Category Archives: Food

Tigerlily Patisserie

IMG_2125-2

The East is blooming with new cafes, and I’m taking slow and progressive steps to visit them one at a time. My most recent one was at Tigerlily Patisserie, a bakery-café which started as an online bake-box business. 

IMG_2075-2

Greeted by floral and pastel-themed interiors, I was livened up by the botanical designs and the splash of yellow-orange against a deep forest green along a wall. Surprisingly, the café was fully packed at noon on a weekday, with a line forming in and outside the premises. 

IMG_2078-2 IMG_2081-2

We had some coffee and realized it was on the mild side – my Oat Mocha ($7.50) tasted more like a hot chocolate. The Oat White ($6) was just as mild.

IMG_2089-3

Then Maxine, the owner and head chef, brought out 2 sandwiches to start our meal proper. The Salmon Tzatziki ($14), with ingredients of house-cured salmon gravlax, dill tzatziki, avocado slices and citrus segments between homemade ciabatta bun were light on the palate and made a refreshing appetizer. 

IMG_2079-2

Not just your ordinary homemade grilled kimchi cheese sandwich, the Monsieur Kim ($15) has kimchi and Parma ham sandwiched with a trio of grilled cheeses that made a great combination –  brie, comte and caiocavallo. It felt like an elevation of a simple breakfast dish.

IMG_2103-2

Moving on to the pastries and desserts which I was most excited about, we first had the savory Tomato & Artichoke Tart ($7) – made with heirloom tomatoes baked atop tomato concasse and with pickled artichoke hearts. 

IMG_2098-2

As for the Yellow Peach Danish ($8), while I wished that the danish puff pastry would be airier with flakier layers, the seasonal yellow peaches were soft, mildly sweet, and perfect for summer.

IMG_2111-2 IMG_2128-2

An IG-worthy signature of Tigerlily is the Beehive ($11). Have fun smashing the beehive – within which you can find lemon, thyme and litchi honey jelly, a lemon sponge and honey parfait encased in yuzu mousse. I would recommend to eat the inner layers together with the yellow shell (made of white chocolate) as some may find the combination of ingredients within to be on the sour side. 

IMG_2117-2

Personally, I preferred the Pink Guava & Pear ($10) to the Beehive. This terrazzo-inspired dessert (matching the terrazzo designs of the tables) has pink guava cream and jelly with cubes of fresh pears encased in elderflower liqueur and pear mousse. Loved the sweet-tart, tropical flavors. 

Overall, I was impressed by the intricately presented pastries and desserts and would love to try the rest on my return visit – the Forest Berry Taco, Mochi Blondie, Garlic Herb and Cream Cheese Babka… which were unfortunately wiped off the display around 1.30pm when I ended my meal.

IMG_2136-2

Heartfelt thanks to Teresa and Maxine for hosting us.

350 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427598

Tues to Sun, 9am – 5pm

+65 8887 0988

Siri House at Dempsey – New Weekend Brunch Menu

IMG_1980-2 IMG_2022

I took a long break since my last post, but a recent brunch I had at Siri House in Dempsey was scrumptious enough to compel me to write and recommend it to all of you. Launched 2 years ago by Thai property luxury developer Sansiri, Siri House is a lifestyle, social and dining space housed in the former premises of House at Dempsey. 

A short tour through the space revealed a sales gallery doubling up as a bar where guests can enjoy tipples and a private dining session in a replica luxury Sansiri apartment, the main dining area, an outdoor terrace and an art space and shop to feature artists’ works on a rotational basis.

We were there for the new weekend brunch menu featuring Mod-Asian fare, and picked out dishes and drinks which were recommended to us.

IMG_1975

From the extensive cocktail menu, we had the – 

Summertime Madness ($12) – a herbaceous and citrusy take on the Aperol Spritz;

IMG_2002

9-Volt ($22) – a Szechuan pepper gin drink which fired and awakened our taste buds;

IMG_2005

Blush ($22) – which featured clarified tomato juice in elderflower, gin, Seedlip Garden and vodka, and

Hunting Season ($20) – our favorite of the 4 cocktails we tried due to its refreshing kick. It uses Fernet Hunter as a base, together with clarified grapefruit juice, sherry, champagne vinegar, salt, sugar, gin & tonic.

Meanwhile for the food, a side of Scrambled Eggs ($6) arrived first. Without bearing much expectations, we were delightfully surprised by the creaminess and silkiness of the dish that persisted despite a long photo-taking session. Got to be one of the best scrambled eggs I’ve had in a long while.

IMG_1979-2

Seemingly a simple dish (but I reckon not), the SH Salad ($18) made a light and crisp appetizer with a mix of textures from the tiger prawns, candied ikan bilis, Belinjo crackers, mixed greens and soy ginger dressing. The prawns used were really fresh.

IMG_2009

Served piping hot from the fryer, the Arancini ($21) made with dashi infused japanese rice mixed with octopus was crunchy on the first bite, and revealed mozzarella in the centre of the rice mixture. The use of Japanese ingredients in this classic Sicilian snack was brilliant. 

IMG_1984-3

The Scallop ($29) caught our eyes with its interesting list of ingredients – wild caught hokkaido scallop carpaccio, yuzu kosho, dashi jelly, smoked ikura, sea grapes, and hamachi bacon. There was a burst of flavor from which element, but we felt that the hamachi bacon topping was overpowering the other tastes and textures.

IMG_1994

The star and our favorite dish was the Unagi Risotto ($33). The savory risotto, made with rice infused with a mixture of burnt onion dashi and tomato consomme and seasonal mushrooms, made a great complement to the sweet soy-glazed grilled unagi. It has got me very tempted to attempt a Japanese-style risotto in my kitchen.

IMG_2014

For desserts, we had the Bomboloni ($16) – Italian-style doughnuts that are gaining traction in Singapore recently. They came with 2 fillings, namely cashew chocolate ganache and mixed berry jam. 

IMG_2012-2

Compared to the former dessert, we preferred the Tropical “Tau Huey” ($15) which is an Asian take on the panna cotta. (The Bombolinis were heavy on the palate and stomach.) Macerated mango with chilli and passionfruit granita were used to pair with the coconut panna cotta and the tropical flavors were refreshing.

From now till 13 June, Siri House is offering delivery (bit.ly/shdelivery) and takeaway (bit.ly/shtakeaway) options in view of the no dine-in measure.

IMG_2021

Special thanks to Natasha and the team for hosting us!

Address: Block 8 D #01-02 Dempsey Road, Dempsey Hill, Singapore 249672

Opening Hours: Mon – Thu 11.30am to 10pm, Fri – Sat 11.30am to 11pm, Sun 11.30am to 4pm

Baker’s Bench Bakery

bakersbench6

When all three times were the charm. 

Located along the row of shophouses on Bukit Pasoh street, the cafe opened in January this year and since then, I have totalled 3 trips to this bakery cafe to-date with different groups of friends – that says a lot. Priding themselves in the quality of their handcrafted bakes, all bread and pastries here are naturally leavened with sourdough freshly baked in the cafe.

bakersbench5 bakersbench4

Out of the whole lot I have tried on my visits here, the Sticky Bun ($5) is surprisingly my utmost favorite. Displayed gloriously on the counter as a whole loaf, it was the first thing that caught my eye and settled my first pick. The sticky sweet toffee, mild crunch of walnuts, aromatic hints of cinnamon and soft, pilowy textured sourdough bun made a brilliant pastry that was not cloyingly sweet. 

bakersbench1

Seeing that it was the last piece behind the glass counter, I also quickly scooped up the Twiced Baked Hazelnut Croissant ($5.50) into my order. It was crisp, with a substantial hazelnut filling.

bakersbench10

Other bread and pastries I have had here include the 

Vegan Banana Bread ($5) – despite being vegan it was rather moist with a distinct flavor; 

Croissant ($4) – unlike the usual croissant since it was made of sourdough. Admittedly, I would have preferred a more buttery, flakier version;

and Palmier ($2.50) – a very crispy, flaky and buttery delight that I wish I had bought home a bag of. I am, however, ashamed to say that I was not acquainted with this French pastry prior my visit.

bakersbench7

Apart from the saliva-inducing breads and pastries at the display counter, there is also a proper menu serving sandwiches, build-your-plate dishes and even burgers. Amongst the sandwiches, I had the K Pork Belly ($14) comprising sous-vide pork belly, coffee glaze, garlic chips, kimchi mayo, apples and pears, and the Croque Monsieur ($12) with sauce mornay, smoked ham and gruyere. Both were decent but I preferred the latter for the overflowing, savory layer of gruyere cheese that paired well with the sourdough. 

bakersbench2

The Glazed Back Bacon Burger ($14) stood out the most to us in the list of burgers. Not failing my expectations, it came with a generous serving of thick slices of back bacon stuffed between two sourdough buns. The bacon was tender enough, not overly salty and made for a satiating dish.

bakersbench3

With the menu selections being satisfying yet affordably priced, I guess it was a no wonder that I have recommended the cafe to many. If you’re feeling a little stuffed, prioritise the pastries and cakes and leave the mains to another occasion. 

Address: 6 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089820

Opening Hours: Wed to Sat 8.30am – 5pm, Sun 8.30am – 4pm

Daizu Cafe

daizu2

Though several new cafes have popped up on shores post-lockdown era, not quite a few appealed to me. Daizu Cafe became that exception when I was recommended to it – my friends were right when they showed me photos and remarked that the cafe’s aesthetics seemed to be my kind of aesthetics. 

daizu1

Arriving just before the crowd on a Sunday morning, I managed to grab a window seat and that window of opportunity for a few snaps of the near-empty cafe. Boasting 2 storeys and a small alfresco area, the wooden tables were spaced comfortably in the minimalistic-ally designed cafe. The cafe also appeared welcoming to patrons studying/working “from home”. 

daizu5

Of the drinks we ordered, I loved my friend’s Dark Mocha ($6.50 hot, $7 iced) for its smoothness, mild acidity and bittersweet tones of chocolate. Unfortunately my order of Uji Matcha Latte ($7 hot, $7.50 iced) with Soy Milk (+$1) felt more of a watered down version of an instant matcha mix. 

daizu6

While the Drinks, Pastries and Cakes and Tarts are available all day from 10am, the Brunch, Pasta, Rice Bowls and Sides menus run from 11am onwards with a moderate selection of food. We had the Petit Breakfast ($10), Mini Unagi Bowl ($10) and White Truffle Fries ($10). Despite the “Petit” and “Mini” designations, we felt that the portions were generous and sufficiently filling along with a couple of sides. Prices were also on the comfortable range – the rice bowls and pastas were all priced below $20. 

daizu4

What were memorable: 1. the smooth, creamy scrambled eggs in the Petit Breakfast; 2. the fresh, tender and sweetly glazed grilled unagi from the Unagi Bowl. 

daizu3

From the small selection of cakes and tart, we picked the Lime Meringue Tart ($8.50) which had a good balance of tartness and sweetness, thus ending our meal on a satisfying note. 

And so, I have been recommending this place to friends looking for weekend brunch at comfort prices. I also reckon it a conducive environment for working/studying on weekdays. Another plus point – in the proximity, you will find more cafes to cafe-hop (Old Hen Coffee, Gather the Misfits, Brunches Cafe, Enchanted Cafe).

daizu11

Address: 129 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218407

Tel: +65 8155 8233

Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm daily

Lucali BYGB

lucali12

I chanced upon the profile of this restaurant during their pre-opening phase: An outpost of Lucali in Brooklyn – a popular neighborhood eatery characteristic for its thin-crust pizzas and BYOB policy. A collaboration between Mark Iacono from the parent Lucali and Gibran Baydoun of BYGB Hospitality. A grand opening so highly anticipated that bookings were mostly full for weeks.

lucali1

lucali8

Hopping in the line of high hopes, I made my reservation 2 weeks in advance and on the day itself, brisk walked through the Kallang Riverside Park to the old industrial building at Kampong Bugis where the restaurant is tucked in.

lucali5

The interior – wooden tables and benches, part concrete part tiled floors, bright and airy with lots of natural light streaming in – sets it apart from the rustic BK neighborhood vibes of the main branch and was right up my alley.

Parked at a table for 2 with a view of the Kallang River (riverside dining at its best in Singapore), we looked through the simple, concise menu – a pizza, calzone, 3 types of pastas, a few appetizers and a few desserts.

lucali6

Drinks-wise, no BYOB here, but instead there is a fair range of sodas, homemade bottled cocktails and wines to choose from the fridge.

lucali9
lucali7
The Original 18” Pizza Pie ($55), served at only 1 size, is the signature. Don’t forget to add toppings (at $5 each), otherwise your pizza will come plain with just sauce, basil and cheese.  From the list of toppings – extra side of sauce, pepperoni, anchovies, onions, sweet peppers, mushrooms, olives – we added pepperoni and mushrooms. Freshly wood-fired and out from the oven, the pizza was quite satisfying, from its crispy thin crust to the sauce. The size was also more manageable than expected for the both of us (females). However, admittedly, we could list better pizza joints we’ve been to.

lucali2

lucali3

We also had the Cacio e Pepe ($35) comprising long fusilli seasoned with pecorino and black pepper. The highlight was the perfect firm, al dente texture of the fusilli, which I’ve not experienced in a long while. This could have been a superb pasta except for the unfortunate fact that it was too salty.

That was how my bill came up to be $115 – including water charged at $2/pax, GST and service charge. Prices are surely on the higher end here, even higher than in NYC. (Eg. The pizza with 2 toppings here costs $76.50 after GST and service charge, while that from NYC will cost about $53 SGD after tax, 20% tips and exchange rate conversion).

lucali4

I enjoyed the food, but can’t help feeling this sense of getting pinched as I left the place. Oh I miss rustling among the hippies in Brooklyn.

66 Kampong Bugis, Level M, Singapore 338987

Wed – Fri 5pm to 10pm

Sat – Sun 11am to 10pm

Tel: +65 8284 1325

Apollo Coffee Bar

apollo10

My time spent on cafes this year has seen a drastic reduction compared to the previous years and I attribute it to various reasons – wanting to focus on school work, saving for travel, getting a little tired of visiting the same good old favorites and just because there were barely any new cafes which I took a liking to.

apollo1

But very thankfully, I got freshened up after visiting the newly opened Apollo Coffee Bar. Having heard that it is reigned by the people behind Atlas Coffeehouse, Lunar Coffee Brewers and Columbus Coffee Co., it was hard not to build expectations and I went with fluttering feelings.

apollo2

Being a North-Eastie, the location of the café at Serangoon Gardens feels homely and brings back faint memories of brunches at the now defunct Arbite. The café was lively on a weekday morning and I naturally found myself at the quieter “backyard” lit with sunlight via a transparent roof.

The menu is split into the brunch (9am – 4pm) and lunch menu (12pm onwards), with some familiar dishes from the sister cafes (i.e. pancakes, waffles, soft serve) that I haven’t had in a long time but decided to try new dishes instead.

apollo4

Having read good reviews on the Breakfast Burger ($16.50), it went straight to the order list. True enough, there was barely anything to fault at this satisfying dish – the back-bacon slices were thick and juicy, the cheddar-chive scrambled eggs were creamy, and the homemade brioche bun fluffy and savory.

apollo9

Featuring poached pears topped on buttery potato bun French toast, the Honey “Prench” Toast ($18.50) tasted best when I cut up a small piece of toast and soft pear and swiped it with a dollop of tangy lemon curd, a dash of fresh cream and a controlled serving of sweet honey before sinking my teeth into it.

apollo13

The Super Nutty ($15) Açaí bowl was well-balanced with fruits and nuts and I liked the distinct dark chocolate-y taste in the berry blend.

apollo11

A more ordinary item, the Smashin’ Avo ($16.50) was decent but the one thing that left a memorable note was neither the avocado, the soft boiled eggs nor ciabatta but surprisingly the cherry tomatoes which were drizzled in a special sweet sauce.

I also tried the Truffle Fries ($9.50) which although was not the best in Singapore, still had a distinct truffle fragrance and taste sufficient for us to clear the plate (and forget to take a picture of it).

apollo7

Drinks-wise, I felt that the Matcha Latte ($6) was on the sweeter side, while the Mocha ($5.50 for reg 7oz, $6.50 for large 9oz) was good and consistent with the ones I had at Atlas and Lunar. I would also recommend to stick to the coffee here, after having a rather weak and limp Chai Latte ($6) on my second visit.

apollo14

Having only ordered from the brunch menu, I wouldn’t hesitate to be back for the lunch menu, which is further divided into small and large plates, and also their homemade pastries and cakes on display at the counter.

65 Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 555961
9am – 10pm Tue to Sat
9am – 7pm Sun

Choryang 845, Busan – Cafe and Restaurant with Comfort Food and View 부산 카페 맛집 초량 845

choryang845I’ve long heard of both cafes Choryang 1941 and Choryang 845 – the former being the first established outpost and the latter a new business concept and expansion by the same folks.

Café Choryang 1941 sits within an old Japanese house built in 1941 during the Japanese colonial period, hence its name. Meanwhile, the restaurant-café Choryang 845 is brilliantly (or effortlessly) named after its location itself, being situated in 845-1 Choryang-dong, a quiet, non-touristy neighborhood in Busan.

choryang84511Despite being on a hill in a less accessible district, getting there was fuss-free since there were direct buses running to and from Busan subway station and Choryang subway station, with not much walking required.

choryang1choryang2choryang4Amazing light and shadows in this biscuit store. Got some sesame crackers back.

Choryang 845 is situated within a building that houses a couple of shops and galleries which I browsed around, being attracted to the raw and minimalistic designs they bore. When I finally entered the café premises, I was in awe at how an old factory container was remodeled into the current chic space of the café. It was hard to grasp the design concept from the mismatched furniture yet it didn’t make me feel unsettled.

choryang84513choryang8459choryang8458I immediately picked a table right by the extensive glass windows. On that clear sunny day with no traces of micro dust in the air, the view overlooking the residential neighborhood of Choryang was comforting.

choryang8455There were separate sites for ordering food and drinks (+pastries). I ordered the Yuzu Hibiscus Tea (7,000KRW) from the barista by the coffee machine and it came in two pretty layers of red and yellow; I ordered the Korean Set Lunch (13,000KRW) that comes with rice and a variety of side dishes from the counter right in front of the kitchen.

choryang8456When I was there, I didn’t have time to look up what I was eating so I only recently looked them up again and translated them to English. Looking back at this list, I was reminded of how clean and healthy each dish tasted and how the entire set came together as a wholesome meal. My kind of comfort food for the soul.

choryang8453choryang8457

(Mainly for my reference since the side dishes change seasonally)

  • Perilla Seeds & Radish Leaf Soup
  • Multigrain Rice
  • Beef Brisket (on a bed of salad)
  • Glazed Sweet Potatoes
  • Paprika (napa) Cabbage Roll (with Yuzu dressing)
  • Vegetable & Mushroom Pancake (made with Kale, Cabbage, Carrot, Shiitake Mushrooms)
  • Kimchi (Napa Cabbage)
  • Seaweed Salad (topped with dried persimmon)
  • Tofu with Vegetables

Other than the set meal, other main courses like pastas and rice dishes are also on the menu, but I would skip the other mains and go for the luxurious set meal again. Regrettably, I didn’t manage to grab dessert at Choryang 1941, but I know I will be back to explore more of this quaint neighborhood.

choryang84512845-1 Choryang-dong, Dong-gu, Busan, South Korea

11am – 9pm daily (except Wednesdays)

5 Places I visited in Gangneung

gangneung16This short trip to the coastal city of Gangwon-do was an impromptu decision made just a week in advance, and it was really impromptu for someone like me who likes to have ample time to plan trips ahead.

gangneung17We arrived at night in a city, oddly quiet right from the radius of the KTX station itself. The walk to our AirBnB apartment (link here) opposite the station was slightly eerie with dimly lit paths and no one in sight – I couldn’t imagine if I had to be alone then. Thankfully, we arrived to a small but clean, cosy and warm (especially with the ondol floor) apartment that we liked immediately. I had a pretty good 2 nights of sleep despite sleeping on a floor mattress.

  1. BTS Bus Stop – Jumunjin Beach

gangneung1gangneung2Early in the morning, we headed out to our furthest destination on our roughly planned itinerary – Jumunjin Beach. From Gangneung KTX station, the ride by a public bus took about 45mins and we arrived at a near empty beach that morning.

gangneung12gangneung3While we were there, we also took a mandatory shot at the BTS Bus Stop (not an ARMY, but I have been listening to their music since I started listening to kpop).

  1. Jumunjin Breakwater

gangneung4Our next stop, Jumunjin Breakwater, was a tricky one to get to from Jumunjin Beach due to the odd intervals bus arrival times. Eventually, we gave up waiting for the bus and took one hour on foot to arrive at the breakwater. It was a decision we half-regretted – the walk along the coast was soothing initially until our weak bodies started to feel the physical toll.

gangneung14When we reached, I picked the most decent looking restaurant (called Lobstar) on the spot and entered. From the second level of the restaurant, there was a clear view of the several breakwaters extending out into the aquamarine sea. This included the specific breakwater that appeared in drama Goblin – it’s easily identifiable with a line of people waiting to snap some photos there.

  1. Ojukheon

After lunch and a mandatory photo op, we hopped back on a bus to Ojukheon, feeling ever so relieved that we didn’t wait long for it. This attraction is the birthplace and residence of historical figures Shin Saimdang and Yulgok Yi I – try to find them on the 5000KRW note and 50,000KRW note. Also spotted some beautiful trees in the color transition phase.

ojukheon1okjuheon4

  1. Sonamujib Chodang Soondubu – 354-4 Chodang-dong, Gangneung, Gangwon-do

From Ojukheon, we went to Seongyojang House and spent a very short 15 minutes there before moving on to our planned dinner venue, the Chodang-dong Soondubu Village. By this time, we got pretty jaded from the bus rides and switched to taxis to commute. The ride by cab to the village took less than 15 minutes.soontofugelato1soontofugelato2

I found out about this village from a friend who highly recommended me the famous soondubu gelato from a store in the village. The unlucky me stumbled upon the ice cream store’s break time as soon as we arrived, so we took a detour on foot to the nearby Gangmun Beach (~15 mins walk) before returning.

gangneung15gangneung5

We ordered the Soondubu Gelato (3500KRW) and Halla Green Tea Gelato (3500KRW) to share. Tofu has been one of the most essential food in my life (I eat it almost everyday) so I was excited and had high expectations for the soondubu gelato especially. With its smooth texture, aromatic fragrance of tofu and light yet distinctive soondubu flavor, it hit my expectations easily. The green tea gelato was forgettable, on the other hand.

soontofugelato4soontofugelato3

Unsure of which restaurant in the village served the best soondubu, we ate at the same restaurant which operated the gelato store to play it safe. The tofu here reminded me of the tofu my grandmother used to make.

  1. Nov 12 Café – 5 Gangneung-daero 202beon-gil, Gangneung, Gangwon-do. 12pm – 9pm daily except Wednesdays

nov121

Nov 12 was a charming café and pit stop on the way to Gangneung’s Jungang Market that we looked up online and visited on the spot due to freedom of time on our second day.

nov1211

This small cosy nook, with its white walls and wooden furniture-filled interior, won our approval from the start when we entered as the first customers of the day.

nov12111111nov125

I had a Latte (5000KRW) and Chocolate Chip Scone (3500KRW), both of which were decently good. Turns out that the beans used are from Manufact Coffee.

nov121111nov12111

I usually visit the Jungang Market as a final stop in each city in Korea and try a couple of snacks from stores that boast long queues. At Gangneung Jungang Market, I tried the garlic bun – the best one I’ve ever tried.

Daejeon Cafe-hop – Halfrest, 100sheets 대전 카페 하프레스트, 백시트

A short 26 hours in Daejeon, a city known for its research institutes and its being at the crossroads of transport lines running in South Korea. Getting around the city was just as fuss-free as getting to it by a 1-hour ride on the KTX. The sole subway line takes you to most places you will need to go, and you can count on buses to get to less accessible neighborhoods (though frequencies of buses vary).

On top of visiting the usual tourist spots (Skyroad, Daedong Sky Park, Expo Park & Bridge, Yuseong Foot Spa and Sungsimdang Bakery), I squeezed in time for just 2 cafes that were on my list.

Halfrest

482-5 Oncheon 2(i)-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

12pm to 10pm daily (except Tuesday)

halfrest3

Just a short walk away from KAIST and Chungnam University is Café Halfrest, which is also accessible from Yuseong Spa subway station by a 15min walk. Note that the café is not visible from the main road – you’ll have to turn into a small alley to get you to the other side.

halfrest8

The atmosphere in the café was very much soothing, and I believe the part-Scandinavian interior played a huge role in that. We managed to grab the best seat in the house – a round table lined with white linen tablecloth, flanked by rattan and wooden chairs with white seat cushions.

halfrest7

Coffee here was decent, but compared to the Café Latte (4000KRW) we had, the Apple Earl Grey Tea (5500KRW) was more memorable for me, thanks to its sweet and refreshing taste.

halfrest5

We also chose the Madeleine (2500KRW) and Apple Crumble (5500KRW) from the small selection of pastries available. Both were good, especially the apple crumble despite it not being heated up.

halfrest2

halfrest1

After our tea break, we walked down the main road to Yuseong Foot Spa, a natural hotspring for your feet that is open free of charge to the public. Amidst receiving looks of wonder from the all-native crowd at the hot spring, I rested and recharged my feet in the relaxing outdoors of this small city.

halfrest4

100sheets

2F, 36 Daeheung-ro 121beon-gil, Daeheung-dong, Jung-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

12pm – 10pm daily

100sheets 1

I first discovered this café on Instagram and told my friend that we just have to visit – you can see why from the interior itself.

100sheets 4

After a flight of stairs to the second floor, I came face to face with the vast expanse of café space. Except for the concrete floor, every corner was white-washed, and together with the windows letting in a good amount of sunlight, it felt like heaven to me.

100sheets 11

Being the first customer of the day, I basked in a good 10-15mins of photo-taking time before the café became slowly filled, and before I finally decided on my order.

100sheets 7

Feeling slightly adventurous, we ordered the Strawberry Latte (5,500KRW), not knowing how it would look like, and the more ordinary Lime and Lemon Soda (5,500KRW). The strawberry latte turned out having a higher ratio of pink than expected, and a more artificial shade of pink than what I had imagined. Perhaps a regular cup of white coffee would’ve been better.

100sheets 9

Since they brand themselves as a “pancake club”, we just had to try the pancakes here for ourselves. We opted for the Fresh Fruit Pancake (13,000KRW) that came topped with seasonal fruits and ice cream. From its aesthetically pleasing visuals, I was expecting a fluffy texture but unfortunately it tasted too moist and eggy. Sigh.

100sheets 8

I also got a sandwich which came stuffed with a generous amount of spam and vegetables but felt like it was something I could easily make at home.

100sheets 10

Not gonna lie, I left feeling disappointed with the food. Well, at least the photos turned out good, and I was on a relaxing weekend trip.

Jeonju in Fall

jeonju3

Jeonju had been that one city I’ve been wanting to visit. Seems like the countless of mentions of Jeonju bibimbap and hanoks in Korean language textbooks do their magic. And so, during my exchange in Korea, I thankfully got to visit in fall, when the fall foliage was at its peak (to be exact, I was there during the first few days of November). I believe this time is the best to travel around in Korea for cooling weather (~8 to 16oC) and the colors of fall. In this post, I’ll be sharing some of my tips and experiences.

jeonju4

I arrived at my Jeonju accommodation on Friday night, which was a hostel providing private rooms booked on AirBnB. Despite the need to commute to the main tourist areas by bus for a few stops (Note: no trains in the city) and the slight rundown appearance on the outside, the room was very cheap, spotless and came with a tv, attached bathroom, humidifier and portable aircon. The owner is also experienced with foreigners. (Will provide the exact link if you request it from me!)

jeonju8

The next morning, I headed down to the main attraction in Jeonju, which undisputedly is the Jeonju Hanok Village. With its vast expanse of hanok houses, even the Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul seems insignificant. Most of the other attractions in Jeonju are actually found within the Hanok Village itself, so you can expect to spend most of your time in Jeonju in the village. Personally, I spent an entire Saturday (about 7-8 hours) walking to cover every nook and cranny of the village.

At the main entrance of the Hanok Village, you will notice the Jeondong Cathedral as it stands out conspicuously with its European designs alongside traditional hanoks.

jeonju5

Right at the entrance opposite the cathedral, you will spot the Gyeonggijeon Shrine, where you’ll get small snippets of Korean history, especially that of King Tae-jo (founder of Joseon dynasty). Later, I found out that the small bamboo garden in this attraction was a filming site for Love in the Moonlight. Note that a very small entrance fee is required.

jeonju6

Food-wise – except for the popular street snack stalls (eg. P&B bakery [selling Jeonju chocolate pie – different from the usual Korean choco pie in that it is coated with a thicker chocolate coating and has a creamier, more distinct flavour of the pie itself. Try it for yourself], octopus skewers, famous dumpling shop) and restaurants which have long queues, I would recommend not eating in the village itself. Especially if you want to have an authentic experience of Jeonju bibimbap. Without that knowledge initially, I went to a restaurant in an alley of the village and had a mediocre and expensive bibimbap. That night, I visited the street of restaurants, bakeries and photo studios right along the village’s entrance and food there was way better.

jeonju7

I also managed to try moju, a 1% alcoholic beverage made with makgeolli and a variety of Chinese oriental herbs, thus popular for its health benefits. As far as I know, it can only be found in Jeonju. I loved it for its cinnamon-y taste and thick consistency. It was just like the Korean oriental teas which I happen to like a lot too.

jeonju1

After lunch, I had my first Hanbok experience in Korea. Besides hanboks, there are also many stores renting different kinds of costumes like school uniforms. There were also lots of people who cross-dressed (especially Korean boys in gisaeng hanboks), and I too shall attempt it one day.

jeonju9

jeonju10

jeonju17

jeonju11

I took a stroll along the Jeonju River, where I unexpectedly found some good photo opportunities with wild silvergrass (which only blooms from October to November).

jeonju12

jeonju2

The next stop from the river was the Jeonju Hyanggyo, which used to be a Confucian school. In autumn, the entranceway from the outer gate leading in to the halls was a bright yellow exhibition of gingko trees, falling leaves and fallen leaves.

 
jeonju14

I highly recommend visiting the Omokdae and Imokdae pavilions, despite the short climb up a hill. On the way up or down, the unobstructed bird’s eye view of the hanok rooftops will be a treat for the eye. Go at sunset to catch the view of the hanoks against a backdrop of the setting sun.  I also took a short rest at the pavilion among local and foreign tourists.
 
If you cross a short bridge from the site of the pavilions, it will lead to the Jaman Mural Village, filled with colourful wall paintings of houses and small cafes.

jeonju15

On my second day, I went to the other two main attractions outside of the Hanok Village are the Pungnammun Gate and Nambu Traditional Market, which merely takes 3 minutes on foot from the village’s main entrance. The market tends to be quiet in the day with most stalls closed, so I would recommend visiting it for the night market which operates every Friday and Saturday night from 6pm to midnight. The market is also popular for its Korean blood sausage (soondae) and beansprouts soup with rice.

jeonju16

jeonju20

The second floor of Nambu Market is a youth mall featuring independent stalls established by youths who aspire to be entrepreneurs and business operators. I tried the pancakes, French toast and wine at a small café called 리리88, and was surprised by the affordable prices and homely taste of their brunch items.

jeonju18

jeonju19

Having spent that short weekend in Jeonju, I could see why the number of visitors saw an exponential increase since the 2000s. The slow city comprehensively showcases traditional Korea, with a focus on the history of the Joseon dynasty, as well as various sights and food that can be hard to find elsewhere.

%d bloggers like this: