Kin by Us, Macquarie Park

My goodness, it seems forever since we were in Sydney! At the rate I am going, I will be back from my Sydney trip in June and I am still writing about my last visit! Whoopsie! Now, Kin By Us, is run by My Kitchen Rules 2014 couple – Uel and Shannelle – I have heard wonderful things about this place, especially the menu which has a Chinese and Korean influence. But best of all, it was in my old hood where I grew up!

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The place was incredibly busy when we rocked up at 11, we waited for a good 35 mins before finally seated but it was worth it! We started with this cool fretting water-my-melon drink. It had a combination of watermelon and all the different types of melon in it. It was definitely refreshing and Dragon couldn’t help but drink most of it – there is no sharing in her vocabulary!

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I couldn’t go past the Snap Crackle Plop (AUD10) – only available after 11.30. Chicken rice, chicken skin and a slow cooked onsen egg! My goodness, this was AMAZING – and who doesn’t like chicken skin right? My only gripe, wish there was more chicken skins!!! The chicken rice was definitely legit, Dragon demolished this and I am pretty sure I only had one piece whilst Dragon had the rest!

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The congee (AUD17) was beautifully presented. There was way too much shallots for my liking, but I did enjoy the pork floss and not to mention the fried bread dough. There was mix reviews on this congee, one absolutely enjoyed it, the other wasn’t a big fan of pork floss. I thought it was nice, but I am not much of a congees person, except for when I am sick, and I would definitely eat this if i was sick!

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Another favourite of mine is the Waffle Belly (AUD17) – delicious succulent pork belly and onsen egg on top of potato waffle! My goodness, that pork belly was just too die for and the perfect gooey onsen egg was a wonderful complement. This was definitely my favourite!

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Oh and those who likes Durian, they have durian affogato and my goodness – this was excellent. I would come back just to have the waffle belly and durian affogato!

Service was excellent and friendly. Come early, as it does get extremely busy. Also, parking around the hood is NOT easy. I went here twice and the first time I drove and ended up parking in Macquarie Shopping Centre, the second walked! Definitely a good addition to Macquarie Park and can’t wait to go back and try it!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Kin By Us

2 Saunders Close

Macquarie Park, Sydney, Australia

KIN By Us on Urbanspoon

Bread Street Kitchen, Central, Hong Kong

My goodness, it certainly has been a long time since my last post, almost a month!!! Things has definitely been busy in the GA household. We just got back from an 8 day trip to Danang, Vietnam, now if you haven’t been, it is an excellent place to relax, unwind, and spend time with the family – more to come!

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Now Bread Street Kitchen part of the Dining Concepts group, is the not so new restaurant by Gordan Ramsay. It’s been opened for a while now, and I was fortunate enough to go one day for lunch – reservations has been hard as it is always fully booked! They have managed to replicate the original London decor almost exactly to Hong Kong – a blend of vintage and modern feel and offers diners an upmarket British gastropub fare.

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Everything on the menu sounded wonderful, I wanted to try everything but it was the burger that definitely caught my eye. We started with some warm bread, fresh out of the oven – yum!

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Now the burger – Bread Street Kitchen short rib burger, monterey jack cheese, spicy sriracha mayo (HKD188) – oh my my! Served with wedges, I knew I was going to hit food coma and a very very slow afternoon at work! Even before I began to attack the burger, sauce was already dripping – I knew this was going to be a messy one and indeed it was. It was fantastic though, the pattie was soft and cooked the way I like it, the bread was soft and slightly toasted, and the spicy sriracha mayo was a wonderful compliment! It was absolutely delicious that I devoured all of it without asking my dining companion if she wanted some!

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My friend, R, opt for Dingley Dell pork chop (10z) (HKD228) and it was indeed a generous serving. It came with a few garnishes and sauce of your choice – peppercorn, red wine marrow or béarnaise sauce.. hmhmmhhm red wine marrow! The pork was incredibly tender that it just melted in your mouth. You can’t get pork chop wrong but this was impressive and R demolished it!

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Unfortunately, we were pressed for time, the service wasn’t slow, it was actually quite good (staff were friendly) but we were both running late to lunch, and I had to attend a meeting (which I almost fell asleep!) so didn’t have time for desserts, which is a shame. All the desserts sounded great, and I look forward to going back again. There’s definitely a next time!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Bread Street Kitchen

Mezzanine Level, LKF Hotel,

33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2230 1800

Mister Gee Burger Truck, Leichhardt

I have seen so many pictures of Mister Gee’s Burger on my feed that I had to check it out for myself on my trip to Sydney. The menu is minimal, burger, french fries and a milk shake. The burger menu changes weekly, and on the night we went it was serving the fat boy burger, chili cheese fries and baklava shake.

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The queue when we rocked up was quite long, thing we waited a good 30 – 40 mins for our burger and seating is minimal, however, we were lucky enough to have found a seating. Majority of the people had takeaway, but I can’t imagine driving back 30 mins and eating a soggy burger! I had originally thought about eating in the car also, but with kids, I don’t think that would be very comfortable!

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The Fat Boy Burger – Oh my my… beef patty, melted jack cheese, oak leaf lettuce, pickled cabbage some sauce which I couldn’t figure out what and bacon jam all in a soft light brioche bun. The patty was cooked well-done (i would have preferred it medium rare but i would assume it would be difficult to have it cooked different ways!), the pickled cabbage i love, it really gave it that added sour flavour and the caramelised bacon was sweet and smokey which was a wonderful addition to the burger. It was messy, it was big, and it was frigging delicious!!! Burger cravings SATISFIED!

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The chili and cheese fries was also excellent, my SiL and I couldn’t stop eating it, and neither did our kids! They absolutely loved the fries.

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The baklava shake was a little on the sweet side for me, but my brother, F, really enjoyed it!

Glad to have tried this burger, it was definitely tasty and those chili and cheese fries were excellent! Would I wait again for 30 – 40 mins? Probably not, but that’s just me, however, I wouldn’t mind dropping by after a big night out and need some grease!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Mister Gee Burger Truck

315 Parramatta Road

Leichhardt, 2040

Ph: +61 411 092663

PS: do check their website on Facebook or Instagram, they have previously moved location since they first started.

Work in Progress, Sydney

Sorry for the lack of post. Things in the GAs household has been chaotic. Dragon and I have been sick 6 times in the past 10 – 12 weeks, yes that’s every fortnight that we were sick! It was crazy, my body needed some rest and a reboot!!! Work has been chaotic also, and I was in Sydney for a fortnight to visit family and work! It has been a crazy couple of months, hopefully it will die down soon and I can focus on the more important stuff in life, like health, food and Dragon!

This post is quite late, and there’s only a week or so left of the pop up, Work in Progress, which is head by Patrick Friesen of Papi Chulo and on the menu is fried chicken, noodles and many more!

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The menu is split into three sections, snacks and vegetables, noodles and FRIED CHICKEN! There are three types of fried chicken, and can be ordered by the half serve of the whole chook.

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We started with the agedashi’ish tofu (AUD14) and OMG, this was absolutely amazing! Silken tofu cubes which was have a crisp batter was covered with dried bonito flakes, sweet mayo and BBQ sauce. I could definitely have eaten the whole plate myself! Probably my favourite on the menu

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We ordered the sichuan duck and tofu lo mien (AUD16) – the noodles are al dente (i prefer it a little more soft) which was served with generous servings of duck and cubes of tofu. The sauce is a tad spicy, and garlicky which was a wonderful complement.

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Lastly, the reason why we were here, fried chicken ginger nuoc cham (AUD16) – the batter deliciously crunchy and meat succulent (except for the breast which I thought was a little dry but I am never a big fan of chicken breast!)

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Everything on the menu sounded delicious, the wonton noodles also looked great, it’s a shame that I didn’t get a chance to come back and try their other dishes. If you haven’t been, definitely worth going for a visit before it finishes. I do hope that it does become permanent, I wouldn’t mind some of that agedashi’ish tofu now!!

There’s no reservation, we came at about 12pm and it was quiet, but by the time we left about 1pm the restaurant was quite busy!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Work in Progress

50 King Street

Sydney

Work in Progress on Urbanspoon

Social Place, Central, Hong Kong

Newish restaurant located in the L Place in Central. It’s a new dim sum place, contemporary Chinese cuisine with a modern, healthy (no added MSG) and unique twist. I caught up with the lovely J for lunch, the restaurant offers dim sum and other dishes, but we were here for one thing, dim sum and wanted to try lots of it.

I love the plates – at first I thought there was something on my plate, a fly perhaps? I also love the décor, it’s a beautiful, open space, there’s a ping pong table that has been converted to a dining table which dominated the floor.

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We started with duck salad – so much color on a plate and it was beautifully done.

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Our favourite was the truffle shitake buns – I literary thought they were mushrooms but they were steamed buns in the shape of mushrooms and they were surprisingly good, and the truffle really gave it a nice kick.

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Next the turnip cake, pan-fried, it really gave it a nice crispy exterior and soft-pillow-y on the inside.

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I definitely couldn’t go past these pork belly slider babies. The pork belly were soft and tender, which was perfect with the soft bun, the preserved vegetables were a wonderful complement. We devoured these fatty pork belly babies within seconds and wanted more!

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The seared Chinese pancakes were a little disappointing I thought. It was pretty much roti and shallots, which I could probably have done at home.

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Another disappointing dish was the steamed glutinous rice ‘siu mai’. It lacked flavor and was bland.

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For desserts, we thought we would get the steamed custard buns and boy oh boy it did not disappoint! Flowing lava of custard and egg yolk, my goodness, I wanted more. It was the perfect way to end a delicious meal.

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Majority of the dishes I thought was good. This was my second visit (didn’t take photos during the first one) and thought it was pretty decent. I love the open space, there are no trolleys here at this dim sum place, but most places in Hong Kong don’t have trolleys anyways. Will be back to try their other dishes, even maybe for dinner.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Social Place

2/F, The L. Place, No.139 Queen’s Road Central (next to The Center),

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 3568 9666

Neighborhood, Central, Hong Kong

Sorry for the lack of post, I have been hit hard with the stomach flu and was bedridden for a few days. My goodness, there is some serious bug going around Hong Kong and the stomach flu was not a pleasant one! Glad to say that I am on the mend, and looking forward to blogging and eating out again. I had the pleasure of dining at Neighrbourhood for my birthday. Now, the entrance is not on Hollywood Road as it says but it is actually at the back, on the little memorial garden for Sun Yat San. This place is extremely popular and has two sittings, one at 6.00pm and the other at 8.30pm. We were dining with Dragon, so had no problems with the 6pm sitting.

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The restaurant was relatively quiet when we arrived but about 30 – 40 mins later it was quite full. The restaurant is quite small (maybe up to 25?) and I loved the minimalist décor with wooden, clothless tables. The menu was simple, nothing too descriptive but you get the jist.

Whilst perusing the menu, we started with some bread, which the waitress was more than happy to refill for us as we had one hungry Dragon eating all the bread. The bread was deliciously warm, and how I’ve missed good bread!

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We started with the wagyu tartare / parmesan / truffle (HKD145) and oh my my, this was absolutely delicious. It was fresh, the parmesan and truffle really gave it that extra nice flavouring.

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‘The Mother’ wanted to try the seasonal vegetables / anchovy (HKD125) – it didn’t look like much, I was actually quite surprised and thought what the? The vegetables were cold but it was the anchovy sauce that made it excellent. This was ‘The Mother’s’ favourite dish!

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We thought we would order the baby zucchini risotto / zucchini blossom (HKD140) for Dragon and she loved it until she ate some pepper corn and claimed it was too ‘spicy’. We really loved the baby zucchini risotto, it was creamy and cooked to perfection.

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The handmade tagliolini (HKD135) we really enjoyed, especially Dragon. It was so simple but yet so addictive!

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The daily meat / roast (HKD155) was pork belly and no doubt we had to order it and this definitely DID NOT Disappoint!! The meat and fat ratio was perfect and the skin had a lovely crackle. The pork belly was served with some lentils, and carrots which was a wonderful complement.

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For dessert, we thought we would share the chocolate palette (HKD70) – oh my my. Soft chocolate ganache with a thin layer of sweet chocolate cookie crust.

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It was divinely rich, and we loved every mouthful of it!

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The food was definitely excellent, and we enjoyed our meal. The waiter / waitress were great with Dragon and she definitely enjoyed herself. Will definitely be back to try their other dishes and have the chocolate palette again!

Neighborhood

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

61-63 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong (between Peel and Aberdeen Streets and entrance on Pak Tsz Lane Park behind Hollywood Road)

Ph: +852 2617 0891

 

North Island, New Zealand Part II

So Part I was all about Lake Taupo, and Napier. Now the second part is about driving back from Napier to Auckland and stopping at Rotatua, spending a few days in Auckland and a few days in Bays of Island.

After Napier, we drove all the way to Auckland, it was about a 6 hour drive but we did stop in Roturua – we had originally going to stay overnight here but ‘The Mother’ decided against it and went straight to Napier. We sent to Polynesian Spa which I loved, however, Dragon, not so much! The water was WAY too hot for her and she said that it smelt like ‘poo poo’ LOL. We even got a private pool (only 30 mins) and we stayed at the Lake Spa for a bit. I would definitely have loved a massage, but ‘The Mother’ was eager to stop by a park (I can’t for the life remember the name) before Auckland. There were SO MUCH SPACE and GRASS!!!! LOVE!

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Where we stayed: a 4 bedroom house (found on air bnb by ‘The Mother’s aunt) which was nice and spacious. Only problem was the walls were so thin, we could hear a pin drop!

What we did: nothing much, we had a wedding at Abbeville Estate – it was a beautiful place for a wedding and Dragon again wore her favourite and BEST outfit for the day!

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What we ate – for breakfast we ate at home, and obviously a wonderful meal for the wedding and dim sum (yum cha) for the day after wedding. I did have a pretty good meal with one of my oldest and dearest friend in Auckland – Blue Breeze inn which serves a delicious Modern Chinese food.

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Chef Che Barrington is the chef behind Blue Breeze Inn and in 2011, he opened MooChowChow, Auckland’s first modern Thai restaurant. There were so many options on the menu. We started with the steamed bun of roasted pork belly and pickled cucumber (NZD10 each) – that crackle, it was sublime and the bun itself was soft and pillowy which was excellent.

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We also couldn’t go past the steamed bun of five-spiced tofu, kimchi, and coriander (NZD9 each) – I have to say, this was pretty good. I may have preferred this over the pork belly one and that says a lot!

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The bang bang chili chicken with black vinegar, sesame-chilli dressing (NZD18) was ‘bang bang’. The chili really gave it a nice kick! It was a little spicy for Dragon unfortunately but she definitely enjoyed my pork belly more.

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The beef unfortunately wasn’t as tender as I had hoped. It was a little on the tough side.

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For dessert, we ordered a couple of things to share. Mango, tapioca and lemon sorbet was refreshingly light and was a great palate cleanser!

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The taro dumplings were more on the heavier side but it’s not something I have eaten before. It was good but I definitely prefer the mango, tapioca and so did Dragon!

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Service was good and food was pretty good, especially the pork buns, shame about the beef though, as I was craving beef!

Before we left Auckland we had a quick lunch at Toru Café which is located in Ponsoby – I am really loving that area. It’s a little like Paddington, if you live in Sydney.

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‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the beef cheek, tomato, kasundi, carrot pie which was served with crinkle chips (NZD16.50) – oh how I fell in love with the crinkle chips! My my! It was crinkle potato chips, slightly fried, it was delicious. The pie itself wasn’t too bad either.

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I couldn’t go past the spiced chicken, halloumi, cous cous, raisin, harissa, date (NZD22.50) – I love cous cous, and not to mention squeaky cheese! Unfortunately Dragon wasn’t a huge fan of cous cous, nor the squeaky cheese, she did however, eat all my chicken.

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Service was polite and friendly, it’s a pretty cool little café, it was in the middle of a shopping arcade and was very relaxed. Food was good and everything on the menu sounded great! Those chips though – worth coming back for just a bowl of crinkle cut chips!

We were in Auckland for about 3 days, and then we drove up to Bays of Island. It was about a 2-3 hour drive, very scenic but lets be honest here, I spent most of it sleeping! Every opportunity I had, I was sleeping, I was SO TIRED and besides, cars and I – sleep! Who doesn’t? Come on?

Where we stayed: Waterfront Suite Paihia – Herritage Boutique Collection, 100 Marsden Road, Paihia, Bay of Islands, Paihia, New Zealand. We got the 2 bedroom apartments – don’t ask why but we definitely enjoyed the space! LOTS OF SPACE! And had a view of the ocean, which was beautiful!

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What we did: if it was summer or if Dragon was a little older, we could have gone swimming with the dolphins, go kayaking etc. But alas, our little Dragon is still 2.5 years old. We hung around town, there was a lovely grass area, and a piano where Dragon could not stop playing! I believe she has musical blood in her, just like her mama!

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What we ate:

We arrived early afternoon, and thought we would have an early dinner at Alongside which is situated over the water in the stunning bay of islands. It’s a very laid back place, very casual, we sat there drinking and eating whilst watching the sunset. It was a tad cold but it was still quite pleasant.

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I couldn’t go past the braised beef croquette – 4 generous size croquette with lots and lots of beef. The outside was slightly burnt but the inside, my my my… it was absolutely amazing!

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‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the soft shell fish tacos with our local catch, apple and mango salsa. He demolished this before I could even take a photo of it.

We also ordered a side of chunky street fries with rosemary salt and smoked aioli – they were demolished by the three of us! So good!

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They even had a kids menu for Dragon. Not pictured but for NZD10 – a bowl of Bolognese pasta and juice. She loves pasta so had no problems demolishing it.

It is really a nice way to spend the afternoon / evening. I can envisage many Sunday lazy afternoons sitting here, drinking and catching up with friends. It was really a very nice and pleasant area.

The next morning we had breakfast at Upper Deck, which was next door to our apartment. I ordered the big breakfast to share with Dragon – 2 fried eggs, bacon, sausage, mushroom and hash browns which was served with some brown toast. Pretty large serving, Dragon isn’t really a toast kind of girl for breakfast, she usually eats rice and leftovers for dinner. She loved the sausage and mushroom though, the toast she thought was a little hard.

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‘The Mother’ had something more simple – he was a little over big breakfasts (HOW COULD HE?) and opt for muesli, yogurt and fruit which was surprisingly good! Fresh fruit and the yogurt was surprisingly good!

We had dinner at one of the local pizza place near our apartments. The pizza wasn’t too bad, very big but it was for four of us. We ordered two of it and managed to finish it all!

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Overall, it was a great trip I love New Zealand, it’s such a beautiful place. However, the driving – the driving with Dragon almost killed me! Never again I think. We did have a good time, and would be keen to go to the South Island at some point.

Blue Breeze Inn

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

146 Ponsoby Road

Auckland, New Zealand, 1011

Ph: +64 9 360 0303

Toru

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

16 – 138 Ponsoby Road

Auckland, New Zealand, 1011

Ph: +64 9 555 1229

Alongside

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

69 Marsden Road,

Paihia, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Ph: +64 9 402 6220

Upper Deck

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

76 Marsden Road

Paihia, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Ph: +64 9402 8147

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