Ho Chi Minh City Instagram Diary

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A lot of friends have been asking for travel recommendations for Asia lately which reminded me to go through my Ho Chi Minh City photos.  Being only a one hour direct flight from Hong Kong, it puzzles me why I didn’t visit Vietnam sooner.  A good mix between city life and the feeling of a tropical resort, I enjoyed the convenience of having direct access to local hangouts right outside the hotel door, but at the same time the luxury of relaxing by the pool and catching some sun.

Highlights of my trip .. favourite shopping spot in the city: Ben Thanh Market, best local food experience: Pho Hoa, best tourist experience: cooking class at The Vietnam Cookery Center and favourite chill out spot to revisit: L’uisine.

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In the Kitchen: Fusilli al Telefono

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Last weekend I found myself overly uninspired with my collection of take-out menus and decided to search for a simple recipe for a home-cooked meal.  Usually the main reason I don’t cook too often is due to time, but in reality, there are many simple recipes for one-pot meals that are easy to prepare and completed in under 30 minutes.  When I don’t know what to eat, I always turn to pasta, so this simple Fusilli al Telefono recipe was a great find!  You honestly cannot go wrong with the combination of tomato, basil and cheese.  I already had most ingredients in the refrigerator and pantry so preparation took no time at all.  The longest part was waiting for the pasta to cook (which I used to enjoy a nice glass of red while taking in all the aromas of tomato and basil from the simmering sauce).

Extra bonus – cleanup was a breeze as well!

Paris Instagram Diary

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I can’t think of a better way to kick off my first post of 2015 than to reminisce about my favourite trip of 2014.  Having visited Paris numerous of times thanks to the magic of television and the beauty of cinema, I must say that the city was everything I had imagined it to be.  I love being on foot when visiting new places, and this time, I felt like I could happily wander the streets while getting lost in the history of the architecture, the art on the walls and the story behind each glass of wine. 

Highlights of my trip .. favourite shopping spot in the city: Saint Germain de Pres, best food experience: Le Dauphin, favourite cultural spot: Musee d’Orsay, best souvenir: tea from Mariage Freres and most recommended site for my next trip: Le Versailles.  

Devon on Devonshire

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There’s no better way to spend a lazy Sunday than brunching at your favourite breakfast spot.  During our last visit to Sydney, I took advantage of the city’s trendy brunch culture to try as many restaurants as possible.  One of the places we decided to check out was this little cafe called Devon in Surrey Hills.  A new addition to the neighbourhood of other popular brunch hotspots, Devon certainly lived up to expectations.  The restaurant was small but cozy, with a front section for takeout and limited bar seating and then a dine in section at the back.  Of course the first thing I ordered was my usual skim latte before I dissected the menu which offered an interesting selection of Western and Japanese fusion dishes.  We ended up agreeing that their two daily specials sounded most appealing that morning.  I wouldn’t normally think of ordering seafood for the first meal of the day but the miso grilled salmon paired with a smoked eel croquette and a 63 degree egg satisfied my cravings for breakfast type foods as well as my love for fish.  It was the best of both worlds and I definitely left a very happy customer.

Photos by NN

Bali Instagram Diary

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It has been an emotional but amazing four days as we all flew to Bali to witness one of my dearest friends Jen & her hubby as they begin their new lives together as Mr & Mrs.  After all the wedding excitement was over, NN and I spent the rest of our weekend eating.  This was not our first time in Bali so we already checked off a lot of the typical tourist attractions last time.  Having only one spare day from the wedding, we decided to make the most of it by checking out some local eateries.

Hoping to test out Mamasan (which was unfortunately closed on Sunday), we took a chance and wandered into a neighbouring restaurant The Bistrot for lunch.  Having had our fair share of nasi goreng already, we made an impulsive decision to try their Western menu instead.  Picking two smaller dishes, both my tuna tartar and tempura fried shrimp were wonderfully prepared, with hints of Japanese influences in both dishes.  However the highlight of our meal was definitely NN’s Mediterranean burger, which he rated as one of his best burger experiences ever.  Juicy, well seasoned and diced to a tartar consistency, we did not expect this quality of burger from an Asian fusion restaurant.

Although the next day we were on a tight schedule before our flight, we had to made it back to Mamasan to see what all the hype was about.  The menu was as expected with a variety of Asian dishes.  After some careful consideration, I ended up picking their Thai Khao Gang (which was stylishly served in a tin lunch pail), while NN went straight for the laksa.  Once again we were not disappointed by our choices.  The meat in my Thai Khao Gang was full of flavour and perfectly paired with a fried egg and rice.  Having not had a proper laksa in awhile, NN was very pleased with the creamy coconut broth and the chewy egg noodles.  All in all, this was a wonderful way to end our long weekend before our flight back home.  Looking forward to seeing what Bali has to offer next year!

Highlights of my trip .. favourite shopping spot in the city: Jalan Kayu Aya in Seminyak, best food experience: The Bistrot for lunch, favourite cocktail spot: Kudeta, best souvenir: bracelets and silk scarves from the markets and favourite chill out spot we visit each time: Drifter Surf Shop & Cafe.

Sydney Instagram Diary

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First full week back in Hong Kong and I’m already having severe vacation withdrawal.  For those who follow me on Instagram, you’ve already had a sneak peek of my vacation.  We accomplished quite a bit this trip so looking forward to sharing all our wonderful moments with you over the next few weeks.

Highlights of my trip .. favourite spot in the city: Hyde Park, best food experience: Quay Restaurant for lunch, favourite brunch spot: Devon Cafe, best souvenir: sweets from Happy Lab and most recommended coffee spot for my next trip: Cornersmith.

Summery Treats

For someone who didn’t grow up in Hong Kong, the summers here can be quite unbearable.  With the humidity and the sweltering heat, I usually find myself spending my Sunday afternoons inside with the air con blasting.  But as it’s starting to cool down, I’ve been more inclined to leave my apartment and go for a wander.  On the top of my list this weekend was to visit Lab Made in Tai Hang to try their liquid nitrogen ice cream.  The overall concept seemed quite logical to me.  As liquid nitrogen freezes the ice cream within seconds (normal ice cream takes 30 minutes plus to freeze), the expected outcome is a smoother, creamier texture with a fresher taste.  I didn’t have high expectations but more wanted to visit for the gimmick and the experience.  We settled on the flavours “Purple Rice” and “Strawberry” and although I didn’t find it outstandingly different from normal ice cream, the “Purple Rice” was a refreshing take on the traditional Chinese dessert.  The “Strawberry” on the other hand was a little too sweet for my liking but still we licked the last drops out of both cups.

Photos by NN