It’s definitely been a while since my last post – apologies for being MIA! It’s been a hectic couple of weeks – my family are in town, work was a tad crazy and we went to Korea for a week. Loved Seoul – the food, the shopping – am definitely keen to go back again sometimes soon.
Dragon also turned 2 last week and we had a birthday party for her, so trying to organise that and everything else, the blog got a little neglected. Hopefully things will get back to normal and there will be more posts to come, especially about Seoul and the food there.
Dragon and I went to Seoul with my family, unfortunately, ‘The Mother’ couldn’t go due to work commitments. We were there for 5 days and believe me that was not long enough! Stayed at the Fraser Place near City Hall and it was extremely home-y. We didn’t want to leave, there was a pool and kids area which was perfect for Dragon and I! We went swimming almost every morning and we loved it!
We had dinner one evening at Myeongdong Gyoza – now Myeongdong is one HUGE place! Lots of shopping and lots of food – absolutely loved the alleys! We spent a good 2 days in Myeongdong and I feel we didn’t cover everything! lol Now, Myeongdong Gyoza has been around for about 40 years, the restaurant is quite big, 2 floors and quite spacious. The menu is short and simple – dumplings and noodles and that’s it. They are quite famous for their kalguksu noodles which is their knife-cut handmade noodles.
The steamed dumplings are excellent! Filled with pork, mushroom, stir-fried zucchini and mungbean spouts. The dumplings are HUGE, meaty, and scrumptiously good! The skin deliciously soft and thin that if not picked up in the right way may tear! It was so good that I demolished about 8 on my own!
We also got a serving of the Kalguksu – which is similar to that of Chinese dumpling soup. The noodles were thin and soup had a wonderful pork broth, which was extremely flavourful! Dragon absolutely loved the noodles. The noodles were also served with dumplings and shredded vegetables.
I forgot to take a picture of the bibim guksu – which is noodles served cold and incredibly spicy! The sauce is sweet and sour and has a wonderful aromatic sesame oil. It was so spicy that my brother started to sweat! It was a little too spicy for my liking but perfect for hot humid summer.
It was cheap and cheerful dinner – I was extremely satisfied with the dumplings. My family came here twice – they really enjoyed the dumplings and the noodles. Food came relatively quickly, service was surprisingly ok.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
25-2, 2-ga Myoung-dong, Chung-gu
Seoul, South Korea
Ph: +82 2 776 5348
Juttutupa is a laid back restaurant which can be found behind Scandic Paasi Hotel which we stayed on the 2nd leg of our trip in Helsinki. It was quite a funky hotel but a bit out of the city centre. We ate here on our second last night in Helsinki, and Juttutupa serves good hearty food, a wide range of beers and other drinks.
There is no table service, you pay at the bar, and then food will be delivered to your table. ‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the Juttutupa’s classic hamburger served with domestic quality beef (18,90€) – 200g beef patty of domestic quality beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, salt-pickled cucumber, chili mayonnaise, marinated red onion between house bun. Not to mention also served with French fries. It was quite a big burger, and it looked absolutely sensational and yes it did taste as good as it looked!
I couldn’t go past the grandma’s meatballs (16,90€) – creamy brandy sauce, beetroot, salt-pickled cucumber, mashed potatoes. I was craving beef, and the meatballs were surprisingly tender. The sauce I wasn’t a fan off but the mashed potatoes were creamy and I loved the salt-pickled cucumber.
They even had a kids menu and Dragon had the chicken breast with salad. Unfortunately, it was uber dry and Dragon did not eat much of it. She ate more of my meatballs and ‘The Mother’s’ chips than her own dish!
We were stuffed so did not have any dessert. Service was minimal but food came relatively quickly and we all did enjoy the meal. Definitely great having this restaurant behind the hotel, there aren’t a lot of restaurants near the hotel which is a shame.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
Säästöpankinranta 6, 00530 Helsinki
Ph: +358 20 7424 240
Ravintola Juuri was on my must go to eat place in Helsinki. It specializes in ‘Sapas’ which are tapas. I was very excited to try their tapas, unfortunately we were there for lunch and there weren’t a lot of tapas on offer. It was Christmas and they had the special Christmas menu which consists of 3 tapas, a main and dessert.
There were a LOT of seafood on the menu, and since I am on a seafood band, the chef kindly made me a vegetarian one! We started with some bread – Dragon loves rye! I didn’t think she would be she couldn’t stop eating it.
‘The Mother’ started with Cured artic char root vegetable rosti and horseradish, escabeshe of herring with lingoberry mayonnaise and smoked fish pancake with sour cream and roe. I didn’t have any of this, when asked ‘which is your favourite’ his respond was ‘they were all nice’. I probably would have loved the cured artic char root vegetable with horseradish – I am such a sucker of horseradish.
I had the (left to right) 10 hour turnip with Swiss cheese and linen seed, broad bean patty a la lindstrom and pea crème and smoked egg cheese from raw milk, sea buckthorn and carrot. I really enjoyed the broad bean patty but I absolutely LOVED the smoked egg cheese from raw milk – it loved the cheese and the carrot a wonderful complement. Could have definitely eaten more of it!
For mains, ‘The Mother’ opt for Braised perch roll with smoked perch oven porridge and carrot butter sauce. It looked too pretty to eat. ‘The Mother’ thought the combination was interesting but he definitely enjoyed it. The carrot butter sauce was sweet but not over powering.
The Chef made me the mushroom fondant and opera sandwich on brioche a la Juuri, dark cep and onion course – OH MY! This was sensational, a highlight for me. Onion-bechamel-ish sauce oozed out gently and the brioche – my my… delicious!
For dessert, ‘The Mother’ had spiced waffle with cinnamon apple whipped porridge and ice cream. I really wanted this but unfortunately this had traces of nuts.
I had the blueberry sorbet, blueberry puree and sour cream whey and this was delicious and light. Even Dragon loved the blueberry sorbet and blueberry – pretty sure she had more than I!
I am SO glad that I got the vegetarian option. Most of the dishes I tried are on the menu so I was very happy about that. The mushroom fondant was definitely my favourite followed by the smoked egg cheese. Definitely glad I came.
Service was excellent, they were very accommodating with my allergies and did not bat an eye with Dragon running around! I have to say, going to a fine dining restaurant with Dragon is definitely a challenge. I didn’t enjoy the atmosphere as much as I was constantly running after Dragon or telling her to sit down, but the food was definitely fantastic! Definitely worth going if you are in Helsinki!
GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10
Korkeavuorenkatu 27, 00130 Helsinki
Ph: +358 9 635732
Wow is it really 2014 already? It seems only yesterday I was writing about 2012 and here I am thinking about what a year 2013 has been. I thought 2012 was the year of travels, 2013 was just the same – I didn’t think we would travel so much with Dragon but being in Hong Kong, it’s so hard not too when everything is so close!
We started the year with a pig feast! My birthday – we went to Fook Lam Moon – a place to be seen apparently, where celebrities go wine and dine! I had one the best suckling pig thus far – it wasn’t cheap but it was definitely fantastic and satisfying! A great way to start the year that’s for sure.
We also went to Doppio Zero in Sheung Wan for bone marrow (my favourite in Hong Kong in 2013!) and steak.
Chinese New Year was a bit late this year I thought, in February. I love Christmas and Chinese New Year – lots of breaks! We were invited to a colleagues house and he had a spit roast – a pig! I have to say, this was also a very good PIG! I couldn’t stop eating the pork, thankfully he had TWO roast porks!
We didn’t start our travels until March where we went to Singapore to meet my brother and sis-in-law who were holidaying there. I fell in love with Paradise Dynasty – a restaurant in Singapore that makes AWESOME xiao long baos! I think it is a lot better than Din Tai Fung.
Ate at Blue Butcher for the most awesome steak – think this is my favourite go to steak restaurant in Hong Kong.
In April we went back to Sydney for Dragon 1st Birthday. I really wanted her to spend her first birthday with family and it was a FANTASTIC event. It’s so good to be with family and friends for a special event!
We hit up a lot of cafes and restaurant, one being Movida – so awesome that they are finally in Sydney!
Loved Kepos – the falafel sandwich is one of the best I have eaten, can’t get that in Hong Kong anywhere unfortunately :(
We also went for a quick trip to Xiamen late April for ‘The Mother’s cricket tour – yes it was a proper tour where they actually played cricket against another team. Had some fantastic street food – stinky tofu how much I love you and lots of steamed buns!
We went to Penang for ‘The Mother’s’ birthday in July – long weekend and hung out by the pool pretty much every day. Traveling with Dragon is definitely different. We no longer pack our days with sight seeings and events, it revolves around Dragon’s nap time – she dictates our schedules! Had a great meal at Perut Rumah for authentic nyonya food.
We also went to Joo Hooi cafe for the best CKT I have eaten and cendol!
Had snake soup for the first time ever – yes it has taken me that long to check out Ser Wong Fun and it did not disappoint!
I went back to Sydney in August for a quick work trip and because it was my niece’s one month celebration! Couldn’t miss that! I was also craving Korean Fried Chicken – can you believe I have yet to find one in Hong Kong. Went to Red Pepper in Strathfield but my favourite is still NaruOne.
Had an awesome burger at Mary’s. I have to say though, my favourite burger in Sydney is still Dan Hong’s burger which can be found at the Fish Place – shame on me for not visiting yet!
Finally got to try the famous Devon Cafe – I can see why people are in love with this place! I love the cafe scene in Sydney.
Ate at Fu Sing Shark Fin Restaurant and had their awesome char siu – oh how i love you!
In November I was back in Sydney again for a whirl wind trip and it was so nice to see family and friends again – i have truly missed them! Ate well as always. Tried Three Williams which has to be one of my favourite cafes in Sydney – love the space and the food was fantastic.
Dragon and I then went to meet ‘The Mother’ in Helsinki after his dog sledding boys trip. I haven’t had Chinese food for 2 weeks and was DYING for some. Thanks to Dan Hong for connecting me to someone who lived in Helsinki and told me about this place, Gaijin – the pork belly was TO DIE FOR! (post to come! Sorry!)
Went to Juuri also which was nice – I couldn’t eat a lot of the seafood dishes and the chef was very accommodating which is nice. (post to come). Loved this mushroom dish…
We then went to Prague for 4 days – fell in love with the city! It’s so beautiful, I could definitely live there! (posts on all food to come!)
I’ve had my fare share of fried chicken, bone marrow and steak this year! Still on the hunt for the best fried chicken in Hong Kong – they don’t have Korean Fried Chicken!!!! and you can never have enough bone marrow and steak! Here are some memorable ones
I’ve lost count the number of times I have gone to Yat Lok for goose in 2013 – it is my favourite lunch spot! Their char siu is pretty tasty also.
Having Dragon has made it a bit difficult to eat out all the time, as I would rather go home after work to be with her. Going to fine dining restaurants with her at this age (20 months) is so not enjoyable! She can’t sit still long enough and cause she is so active, i really don’t enjoy my meal. I eat so quickly so that she doesn’t get bored. However, in saying that, I wouldn’t change a thing!
Regardless, it has been a fantastic year, I have eaten quite a fair bit (still a lot more of yummy eats to come!), traveled quite a fair bit. I doubt we would be doing that much travel next year, Dragon is turning 2 and well…we actually have to start paying her air fares! LOL
Thanks again for all your support, I have made so many good friends through blogging and appreciate all the friendship! See you on the other side :) Wishing you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Lots more eating, good times and laughters for 2014!
It seems so long ago that we were in Finland, Helsinki. ‘The Mother’ was going dog sledding with his friends in Sweden and thought we would use the opportunity to visit Europe. There are so many places I have yet to go in Europe, and we picked Finland as it was a direct flight from Hong Kong (easy for Dragon) and it was close to where ‘The Mother’ was dog sledding. We were there for almost a week in total, we were there for 4 days, then Prague for 4 days and then another 3 days in Helsinki before heading back to Hong Kong.
The weather was COLD! I had my ski jacket on and Dragon was geared up from head to toe! She has never ever worn SO MANY clothing in her entire life but it was necessary. Especially since she couldn’t say if she was cold or not – but eventually she was able to ‘tell us’ that she was cold. She loves the cold weather though but we were still prepared and brought her lots of clothes.
We didn’t do much in Helsinki especially since it was winter and it was dark by 3.30 – 4pm! Perfect for Dragon and I for the first couple of days as we were jet lagged and we were in bed by 4pm on the first day. Poor ‘The Mother’ – he really wanted to go out to eat but we were just too tired. Sadly, we were up at 2am! It wasn’t fun jet lag believe me.
On our first day, we caught a tour bus that took us around Helsinki – saw the Cathedral
I loved the Temppeliaukio Church – made out of rocks!
We walked around the Design Museum and much more. It is quite a beautiful city and we stayed in a service apartment which was awesome – not that we did any cooking but the extra space really made a difference, especially when you have a child!
Now food wise, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I read there were a lot of seafood in Helsinki and ‘The Mother’ was afraid that I couldn’t eat anything as I am still on a seafood band. However, surprisingly the options were pretty good. We even managed to eat Italian on our first day!
Our first meal in Helsinki was at Ristorante Il Siciliano which was conveniently located near tram stops and not too far from the esplanade. I was starving, and cold and wanted some comfort food. Italian was the perfect choice! Food was relatively cheap I thought, especially the lunch special which ‘The Mother’ had – crab linguini – i didn’t have any of this but he demolished this!
Dragon loves chicken, I ordered the chicken parmigianna. It was a little sad looking, not enough cheese or sauce for my liking. Surprisingly the chicken was tender and Dragon who doesn’t usually like chicken breast ate at least half of this. Not to mention the wedges!
The pizza’s and pasta’s looked though – seems like that’s their speciality. Service was polite and friendly I thought. The lunch specials came out a lot quicker than the a la carte – so if you are in a hurry, go for the lunch specials.
The next day before we started sightseeing, we stumbled across this cute little cafe. Stupid me forgot the name, thought I had a picture of it but with juggling Dragon and a camera, I totally forgot! You just have to trust me that it was pretty decent. It was near the tram line opposite H&M on the main shopping drag of Helsinki!
‘The Mother’ ordered the muesli with yogurt drizzled with strawberry compote. With it came boiled egg, cold meat, tomatoes and sour dough bread. He loved the muesli and yogurt – said it was fresh and excellent. For someone that doesn’t usually eat breakfast, he demolished this!
Dragon and I shared the yogurt with fruits, croissant, cheese, tomato and toast. She loved the mango yogurt with fresh mangoes. The croissant she didn’t enjoy as much which was a surprise – more for me I guess. I think ‘The Mother’s’ breakfast was infinitely better. Both breakfast set came with juice and tea or coffee. From memory it was about 11 pounds?
Service was a tad slow, no table service but the food was good. We sat here for a while as Dragon decided to have a nap – shame she napped after she ate as it would have been nice to eat in peace! ha!
Below are a few snap shots of Helsinki.
I Have to say, Helsini is a beautiful city! ‘The Mother’ even asked if I would live there! HA! I’m just settling in nicely in Hong Kong – not sure if I am ready to move yet, but maybe… down the track. Not sure how I would cope with sun set at 4pm though – it was rather depressing! Besides that, it was lovely, I love the open space and the parks and the cafes! More on Helsinki food coming up :)
GA’s rating: 7 / 10
Ristorante il Siciliano
Helsinki, Finland (Vironniemi)