J65 @ Hotel Jen Tanglin

Just last week, I gushed over my weekend at Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore (HJTS), and promised to share more about J65 – HJTS’ very own F&B outlet. So here’s a long pictorial essay. As a precaution, do not proceed on an empty stomach as it will be sure to growl at these food-porn up ahead.

I had the pleasure of trying the hotel’s dinner and breakfast buffet during my stay. With a name inspired by the Singapore international dialing code (+65), HJTS’ new all-day dining restaurant J65 is open to diners for breakfast, lunch and dinner. HJTS is one of the only hotels in Singapore to offer net pricing at it’s F&B outlet, meaning that diners get no unpleasant surprises at the end of their meal. HJTS’ other dining outlet – Jen’s Kitchen On-the-go – offers locally roasted coffee and snacks 24-hours a day.

First, let’s talk about Hooked! – Seafood Dinner, which is available on Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm to 10pm. The vibrant restaurant with a modern market look and feel offers an eclectic fusion of authentic Southeast Asian cuisine alongside the buffet’s signature selection of fresh Fin de Claire oysters, sushi and sashimi, tiger prawns, Boston lobster and Sri Lankan crab. Hot dishes include soup-baked cumin red mullet and lobster bisque, poached sweet clams, grilled sea bass and other seafood treats.

J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin 2

The layout of the buffet starts with the salad bar and cold dishes in the middle, and grilled meats and hot dishes at the side, but I couldn’t make up my mind, and so decided to attack the grilled meats for starters. The hand-carved meat cuts offered all kinds of red and white meats, including Iberico ham and roast with fancy trimmings. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Pork knuckles, anybody?

J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin grilled meat

J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin grilled meat

A trayful of cheesebaked mussels for my birthday pleaseJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin baked mussels

Fancy meat, bread pudding, cheesebaked mussel: a plate full of (sin and) happinessJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin on my plate

This corner of the buffet is built to resemble the classic Singaporean hawker centre: note the hanging roast ducks and chicken, layout of a gazillion chillis and sauces, plus satays and authentic peanut sauce. 6 types of regional laksa (Singapore, Penang, Johor, Thai, Sarawak, and curry) are cooked on the spot by the skillful chef. J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin 3Here’s all 6 of the laksa selection!Hotel Jen Tanglin J65 Laksa SelectionJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Laksa

It was sooo hard to make a choice! Finally went with Penang Laksa.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Penang Laksa

Singapore chicken rice with all its accompanying sauces and condiments; once you’ve eaten at J65, you’d have tried a big portion of Singapore’s renowned delicacies
J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin chicken rice
Hotel Jen Tanglin J65 Chicken Rice Booth
And my favourite: SATAY! A pity they only offered chicken. Would have loved me some lamb or beef.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin satay

This is one helluva fascinating buffet area: the YUSHENG BAR. As it was nearing the end of the Chinese New Year, you could make your own yusheng at J65, and toss in fresh salmon from the Japanese sushi bar right beside it. Staying true to the Southeast Asian/Singapore tradition indeed.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin 1

There ain’t no lack of fibre at this buffet with this well-stocked salad bar. Tantalizing bowls of pre-tossed Thai-style mango salad, a mixed deli couscous, delectable choices of cut beetroot, shaved carrots and tomatoes are all the fibre you’d need in a meal or two.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin saladJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin salad barJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin salad

Finally onto the seafood bar. The mussels are especially fresh. Some of the oysters tasted a little strange, but it could have been just my taste buds. The crab was amazing though.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin seafoodJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin seafoodJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin seafood

I must say, the sushi platter and fresh salmon / sashimi are the fastest to go, once restocked. I loved the fresh salmon! The selection was not bad at all (though I couldn’t waste anymore tummy space on rice)J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin sushi

Here’s a peek at what filled our plates at dinner:J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin salmonJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Meat FestJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin PlatesJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin MusselsJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin plate

What’s dinner without desserts? It’s like I have a separate mood centre in my brain that lights up at the sight of desserts (and coffee, too). So much happiness on this table right here.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin dessert bar
Look at this spread!J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin coconut tart desserts

J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin DinnerJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin cakeJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin cupcakeJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin chocolate cakeJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin mango mousseJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Cakes and DessertsImpressed by this selection of ice cream, really! The matcha was to die for (actually had the matcha at breakfast, scroll down for my matcha with sprinkles)J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin ice cream bar

This pistachio cake with chocolate fudge, and chocolate cupcake were out of this world.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin DessertsThe pistachio bits were really darn goodJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin pistachio cake

Feel free to order one of these:Hotel jen Tanglin J65 Desserts Foodporn yummy

These go into your ice cream, or wherever you’d like them, even on your sashimi if you pleaseJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Ice CreamJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Ice CreamMore desserts: osmanthus jellyJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin jelly

If you need to load up on carbs, again, no lack of them. Shelves and shelves full of them, to your fancy.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin BreadJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin JuicesJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin 6

J65 Hotel Jen TanglinSeafood galore:J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Bar

At dinner, we made our own Kueh Pie Tee!J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin DIY kueh pie tieJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Kueh Pie Tie

So we added everything that was available at the DIY area. Was so tempted to throw in random junk like ice cream and sprinkles in my Kueh Pie Tee shell, but that would be untrue to local traditions, and I suppose is a nono at J65, which has such strong roots in local flavours and cuisine. The buffet isn’t all, there’s an ala carte menu if you’re looking for something more.

I learnt that on other buffet nights, pizzas and other Western dishes would also be available.
Hotel Jen Tanglin J65 Pizza BuffetTravellers hunting for authentic Southeast Asian food should definitely make it a point to try J65’s Hooked – Seafood Dinner, because this is where you get the best of both worlds – Western, Singaporean, Asian – you name it, they probably serve it.

Now onto breakfast! After an awesome night’s sleep, we woke up refreshed, and ready for HJTS’ breakfast selection.

At J65’s Sunday morning breakfast, we were greeted by this table full of cold cuts to pair with the great salad bar. And as all good breakfasts should, there were hash browns, sausages, baked tomatoes and bacon. In addition, we also got to choose from a variety of Hong Kong style dimsum (chicken paus, rice rolls), and Malay style beehoon and curry. Good ol’ Peranakan style Kuehs were also available!

J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin BreakfastJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin breakfast meatsJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Salad BarJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Bacon Grease

J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin BreakfastJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin buffet paoCereal table, and shelves full of bread behind. Carbs heaven!J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin cereal barJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin eggsJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin buffet kuehJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin tabao bagWhat went onto our plates:J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin breakfast plateJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin breakfast choiceYes there is KIMCHIJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin breakfastAnd aforementioned to-die-for matcha ice cream!J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin breakfast dessertsI went for 2 cups of ice-cold desserts: the vanilla and matcha, both decked in my favourite crunchy choco/malt balls.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin ice cream breakfastJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Matcha Ice Cream

Breakfast was just as satisfying as dinner, with the mad selection of meats (which were too heavy for us), and sweets.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Breakfast Buffet

Really grateful to HJTS for this staycay opportunity and for a chance to taste their signature weekend dinner and breakfast spread! Definitely spreading the word, and keeping this place in mind for future staycays. Do click through this Link for HJTS’ room rates and deals!

J65 at Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore

J65 HJTS BuffetWeekday Lunch Buffet
S$29 net per person
Monday to Saturday
12pm – 2.30pm

Hooked! – Seafood Buffet Dinner
S$78 net per person
Friday to Saturday
6pm – 10pm 

Sunday Champagne Brunch
S$128 with free-flow Champagne, wine, beer and cocktails, or
S$88 net without alcohol

Every Sunday
12pm – 3pm

Book online for a 15% discount on the total bill.

For more information, email J65@hoteljen.com or call (65) 6831 4374.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Staycay @ Hotel Jen Tanglin

Welcome to Hotel “Jean” Tanglin, a cuppa hot chocolate anybody?

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Fooling around with Club Lounge amenities as though this place was my own. ‘Local flavour’ and ‘home’ are indeed the overarching themes for the old Traders Hotel at 1a Cuscaden Road, which has gone through a SGD45 million makeover to become the spunky new Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore!

The establishment was reopened just December last year. I was thrilled to get a weekend stay at the spanking new building, and even more excited to share these pictures of my experience! One of the highlights of the stay was dinner and breakfast at J65 – the hotel’s new restaurant with the look and feel of a local farmer’s market, serving the freshest seafood and other authentic Southeast Asian cuisine.

Well, that’s a story for another day.

There should be a disclaimer at HJTS to warn travellers they might end up not leaving the room altogether. No, seriously. I had a really well-rested stay-in weekend at HJTS. I believe business or leisure travellers looking for a good night’s rest at a convenient location, as well as local staycationers looking for a change of scenery, would find HJTS fulfilling for all their needs!

Ready for pictures? Here we go!

1713

My room at 1713 is a fine sight to behold – I was thrilled to get a room on Level 17, which was on the Club Lounge floor.
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HJTS’s 565 new, contemporary guestrooms come with four modern, locally curated wallpaper designs highlighting different Singaporean themes (bicycle, orchid, goldfish and shop house). Each room includes thoughtful touches such as free WiFi, USB charging outlets, high-pressure walk-in showers and king-sized beds with 300-thread-count linens. So I guess mine belonged to the shophouse theme. I love the thoughtful furniture and comfortable colour scheme. The incredibly soft comforter and sheets trapped me between them for most part of Sunday.

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wall @ hotel jen tanglin

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Everywhere is OOTD-worthy!

Queen at Hotel Jen Tanglin

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It’s a crime for pillows to be this fluffy.

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And the bed.

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Hotel Jen Tanglin interior 3

In other new, the view outside is incredible. We lounged on the couch overlooking this amazing view, and just talked for hours. 

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Business travellers, your needs will be serviced. The ultra comfortable chair, fuss free desk and password-free WIFI access gives you unlimited usage for multiple devices, so you can get work done in peace. I would have spent more time on that chair if the bed wasn’t so inviting.

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bright blue chair hotel jen tanglin

See what I mean about fixtures? Very tasteful.

Hotel Jen Tanglin Amenities

And this housed the minibar/fridge:

fridge at hotel jen tanglin

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FLUFFY PILLOWS hotel jen tanglin

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bathroom hotel jen tanglin

The Club Room’s stay-in pull has a room service menu to match, so you won’t have to leave the premises. Penang Char Kway Teow, anybody?

room service menu, hotel jen tanglin

And for all other F&B needs, you have the Club Lounge at level 17!

Club Lounge

Most of everything you’ll need can be found at the business cum amenities lounge, where anything from a quick caffeine fix or a highball for the night is within reach. Here, we fixed our much needed morning cuppa and bedtime hot cocoa. Fruits, snacks and tea are available 24/7, with a wide selection of cakes and finger food between meals, so you’ll never go hungry. This is a also great business meeting place.

hotel jen tanglin - club lounge coffee

Care for our ‘National Drink’?

singapore sling, hotel jen tanglin

club lounge HJT hotel jen tanglin

seats @ club lounge, hotel jen tanglin

club lounge business, hotel jen tanglin

Spoilt for choice at tea break!

tea break HJT

club lounge hotel jen tanglin

hotel jen tanglin - club lounge eats

strawberry cheesecake, hotel jen tanglin

tea break @ hotel jen tanglin

hotel jen tanglin tea club lounge

Hotel Interior

Millennials’ll be delighted by the abundance of Instagram-worthy spots at HJTS! From hipster bicycle walls to inbuilt swings and a Singaporean theme wall – there are no lack of OOTD spots for the new age soul.

Hotel Jen Tanglin

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rooms hotel jen tanglin

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I'm Staying With Jen - Hotel Jen Tanglin

Yup, I’m Staying With Jen!

Stay tuned for mouthwatering foodporn at Hotel Jen Tanglin’s J65.

Thank you HJTS.

Hotel jen Tanglin welcome

blogger hotel jen tanglin

Also just learnt that a colleague of mine is holding his wedding banquet at HJTS in June. Can’t wait to be back here for another stay.

Book a staycation at Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore today!
Click through this Link for their room rates and deals.

About Hotel Jen Tanglin:

This stylish modern hotel is 6 km from the lively Marina Bay Sands and 7 km from Universal Studios Singapore.

The polished rooms with midcentury decor come with free Wi-Fi and luxe linens, plus flat-screens and tea and coffeemaking facilities. Suites offer separate living rooms, while upgraded suites have Nespresso machines and microwaves. Room service is 24/7.

Amenities include a lounge with city views, casual dining and cocktails, plus a chic restaurant and a cafe. There’s an outdoor plunge pool, an exercise room and a spa area with massages. Free shuttle service is available.

Address:
1A Cuscaden Rd
Singapore 249716

 

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[Kuala Lumpur] Toast And Roast

If like me, you had imagined ‘Toast and Roast’ to be a brightly lit cafe with piping toasts and artisan coffees, then you’re in a surprise. KL’s Toast and Roast is a distinctly traditional coffee-shop serving old-school teas, best-for-a-hangover hot Honey-Lemons, chewy Hakka noodles, bouncy beef ball soup, and what they became famous for – roast pork / chicken. When your foodies friends make the recommendations, you know you’re in good hands. It was there that I had the best charsiew ever. So as I popped my first caramelised, melt-in-your-mouth charsiew, I must have died and went to charsiew heaven.

See that plate in the middle? It’s the charsiew.


Don’t think about the fats you’re consuming, because fighting this is a losing battle. Put tht first piece in your mouth and you’re hooked. Okay, but seriously I could taste the layers of fats, and thick caramel sauce, which makes it sooo good. Usually my friends and I are a bunch of locusts sweeping across a harvest field when it comes to food, but we couldn’t finish the meat at Toast And Roast. This servings here were for our party of 8. Guess we’re not big eaters after all, or they’re really just generous with their portions.

For all fans of wanton mees or whatever mees, this bowl of Hakka noodles will get to your sweet spot. It’s all kinds of chewy without making your jaws ache. Don’t let the meagre pieces of minced pork fool you, cos there’s a whole heap underneath! So, so good.
 Look how happy my friends were with their food.
More about the other dishes: I’ve never been a big fan of meat processed into balls, aka fishballs/meatballs/chicken or egg balls, because I’ve always felt they weren’t au naturale. What even goes into ’em balls nobody knows. Nonetheless I found myself liking the bouncy beef balls that came with the soup. It’s tender, and didn’t taste like supermarket frozen meatballs. With that said, T&R also serve a mean iced white kopi, which is basically what all South Malaysian food places are good at making. I’ve not had a bad kopi anywhere in Malaysia.
  
  

‘Nuff said.

Toast And Roast
No.20, Jalan SS2/72 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 47300, Malaysia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] o19. AFTER YOU DESSERT CAFE 

If you could only make one dessert pit-stop in Bangkok, it has to be AfterYou Dessert Cafe! In the absence of distractions (animals, excessively hipster embellishments) the establishment focuses on a competitive menu  and plain awesome desserts! Since Taiwan’s Dazzling Cafe experience and toasty good times in Korea’s trendy coffeehouses, I’ve not had good toasts in a while. Until Shibuya Honey Toast and Ferrero Icecream Toast came into my life at AfterYou and my life is worth living again. Teehee. Scroll for toastporn, millefeuille and photos of the cozy cafe interior, featuring the ChaiArmy up to our usual shenanigans, this time in Thailand for Red’s birthday celebrations (all pictures taken with my old iPhone 5 because 6+ had to stay home, in case it decides to stay in Bangkok and to never come back)

                  

 

Just waiting for the day that AfterYou comes to Singapore too, like all other high-profile franchises.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] o18. SALA AYUTTHAYA


Sala AyutthayaThailand might be most famous for vernacular and religious buildings, but its modern-day architecture has surpassed world-class standards. We hunted down this structural wonder, with the luxury of time and an inexplicable need for coffee, situated across the famed Wat Phutthaisawan, along Chao Phraya river.

Sala Resort’s boutique accommodation in Ayutthaya features 26 guest rooms (all uniquely designed) including a duplex river view suite and a pool suite, a small art gallery as well as a signature restaurant with a splendid view of Chao Phraya (reservations required, but helluva beautiful place to sit and ponder about life). I loved their deconstructed wave-inspired bricked buildings that were impressively designed to capture a play of lights. Sala Ayutthaya SIgnature Curved Staircase Sala AyutthayaArt Sala Ayutthaya ThailandArt Gallery Thailand Seaview Dining Sala Ayutthaya Thailand Seaview Dining Thailand Ayutthaya Coffee and canapés. In Thailand sauce maketh a meal complete.Crispy Rolls Thailand Sala Resorts Thailand Coffee Latte Thailand Sala Ayutthaya Sala Ayutthaya DiningDesigner living spaces and boutique serviced apartments are increasingly receiving its share of love in the land of smiles, even in city-centred resorts away from beaches and the sea. Interestingly, ‘photogenic’ qualities plays a big part nowadays as holidaymakers want to take incredible pictures for their social media platforms on top of collecting snapshots as memories. The deciding factors of holiday accommodation are as much about concept as they are about prices, location and people factors.

Food for thought. Happy holidays, people!

Sala Ayutthaya Resorts
Thanon U-Thong
Pratuchai, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[MACAU] oo4. THE ISLAND IN 20 PICS

Let me take you on a tour of the nondescript: things you won’t see unless on foot, plowing through the city.

“It all takes time and lessons and places, but I’m learning to listen to my restless heart, telling me to “go, go, go!”
― Charlotte Eriksson, Another Vagabond Lost To Love: Berlin Stories

Macau directions
Quintessentially Macau signboards in green and yellow
macau sightseeing
Back alleys and winding roads. Grilled balconies.
Breathtaking views
Breathtaking views
macau wandering
Narrow meandering lanes
macau beauty
Faded walls
travelogue macau
More beautiful from behind bars
macau china
Schools, cathedrals
chinese macau
Lush green overhanging trees
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Underpopulated
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Kitty Kindergartens
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Pretty neighbourhoods
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Tinted with Baroque influences
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Tall street lamps
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Intimidating names
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Quaint white architecture
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Royal cathedrals
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As homely as it is holy
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Pops of orange
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Mad bloggers on the loose
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Road signs you don’t know how to react to

There you go friends, Macau for you

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[MACAU] oo2. RUINS OF ST. PAUL’S | MUSEUM OF MACAU

Tourists are so darn easy to sniff out. If you’ve been to Macau, you’d know the Ruins of St Paul’s (大三巴牌坊) but a one-sided wall, completely demolished and naked in the back. So the first-timers (like us) would still clamour for pictures with the famed 16th-century complex, an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. 68 steps would lead you to the southern stone façade, behind which lies the remains of the original pillars and a shrine. A wee bit of secret: the locals would tell you it’s customary to throw coins into the top window of the ruins from the stairs, for good luck.

From here, you can spot the stone façade, far left. Pretty deconstructed huh?
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As we got closer, I realised it was just a one-dimensional wall. Didn’t stop me from my touristy shots!
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Way to the ‘top’ – 68 easy-peasy steps! And so crowded on a late February weekday, we had to jostle a few elbows outta our way. Since this wall’s one of ’em things you’ve got to check off your Macau Bucket-lists, we made it to the top and beyond. DSCN6352
Girl In Macau Travel Blog

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THE TOP

Girl In Macao Travel Blog
The best entitlement of a tourist is not being taken for a fool at stupid pictures. Here I am receiving a scroll from…some great Chinese scholar! (My bad, I can’t even remember names of half of my university Professors.)
Girl In Macao Travel BlogGirl In Macao Travel Blog Cannonball
I CAME IN LIKE A CAAAANON-BAAAALLL (way before wreckingball became a thing)

Girl In Macao Travel Blog 2

Next best tourist entitlement: you don’t get judged for meaningless hand gestures in awkward I-don’-know-what-to-do-with-my-hands shots.

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“Look, it’s a road, in Macau”

Signboards Macao St Pauls

Not far from the Ruins of St Paul’s is the Museum of Macau, filled with relics from the time Macau was part of Portuguese empire, and also most importantly these were sacred and holy relics of art. Read: Museu De Arte Sacra = Museum Of Sacred Art.

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The Museum of Macau is located in the famous Monte Fortress, in the heart of the city where the Portuguese first set foot. Being a fortress from where battles were fought and Macau defended, actual live cannons were left behind.

Macau Travel Blogger
My hands! were not awkward at all

Macao Travel Blog

I had a hard time saying goodbye to the cannon I grew so fond off. They made a good war relic, and a decent sunbed.
Herein lies the footpath from midlevel (outdoors) to the top of Museum of Macau. Great weather, amazing scenery and good company makes for a fantastic walk.plague museum de macau DSCN6397 Museum of Macau Winding steps Museum of Macau DSCN6400 DSCN6401 DSCN6402
Right at the top is where you see a grand entrance to the Museum. Conventionally, you’re meant to enter from the ground floor. The top floor consists of a garden, a small still fountain, and the fortress formation in which cannons are still located.DSCN6403 Lake Museum of Macau DSCN6406

So the view from the top stole my heart! I loooove the vantage point, though ought to have been scared shitless standing so close to the edge. All I really wanna do is get close to the heart of the city.

DSCN6408 Girl In Macau Macau Sunset Macau Peak DSCN6421 DSCN6423 DSCN6426 DSCN6427Further snapshots from within the Fortress walls. DSCN6430 DSCN6431 DSCN6432 DSCN6434 DSCN6435 DSCN6436 DSCN6437 DSCN6438 DSCN6439 DSCN6440 DSCN6442

Every city I go, I try to get the bird’s eye view. Much like the Eiffel of Paris or Burj Khalifa of Dubai. It pretty much lays the city out at your feet for a much clearer picture than any map will provide you.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

P.S Don’t miss [MACAU] OO1. OF EGGTARTS, GRAFFITI AND ALL THINGS YUMMY

[MACAU] oo1. OF EGGTARTS, GRAFFITI AND ALL THINGS YUMMY

“I looked to the ceiling and told God, “God, next time I want an adventure, strike me with lightning. You have my permission.”
― Kristen Ashley, The Gamble

We were crazy for adventure and found our answer in Macau. The idea came like a flash of lightning. So with one day to spare we grabbed a pair of ferry tickets and bopped our way to the land of egg-tarts, casinos and tea-houses. I expected a whole new environment much like the gambling sitcoms we occasionally glimpse channel-surfing, but Macau is really an amalgam of new world Hong Kong with traditional Portuguese influences. What really amazed us – casinos were entities made of everything shiny, glazed with glamour and all that glitters that is actually gold.

MACAU BABY

Starving, we stuffed our faces with the island’s most traditonal Portuguese egg-tarts (or so every store says)
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best portuguese egg tarts

Then meandered the streets of Macau on foot. The air tingles with hope, because most people there were keeping their dreams alive. Making it big at the gambling den, or simply making it out alive.

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Look what we found! Art in the heart of the city.
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macau graffiti

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awesome graffiti macau

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God knows who created these art but they are pretty darn amazing.
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wall have eyes

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graffiti

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colourful graffiti

In Macau, basically, you can find hand-made pastries and cookies every-damn-where. It’s like stores fight for business. It’s what this place is known for, and all tourists are suckers for. We all want to bring a piece of Macau home. Almond biscuits, pork-floss crisps, handrolls. As traditional as it gets. I love their almond biscuit and egg-rolls which are out-of-this world. I have never gone for another bakery’s eggrolls ever since. Especially since Koi Kei makes the best egg-white egg-rolls, ooh lala.

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food in macau

My favourite is still Koi Kei – never have I gone home empty-handed from Hong Kong and he’s the reason why.
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So since we’re on this topic, more food-talk and less sight-seeing! Sharetea in Macau is actually a cafe. The bustling cafe scene in Macau isn’t hipster at all…this is as hippie as it goes. Traditional teahouses, or cha-chan-teng 茶餐廳, which are known for eclectic dishes from Hong Kong cuisine and Hong Kong Western fusion cuisine, are more prevalent.sharetea macau cafe macau

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Grabbing a selfie moment
coffee macau
Coffee in a twisted cup
fried chicken macau
Fried chicken
waffles and salmon macau
A waffle with smoked salmon, salad and potato wedges

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Food’s always the start of an adventure, as Anthony Bourdain puts it well: “I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime ‘associates,’ food, for me, has always been an adventure”. Every culture has its food norms. Anyone else finds it interesting MacDonalds’ caters to every country’s needs? Here’s a Red Bean pie from Macau. I still miss it.

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Part One here was all about what we ingested plus wall murals we caught (well if I could inhale and live off devouring art I would but unfortunately graffiti is not food). The next one and thereafter’s all about the view, and what essentially keeps people coming to Macau. The mystery of the casinos maybe… I for one enjoyed walking through the Portuguese cemetery, reading headstones of all who’s walked the land and had the means to buy themselves a place here after death. #morbid

Cheers!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[TAIPEI] oo6. NIGHT MARKET HUSTLING

So we arrived at the famed Raohe Night Market 饒河街夜市 in Northern Taipei, which is in close proximity to Taipei’s Rainbow Bridge across Keelung River (another topic altogether), and accomplished the feat of exploring the entire district in a night. But hang on, this post is all about food! The night market 饒河 (Raohe) is named precisely as the stretch of food, beverages and late-night shops run parallel to 基隆河 (Keelung River). Our native Taiwanese buddies had highly recommended this street for its reputation of being less touristy and cheaper than Shih-Lin or Linjiang Night Markets.

ROUHE NIGHT MARKET TAIWAN

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So we entered via the main street, having walked from the designated exit of Houshanpi Station, into this intermingling of food, clothes, gadgets, lingerie and everything-you-can-think-of shops.

We made these boys eat their first 臭豆腐 Stinky Tofu, Taipei’s famous smelly dish. They had mixed feelings about it.

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“Oh god what is this montrosity!”

 

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“Oh hey, aside from the smell, there’s a party in my mouth.”
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“Crap I actually loved it!”
CHOU TOFU
I’m fabulous #foodporn
handrolls taipei icecream
HERE COMES THE REAL THING: PARTY IN OUR MOUTHS

We all loved this ice-cream & shaved peanut burrito/wrap 花生捲加冰淇淋! The scoops of ice cream came in vanilla, coconut and taro flavours, which tasted soooo good with peanut and the thin skinned crepe. The sprig of coriander added a unique twist. Overall, the dessert was refreshingly light – it felt just like having after-dinner mints, except with a lot more calories. I loved watching its preparation: the vendor first laid out the crepe, then shaved from a huge block of peanut candy. Three scoops of ice cream are set in a row before he shaved another layer of peanut candy, and topped it up with coriander. Then of course the combination is wrapped up, burrito style, and eaten like a Subway wrap. Voila!

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Predator face, with the peanut roll.
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Now who’s up for seconds

For a traditionally laid-out Chinese night market, Raohe also boasts amazing Japanese food: teriyaki chicken on sticks, sushi and hand rolls. You name it, they’ve got it.

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日本玉子燒
日本玉子燒 Japanese mentaiko etc
not a selfie
Someone hijacked my camera

This one below is a personal favourite: Taro balls! I’d always thought they were cuttlefish balls but no, it’s made from taro, and fried. The Taiwanese do such amazing things with Taro, I love it.

night market cuttlefish balls
Watch me toss the damn balls
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Up up here we go

Okay confession: I cannot remember what the dish below is. We ate too much that night to keep track of everything so if anybody could tell me what this is, I have cookies for you!!

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WHAT AM I? Clues: fried, doughy, soya sauce…

And evidently, everything here was so yummy, that even on a full stomach, we couldn’t resist having to juggle all our food on our hands.

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lemme take a selfie...not
Me eating with a camera in my face: this was the most glam shot.

If you’ve got kids with you, they won’t be bored. Take them fishing and you get to bring the little rascals home with your big rascal. Hahha.

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#bored #daddy

For the grownups, there are no lack of fancy-schmancy knick knacks and strange foods at Raohe night market. Here goes collection of my favourite shots:

I LOVE TAIWAN
Sums it up for you
green taipei
Wheatgrass and all sorts of juices
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Royal jelly in a tub, anybody?
street food night market taipei
Guava juice maybe
boobies taiwan
Boob shot
taipei night market
Hustle and bustle and stranger looking into my camera
taiwan raohe market finds
Got coconutmilk

foodporn taipei

foodporn taiwanese night market

clocks taipei

birds taiwan

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This whole scene is too traditionally Taiwanese
cows boss taipei
I’m the boss. The Cow Boss. Hell yeah, steak.

Having eaten our way through the night market, we crowned the ICECREAM&PEANUT ROLLS as the King of Raohe Night Market. If we had a sliver of space left in our bulging bellies we would have had seconds, but sadly we couldn’t roll ourselves back to the stall. Everybody needs to try it once at least, if not from Raohe then at other night markets. YOU WON’T REGRET IT. And life’s like that isn’t it? If you don’t eat it, you might not live long enough to eat it again #justsaying.

Peace out.

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Raohe Street Night Market
Section 4, Bade Road, Songshan District
Taipei City, Taiwan 105
Nearest Metro: HOUSHANPI STATION
What’s good: 藥燉排骨 Medicinal Ribs

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[TAIPEI] oo5. DAZZLING CAFE

Dragging our 20kg luggage through subway stations and streetwalks of Taipei seemed like the best way to work up an appetite. So that day, a native Taiwanese friend, Wesley, met us at the legendary Dazzling Cafe, touted by many food bloggers for their famous ice-cream toasts. And we feasted on this ginormous 3-tiered toast splendidly flavoured with matcha ice-cream and whipped cream! The place was really rather pretty! It’s no wonder their main store and 2 other franchises are really popular hangouts for Sunday brunch and weekday tea-breaks. You actually had to take queue numbers to get seats at the place. Or if you would rather not wait, making reservations in advance would be a good idea.

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This is me sulking when Elizabeth was taking too long snapping food shots, and I was starving. Have I mentioned that they serve really amazing lattes?Dazzing Cafe HongKong 10 Dazzing Cafe HongKong 11 Dazzing Cafe Matcha
Okay now you get to witness how the toast went down: the crispy bread is actually buttered and pre-cut into bite-sized cubes for easy sharing. How thoughtful of Dazzling! And frankly, I loved the toast. It’s so good, we were tempted to order another one.Dazzing Cafe HongKong Matcha Toast Dazzing Cafe HongKong 11 Dazzing Cafe HongKong Food Dazzing Cafe HongKong Hopping Dazzing Cafe HongKong 5

This place was really one of those we-have-to-get-there! places, and in order to check this off our bucket list, we rushed out early in the morning the day we were scheduled to leave Taipei. Wesley very kindly took us there after finishing his duties at work. We were glad we went against the risk of missing our flight home. As usual, no regrets!

“The last laugh, the last cup of coffee, the last sunset, the last time you jump through a sprinkler, or eat an ice-cream cone, or stick your tongue out to catch a snowflake. You just don’t know.”
― Lauren Oliver, Before I Fall

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[TAIPEI] oo4. FAST & FURIOUS

Sometime at the end of last year, I took a fast, furious and fulfilling trip to Taipei with Elizabeth, one of 2 people I’m so thankful to have met at Singapore Airlines, both of whom are no longer there but are always ‘there’ with me. Taipei is all about the night markets, shopping and foodie-hunts whilst making friends with new exciting people with so much to share! Hence Taipei always comes with an “OMG I NEED TO DIET” aftermath (which is never followed through).

It’s no secret – Taiwanese are very welcoming people. Step into any boutique, pharmacy or restaurant and you’re likely to be greeted loudly with choruses of “歡迎光臨!” (lit. Welcome) in bright chirpy tones. Even if you’re the last customer of the day, stepping into Watsons one minute before they’re scheduled to close for the day, you won’t be left to roam the aisles alone with nobody to guide you along. This is why I love Taiwan.

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We did so much on this trip, it’s not even funny. Today I’m just gonna tell you about food. There is this glorious buffet style steamboat place at Ximending – Tian Wai Tian Mala Hotpot – with a selection is sooooo vast and good I could feel my waistline expanding just thinking about it. Desserts are an endless selection of Häagen-Dazs ice-cream, completely all-you-can-eat.

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JUST LOOK AT THE SELECTION! You can take anything, as much as you want, buffet-style.Hotpot selection P1060637 Taiwanese Mala Hotpot Hotpot Ingredients  Taipei Icecream

And of course the ice-cream is for spamming.Ximending Taiwan Ximending Hotpot Taipei Haagen Dazs Taiwanese Hotpot Tian Wai Tian Hotpot Ximending Mala Hotpot Taipei Mala Hotpot Taipei Steamboat

The dizzying selection of soup bases will make you wanna try every single one of them. We tried the non-spicy ones which tasted not too bad.
I think the company was better than the food.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 038: CAFE BELLA PRAHA

One truly amazing (albeit solitary) afternoon at Sinchon and Ewha Women’s University (Edae), I chanced upon Cafe Bella Praha, one of those down-to-earth coffee places tucked away in an alley off the beaten track like a well-hidden secret. Had my craving for ice-cold desserts satiated with a matcha green tea bingsoo topped with red bean paste, and was pleasantly surprised that the toppings thoughtfully came in a separate dish, so you could actually control how much to drown out your ice-matcha. Might I add, the matcha did not taste syrupy – it had that fragrant taste of fresh brewed matcha in an ice-cold bowl. You know how much I love matcha desserts? This one really exceeded my expectations!

Bella Praha only hires the best. The barista (or was he the boss?) was so soft-spoken, gentle and thoughtful. Seeing as I was alone, he personally took my order, at the table, and ensured I had a cup of water with sufficient napkins. Only in Seoul, baristas get my heart aflutter!

Well, expect only the best of coffees from Bella Praha. To the barista’s credit, I overheard his lengthy, patient explanation to an elderly couple on the difference between coffee beans from different regions of the world. To tip the scale, you get to choose the brewing method for your coffee: espresso, hand drip, cotton-flannel drip, syphon, or Dutch style. Plus, there’s no lack of pastry choices from the cafe’s hand-made selection. This place is so worth a second visit, just to feel like a princess in a sweet homely coffeehouse.

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벨라프라하
56-63 Daehyeon-dong Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
02-363-3559

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 037: SHOPPING AND CAFE CULTURE ON EWHA WOMEN’S UNIVERSITY STREET

Sinchon and Ewha Women’s University (also known as Edae) is a district bursting with youthful vigour. You will love this place if, like me, you have a thing for affordable vintage labels, understated hairpieces, independently designed jewellery, and in general quirky finds. That aside, if you’re looking for loud colourful accessories, branded and no-label patent leather bags, or even rock-chick and gothic outfits, there’s also a healthy range of specialty stores catering to very unique requests and needs!

Street stalls and independent shops open for business as early as 9:30am, while students from neighbouring universities begin their daily pilgrimage to their campus. Snacks and all kinds of knick knacks are sold from cubicle sized push-carts, mostly to tourists and youngsters bypassing on their way to school. With no lack of mani-pedi boutiques, salons, beauty clinics and pampering studios, I could spend a leisurely week living in this area if I had the luxury of time. There’s just so much to do and see! Contrary to popular belief, Ewha is not strictly a women-only zone – more than a handful shops do cater to fashion and retail for men.

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The famous Gigantic Pink Shoe outside Top Ten @ Ewha: tourists scramble to take photos with this
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Singapore Toast is gaining some fame: this place was jam-packed!
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I liked the fact that big brands are slotted in with independent labels and designer couture – a refreshing mix of high end with retail stores that doesn’t burn a hole in the pockets of poor university students (I know that life).

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You know you’re in a hippie place when cutesy stores sell everything and anything – hairclips, incense burners, furniture, desk organizers, placemats, braded rugs, coffee mugs, bookends, laptop covers and passport holders. All done while maintaining its cutesy demeanour.

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Cafe culture in Korea generally thrives in university districts – Hongdae and Edae are very prominent examples of coffee paradise. Edae’s collection of indie coffee houses feeds throngs of students needing their daily caffeine fix. On this day I happened to chance across Caffe Zudy, a large scale Westernized coffee house with a couple of franchises across Seoul. My iced latte was more bitter than any coffees I’ve had in Korea, meaning they used a darker roast and also zero syrup in their drinks. Pure coffee and milk. I think my tired body enjoyed the shot of caffeine. I liked it.

Caffe Zudy Ewha University

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No lack of cafes in the area: see what I mean?

Caffe Zudy 카페쥬디 이대본점

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 036: ROYAL MILKTEA ICE @ A TWOSOME PLACE 투썸플레이스

My kind of breakfast in Korea tends to swing towards unconventional. On this particular morning, I happened to be in a mood for an ice-cold treat. During the summer / fall season, Koreans love their patbingsu – shaved ice desserts with toppings such as chopped fruit and nuts, mint leaves, coffee or milk tea, condensed milk, fruit syrup, and red bean paste. A Twosome Place 투썸플레이스 offers the Royal Milk Tea Ice which is basically a mountain of ice in a fish-bowl, drenched in milk tea, condensed milk, and topped with cereal, granola bits, and a scoop of milk-tea ice cream. My fish-bowl sized happiness looks like this:

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To say I have a sweet-tooth is an understatement. I mean, who eats this for breakfast?! I spent my morning (before heading to work) with Jane Green’s old book (Bookends) and my icy companion.

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You’ve got to try this, everybody.

A TWOSOME PLACE | 투썸플레이스 @ D-CUBE CITY (SINDORIM)

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 035: 자장면 JAJANG MYEON

Pre-boarding, transit passengers may delight in a quick bowl of super awesome korean black bean noodles from DeliSky at Incheon International Airport. My last meal in Korea before heading home: 자장면 Jajangmyeon!

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Have always loved slurping up these gooey mash of black bean paste with neverending strands of chewy noodles. Back when it was winter in Korea, 2010, my university friends and I walked a reaaaaally long way whilst freezing our asses off just to eat jajangmyeon and that was the best bowl of jajangmyeon I’ve ever had. Nothing I eat these days even come close to that! Jajangmyeon holds a fair bit of magic for me.

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Did you know: in mixing the black bean sauce (chunjang), caramel is added to create its thick gooey-ness?

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 034: BEANS & WAFFLE

“Waffles are just awesome bread.”
— John Green

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Loading up on carbs before a full day of Seoul-tripping. Breakfast was palm-sized Sweet Maple Waffles 스위트 메이플 와플 at Beans and Waffle, downtown Gangnam.

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Surrounded by imposing office towers, a food alley plus a couple of pubs, the cafe has fed plenty of OLs, pub-crawlers and hungry interns. One of the only two Beans & Waffle stores in Seoul, its small, dark interior could easily have you fooled. An extensive waffle menu aside, there’s no lack of flavoured coffees, teas and blended juices. They even have a decent selection of bingsoo!
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Next time I’ll make it a point to try their green tea and tiramisu waffles.
Bon appetit~

빈스앤와플 강남역점
1329-9 Seocho-dong (181 Saimdang-ro)
Seocho-gu, Seoul

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIEs 030: BINGSOO-MANIA

Happiness is fishbowl-sized in summer.
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This, my dear friends, is the injeolmi bingsoo [인절미 빙수] from one of my favourite hideouts in Seoul! Come summertime, bingsoos and anything that comes with ice are all the rage. You can easily get bingsoos from any major or indie cafes in Korea. 20140713-015101-6661350.jpg

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This is a unashamedly backdated post from a week ago. I’d only just returned from Rome, slotted in a quick three-day solo escapade to Seoul, before I was due to go to Narita. Somehow even if my living quarters don’t quite match up to five-star hotels, I feel most at home in South Korea.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean