Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

The Famous Kinana Ice Cream, Gion Kyoto

Posted by: Jamie Liew

August 25th, 2014 >> Posts

Gion is perhaps my favourite place in Kyoto and I would only like to complain that there’s too much to see. there are not just a lot of places to visit but also a whole lot of places to eat at! other than my Jouvencelle, I visited the famous Kinana which were reviewed by many Korean bloggers. I have a friend whom had passed me their card and tell me that I must go there when I go back to Kyoto.

it’s some health ice cream I heard.

so how to get there?

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first, get to Hanami-koji! literally mean place to see flowers. I guess it’s a metaphor for a place to see Geishas hahaha.

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okay now when you walk in, you should walk for a while and turn right into the next small street. it’s on that row. just keep walking around until you find it.

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I kind of got lost since I went there looking at a map. oh well.

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here’s how the alley look like! Kinana look pretty normal and it doesn’t stand out (at all!) so you should learn how to read Japanese. I am not kidding hahaha. it’s written “(something)(something)???” simple yes? just remember the double hiragana at the end.

*something something because I can’t read Kanji T_T.

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Kinana had an array of desserts but I went right after some filling lunch at Izuju so I opted for something lighter. it looked like Kinana was known for their parfaits as well but oh well, there’s always a next time (and the parfait costs double! pfft.)

so how did it taste? I’d say, it tastes HEAVENLY. definitely a one of a kind ice cream shop as they have flavours barely sold anywhere else. I couldn’t remember any of the names of the ice cream by now but I had black sesame (my favourite of Japanese ice cream!) with some honey flavoured one. it was so light and fragrant I could have 2 more portions all by myself. it’s that type of ice cream which is soooo good you’d HATE to share.

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we also ordered a bowl of Honey shaved ice. the beautiful honey paste resting on top of the finely shaved ice sure look desirable but if I was given another chance, I’d order the green tea. I like honey. but I didn’t like this one as much. the red bean and plain ice cream was good though.

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oh hello =D.

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although Kinana only has 6 flavours to choose from, it’s already a lot. the 6 flavours are Matcha (green tea), Kurogoma (black sesame), Azuki red beans, plain, Kuromitsu (black honey, says google translate), Yomogi (mugwort). there is another set where you can choose 3 ice creams and if you’re going with a friend I’d recommend to ORDER ALL THE FLAVOURS!!! =3. those mochi was good but the ice cream was amazing.

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you can also buy a tub of ice cream  BUT you can only eat it inside. like, standing. because you’re not supposed to eat on the streets of Hanami-koji. and they’d not allow you to bring it out. so I guess that’s for when the place is really packed or you’re on a tighter budget =X.

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remember those writings on the cloth because they are your only clue! there are no pictures or anything outside so..

here’s the website :

pricing : expensive but affordable. around 700yen to over 1000yen per person. the tubs were 360yen. not cheap but if you’re in Japan already, don’t skimp!

Kushikatsu Daruma, an Osakan specialty.

Posted by: Jamie Liew

August 20th, 2014 >> Posts

there are a lot to eat in Osaka, and I wouldn’t lie about it. but other than the normal Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki which could easily be found worldwide, let me introduce you to Kushi-katsu, a stick of almost anything deep fried. and it is not easy to find anywhere outside of Japan.

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Kushikatsu can be found in many places in Japan but the famous (with chain restaurants!) one is kushikatsu Daruma. it is easy to spot. just look for an angry looking cartoon character outside the store!

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can you see it?

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this one’s the Namba chain (there are a few chains there too!) see the angry man now? hehehe.

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and the one at Dotonbori’s main street! look at how angry he looks! I have no idea why he’s angry though @@. frying those kushikatsu and managing such a huge business must’ve drove him nuts haha.

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I’m not sure about the other restaurants. but because Namba is FILLED with tourists and locals, they opened a huge restaurant and had it delivered to their customers with these cute “trains” and everything in the shop was pretty darn hi-tech!

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I know it does not look very appetizing here. but the Camembert cheese tastes the best! to me.

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I liked their beef and chicken too! and the chicken internal organ stuff =X. it goes very well with salt and chilli flakes!

check out the modern-ness of this awesome restaurant! and we order everything through the screen too! this way they don’t need many employees on the floor! and they can deliver much more efficiently!

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my stop was Shin-Osaka hehehehe.

and here’s the interior of the restaurant!


okay back to the Sinsekai outlet.

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today’s special menu! (?)

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look at the amount of people here. we had to queue for it.

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very sweet cabbage, spices and the kushikatsu sauce!

NOTE : YOU CAN ONLY DIP YOUR KUSHIKATSU ONCE in the sauce. no re-dipping!

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now now, don’t it look good? it might be pretty pricey but it really did fill me up! don’t look down on them! I am not the biggest fan of fried food but when it comes to JAPANESE fried food? I’m in. it would not be something I’d like to eat daily but it’s really delicious! I’d grade it an 8/10. the dipping sauce wasn’t really my type but it’s good overall and I understand why I’d have to queue for this every time. because it’s really worth to queue for! well if your queue is over 30minutes maybe not.

Dazaifu, Fukuoka

Posted by: Jamie Liew

August 14th, 2014 >> Posts

I took an 8 hour night bus down to Kyushu from Osaka and got off at Hakata Station, Fukuoka. it was a little bit rural but everything there was so much more peaceful and the people seemed much more nicer and patient. for this post, I’d be writing about one of the most popular place to visit in Fukuoka, Dazaifu.

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but first, here’s my tour guide of the day, Megumi! aka my best friend.

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but the tour guide and I were so busy talking that we missed our station and passed another 3 stations until we noticed. T_T. and trains in Fukuoka come pretty slowly so we wasted a lot of time T_T. well at least we took loads of pictures! hehehe.

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you will know you’re taking the right train if you see the cutest train in your life. ahahaha. ain’t it cute?!

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even the insides are!

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I just HAD to take a picture. hahaha. there are sakura on the lights too!

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my very humble friend. someone please tell her that she’s pretty! hehe.

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and finally, DAZAIFU!

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here’s some of Dazaifu’s famous treats

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and the shrine here. I think coming here during autumn would be much more beautiful but oh well..

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upon exit, we bought this rice cake wrapped with seaweed. YUMMM.

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they’d give you a small cup of rice and you can test all the mentaiko’s!!!! my favourite shop zomg. super delicious mentaiko they have. and in different spice level. ahhhh.

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they also have mentaiko spread in tubes. yum. but I prefer the raw ones.

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no matter how touristy this place may seem, Megumi told me that she never failed to come here at least once a year.

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look at the background in the shop! the gardens they have here are just so… breath taking. and while having a meal? how cool is that.

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this is like some Japanese national favourite character. you can see him EVERYWHERE. forgot his name haha. friend said its name is ANPANMAN!

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just another restaurant. another pretty restaurant. I love Japan T_T.

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do not eat this. I mean, do not get the one with the Mentaiko mayo. it isn’t just very disgusting, it’s more expensive! certified disgusting by a Japanese too.

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Senbei’s (something like roasted rice crackers? roasted everything actually. into cracker form.) very popular around here. a must eat in Fukuoka!

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and I met my love. =3.

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love these red bridges too! so Japanesey =3.

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and the trees!!! so very pretty.

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I was so happy I just ran around doing silly things. and this was one of it. “oh look at my pink hair!”

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so some kids wrote their wishes and it amounted to this. madness.

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I shall be holy after rinsing my hands with these holy water of the holy shrine~ I see some people dabbing their lips with these holy water too!

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AJISAI! the amazingly beautiful flower of the summer. =3.

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and it comes in an array of colours. don’t it look magical?

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hello cow. =D.

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an adorable old couple! ^^.

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if you come to Dazaifu, Umegaemochi is a must!

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one for 120yen! ^^.

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the famous shrine.

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oh, did you know, that Fukuoka is like.. the Mentaiko land? the mentaiko here are known to be spicy and ridiculously delicious =P.

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look at all these mentaiko goods! I have a pair of hello kitty in mentaiko costume socks too hehehehe.

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and MORE mentaiko goods. crazy much?

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totally out of my earlier mentaiko topic but TRY THIS CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM! it’s an ice cream I MUST eat every time I come to Japan. just toooooooo good.

okay that’s all!

Bali Travelogue: Exploring Bali Famous Temples (11 – 15 Jan 2014)

Posted by: admin

August 10th, 2014 >> Posts

Welcome to Pura Tirta Empul

Bali is the land of Indonesian's Hindu minority. There are so many puras (Balinese Hindu temples) in Bali, leading to its nickname "the Island of a Thousand Puras". Among all the Thousand Puras, there are signature fews which you might be familiar with, e.g. Pura Luhur Uluwatu, Pura Tanah Lot.

All dressed up to enter Pura Tirta Empul

Apart from Pura Luhur Uluwatu, there are other five supremely holy pura in Bali, namely Pura Besakih, Pura Lempuyang Luhur, Pura Goa Lawah, Pura Batukaru, and Pura Pusering Jagat. After doing some background research, I decided to pay a visit to Pura Tirta Empul, Pura Tanah Lot and Pura Luhur Uluwatu, with my tanner half.

Candi bentar (split gate) of Pura Tirta Empul

Kori agung (stone capped gate) of Pura Tirta Empul

There are 3 areas in a pura, i.e. jaba (outer courtyard), jaba tengah (middle courtyard) and jeroan (inner courtyard). To separate between these 3 areas, 2 types of gates are used; candi bentar separates jaba from jaba tengah while kori agung separates jeroan from jaba tengah.

Exploring jaba tengah of Pura Tirta Empul

One of the statues in Pura Tirta Empul

Worshippers presenting their offerings at bale palesan (pavilion)

Pura Tirta Empul (also known as Tampak Siring Temple) is a holy spring water temple. This holy spring was created by the god Indra. Legends said that his forces had been poisoned by Mayadanawa, so he pierced the earth to create a fountain of immortality to revive them.

Worshipper queuing for ritual bathing

Its holy water is said to have healing power; it can melt away bad influences and purify soul and mind. Worshippers first make their offerings at temple, before climbing into this main pool for ritual bathing.

Behind the scene of free-of-charge sarongs

On the way out from Pura Tirta Empul, you are forced to pass through commercial shop lots selling local souvenirs, ranging from wood carvings to apparels. Most shops sell similar items but different pricing. Do hang around longer if you want to get yourself a good deal.

Total damage: Rp15,000 entrance fee per pax. Sarong is provided free-of-charge but donation is expected upon return of sarong.


Pura Tanah Lot in a rainy morning

Pura Tanah Lot is one of the 7 sea temples around the Balinese coast, along with Pura Luhur Uluwatu. Being one of Bali's most sacred sea temples, it is dedicated to the guardian spirits of the sea. It sits on a large offshore rock which has been shaped continuously over the years by the ocean tide. The temple itself is said to be guarded from evil by the sea snakes that inhabit the caves below.

Roaring waves against wet rocky surface

Tanah Lot means Land in the Sea in the Balinese Language. It is said to have been founded by the 16th-century priest Nirartha, one of the last priests to come to Bali from Java. The temple itself is not accessible to visitors, but magnificent views can be had from a variety of points nearby.

Balinese taking shelter from morning rain

Unfortunately it was a rainy morning when we were here. My tanner half slipped and fell on the rocky surface. Bled he was. Luckily one of the tour guides nearby helped and asked us to go to the information counter for first aid. So be careful if you visit on rainy days.

Water lily blossom at Tanah Lot

There was not much we could do, especially with an injured partner. On the way out of Pura Tanah Lot, we spotted this local shop called Agung Bali. Stayed we were in this establishment for a good hour or so, for the merchandises and food items are comparatively cheaper than those in Pura Tirta Empul.

Total damage: Rp 30,000 entrance fee per pax


Pura Luhur Uluwatu overlooking Indian Ocean

Pura Luhur Uluwatu is one of the 7 sea temples around the Balinese coastal, along with Pura Tanah Lot. It is also one of nine directional temples meant to protect Bali from evil spirits. Ulu means head, Watu means stone. Therefore, Pura Luhur Uluwatu is a temple set on top of 80-metre small peninsula rock cliff protruding above Indian Ocean.

Crashing waves and gushing wind

Uluwatu is a famous place for surfing enthusiasts. It is not hard to see why. Standing at the stairways to the temple, I can feel the ferocity. Despite so, deep in my heart, I felt a sense of tranquility. I wished I had more time here.

The emo monkey at Pura Luhur Uluwatu

On one hand, I wished to stay longer. On another hand, I was disturbed by the sight of monkeys. Although these monkeys are believed to guard the temple from bad influence, they are known to be mischievous.

Worse, a fierce monkey

That being said, not all monkeys are as scary as this. Along our way up to Pura Luhur Uluwatu, we walked past a few seemingly innocent ones and a rather careful one.


Free hair blow at Pura Luhur Uluwatu

Total damage: Rp20,000 entrance fee per pax


IN SUMMARY, my personal pura ranking (from highly recommended to least recommended) based on following criteria are:

  • Interesting Elements (discovery)
    • Pura Tirta Empul
    • Pura Luhur Uluwatu
    • Pura Tanah Lot
  • Postcard Element (scenery)
    • Pura Luhur Uluwatu
    • Pura Tanah Lot
    • Pura Tirta Empul
  • Zen Element (level of soul searching)
    • Pura Luhur Uluwatu
    • Pura Tanah Lot
    • Pura Tirta Empul
  • Shopping Element
    • Pura Tanah Lot
    • Pura Tirta Empul
    • Pura Luhur Uluwatu (not sighted)
  • Value For Money 
    • Pura Luhur Uluwatu
    • Pura Tirta Empul
    • Pura Tanah Lot
So which Puras have you decided on your visit?

Kyoto : Jouvencelle, a one of a kind cafe.

Posted by: Jamie Liew

August 8th, 2014 >> Posts

after reading about this amazing cafe on kyotofoodie where he said is his favourite cafe, I told myself that I HAVE to come here one day despite how expensive it looks. Jouvencelle, which I believe means young (girl) is a cafe located at Gion, it isn’t located at the brightest place but because it is next to Yakasa Jinja, it makes it a little bit more easier to find.

Directions : basically, just get into Yasaka Jinja (or Yasaka Shrine) and head right and look for an exit on the right side. upon exit, walk straight and you’ll see Jouvencelle.

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Jouvencelle is located on the second floor to this pottery/porcelain shop. see that green cloth? that’s the entrance to Jouvencelle.

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I was pretty surprised by how small the cafe was. it was very clean-cut and hotel-like. and it became full in a bit! I went there on a weekday!

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oh hello. =D. we ordered the famous Gion greentea fondue which is kind of the only one of its kind. there was a summer set which was served with jelly-looking mochi’s and chewy jelly noodles but it was more expensive T_T. we wanted quantity since we hadn’t ate anything and it was 3pm. so we ordered another bowl of green tea shaved ice to cool us down from the heat of the summer.

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the Gion green tea fondue set and Matcha shaved ice.1,300yen (1,404yen with tax!). there was a hot guy beside me whom had this (but the summer edition) ALL BY HIMSELF. he came alone. Japanese people seemed like people whom are not afraid of loneliness/being seen dining alone. very different from people in Korea.

PS: there’s also another version sold on the Sakura season where the dip is Sakura fondue! dying to try it but Sakura season = exams for me T_T.

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the green tea fondue was much more concentrated than expected and all the fondue dips were amazing. I especially liked the see-through mochi which I believe is warabi mochi while my friend preferred the dango dip. but one thing though, even eating this amongst 2 people, we find this a little sickening at the last few bites because of how concentrated the dip was. it was yummy nevertheless, it was just that we had to keep downing cups of water.

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Uji Matcha shaved ice, 840yen.

the matcha shaved ice on the other hand, was the best shaved ice I’ve ever had. I said it, it’s literally the best. and my friend agrees. the green tea chocolate(? or just pure green tea and milk. I don’t know.) melts in your mouth like fine Belgian chocolate and the shaved ice was so yummy though the ice wasn’t super fine. there’s something about the combination which drove us crazy over it.

there was green pea paste in the middle of it too! pretty funky.

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we didn’t want to leave the cafe. it was surprising how comfortable and delectable everything in that cafe was. the view of old Gion was great and the friendly staffs made everyone feel comfortable.

and if you are going to visit, remember to check out their gold toilet. almost everything in that toilet was gold. I shall call it the Kinkaku-ji toilet. you know why. =D.

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came here with my Malaysian friend, Jia Yii whom had always haunted cheap food with me but we also share the same soft-spot for everything green tea. we splurged around a hundred ringgit just on green tea products that day ahhahaha.

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itadakimasu! Imma devour you all!!!

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my failed shot but do you see how thick those green tea fondue are?!

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at the end of your meal dessert, they will bring you hot milk for you to mix with your left over fondue for you to create green-tea latte. I think we ate too much of the fondue leaving the milk to be pretty.. bland. or just milky. it was nice though!

all in all, I’d give it 5 stars for service, taste and appearance!

the cafe sells a variety of cakes and other desserts which looked really amazing so if you come in a group, then you can try more! well I can’t wait for my next visit so I can try different desserts! but I will order that shaved ice again if it’s available!

here’s the shop’s website :
operating hours : 10am – 6pm

I came here TWICE and it was closed pfft. once because it was a public holiday and once because I came here at 630pm. so come here early! Japanese shops close early if they are sold out too. which sucks T_T. I took almost an hour to go to some famous soba shop. it was 30minutes before it was going to close but because they were sold out they closed 30minutes earlier. bummer. ALWAYS GO EARLY!

Dotonbori, Osaka

Posted by: Jamie Liew

August 3rd, 2014 >> Posts

what’s coming to Osaka without visiting Dotonbori? since where I was living was pretty near, Dotonbori’s now my favourite spot despite the crazy amount of tourists and sky-high food prices. but I am sure those of you on budget are smart enough to dodge the tourist traps and hunt down for the cheaper ones.

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the famous street of Dotonbori. with the huge crab. there’s two huge crabs by the way. this one’s just more central and and attractive. there’s also a humungous REAL crab inside which is the hugest king crab I’ve ever seen in my life. just pop inside and take a picture. I had a picture with it but my face was awful so..

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and how can you miss the OKONOMIYAKI!!! I am a fan for Hiroshima’s Okonomiyaki but these are good as well. instead of having layers of vege and noodles this has.. everything mixed in it. errr.. and quite gingery. so for people who hates ginger I think you should skip this haha. I waited in line for an hour for this though. I don’t know which is good so I picked one with a long line of Japanese people hahaha.

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oh hello.

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I read some blogs stating that this costs 500yen but when I went it was raised to 700yen. T_T. bloody tourist traps. but it’s so yummy I can’t say no to it on a cold winter’s night.

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the number 1 takoyaki store apparently. really, it’s really good. I tried it on my summer trip and I hated myself for not having it in the first place.

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the busy busy street at night.

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I bought takoyaki on my first trip from another famous store famous for it’s.. variety of flavours which was good as well.

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still looks yummy alright but they could give a little more of those bonito flakes.

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an Okonomiyaki store with queue so long it said we need to wait for 3 hours so I quit waiting =S.

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ramen store.

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famous Osakan icon. my Japanese friend just said “don’t ask who he is, just go take a picture with him”

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we then head over for some delicious KUSHIKATSU! where you should only dip it into the sauce ONCE. because it’s going to be disgusting for the next guest if you keep dipping your disgusting saliva innit.

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my favourite was the camembert cheese! so yummy U_U. love beef and chicken as well ahhhhhhhhhhh.

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not to mention those chicken intestines. I went to their huge store so it came AUTOMATICALLY. which was super fascinating for a country pumpkin like myself hahahaha.

here’s a video on how fascinating it was! you have your own little station and all. I will blog on this restaurant someday later!

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I forgot to take a picture of the entrance to the restaurant the last trip but don’t worry because I got you covered this trip! the shop’s name is “kushikatsu daruma” if my weak Japanese doesn’t do me wrong. very famous chain store and you can see it all around Osaka.

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so for my summer Osaka trip, I took more pictures in Dotonbori and guess what? none of these pictures are edited! =D. other for the watermark of course. and that’s the beautiful stream by Dotonbori.

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facing the stream’s this running Glico man. famous famous glico man.

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walk up and there’s Ebisu Bashi-suji. a true shopping haven. the perfume sold at Kokumin’s really cheap too! like 2-3 times cheaper than our duty free in Langkawi. not that it’s famous for perfume.

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some theater.

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Dotonbori during the day. less crowded because it’s wayyyy too hot.

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this ramen shop with a dragon above. I’m a fan of bubzbeauty though I didn’t watch every single one of her video. she makes me feel better about myself and put a smile on my face =3. and ever since I watched her Osaka trip video I’ve been calling this place the bubz ramen shop because she came here before. I recognized how you can sit outside and all. hahaha.

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it was too expensive for a poor student like me to afford the deadly puffer fish/Fugu. so what I did was I picked the cheapest take-out box they sold (it was around 800yen) and ate it at home. =D. it tasted pretty funky and it’s definitely the type of sashimi I’d go for if I have more money T______T. I hope my mom win the lottery or something. hahaha.

Cheapest way of travelling from Namba, Osaka to Gion Shijo, Kyoto.

Posted by: Jamie Liew

August 1st, 2014 >> Posts

I thought I should not tell anyone so that Hankyu can be filled as always and I can have Keihan all to myself. to a tourist, what is 50yen for the extra hassle (which isn’t. but ONE minute longer)? but since I was on budget and I travel to Kyoto pretty frequent, getting to know about this method is like saving me enough to buy myself a bowl of Gyudon with 4 trips down to Kyoto from Osaka.

the typical way to travel to Kawaramachi Station (at Gion Shijo) is by taking Hankyu’s train from Umeda Station. it costs 640yen from Namba. first Midosuji line, then Hankyu line.

the OTHER way is to interchange at Yodoyabashi station to Keihan line for Gion Shijo (also from Namba, of course). this method costs 590yen. and it takes the same amount of time. well, one minute difference. so first, Midosuji line, then Keihan line.

unless you are living in Umeda, I think taking Keihan is the cheapest normally. =). I lived near Namba =D.

Ryoanji, the Zen temple near Kinkakuji

Posted by: Jamie Liew

July 25th, 2014 >> Posts

just a short bus ride away from the famous Kinkakuji is the most famous zen temple, Ryoanji. Also listed as one of the UNESCO wolrd heritage sites, this was put on my list when I first went to Kyoto.

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the whole area is very calm to begin with. despite having a lot of tourists (mostly from visiting Kinkakuji), the beauty of the area did not subside.

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the Ryoanji building.

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upon entry, you should buy a ticket on the right side.

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if my memory did not serve me wrong, the entrance fee to Ryoanji was 600yen although it is stated 500yen on the website.

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a miniature Ryoanji and also scripts for the blind. don’t get it since the real Ryoanji is right behind.

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here, I present you Japan’s most renown Zen garden, Ryoanji.

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but the truth is.. I felt no zen. I mean, you are supposed to sit in front of the beautifully drawn marbles in front and meditate but with all the noise and crowd AND, barely a place to sit, I felt like my 600yen went to waste. the area was small and there’s nothing much other than this zen garden which was flocked by people and all you could hear when you close your eyes is their shutter sound.

so a tip for you? come here during the off-peak season and maybe you can feel some zen.

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even my mini wide-angle camera couldn’t get a widespread picture of the place. so I had to take a panaroma shot haha.

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yep, I’m a fashion disaster. haha. and this is the other side of the garden.

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sadly, I couldn’t enter the other side which looked really pretty.


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errrr… zen tatami?

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while the entrance was super congested, the exit was empty.


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but like I’ve always said, the beautiful landscapes even outside of the attractions are enough of a reason to visit Kyoto.


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some really pretty restaurant.

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entrance to the restaurant! didn’t dine in because it costed a bomb T_T.

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and the lake nearby. pretty no?

all in all, I think it is worth a visit if you’re already at Kinkakuji. but if you’re on a tight budget, I’d say that it is a “okay to skip” place even though it is a UNESCO site. it is a little too small for a 600yen entrance fee. unless you come on a non peak season and feel some zen, if not I don’t think it is worth it.

Kinkakuji, The Golden Pavilion of Kyoto

Posted by: Jamie Liew

July 19th, 2014 >> Posts

there are so much I’ve heard about this place. while most say it’s spectacular some commented that it’s far too over-rated. but being already here in Kyoto, I had to check it out right?

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Kinkakuji was one of the first tourist attraction I’ve visited in Kyoto and I was already taken aback by the beautiful landscape outside the attraction. the green moss (?) grew so beautifully I thought a magically deer was going to pop out of somewhere.

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this way please!

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this was actually the second time I came back as I was told that it was closed when I came here at 4 something the first time. if you’ll be here end of July, do visit this area as the great Daimon-ji, some huge fire burning on mountain to create a “big” word in Kanji/Chinese event will be held. heard it will also be held at several places but I am not sure.

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indeed a very popular attraction. it was filled with people.

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the unique entrance tickets which looked like they were some amulet. the entrance fees was a ridiculous 500yen. very very expensive for such a small attraction.

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but nevertheless, in my opinion, it lived up to its name. beautifully breath-taking. however, in real life, the whole area’s filled with people and it doesn’t feel as “zen” as it should be.

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some of my friends had commented that if you go close, you’d see how the gold paint’s not really that amazing. but I’d say who cares since it looks good from afar. nobody’s really going to go super close to it. haha. but for me, even going close to it, I find it beautiful. but the whole area’s really just this. and the other side to view it is kind of narrow and too crowded in my opinion.

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I don’t know what to call these. carvings or statues? but they are pretty much both. beautiful I have to say.

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my addiction when I was there. green tea ice cream. matcha and milk doesn’t always taste this good. so when in Japan, always splurge on these yummy cones! the ones from the convenience store are just not up to par.

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matcha dango and dango covered with chestnut paste. these are sold everywhere too. initially I thought dango would taste sweet and treated it like a sort of sweet but it’s a little salty and it’s more.. savory? but in short, it’s a type of chewy mochi haha. pretty filling too.

I took the bus to Kinkakuji. Kyoto is quite tourist friendly and getting there by bus especially with their 500yen all day pass was really convenient for me. =).

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Bali Travelogue: In Quest of the Best Babi Guling (11 – 15 Jan 2014)

Posted by: admin

July 15th, 2014 >> Posts

If you have not tried Babi Guling in Bali, you haven't been there after all.
Being my virgin visit to the land of most Indonesian's Hindu minority, I have made up my mind to try as many Babi Guling as possible, in the quest of the best!

While Babi Guling might sounds new to us Malaysian, it is similar to our roasted suckling pig.
But what makes Babi Guling unique is the lawar (a mixture of vegetables, coconut, minced meat, mixed with rich herbs and spices).

Ibu Oka and Pak Malen are the two famous Babi Guling you would come across on the internet.
However, staying in Seminyak meant limited access to Ibu Oka (30km away from Pak Malen).
On a bright side, we now had easy access to Pak Malen and Warung Jambul!

After trying 3 different Babi Gulings, here are my personal ranking:
#1 Babi Guling & Ayam Betutu @ Warung Jambul Babi Guling, Jln Plawa

Tucked along a small road nearby Bintang Supermarket (~15-min walk), we stumbled across this hidden gem as we nervously looked for breakfast options.
Small establishment with comfortable space to accommodate 10 pax; it was empty on Monday 9am.
We ordered two standard portions of Babi Guling and waited anxiously for it.

The portion was ~25% smaller than Pak Malen's but hey, it was Rp15,000 each (excluding Ayam Betutu)!
My nose strongly approved the aroma and I must say I was excited to dug into this unassuming pile of Babi Guling.

I did my very best to get small chunks and bits of every dish into my spoon and took it all in.
Every single element was perfectly complemented, be it the taste or texture; the crunchiness of pork cracker against the tenderly loving pork satay, the heavily spiced meat and gravy against the sour and mild spicy lawar.

#1 Pork Soup @ Warung Jambul Babi Guling, Jln Plawa

Their ayam betutu is worth trying too.
Similar to the spices used for Babi Guling, it did share similar flavor and aroma; its tenderness was not something I would complain about.

#2 Babi Guling @ Warung Nasi Babi Guling Men Agus, Jln Raya Canggu

Exactly 1 hour 30 min after we had Warung Jambul's Babi Guling for breakfast, our driver brought us to another warung for more Babi Guling in Badung (~15min drive from Warung Jambul Babi Guling).
Portion wise, Men Agus' was more generous than Warung Jambul's, with the price tag of ~Rp25,000 per portion.

Comparing to Warung Jambul's, Men Agus' version was second best.
Both warungs' lawar and pork satays were really good; while I would like my pork skin to be crispier, both couldn't deliver the ideal texture.
Why Men Agus' only deserves second in place?
Simple, I don't like pork innards.

#3 Babi Guling @ Warung Babi Guling Pak Malen, Jln Sunset Rd 5

Although Babi Guling Pak Malen was the first meal I had in Bali, it did not share the same appeal as Warung Jambul's.
Portion was pretty generous at the price tag of ~Rp28,000 (not to mention lots of innards too!)
For a non innards lover like me, it is not hard to see why Pak Malen's Babi Guling is ranked #3.
Innards aside, the lawar was not compelling good; pork satay and pig skin was pretty similar to other two.

IN SUMMARY, my personal Babi Guling ranking (from highly recommended to least recommended) based on following criteria are:

  • Value for money
    • Warung Jambul
    • Men Agus
    • Pak Malen
  • Flavor & texture (for non innard lovers)
    • Warung Jambul
    • Men Agus
    • Pak Malen
  • Accessibility (for those who stay in Seminyak)
    • Warung Jambul / Pak Malen
    • Warung Jambul / Pak Malen
    • Men Agus

All the best in finding your perfect plate of Babi Guling in Bali :)