Monday, 20 October 2014

Hello from Toronto!

It has been months since I even opened blogger.com, but mid-terms are nigh and you know when you should actually be studying instead everything else that once seemed boring is now suddenly interesting and that's why I'm finally blogging again. Ha.


So, hello readers, if I still have any to begin with, I'm 2 months into my exchange at the UofT! Time is passing way too fast, and omg the workload here is insane! Before I arrived I was had so many plans to travel and do random things but unlike in my home uni over the Atlantic I can't even bear to skip classes here. Meh! And mid-terms. Someone remind me what mid-terms are again? Why do they even exist! Rawr!

So anyway, musings on Toronto. 2 things: 1) Why do I keep eating Asian food? 2) Why is everything so expensive? What is this tax thing. Why do they keep making me do some epic math before I go to the cashier?

Other than that, Toronto's pretty chill. Not much to do. But I guess not much to complain about either - I mean it's safe, food's decent, people are nice, etc etc etc.

Right, blog again next time when I have something of more value to say. HAHA. xx

Saturday, 22 February 2014

MILF 2 (My Incredible London Food List): Hakkasan (Review)

Hello! I'm on a roll! (: 

Recently I got an mailer from bookatable regarding a special promotion at Hakkasan, this michelin starred Chinese restaurant just off Tottenham Court Road and after much debate we decided to head there for dinner, hoping it would worth the moolahs haha. We didn't get the 3 course promotional set however (£35 - too expensive!!) and settled for the £28 "taste of hakkasan" two course meal instead. 

8 Hanway Place, London W1T 1HD

Dim-sum starters
My favourite part of the meal for sure! I loved loved loved the crispy pork (char siew) bun! Didn't eat the siewmai and the har gao cause I don't like prawns (: I would come back to Hakkasan for the dimsum for sure, they have SALTED EGG YOLK CUSTARD BUNS!!!! (massive craving)

Mains
Our main course was served on a flat rectangular plate and consisted of 4 different mini-dishes - roast duck, prawns in curry, grilled sea base and black pepper beef? It was delightful to say the least but I can't help but feeling it wasn't totally worth my money. Don't get me wrong, all the flavours were delicate and pretty much perfect, but I couldn't stop thinking about how I could have eaten up a storm at Four Seasons with my £28 - I think I also much prefer the oilier version of roast duck served in Four Seasons :P. I guess since I grew up eating Chinese food, it's hard to please/wow me even at apparently Michelin-star standards, especially since the food was pretty much classically cooked. I did overhear some British people from the neighbouring table exclaiming in delight however!

I'm not sure if I'll come back - if I did, it'll definitely be for the dimsum, which was very exquisite in my opinion! I remember concluding on that day that I will never pay exorbitant prices for Chinese food ever again - nothing beats (cheap-er) Chinese food from home yumtum.

Monday, 17 February 2014

MILF 1 (My Incredible London Food List): Tsunami (Review)

Hello!
This blog is collecting dust haha. Not much to talk about these days, except for the fact that I've been eating out a lot!! And also bringing my camera along to these random food places cause I have decided to blog a series of my favourite food places in London (: So, here's the first: Tsunami at Charlotte Street! This is the second time I've been there, and I can safely say I love it!! I only ever go on Monday and Tuesday evenings though, cause that's when Tsunami does a dinner promotion - 40% off everything!! How amazing is that, I have literally ate like a pig both times I went, and paid like just over £10 :D You must remember to make a reservation though, the restaurant is almost always full on Monday and Tuesday nights, unsurprisingly.

93 Charlotte St, London W1T 4PY

Tsunami is this small Japanese restaurant just 5 minutes walk away from my house, and it serves pretty amazing fusion-ish Japanese food! The decor of the place is rather queer haha as the restaurant is lit up by rows of LEDs that change colour lol! Not what I would expect from a Japanese restaurant, but, it's kinda cute I guess haha. Soo here's what we ordered this time:


Pork Ribs in Chocolate and Chilli Sauce
MEGA LIKE YUMS. The sauce might sound weird, but it's the match made in heaven. Plus, the pork ribs are sooo tenderly cooked they easily slide off the bone and coats itself in that orgasmic sauce.

A Variety of Sushi/Sashimi
Having been there twice, I think their sushi is definitely worth a buy! They have all sorts of weird sushi concoctions as well, and if I'm not wrong, they even have a roast duck sushi! The sashimi was fresh both times I visited as well, so yums!

Truffle Ribeye Steak
Ermagad this is another fantastic dish!! My friend refused to let the waiter remove the plate even after we were done with the beef cause the sauce is soo fantastic!!

so yep, we nomzed on the sauce and then created a sea urchin *cheap thrills*

Assorted Sushi
The cool looking nigiri above is actually unagi & foie gras! Haha this place definitely has the coolest sushi :> It was good for sure, I love eel!

So after all that !!!-ing over the food, anything bad to say about this place? Hmm, I wish they served dessert, and I'm not a fan of their side carb dishes (e.g. udon, rice) - not only are the portions small, the rice wasn't good (soggy, but that might just have been the day I went?) But Tsunami is definitely a place I'll revisit over and over again.... PORK RIBS!!!

Till the next! xx

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Icelandic Winter

Finally blogging! Just handed in 3 pieces of coursework today and I'm finally feel like the holidays have started for me... In reality however, school started today ):
Sigh, haha! But I'm now catching up on all the photos that have accummulated in my camera. Horrors, I still haven't uploaded photos from a trip I took in October!! That's like what, more than 2 months ago?!

Anyway, I headed North to Iceland during the start of  Christmas break in hopes of catching the spectacular Northern Lights. Unfortunately, I had no luck with the chase and in both our 2 nights there it was snowing mercilessly all night so I didn't even get a chance to go out! Nonetheless, Iceland is such a beautiful place and it was really memorable seeing all the geog-y stuff like actually stepping on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge!!! And of course, the geysirs and waterfalls. I wish there was time to go out to the glaciers, but I guess I'll save that for another day (I'm totally going back to Iceland!!)

So, we arrived at about 1am on a Sunday, after a flight delay, and we had to trek our way through the snow to our hotel boo!! Fortunately it wasn't too hard to find, and the 10min climb uphill made me quite warm thankfully!

We stayed at Guesthouse Sunna which was really well located, was SUPER UBER clean and served quite a yums continental breakfast! Plus, I booked it online through booking.com and there was a stay 2 nights get 1 free so the entire stay only added up to about GBP70 for both of us. Yay! Five stars review haha and hotel totally recommended!

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Day 1 was spent on a Golden Circle tour, which covers 3 of Iceland's most popular attractions - the waterfalls, geysirs and of course the MAD hahaha.We booked with Iceland Travel which was super convenient as they allowed you to add all the tours you wanted into a single shopping basket and create an online itinerary which was super useful! Plus the single checkout means you don't have to pay the horrible bank charges so many times.


Snow! Hunter wellies are lovely and waterproof BUT ARE TOTALLY NOT WARM!! Even with the fleece socks ):



The endlessly blue and white landscape! Super breathtaking!

Christmas trees and real snow!! Even London rarely gets to experience a white Christmas heh.


Our first stop was at the Geothermal Energy Plant, which contained 2 floors of exhibits on Iceland's geothermal activity and how Iceland uses her geothermal energy. *geog geek alert* Yes I really enjoyed the museum and could have spent way more than the allocated 30min there hehe (:

Next up we headed to some church which I can't really remember much of lol and then we were off to the Gullfoss waterfalls, which were no less than breathtaking. It was so so cold especially with the wind blowing mercilessly. I could barely feel my nose and it's a wonder how I managed to take photos...

Gulfoss - Iceland's most popular waterfall they say, is of a total height of 32m!
Look at that rushing blue water ooo! 

Then we moved on to view the geysirs in a geothermally active valley of Iceland. The Strokkur geysir apparently erupts every 5-10min and we caught it erupting so many times when we were there haha! I remember the first time it erupted the entire group of us gasped in wonder hahaha

A view of the geyser region. We were super blessed to have amazingly clear and sunny skies in the day, which made the subzero temperatures so much more bearable. According to the tour guide it was like -20 degrees omg...

Eruption!!!

The next stop was Thingvellir, where the mid atlantic ridge is! The entire place was just covered with a blanket of very very thick snow (like mid calf!) And it was so cold we just trekked through the entire park asap hahaha.

Rift valley! Here's a fault haha, I wonder how deep the water goes?

And pretty snow hehe

And that was the end of our Golden Circle tour. We reached back in the hotel at about 5 and were preparing to go for the Northern Lights tour but alas after preparing and waiting for the tour operators... they didn't come and when the hotel called them up they said they cancelled the tour ): So it was an early night for us to prepare for tomorrow's activity - riding Icelandic horses!

This is my first time riding a horse... and my verdict: not as easy as it looks!!! I mean, just sitting on the horse is easy and when it trots you just sit there and let the horse move but when we tried to go faster, apparently I had this super lazy horse and no matter how much I kicked it, it still went realllyyy slowly. But during the few times it actually picked up speed OMG it was so hard to keep balance, your butt literally flies up and down as the horse trots and needless to say it was very painful. -.-" *cue butt ache*

The entire ride was about 1.5hours as well, and it got really boring in the middle cause like all we could see was.... snow. and more snow. -.-" Plus, halfway it started snowing/hailing/sleeting SUPER HEAVILY and visibility was like what 5m?! So it was super painful especially when the hailstones hit your face at a super high speed cause of the strong winds. Super bad experience!!! Just wanted to turn back and call it a day lol. No photos obviously because I was busy trying to cooperate with my horse and survive the 'snowstorm' lol!



Decided to just take a photo at the end hahaha here's me and the Icelandic horses behind...

 Had lunch at the Sjavargrillid (Seafood Grill) Restaurant after near our guesthouse in Reyjkavik. Love the hostel location - everything is only 10min walk away! Icelandic food is apparently very salty, and boy, was it so! :X Nonetheless the food we ordered from Sjavargrillid was bursting with feeshy flavour and was generally quite yum. Not making it to my list of favourite cuisines though!

Some funky fish with barley and a really salty sauce.

Salmon with pork skewers and mussel foam!


That night our northern lights tour got cancelled again, much to our disappointment so we whiled time away by playing cards and watching variety shows online hahaha.
Our final day would be spent in the Blue Lagoon! A super picturesque and popular geothermal hot spring bath. Soaking in the 30-40 degrees warm water with the cold wind blowing in your face was a pretty good experience. The ultimate test was definitely running from the changing rooms to the waters asap in only your swimsuit!!! There was also a tub of volcanic mud made available to put on your face for some treatment of some sorts lol! Tried it for fun but no difference to my face hahahahha.


Super pretty!!! Hot water and snow haha


And that concludes our short 3 day adventure in Iceland. Will definitely be back to see the rest of beautiful Iceland (:

xx