Holler Out! Pondok Jawa Timur

Dinner at Pondok Jawa Timur  on a Saturday Night, before our excursion to the iLights festival at Marina Bay. Thank you Aveline for hosting us!

Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore

Before I go deeper into the authenticity of Pondok Jawa Timur’s Indonesian cuisine, I wanted to touch a little bit on HOLLER OUT, the latest foodie-tech app on the block, available on both iOS and Android. When you quote “VIKTORIAJEAN” on @holler.out app, with a minimum spend of $30, you get 10% off your total bill! In addition, you automatically become an ambassador for Pondok Jawa Timur by using my promo code on payment.

What Holler Out app does is to encourage word-of-mouth and social media affirmation of bistros, cafes, bars and restaurants. By sharing your code, or using someone else’s, both parties benefit! Because as an ambassador, you gain a teeny share of cash in your stash, which you can choose to cash out in future. As a code-user, you stand to get 10%-20% off your total bill. As a restaurant owner you get loads more social media mentions by being a participating vendor. Currently there’re more than 40 vendors, including spa and recreational outlets, and the app is ever expanding.

Pondok Jawa Timur is a participating vendor, and if you use my code “VIKTORIAJEAN” when you dine, you get a 10% discount. Simple relational equation. Use it now!

Let’s talk food now. Here I am, holding the Bakwan Jagung, or the simply irresistible fried minced corn cake and prawns. When I think about Indonesian food, my vocabulary falls short and stops somewhere between “Chendol” and “Ayam Penyet”. Hence, dinner at Pondok Jawa Timur was really an educational tour of the Javanese food culture.

Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore Viktoria Jean
Dan decided to crash my photo. Hahha.Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore Viktoria Jean

I love how our rice came in 3 colours: White, Green and Yellow – Green being pandan-infused and yellow being tumeric-infused. The restaurant’s signature prawn crackers go so well with rice, and almost every damn thing, that its scattered all over our dishes. We had crackers for starters as appetisers.Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore

Avocado is supposedly healthy fat, and does wonders for your skin. This rich avocado shake comes with creamy chocolate sauce, and is the best drink to ruin all diet plans…and to make your skin smooth as a slab of butter. Choose wisely.

Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore avocado

Who am I kidding? I choose avocado chocolate any damn day.

Thanks to our fabulous host, we enjoyed this array of dishes and almost had to roll our fat bellies out of 737 North Bridge Road. I especially enjoyed the Sate Ayam sticks, as we all know, are grilled chicken skewers served with special peanut sauce. Their sauce is smoother and definitely less chunky than the version that I’m used to eatting from Satay by the Bay or East Coast Park. And the taste is less peanut-ish, and stronger on garlic and spices.

As you can see, there are 3 types of soups in the photo:
The one furthest away is the Rawon, or the rich tasting Javanese beef black soup. Ayam Kare is the one in the middle and it’s essentially chicken curry.  Then there’s Soto Ayam, or  Tumeric Soup with shredded chicken, boiled egg and vegetables.Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore 1

Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore satay

That delectable dish in the forefront is the Ayam Penyet – the traditional fried chicken served with fried tofu, tempeh and sambal belacan. Loved it! It’s crispy and crushed tempeh actually tastes like pork floss.Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore
Beside the curries, beef rendang and its traditional spice blend with coconut milk sauce goes perfectly with rice. It’s so good.Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant SingaporePondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore
This is the Ayam Bakar Kecap, the marinated grilled chicken with sweet sauce. I like it that it resembles teriyaki, and retains the heavy spice-infused flavour of most Indonesian dishes.

Ayam Bakar Kecap – $7.90Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore

Satay Sate Ayam 5 Sticks – $8.90Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore Satay
And the Bakwan Jagung (3pcs) – $6.50Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore

I loved this! Chicken curry/ Ayam Kare – $7.50Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore curry

Ayam Penyet – $6.90Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore ayam penyetThe Tahu Penyet (3 pcs) $2.50Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore Tempeh

Beef rendang – $8.90Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore beef rendangIkan Asam  – $9.50Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant SingaporeSambel Goreng Kentang Kering, or crispy sambal potato  –  $2.00Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore side dishes

Sambal Kacang Ikan Teri or Sambal fried anchovy w nuts – $2.00Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore side dishesPondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore

Kerupuk (prawn)  –  $2.00 / pktPondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore crackers

Of course, what’s a meal without desserts?

Introducing the Ice Campur ($4.50), a classic Indonesian ice shaved dessert served with chendol, grass jelly, young coconut and atap seed. Yummy! A must-have for the recent wave of humidity. 

Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore chendolPondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore chendol

We were also served the Ice Kepala Muda Gula Jawa ($4.50), shaved ice with young coconut served with javanese sugar. Very interesting combination that tasted of gula melaka and sweet fresh coconut. 

Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore Chendol 2

This is the Ice Teler ($4.50), an all time favourite Indonesian mixed ice served with young coconut, jackfruit and avocado! I loved this one especially, as there was a hint of lime and tasted super refreshing. I think I can eat one all on my own.

Pondok Jawa Timur - Indonesian Restaurant Singapore desserts

Opened by Indonesians, this restaurant has authentic recipes down to a T. Plus the prices are very affordable at the $13 – $20 range for a good full dinner. For Pondok Jawa Timur’s full menu, check out their website, or head down to their homely physical store at 737 North Bridge Road. I know I’m definitely heading back there for more Indonesian food soon!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Launch Party: Trulife Collagen Manuka Max

Following my review on TruLife Collagen Manuka Max, I had the pleasure of attending the launch party for this amazing new contender in the collagen market!

The launch was held last Friday, 4 March, at the homely Two Bakers Cafe on Horne Road, just opposite the Jalan Besar Stadium. Upon arrival, we were greeted by this gorgeous dessert bar!

Trulife Manuka Max desserts

If you’ve never visited Two Bakers Cafe, it’s time you should! Known for bespoke birthday cakes, artisan pastries and one-of-a-kind, crafted-to-order desserts, the cafe’s pastry chefs boast credentials from the Le Cordon Bleu. You can pretty much guess why desserts were one of the highlights of the evening. The Panna Cotta, Mini Chocolate Cake (oh-so-pretty), and the Yuzu Lemon Mini Tarts were simply to-die-for.

Trulife desserts viktoriajean

Other Trulife products, such as the Berry Eye Health, also found their way into some of these desserts. I found it novel to incorporate health supplements into indulgent food.Trulife Manuka Max Collagen Desserts

Well this is my true intention 😀

Dessert Bar viktoriajean Trulife Manuka Max Collagen

Okay back to the talk of the day: Trulife Collagen Manuka Max.

Midway through dinner we were given a short introduction to the brand and product, as a prelude to Collagen Cocktails and Desserts. Essentially, Trulife is a contemporary health-care brand which aims to answer the health and lifestyle needs of today’s society through developing products that contain a combination of herbal and western ingredients. Founded in 1971, the brand has since evolved into a custom formulator and contract manufacturer of private label health and food supplements.

Trulife Collagen Manuka Max 1 event

Trulife Collagen manuka Max Launch Party

The Collagen Manuka Max is their latest product, which has been pushed to major pharmacies, including Watsons and Guardian stores nation-wide, earlier this month. Each bottle of Trulife Collagen Manuka Max is packed with 7000mg of Micro Marine Collagen Peptides that have been clinically proven to help improve your skin’s structure and firmness.

Each bottle contains 7,000mg of collagen, Manuka Honey, Cynatine, Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6, as well as Zinc. Plus, put your mind at ease, as the product has no added sugar, nor any form of additives and colouring.

The new collagen drink is packed with a protein Cynatine known to reduce wrinkles, promote skin elasticity, improve nail strength and reduce hair loss. We all already know how collagen repairs UV spot damages, promotes clearer complexion, improves skin appearance, and is a valuable component of any beauty regime. More information in my previous post (link here).

Dieters, this will not ruin your diet plans – you’ll be delighted to know that the product is naturally sweetened with 100% pure and natural Manuka Honey that helps to give you a nutritional boost every day. Additionally, studies have found that Manuka Honey is actually beneficial at reducing reflux and balancing your digestive system to heal stomach and intestinal imbalances, hence aiding digestion. For me, this drink has been a delicious add-on to my daily supplement intake.

One of the chefs at Two Bakers’ Cafe gave us a demonstration on a special mocktail/cocktail recipe formulated with Trulife Collagen Manuka Max (which has a unearthly green colour, but is perfect for fancy cocktails!) We all got to try a glass of this unique cocktail.

Cocktail with Trulife collagen manuka max

Wanted to give more airtime to the yummy desserts. The unassuming cup of yellow jello-looking thing is Panna Cotta, made with Trulife Collagen Manuka Max and it was my favourite dish of the night! The frosty glass on the left is the aforementioned cocktail. And the chocolate cake is on the right with the fancy sail made of white chocolate on top.

Seriously, everybody loved the Panna Cotta dessert! The recipe for it includes a full bottle of TruLife Collagen Manuka Max to produce the honey gelee, on top of the 1/2 cup of peach juice, 1 tsp of gelatin and 2 tablespoons of water. The resulting panna cotta gelee is moderately sweet and fruity enough to pass off as a healthy jelly dessert. The panna cotta base is incredibly soft-whipped, I must say!

TruLife even revealed the full recipe, and I’m gonna try my hands at making one of these! (Psst…want the recipe? DM me!)

Trulife, cakes at Two Bakers cafeCakes at Two Bakers Cafe

We all wanted to try the fancy chocolate cake! It looks as good as it tastes.

Two Bakers Cafe cakes

Loved the spread!

Cakes from Two Bakers Cafe SG

I'm here for Collagen Max!

Those were the main highlights of the launch party.

Trulife Collagen Manuka Max launch partyWe’re loving this new handy bottle of beauty supplement.

Also gotta say, dinner at Two Bakers Cafe was amazing – I chose the Butternut Mushroom Risotto from the menu, which was the dish-less-selected as opposed to the traditional Aglio Olio. All my table neighbors could smell a heavy dash of truffle oil. And those who tried the risotto agreed it was the better of 2. Honestly the last good risotto I had was at Venice in 2013! Heartening to know a place that serves a mean risotto in Singapore.

Risotto - Two Bakers Cafe
It is a compact but carb-loaded heavyweight, so don’t be fooled by its portion here.

 

Two Bakers Cafe x Trulife

The rest who had aglio olio couldn’t help digging into my risotto. Altogether it was a lovely night mingling with the other bloggers and friends. Truly grateful to Trulife and Blackbox SG for bringing us together!

Trulife x Two Bakers Cafe Event

Trulife Collagen Manuka Max Bloggers

I don’t get why I look so bored and unhappy in this photo, because I swear I was smiling so hard. I guess the photo was distracting me from ogling at desserts and chatting with my new friends.Trulife Collagen Manuka Max Bloggers

Viktoria Jean Trulife Collagen Manuka Max

Thank you for the invite!

Trulife Collagen Manuka Max is now available at all major pharmacies, Watsons, Unity, Robinsons and Metro, retailing at $58.80 for 8 bottles.

You can also get your samples from BlackBox SG!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[L.A.] FOOD SNAPS IN LOS ANGELES

Tribute to all the food-snaps I take that go un-posted as soon as the physical item gets devoured / forgotten. Here’s a post to say, you’ll always be remembered. Tralala.

I love you, Los Angeles.

▷ Breakfast @ Denny’s for the first time and I liked it! Western portions are way too generous. With a selection like this it won’t be anytime soon for us to taste it all. A tad bit greasy on the side of mashed/fried potatoes but all else’s good.

All American Slam, French Toast Slam, Peanut Butter Cup Pancake Breakfasts
Breakfastception

▷ Late post-shopping lunch with the elder folks was Seafood Port Chinese Restaurant on Hawthorne Blvd Torrance

As much a visual feast as it was physical! Curry crabs and the works, totally Chinese through and through
Highlight of the evening
Managed to get my fortune told

▷ Sneaked in a pizza at Sbarro, Del Amo @ Torrance Bay. Nothing like salad, carbs and mozzarella to complete your trip to the States.

▷ Dining in near pitch-black darkness at Santa Monica Pier Restaurant, whilst chilling to the strong sea breeze at the restaurant’s namesake. Food’s amazing. Mojitos were cray.            

▷ Santa Monica Pier in all its midnight glory. America is gorgeous.  

▷ Too much to eat, too little time and space.

 

 

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

[SINGAPORE] ASANOYA BOULANGERIE

I must confess: I’m a breadaholic. My favourite home appliance is my bread machine, and preferred choice of breakfast is always flour-based.  So the pastry-maniac in me jumped for joy when I finally popped by Asanoya Bakery, and 81-year-old brand founded in Karuizawa Japan.

The place is absolutely haven for all dough-lovers out there! With the abundance of seats it could jolly well serve as a cafe. The boulangerie is ready for business as early as 8am, but their signature Karuizawa Matcha Green Tea Bread doesn’t appear till 10. If that happens, stay calm, take a seat and have their royal milk tea loaf in the meantime. Their mean selection of salads comes in petite Asian portions which are just right to go with your dough. To ogle at pastries and sweetbreads please continue to scroll…

I’m in love with these cubes, not to mention they are absolute darlings in the mouth.

Tiramisu in bread = more than I can bargain for!

                          

The royal milk tea loaf tasted like it was soaked and glazed in frothy tea, which, for a tea-lover like me, was killing two birds with a bite as I could eat and drink tea at the same time. The maple walnuts pretzel was slightly more savoury, though too crispy and hard in certain parts. I’m still looking forward to coming again, and trying every darn thing eventually!

  

Asanoya Boulangerie
15 Queen Street, #01-03, Singapore 188537
Tel: (65) 6703 8703

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] o16. DAYTRIP TO AYUTTHAYA

40 miles north of Bangkok lies Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, capital of Ayutthaya Province, Thailand. Ayutthaya Kingdom was destroyed in 1767 by Burmese army who took down the city. Ayutthaya, like Rome, has since left most of its ruins within sight. Officially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is its Historical Park, whose ruins were a peek into the kingdom’s past grandeur.

Dia and Ake drove us on a daytrip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. The journey could have taken way longer (by means of Thailand’s inter-city railway) than our tranquil 1.5 hours drive to the country side which I truly enjoyed. Having lived in a city all my life, the drive was akin to entering a timezone ungoverned by conventional rules of time. I was fascinated by farmers in paddy fields seeming to move in slow-motion, accustomed to a lazy pace of life. The last time I’ve ever immersed in such a slow-moving city was during a layover in Mumbai, India, but even then I was concerned by and paranoid of the city’s hygiene. Here I rolled down my windows to let unfamiliar country smells invade my olfactory senses. The experience was truly rural and underrated.

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A stream leading to Chao Phraya, Thailand
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Enjoying this incredibly scenic view while dining on the country’s finest seafood

With Dia and Ake, our tummies were in for a treat. Along a stream that leads to Chao Phraya River, we located Yang Deaw Restaurant, a local eatery well-known amongst the natives for grilled river shrimps.

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A mouth-wateringly good salad with Thai version of the Chinese salted eggs, tossed with shrimps and chunks of chilli
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Steamboat / various fried fishcakes and pork dishes
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Pork in spicy gravy with salted eggs. Thai dishes are just so big on gravy and sauces it’s impossible to go without.

An old lady, aided by 2 others only a decade younger, took our orders, prepared the seafood, grilled the prawns, chopped the vegetables, served the dishes, iced our tea and washed the dishes in a small pantry; hence service was, like everywhere else in the country, slow. Oddly enough, us city-dwellers never for one second lost our patience. I contemplated going to the kitchen to help mince the pork and skewer some prawns.

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Looks ugly here, but this crispy salted fish blew our minds.
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Highlight of the meal: hugeass river shrimps!

Highlight of the meal: river shrimps! In all its fresh glory. Caught right off coast at neighbouring streams surrounding Ayutthaya. When de-shelled, these shrimps were almost the length of my forearm (note: I have long limbs)

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Did I make you wanna lick the screen?

We left Yang Deaw feeling like our lives was complete, then we drove further north, nursing an intense food coma with tonnes of iced tea. One of our major pit-stops was Wat Panan Choeng temple, on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, part of Ayutthaya Historical Park. Fervent Thai Buddhists usually made it a point to journey to this temple to pray for the best of luck on New Years and special occasions. The Golden Buddha statue is known as Luang Pho Tho, who stands at 19meters tall.

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Our Thai friend Ake going about with his prayers by sticking gold flecks on small Buddha statues

 

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Luang Pho Tho @ 19m tall

We were there for a ceremony on that particular day – Thais were flocking in to pray for good luck for the coming year (2015). Fervent Buddhists purchased golden cloth to ‘clothe the Buddha statue’. We purchased one each and handed the golden sashes to a temple staff, who then proceeded to mumble his blessings, before tossing the golden cloth to 3 pairs of waiting hands standing on Luang Pho Tho who would catch the cloth, tie them to the existing length covering Luang Pho Tho. During the ceremony, Buddhist monks would then chant a long series of words in Thai. We joined the fervent Buddhists in kneeling at the Buddha’s feet with our heads bowed. When the time came, the monks and temple staff began throwing the tied cloth back at us and people in the front started pulling the cloth for us people at the back. The cloth went over our heads as a symbol of protection and having us ‘covered’. After we were all draped in gold cloth, the chant went on in Thai for about 5 to 10 minutes, before we returned the cloth and made our donations to the temple.

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Blessings from Luang Pho Tho
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Passing the golden cloth, over our heads

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A room filled with religious statuettes
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Devotees

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The first of my posts on Ayutthaya had touched on aspects of local food and Wat Phanan Choeng. In the coming posts I’ll be sharing on other places to visit in Ayutthaya, including the famous ‘Buddha head in tree‘ featured in many travel guides on Thailand. Stay tuned for more!

Yang Deaw Restaurant
5/1 Moo 4, Tambon Ban Len, Amphoe Bang Pa-in, Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya

Wat Phanan Choeng

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] o15. VINTAGE ROD FAI

Talad Rod Fai, Bangkok, is an open-air bazaar peddling an insane array of vintage collectables, quirky kitsch and memorabilia from yesteryear. Since its move in 2013 due to an expansion of the BTS Skytrain line, its reappearance at the new site accommodated a bigger, more international crowd. I loved the old Rod Fai next to the train tracks, where shop-owners displayed their wares on floors or did business right out of 1950s Cadillacs. The new locale is posh, less rugged than before, while retaining signature vintage elements.

Shopping was way down on my list of priorities as opposed to capturing these on camera.

“Vintage books, old china, antiques; maybe I love old things so much because I feel impermanent myself.”
― Josh Lanyon

All things biker chic
All things biker chic
Vintage television
Vintage television
Lorries from another era
Lorries from another era
From before our parents were born
From before our parents were born
Vintage Chinese
Vintage Chinese

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For Sale: Gas masks, anybody?
For Sale: Gas masks, anybody?
So old your nose will blow
So old your nose will blow
Coca cola signs
Coca cola signs
This still exist?!
This still exist?!
Route 66, US
Route 66, US
Old is gold
Old is gold
Rod Fai Gems
Rod Fai Gems
This is how coffee is made, sometimes
This is how coffee is made, sometimes
Pretty interiors of Title @ Rod Fai
Pretty interiors of Title @ Rod Fai
Title @ Rod Fai
Title @ Rod Fai
LOVE @ Rod Fai Thailand
LOVE @ Rod Fai Thailand
Leaving space
Leaving space
Pinball or something
Pinball or something
Vintage bikes...vespa?
Vintage bikes…vespa?
Mannequin.
Mannequin.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] o14. SIX HANGOUTS TO HIT IN BANGKOK (FOODIES ONLY)

Perks of having native Thai friends – they’ve tried it all and only take you for the best. I had the honour of my Thai native friends’ undivided attention 5 days in January this year. Knowing us (foodies who were through with tourist traps in the big city), the pair of them took us gallivanting through Bangkok for the best F&B. Here are 6 of my favourite picks,

GRAM CAFE – Brunch

Nestled within the trendy streets of Sukhumvit 49 near to Thong Lor is GRAM Cafe, featuring an open-kitchen counter and a pretty garden where you dine. Highlights of our meal: ovaltine volcano pancakes dripping in chocolate fudge and ovaltine powdered goodness. Also loved their latte: I’m a sucker for hand-drip coffee.

Gram Cafe Thailand

Gram Cafe, Bangkok
Gram Cafe, Bangkok
Their lattes are not to be missed
Their lattes are not to be missed
Smoked salmon salad - my all-time salad of choice
Smoked salmon salad – my all-time salad of choice
What 5 Persons Ate
What 5 Persons Ate
Ovaltine Volcano Pancakes
Ovaltine Volcano Pancakes
Pulled Pork Burger
Pulled Pork Burger

Outdoor-dining only meant there were certain elements of nature interrupting our quiet brunch: flies, mozzies and leaves falling into your coffee. But when your bill arrives all’s good again, since a Bangkok hipster brunch is one of the most affordable in the world.

GRAM CAFE
1/F, 49 Terrace, Sukhumvit Soi 49, Bangkok, Thailand
Tue-Sun 9am-5pm
081-884-8554
Nearest Train: BTS Phrom Phong


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ROCKET COFFEE BAR – Brunch

An uber-chic hangout for hipster lunch in the up and coming Sathorn area; the best flat white in town makes this the expats’ choice on the weekends. Save yourself the best seat by the window when you make reservations! Rocket is well-known for their artisanal coffees – I fell so in love with their iced latte that I had to have two.

Muesli Yoghurt with Honey
brunch bangkok
Eggs Benedict
brunch thailand
Salmon Roe and Crab Meat Toast

Their eggs-ben weren’t fantastic and drool-worthy so don’t bother if you’re hunting for the best food in time. Come here for a cozy meet-up, and to immerse in a chic up-town environment.

Check out their menu here.

Rocket Coffee Bar
147, Sathorn Soi 12, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
+66 2 635 0404
Monday to Sunday 7am – 11pm
Nearest station: BTS Chong Nonsi


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MR JONES’ ORPHANAGE – Cakes, waffles and all things sweet

Named after a renowned children’s book, Mr Jones’ Orphanage lives up to its name with teddy-bear strewn interiors, low-hanging ceilings resembling children’s bedrooms, and quirky cutesy dessert creations. We ordered a round of cakes and rocky road waffles after heavy-on-the-savoury-buds lunch – the kick on our sense of taste was incredible. Mr Jones’ is a sweet-tooth’s haven.

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Cookie Monster Cupcakes
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Red Velvet Cakes

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We had one of each: the strawberry shortcake is too amazing. The kitkat mud monster was way too chocolatey but if you’re a fan, it’s a chocolate heart attack.
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Marshmallows Rocky Road Waffles

With more than one outlet, the cafe still gets crowded. Save the wait and make reservations!

Mr Jones’ Orphanage
2nd Level, Siam Center
Rama 1 Road, Bangkok, Pathumwan 10330
11:00 am – 10:00 pm


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MANNA THAI – Rock Melon Sorbet

rock melon sorbet siam paragon manna thai

Situated at the basement level of Siam Paragon is an outdoor paradise, where the food isn’t spectacular but they serve a mean rock melon sorbet straight out of rock melon skin. A hand-drip latte goes well enough, and together we’ve got tea-break for the high-soul in Bangkok. Dining in is great, but the view outside is better. If you’re into people-watching this is your little heaven.

Rock melon sorbet is highly recommended.

Manna Thai
G Fl., Siam Paragon
991 Rama1, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
+66 2129 4555


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CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET – Street Food

Don’t waste your time and money if you’re hell-bent on eating clean in Thailand! Street food has too much flavour and life in it, so who cares what happens in the kitchen right? Eating straight from street stalls gave me a genuine taste of Thailand – where the culture stands, and what the people enjoy in their spare time. Here, flavour is key (as lovers of uber-sweet Thai Iced Milk Tea can vouch for), and Thais are big on traditional spices. Meet some of my favourites from the all-time touristy Weekend Market of Chatuchak.

Yummy oily thing
Carrot cake-ish mash up – oily but sooo good
Quail Eggs
Quail Eggs! Featuring my Batman-inspired nails.
smoky ice cream
Smoking Ice Cream
Street oysters
Street Oysters

Shoppers are advised not to waste any time stopping to ogle at street food if intent on covering every nook and cranny of this 32.91 km² maze. Shopping can be endless in this god-amazing place, but some things are just not up my alley, especially when the weather’s too hot and I’ve been here more times than I bothered to count.

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SOMBOON – Seafood

The best place for fresh seafood fix in Bangkok: my all time favourite dish is the fried curry crab which comes in a fuss-free pre-shelled form so all you need to do is scoop it up, eat it with rice or fried bread! Do not exclaim “so cheap!” each time you select a dish or you’ll end up sounding like a bird. Yes, seafood is seriously affordable here.

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PRE-SHELLED FRIED CURRY CRAB: Party in my mouth and heaven in a dish
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Deep fried sea-bass – just look at this meaty goodness
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Steamed and tossed mussels in onion and gravy. Hmm
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Darn fresh oysters! Gotta slurp ’em all
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Feast for Five
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Delish mango sticky rice

Somboon Seafood
895/6-12 Chula Soi8, Bangthadthong Road | Wang Mai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
11:00 to 23:00 Daily
0-2216-4203-4 or 0-2214-4927


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Stay tuned for more adventures in Bangkok, as I’m always back for more. I’ve got too much affinity with the Land Of Smiles, it seems.

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

raohe st night market

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!”

 

taipei tofu
“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.
peace out girl
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.

kids activities night market
#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

[PARIS] oo7.CARETTE

“When good Americans die, they go to Paris,’ the ghost said, after taking a drag on a small cigarette.”
― Karen Chance, Embrace the Night

The sky decided on delivering a full-blown shower and a trio of very drenched Paris Explorers braved their way on foot across the Eiffel Tower and towards Trocadero. Pretty much everywhere in Paris’ city centre you’ll be able to locate patisseries and cafes that are great for alfresco-dining.

A walking distance from Tour de Eiffel is The Carette Paris where locals and tourists alike can be seen nursing a cuppa, having pre-dinner drinks along the pavement portico, or enjoying a full-course dinner in its premises. Its interior decor is made up of beautiful pristine whites in stark contrast to the red velvet cushions and dark brown mahogany woods of their lounges and seats, which in my opinion is the classiest interior colour combination ever.

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Dinner was: iced chocolate, almond and cinnamon infused hot milk, a slice of insanely rich opera cake, a piping hot onion and cheese soup as well as assorted macarons!P1070099

A handful of pistachio, raspberry, dark chocolate and sea salt caramel, rose, and fudge cake macarons. My favourite was the pistachio. So yummy! ^^ See how Paris has spoilt me on the dessert front? Overloading on good pastries is a given when in Paris! They have an impressive collection of macarons on offer, you can never taste them all.
carette paris

macarons paris

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chocolate shake paris

delicious food paris

And then there was this: the opera cake. I can never have another coffee/chocolate cake without thinking of this one.
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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[MELBOURNE] oo4. WINTER SNAPSHOTS

What’s great in Melbourne, besides taking photos with koala bears and trying not to get ass-kicked by kangaroos in their local zoos? . Just walk around the central business district and you’ll be surprised by all kinds of quirky finds. Hipster cafes, graffitied streets, an alley dedicated to pub-crawlers, giant chess pieces for challenging an opponent you’ve never met…the list goes on. Winter does not stop Melbourne from being still one of the best places to be.
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I have a confession to make: I’m into grocery shopping. Australia is my favourite place for stocking up big-time on coffee and cereals. Their supermarts boasts the craziest selection of bottled juices and smoothies (that effectively kills snacking urges, because it’s just too damn hard to say no to one of the world’s yummiest gummies (Starburst!) and chocolates (Haigh’s), both of which are classic buys when you’re in this part of the world. Unless of course, you’re a Special K Addict and your luggage is jam-packed with boxes of these stuff.

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ROME] GRAN CAFFE ROMA

Breakfast was pepperoni and salami pizza at the Gran Caffe Roma via Vittorio Veneto in Rome, Italy. Alfresco dining in the morning summer breeze gave us plenty of room for people-watching, which brings me to remembering the blatant stares we’d throughout our journey received from patrons of pavement cafes and restaurants. Sometimes I wonder if we’re the first Asian species that these people are seeing. We too have 2 eyes, a nose and a mouth, no? The cafe interior was lovely, the servers were surly (clearly not morning people) and for an Italian joint the food bland and disappointing. Coffee, though, was the only yummy thing. Nonetheless the pizza, beef lasagna and bacon&cheese sandwich managed to satiate our ginormous need for carbs.

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] BOURKE STREET BAKERY

Tarts and tea at the Bourke Street Bakery on a weekday afternoon. Surry Hills is home to a flourish of yuppie bars and cafes where misfits are the new chic. People no longer go to cafes seeking lattes. Instead, we pay more physical attention to the space we spend time in. Naturally, we want to surround ourselves in a creative, culturally-inspiring, aesthetically pleasing and innovative environment.

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And I found my little indie heaven on Bourke Street where Cass brought me for afternoon tea.20140719-204713-74833569.jpg

Small as it is, the cafe is nothing more than a corner-shop with tables and benches on the outside for patrons. In my opinion, dining alfresco has its definite perks! Great air, good view of the streets and biking hippies.This does not however include the fact that it started drizzling and we had to prop open our umbrellas to continue eating in the rain. Great fun it was.

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Nonetheless I loved how dilapidated the outdoor benches were. Not deliberately so, I suppose. Its concept just seemed so casual like an everyday neighbourhood bakery.20140719-204716-74836001.jpg

Ah… This, my dear friends, is the insanely good GINGER BRULEE TART. It is to-die-for. You may find a rather complex recipe at A Table For Two as adapted from Bourke Street Bakery’s cookbook but don’t expect to replicate the famed goodness! The caramel layer is perfectly burnt to crisp chewiness whilst the inside retains its custard-y moist. Infused (but not overwhelmed) by ginger, the spice added an extra zing toward an unconventional sweetness. No wonder it’s a hit at the cafe!

Bourke Street Bakery Ginger Brulee Tart

ginger brulee tart

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Aside from a fixed menu, the bakery comes up with daily specials. Apparently, I have to try their strawberry meringue tart! Yup, definitely on my to-do list, next trip to Sydney.

Bourke Street Bakery Surry Hills
633 Bourke St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Australia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] AUSTRALIA’S BEST-LOVED GELATO

I’ve finally tried Messina, voted the best gelato in Australia by the Good Food Guide!

Our double-scoop picks:
Salted Caramel and White Chocolate: salted caramel gelato with white chocolate chip, and
Tiramisu: egg, marsala and mascarpone gelato with lady finger biscuits soaked in espresso coffee
True to form, the combination tastes much better than it looks i.e. heavenly and as sinful as salted caramel may sound, its worth every damn calorie I will need to burn after scarfing this gelato cup down!20140719-203421-74061765.jpg

This one’s located at The Star, a short walk to and from Darling Harbour, Sydney CBD, Chinatown etc.
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I’m tempted to try everything on display but there’s not enough room  in my tummy after a seafood platter, sashimi and sushi from Sydney Fish Market. This must be a third-world problem – going to a foreign land, only to encounter so much good food in so little time. And then we complain of not having gastronomical variety in our own country. What a sin. I mean, look at these temptations!!20140719-203418-74058151.jpg

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Check out these GREAT FLAVOURS (taken from GelatoMessina, but watch ’em allergic hazards):
ALLERGY CHECKLIST 

– (G) Contains Gluten, (N) Contains Nuts, (E) Contains Egg, (A) Contains Alcohol

Apple Pie (G)(E) – real apple gelato with our own house made apple pie throughout
Banana Split (N) –
 caramel and banana gelato with chopped peanuts and whipped cream
Bounty
 – coconut milk gelato with desiccated coconut and choc chip
Caramelised White Chocolate 
Choc Mint – real fresh mint gelato with chocolate chip
Milk Chocolate with Choc Peanut Fudge (N)
Chocolate Fondant (N) – a rich decadent dark chocolate (contains traces of nuts)
Chocolate Chip – light cocoa gelato with chocolate chips
Coconut & Lychee – coconut milk gelato with lychee fruit
Coffee – made with real espresso coffee (seriously)
Dulce De Leche – an Argentinean caramel made by reducing milk until it becomes a sweet jam.
Gianduia Bianca (N) – white chocolate & hazelnut gelato with hazelnut praline
Gianduia (N) – chocolate & hazelnut
Hazelnut (N) – made with fresh roasted hazelnuts from Cortemilia in Italy
Italian Nougat (N)(E) (A-traces) – honey based gelato with roasted nuts, egg whites and Italian nougat
Pear & Rhubarb – fresh pear gelato with our own poached spiced rhubarb
Pistachio (N) – made with freshly ground roasted pistachios from Bronte in Italy
Poached Figs in Marsala (A)(E) – baby figs poached in Marsala (a fortified Italian cooking wine)
Salted Caramel and White Chocolate – salted caramel gelato with white chocolate chip (our biggest seller!)
Tiramisu (G)(A)(E) – egg, marsala and mascarpone gelato with lady finger biscuits soaked in espresso coffee.
Vanilla (E) – made from fresh Jersey Milk
Pannacotta with Fig Jam and Amaretti Biscuit (G)(N)(E)(A-traces) – pannacotta gelato base.
Yoghurt & Berry – yoghurt gelato with poached raspberry and blueberry coulee
Yoghurt & Caramel – yoghurt gelato with dulce de leche

Sorbets (all dairy free)

Salted Coconut and Mango Salsa
Blood Orange
Chocolate Sorbet
Lemon
Lychee Martini
Mango
Pandan & Coconut – 
Pandan is a green asian leaf used in asian cooking.
Passionfruit
Raspberry
Strawberry

See what I mean? We had such a hard time choosing.

Messina at The Star
80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont NSW 2009, Australia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] ADRIANO ZUMBO’S OTHERWORLDLY DELIGHTS

So I caved in to macarons. Or zumbarons to be more accurate.
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But how could you not, after stepping into Adriano Zumbo’s at The Star, Sydney, only to be consumed by sight of an array of beautiful sugary goodness and crazy exotic macaron flavours?
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I’ll allow you to feast your eyes on foodporn ahead.

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Adriano Zumbo at the Star
Shop 1, Cafe Court, The Star/80 Pyrmont St
Pyrmont NSW 2009

P.S. THANK YOU CASS FOR BRINGING ME HERE! AND AROUND SYDNEY! I’ve seen so much of Sydney’s CBD in a short time ^^

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] BRUNCH AT SYDNEY FISH MARKET

Australia’s Home of Seafood, the Sydney Fish Market, is apparently the “…largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and the world’s second largest seafood market in terms of variety outside of Japan.” Brunch after touching down in Sydney and meeting up with Cassandra (yay!) was a seafood platter for one (but damnnnn look at the humongous portion) consisting of a cheese-baked oyster, fried-bacon oyster, scallops, barramundi fillet, squids and chips, plus avocado and salmon sushi, and 150g of incredibly fresh sashimi. For the amount we paid, it’s virtually impossible to get a comparable quality anywhere else!

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We had our brunch out in the open, face to face with this breathtaking harbour view. Winter in Sydney is colder than I’d expected! 50°F or so on a July morning, plus the sea-side breeze, is enough to chill one right to his bones. Thankfully nearer to noontime the sun came out to save the day. An insane number of crazy hungry sea-gulls (or whatever insolent bird creatures they may be) kept up their attempts to steal our sashimi. So we literally guarded our food, giving them the evil eye each time one of them hovered a hairline above our heads. Never feed one, for the rest will pounce on you.

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Sashimi which made the birds go wwwwwild. These birds only pick the best to scavenge for.20140717-144158-52918329.jpg

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Everything was so good, and so fresh. It’s comparable to seafood in Japan, for sure!20140717-144155-52915443.jpg

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So here’s what goes on at the other parts of the bustling fish market: platters and platters of yummy seafood and uber fresh fare!20140717-155646-57406211.jpg

SO. BIG.20140717-155644-57404458.jpg

Oddly, the market does not reek of fishy odours like usual fish markets or literal fish markets. The air’s really clean, with a tantalizing fragrance that does not imply death and rot. YAY!

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Aside from seafood fishmongers, Sydney Fish Marker is home to numerous restaurants, cafés, a bakery, gourmet deli, greengrocer, fishing supplies store and a gift shop! So much to do, so little time! And so little stomach space T_T. Definitely coming back for more food with Cassandra. And yay I’ve got a companion! Definitely looking forward to Sydney from now on.

P.S. Meet the more well-behaved harbour-side feathered friend, just dragging his long black beak and doing his own things.20140717-160102-57662957.jpg

Sydney Fish Market
Pyrmont Bridge Rd
Pyrmont NSW Australia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean