon might quite possibly be Nathan’s favorite food from our trip. For Koreans, jeon and makgeoli go hand in hand!

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KIMBAP WITH SPICY MUSTARD
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GOLBAENGI MUCHIM – SPICY SEA SNAIL SALAD

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JEYUK BOKKEUM – SPICY PORK
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JEON
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PYONGYANGSHIK MANDUCHUNGOL – PYONGYANG STYLE DUMPLING STEW
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PYONGYANG BULGOGI

Yes, Pyongyang. We went to a restaurant that served North Korean dishes, and I was really happy to be able to experience that.

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JOKBAL – PORK FEET
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BANCHAN
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BOSSAM – STEAMED PORK BELLY
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SANGCHU SSAM
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MYEONGDONG KALGUKSU
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MANDU
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BAEKSEJU

Baekseju, not to be confused with soju, will help you live to a hundred years!

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SIDE STREETS AND ALLEYWAYS WERE THE BEST PART OF THE CITY

Holy cow that was a stupidly long post, wasn’t it? And I’m not even finished yet! My part two will entail Korean street food, a famous food market, and foreign cuisine. Until then.

Ireland Part Two.

DINGLE

Nathan and I booked another great spot to stay on Airbnb for Dingle.  We were so lucky to experience not only the town, but the greater surrounding area. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Dingle Peninsula is insanely stunning. My photos and videos truly don’t do justice. Not only that, but being the small town it is, Dingle is turning into a little foodie spot!

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Ashe's Bar App
ASHE’S BAR & RESTAURANT- Ballydavid Crab Trio.
Ashe's Bar Side
ASHE’S BAR & RESTAURANT- Accompaniment of main dish.
Ashe's Bar Special
ASHE’S BAR & RESTAURANT- Asian Hake Special. I’m a little ashamed to say that I was quite surprised when I first tried this. Not only was it delicious but also authentic and harmonious to Asian flavors.
Global Village Oysters
THE GLOBAL VILLAGE RESTAURANT- Michelin reccommended establishment. The oysters were fantastic as was the sauce. However, I still love my oysters completely naked, or with a quick squeeze of lemon.
Global Village Entree
THE GLOBAL VILLAGE RESTAURANT- West Kerry Lamb Plate.
Global Village Dessert
THE GLOBAL VILLAGE RESTAURANT- Three scoops of in-house made ice cream. I can’t remember the flavors but I was quite impressed. Very good.
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CONOR PASS- Ireland’s highest mountain pass. Breath taking.

DUBLIN

The capital of Ireland and its largest city, I loved the laid back feeling of this big modern place.

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Copper Alley Special
COPPER ALLEY- Roast Beef Special. Lots of potatoes, but in my world, there is never too much! I loved this dish.
Toto App
TOTO RISTORANTE ITALIANO- Sauteed mushroom appetizer. Yummy.
Toto Entree
TOTO RISTORANTE ITALIANO- Fettucinie al Frutti di Mare. Nathan wasn’t wild about his entree but I really liked mine.
Toto Dessert
TOTO RISTORANTE ITALIANO- Dessert was okay. By the way, the restaurant isn’t as smoky as it looks. I didn’t realize at the time how dirty my phone camera lens was.
Lee Kee's Pancakes
LEEKEE CHINESE RESTAURANT- Scallion Pork Pancake. On our last night in Ireland, and holy cow was I missing Asian food! Leekee’s was great, although not as cheap as most other Chinese places I’ve been.
Lee Kee's
LEEKEE CHINESE RESTAURANT- Garlic Jelly Fish. It was a little sweeter here than what I’m used to but it was still good. This dish is one of my favorites of all time.
Lee Kee's Delicious
LEEKEE CHINESE RESTAURANT- Steam Fillet Fish and Tofu (with steamed rice). My favorite meal of the entire trip. Omg it was freakin delicious. Seriously.
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DUBLINA- We learned a lot about Vikings and medieval Dublin!

If you don’t mind dining in early, most places serve an Early Bird Menu that usually lasts until 5pm. You can save some money that way, as those menus are lower priced. As mentioned earlier, Ireland isn’t cheap!

I rarely hear Nathan say that he loves something, so imagine my surprise when he recently stated that he loved Ireland. We take our trips in October because that’s when plane tickets seem to be at the lowest prices. However, I would really love to visit again in the summer. I will always prefer cool weather over hot, which is part of the reason why we both enjoyed Ireland so much, but I bet it’s even more beautiful here in summer.

I also learned a lot of history on this trip, such as the history or Dublin, the Vikings, and the Great Blasket. I love learning like I love food. And I love Ireland. The end.

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Oh hey, I’m back from Ireland! Part One.

What can I say about my eight day vacation in Ireland? A lot, actually. In fact, if I was still there that would be fantastic. Ideal, even. More specifically, in or near the Dingle Peninsula. It’s insanely stunning, a must visit for all travelers and vagabonds alike. But! This blog is about food, so photos of nearly everything I ate in Ireland shall commence.

During our trip Nathan and I stayed in Kinvara, Dingle, and Dublin. We also took short trips to Athlone and Galway. Irish food isn’t known to be the most exciting, flavorful or complex cuisine in the world, but you know what? Ireland isn’t the bland food factory that I had expected.

ATHLONE

On our way to Kinvara from Dublin, we had to stop at Athlone where Sean’s Bar is located. This town was quite charming and quaint!

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Sean's Bar
The oldest pub in Ireland, and allegedly all of Europe. 900 A.D.
Sean's Melody's Lamb Stew
MELODY’S- Sean’s doesn’t serve food but they team up with Melody’s next store! Lamb Stew that was surprisingly flavorful and tasty!
Sean's Guinness
I’m not a beer drinker but contrary to popular belief, Guinness in Ireland tastes like Guinness in America. Or so Nathan says.

Sean Award

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KINVARA

A small little fishing village right by the water. We booked a great little thatch roof cottage on Airbnb, which was located just a five minute scenic walk from town.

The short stroll from our thatch roof cottage stay into town.
The view from our short stroll into town.
Gentian's Chowder
THE GENTIAN- Seafood chowder. Their homemade bread was delicious.
Gentian's
THE GENTIAN- Fried chicken dish. I unfortunately forget the name.
Keoghs Oysters
KEOGH’s- Oysters
Keogh's Lamb
KEOGH’s- Lamb Special
Keoghs Dessert
KEOGH’s- Dessert was awesome.
Tide Full Inn Pizza
TIDE FULL INN- An Italian eatery. The food and cozy little ambiance were nice but our server was kind of a douche.
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Dunguaire Castle

GALWAY

We spent a short visit here so we didn’t get to explore the whole town. But the parts we experienced were bustling, vibrant and touristy.

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Mr.Waffle Latte (1)
MR. WAFFLE- Latte
Mr. Waffle
MR. WAFFLE- The Vegetarian Cheese. Great service, sandwich was okay.

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Did you know that Ireland, and all of Europe, isn’t cheap? Penang it is not, and dining out and drinking in the Emerald Isle costs the same and more! than say, here in Grand Rapids. And travel? The cost of gas alone was around 8 bucks a gallon! We had to get a rental car because we drove three hours one way, twenty minutes another, another three a different way, and four hours another. Insurance was high as well, but considering the country’s penchants for narrow and winding roads and plenty of on street parking, Nathan felt it was needed.

Am I trying to deter you from visiting this fantastic country? Absolutely not. Just be sure to be prepared if you have a certain budget!

Part Two: Hong Kong and Dim Sum At The Airport.

Last year I asked the WordPress World on recommendations on great eats in Mongkok, Hong Kong. I received a lot of helpful responses, mostly involving dim sum. I was pretty excited to feast on authentic Chinese fare during our one night layover. Nathan and I wanted to go somewhere to eat within walking distance from our stay, and being smack dab in the center of the Ladies Market I didn’t think it would be an issue. Unfortunately, the popularity of the city and area had it’s backfires, such as every single restaurant being packed to the point of no available seating.

So where did we finally get some dim sum? At the Hong Kong International Airport, right before our flight back to the States. And how was it? Good! Nathan and I enjoyed the food and the tea was delicious and trippy. The esthetics was pretty as well with a fancier setting.

Jade Garden In Hong Kong International Airport.
Maxim’s Jade Garden In Hong Kong International Airport.

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Ginseng Oolong Tea

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The location wasn’t ideal, and the food was good, although not the best. But airport dim sum is better than no dim sum, right?

Part One: One Night Layover In Hong Kong.

Monk Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

For our layover in Hong Kong, I booked a room through Airbnb for quite a reasonable price and a friendly host. Located in Mongkok, we were situated literally right in the middle of the famous Ladies’ Market. At the time of booking, I read about that detail but didn’t look into it. Indeed, out the front door and we were smack dab in the middle of a shopping stall, one of the hundreds that line one kilometer of streets.

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Mongkok is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The weather was cooler and gorgeous, comparably to Georgetown in Penang. The atmophere was so frenetic! People packed everywhere, long ass bus lines on every street, and a mix of new modern buildings attached to old decrepit ones. At night, there is no way you could escape lights, colors, and a humorous number of signs. Not that I would ever want to. I loved the energy.

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Lookit All Those Signs!
Lookit All Those Signs!
Street Food, Not Nearly As Many Stalls Or Karts Found Here As Penang.
Street Food, Not Nearly As Many Stalls Or Karts Found Here As Penang.

So with all of that, you would think I would have a ton of food to blog about for this entry, right? Nope. I was on a quest to find some great dim sum, and the boyfriend and I wanted to find a place to eat that was within walking distance to our stay. That part in itself wasn’t difficult; what was a little frustrating is that every place we walked into was packed, and there were plenty of attempts. No free seats in sight. The few street stalls we came across encompassed mostly sweets and fried things, and didn’t really intrigue me much. We finally came across a three story noodle restaurant, and we were sat at a table community style.

My Noodle Dish.
My Noodle Dish.

The bowl looks much better than it tasted. Not that it was bad, it just wasn’t that good. The whole menu was a variety of different selections for you to create your own noodle dish. I was really excited about that, and also the different levels of spice they offered. However, I found the flavor to be bland, and the spiciness was much more black peppery than the kind derived from chilies.

The boyfriend and I each had a bowl of noodles and two drinks and the total was 90HKD, which equals to 11.61USD.

After dinner, we came across a food vendor and even though I was full, I couldn’t resist.

Intestine.
Intestine.

How was it? Smelly. Really smelly. Fortunately, it didn’t taste as bad as its odor may lead one to believe. Rubbery, thick, and to be honest I don’t remember much of a flavor. Quite mild. It cost me 2HKD, which is about 26 cents here.

I finally did get to have the dim sum I so yearned for during the stay in Hong Kong, but unfortunately it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for. More on that in the next chapter!

How I Loved the Pearl of the Orient, Penang Island. Part Three.

The third and final chapter of my Penang food trilogy.

Char Kway Teow.

The very famous Char Kway Teow! Perhaps the most popular and known dish on and off the island. There is a precise way in making this, which involves incredibly high heat and a wok. I’m told it’s not that easy to make good Char Kway Teow because of those special factors.

Pork Skewers.
Pork Skewers.
Curry Mee.
Curry Mee.
Close up.
Close up.

The Curry Mee had a coconut broth base that was too much for me. However, the noodles themselves were fantastic. There was some spice to the dish as well but it wasn’t enough to mask the sweetness. I loved that there were clams in it.

I got ten skewers for 10 ringgit, which is 3.04 USD. The Curry Mee was 4 ringgit, 1.22 USD.

Mee Goreng.
Mee Goreng.

A popular noodle dish, this one sounded better to me than it tasted. Again, there was a nice spice to it, and I wished that there were more sprouts and potatoes. It was good, but not great, and it got a little sickening after a while. It was also take away, so maybe if I ate it right as it was made it would have been better?

3 ringgit = .91 USD.

Lamma Island Aroma Rice.
Lamma Island Aroma Rice.

At a sit down restaurant, this bowl was the boyfriend’s but I tried some and it was so very tasty. Made with steamed rice, brown sauce, a drumstick, caramelized sausage, something green, giant mushroom, and an easy egg. It was simple but so delicious.

Smashed potatoes folded in crepe.
Smashed potatoes folded in crepe.

Penang.

One of the days we were wandering around we were so lucky to stumble upon Diwali! We had no idea it was going on, and we couldn’t believe how utterly fantastic it was that we happened to wander that way. Diwali is a Hindu holiday celebrated every Autumn. It was quite a festival. Unfortunately again, I didn’t get any photos, just several shaky videos. The streets were lined one after the other with vendors and goods and there were lights and bright colors everywhere. Loud and energetic Indian music blared from all corners and there were so many people. It was a beautiful sight during the day and even more so into the night! The atmosphere was positive, energetic and fun.

The boyfriend and I had dinner at an Indian restaurant. I love going out to eat Indian food here in Grand Rapids but there were plenty of items on the menu that I have never seen before, like the smashed potatoes in crepe. Pretty freakin’ delicious. You would think that the boyfriend and I would have been used to the crazy low prices of food in Penang, but we were still shocked to find that the five large plates we ordered came to be 24 ringgit total. That is 7.31 USD. Here in the States, for one plate of food at an Indian restaurant starts between $12 to $14 dollars. In Georgetown, five whole dishes cost 7 bucks!

8 Boutique By The Sea.
8 Boutique By The Sea.
Our view from 8 Boutique By the Sea.
Our view from 8 Boutique By the Sea.
Tanjung Tokong.
Tanjung Tokong.

Not sure why I’m going backwards with this, but 8 Boutique By the Sea was where we stayed our first night on Penang Island. Located right by the water, in the city of Tanjung Tokong, it’s a very nice, little, and quiet motel set in the middle of a Chinese fishing village! I loved it. I don’t want to start describing the area in detail because these entries are already too long. Let’s just say that it was quite different from anything here and I’m so glad we got to experience it. The desk lady spoke some English and was quite nice and helpful, as was the young staff member who cleaned. They put us in their nicest room, which was new and clean had a great view of the village and water.

Meat and potato Nasi Lemak.
Meat and potato Nasi Lemak.
Mini fish burger and sweet rice cake.
Mini fish burger and sweet rice cake.

It was here that we had our first experience with food in Penang, and I was ecstatic. The nasi lemak we bought from one of the stalls pictured above was the best I had the entire trip, and the mini little spiced fish burger was delicious.

This is the conclusion of my trip to Georgetown, Penang Island. From the food aspect, of course. To be honest, the incredibly hot and tropical weather conditions Malaysia possesses was the only factor that I disliked on the entire trip. Other than that, I can say that I genuinely fell in love with the place. From the U.S., the cost of flight is quite high but when you’re there, lodging and food prices are so incredibly low that I feel everything rounds out pretty reasonably.

Georgetown is a popular tourist spot but it’s not overwhelming. There are definite areas around town that are foreigner heavy (mostly Aussies), but the culture and spirit of the country still shine through, even there. That sounds pretty stupid but you know what I mean. Right?

How I Love the Pearl of the Orient, Penang Island Part Two.

Holidays, people, and work! Busy busy. Finally, on with the second half of my food adventure in Penang, Malaysia. Uploading these pictures is making me miss Georgetown all over again…

Karts and stalls and markets everywhere!
Karts and stalls and markets everywhere!

Penang.

Did I mention in my previous post why I love Georgetown so much? Yes, the cuisine of course, but what also made me fall madly in love was that you could take fifteen steps in any direction and voila!- you come across lines of hawker stalls, karts, or street markets! The food is fresh, having been picked quite early in the day and there are so many different options of food, drinks, and shopping.

Gurney Drive.
Gurney Drive.
A beach at Gurney Drive.
A beach at Gurney Drive.
Gurney Drive Hawker Centre.
Gurney Drive Hawker Centre.
Chee Cheong Fun.
Chee Cheong Fun.

Gurney Drive is what I would call one of the ritzy areas of Georgetown. You can tell there is money there. The boyfriend and I wanted to check out the famous Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that it may be the largest one on the island. Located right by the beach and the new, very large and beautiful shopping mall in Komtar Tower, there are quite a lot of people milling about. It’s a huge space of food stalls lines up side by side, with plenty of tables and seats in the center of it all. The photo above doesn’t do justice, as we went early on in the evening and the picture doesn’t depict how large the center actually is. But let me tell you, this place was just awesome. 

(The boyfriend and I didn’t have any issues but when eating there, but be sure to sit at nearby the stall you are ordering from. Sometimes the hawkers can be territorial about the tables.)

Line Clear.
Line Clear.
Nasi Kandar.
Nasi Kandar.

Speaking of fame in Georgetown, Chulia Heritage Hotel is right next to the incredibly popular eating spot called Line Clear. Featuring Nasi Kandar, it is a type of Indian Muslim cuisine that originated in Malaysia. You pick a plate and inform the server or chef what you want piled on it. There is a large variety of rices, meats, vegetables, side dishes, and a whole slew of curries. The cashiers were friendly and funny, calling the boyfriend and I “East Meets West” or something like that. (I’m Chinese-Korean, he’s white….is what that comment was pertaining to.)

It cost 26 ringgit for both our plates, which is about 7.92 USD.

Watching the process of making one of my favorite things was pretty great.
Watching the process of making one of my favorite things was pretty great.
I don't know what this is called but it was one of my favorite things about Penang!
I don’t know what this is called but it was one of my favorite things about Penang!

We came across this on our last day, and I just loved watching the hawker prepare and cook it. It is by far one of my favorite dishes from Penang, maybe even my favorite? And I don’t know what the name is! Stir fried non-sweet rice cake chopped up with several different sauces, green onion, sprouts, and egg. He asked if I wanted it spicy. Of course I did. It was so delicious. I needs it.

2.70 ringgit for the whole thing so .82 USD.

If anyone has a clue what this dish is called, I would be so elated to know. If anyone can come to my city and cook it for me, that would be even better.