UK Food List: My trip to Cambridge

Sunday, 31 July 2016

UK Food List: My trip to Cambridge
So last year (I know, so delayed), we were in Cambridge for about 2.5 days, and in that period we tried a variety of food and there were some hits and misses for me. Here's my Cambridge food list!

点击这里阅读中文版 (Click here to read this post in Chinese)

Yimwah Express

Part of the Yim Wah Group, Yim Wah Express stands out with their purple and white signboard, with its chinese name printed on it. The restaurant has a relatively fast pace, and you see many Chinese people dining there. Most of the staff speak cantonese, giving you an authentic experience of what it's like to dine in, perhaps, a Hong Kong eatery. But yet, it's somewhat different. Maybe because I've enjoyed many wonderful chinese dishes before, the food here just doesn't come through for me. Sadly, I guess its flavors have been finetuned to suit non-chinese patrons. 
Location: 2-4 Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EG
Tel: 01223-309530
Website: http://www.yimwahexpress.co.uk/

Wagamama

Wagamama has a huge variety of Asian cuisine available for ordering and similar as Yim Wah Express, it's taste has been finetuned to suit non-Asians. But this was at an acceptable level of change, one that I probably enjoyed. Opened since 1992, its Japanese inpired dining speed makes this an fusion Asian fast food joint. I tried a dish under the teppanyaki and curry - I liked the curry dish for its depth in flavour. That was something they did well. As for the teppanyaki, I do have to say that they were somewhat lacking. If you do visit this simple yet modern looking fast food joint, do consider their curry dishes.
Location: 36A St Andrews Street Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 3AR
Tel: 01223 462 354
Website: http://www.wagamama.com/

Little Seoul

I am a HUGE fan of South Korean food. I travel to Korea every year and I dine a variety of their local food. This place, I read many reviews and I note how good reviews were given but this was... not up to my standard unfortunately. I even chose a simple stew dish - the army stew - one where a Korean eatery should not get wrong because it's just too simple. But it was hugely lacking and I'm a sad bunny. To note, though, the ambiance was indeed cozy, and situated underground.
Location: 108 Regent St, Cambridge CB2 1DP, United Kingdom
Tel: 1223 308681
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Seoul/153262288031989

Cote Brasserie

Dining here has been such a delight. We had the 3-course set lunch and it was such a lovely meal. Focusing on the flavours of France, I enjoyed dishes such as the steak frites. Desserts were also a joy, service was professional as well. Once of my favourite meals in UK.
Location: 21-24 Bridge Street, Cambridge CB2 1UF
Tel: 01223 311 053
Website: http://www.cote-restaurants.co.uk/cote/

Chocolat Chocolat

Yummy yummy yummy, if you like chocolates. Chocolat Chocolat is found in the city centre just around the corner from Downing College in a 19th century building. Chocolatiers make their own chocolates in-house. I hear it's famous for its handmade sheet chocolate which is made with Belgian chocolate in a French style. To top that, I also had a cup of chocolate ice-cream there and it was just lovely. It's also a wonderful place to purchase souvenirs back home too.
Location: 21 St Andrews Street, Grand Arcade, Cambridge CB2 3AX, UK
Tel: 01223 778982
Website: http://www.chocolatchocolat.co.uk/

Fitzbillies

A wonderful place to chill out and just enjoy a cup of tea. The old-school bakery and cafe offers a quiet environment, good for chatting. It serves traditional pastries with lovely coffee. I also got to try its famous Chelsea buns, which were sticky and syrupy in nature and filled with dried fruit and cinnamon. We went during tea time, about 3pm in the afternoon, so it didn't seem so packed, but I heard that lunch time would be different. 
Location: 51 - 52 Trumpington St, Cambridge CB2 1RG, United Kingdom
Tel: 01223 352500
Website: http://www.fitzbillies.com/

EAT. 

EAT is the word and the eatery is all over the place with 118 operating shops in UK. We had a hearty sandwich breakfast here. Again, I gave the Asian Chicken Pho noodle cup a try and it wasn't lovely. I would ask that you stick to their Great Taste award winning sandwiches and cup yogurts. I love their CSR model of how they donate their leftover food to local charities supporting the homeless. One, they don't waste food. Second, the hungry gets fed. Awesome.
Location: https://eat.co.uk/store-locations?=favourite
Website: https://eat.co.uk/

Beauty Raves! Son & Park 손앤박's Beauty Water and now, the Beauty Gel

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Beauty Raves! Son & Park 손앤박's Beauty Water and now, the Beauty Gel
All that raving about Son & Park’s Beauty Water has got me curious about it! These products are formulated by Son Dae Sik and Park Tae Yun, which explains where the brand name came from - a combination of their surnames. Now, following the success of their Beauty Water (뷰티워터, they’ve also launched a new Beauty Gel (뷰티젤) 

When two of South Korea’s top makeup artists come together to produce products that will aid makeup application, you know that it’ll be 대박 (jackpot)! Or… is it?

Well, here’s my review.

Packaging 


Beauty Water: There is a fine line between lazy packaging and minimalist packaging. The latter is simple, without frills, yet classy. In a clean, simplistic, minimalist frosted plastic packaging, This one feels nice in the hand, though it looks like high class bottled water. Simplistic and classy.

Beauty Gel: They go with the white coloured pump for this new product. I don’t know why, but this feels plasticky. Too plastic, unlike its frosted plastic bottled pal: the Beauty Water. Well even so, the bubbly liquid within its clear, transparent bottle has saved it from looking like a replica $2 bottle from Daiso. The pump is sensitive – as in, it’ll dispense quite a lot of product in one pump. Just in case you’d like to know.

Main Ingredients 


Beauty Water:  Damask rose water, Orange extract, Lavender water

Beauty Gel: Mineral water, Oxygen, Rose oil, Evening primrose oil

How To Use

Beauty Water: After washing your face, put some Beauty Water onto the cotton and sweep in an upward stroke across the face gently. Do not touch eyes with the product. Alternatively, some people pour some formula onto their hands and pat into the skin directly, till fully absorbed.

Beauty Water

Beauty Gel
Beauty Gel: To be used after the Beauty Water. Pump one or two pumps of formula into your hands and ‘break’ the capsule which contains collagen. The secret here is to pat, pat, pat it in! Do not apply. The bubbles you see in the liquid are the H2O bubbles. In fact, the gel contents are 87% H2O. So patting in the product is akin to hitting the oxygen into your skin directly – letting your skin breathe and renew itself to its smooth state.

What I Liked 

Beauty Water: This works as a great prep for your skin before makeup. With functions that act as a toner, it may not feel like it’s actually doing anything to your skin after application, but it gently exfoliates and then hydrates the skin, keeping it moisturized and smooth that will help in makeup application. No tightness on skin is felt after usage.

Beauty Gel: Smooth! So smooth after application. The skin feels so supple and refreshed. I loved this, especially for hot and humid weathers like in Singapore. Also, it helps in minimizing pores and helps cool down the temperature of your skin. My pores really did show signs of being smaller immediately after application, as shown below.


Fragrance 

Beauty Water: As the liquid hits your skin, it’ll remind you of some lightly scented alcohol wipes but the smell quickly dissipates. What remains is a light but non-alcoholic scent. 


Beauty Gel: Scentless!

Pricing  

Beauty Water: I bought this online about a month ago, for SGD$32.90. It retails at 2 sizes: 340ml and 500ml. I could only find the 340ml size.

Beauty Gel: This was purchased directly from Sasa Malaysia when I visited Malacca over the weekend with some colleagues. When I saw that Sasa Malaysia had a whole counter dedicated to Son & Park, I knew I had to get it. Apparently, Sasa Malaysia just brought in this brand, and it is only limited to a few Sasa stores in Malaysia. So… SCORE! Also, when I visited, I realized it was the last bottle on the shelf, so yes! Double SCORE!

Son & Park in Sasa Malaysia

Unfortunately, I feel that it is extremely expensive though – you’re paying for all the shipping and counter stocking costs in Sasa. So yepp. If you want to know, I bought this for RM139 (SGD$47).

South Korea’s pharmacies sell these much cheaper!


Their Products Don't Contain...

  • Sulfates 
  • Phthalates 
  • mineral oil 
  • tar color
  • artificial dyes 
  • surface active agent 
  • talc 
  • petrolatum 
  • Triclosan 
  • BHT 
  • Benzophenone
Even so, for those who have dermatitis and eczema or wounds, please do not use these products. Also, if you don’t already know this by now, you should never put your products under direct sunlight or locations which are overly hot!


Overall, I do think that these 2 products have really hit the jackpot, at least for me. The huge takeaway for me, after using these 2 products, is how smooth and supple your skin actually gets. I loved it. These 2 products don’t break the bank and if you can, I would recommend you check out these 2 products if you haven’t already.

Son & Park疯狂热潮Beauty Water之后的产品Beauty Gel

Son & Park疯狂热潮Beauty Water之后的产品Beauty Gel
关于近日Son & Park 疯狂热潮的Beauty Water让我对它实在好奇!这些产品都由孫大植 (Son Dae Sik) 及朴泰潤, 韩国数一数二的美容师制造而成, 产品也于他们的姓氏命名。自他们的 Beauty Water (뷰티워터取得成功后,他们推出了新 Beauty Gel (뷰티젤)。

当两个韩国顶级化妆师一同推出产品时,它就一定是好的吗

这是我使用后的看法


Mak's Noodle 麥奀雲吞麵世家 in Singapore's Vivocity

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Mak's Noodle 麥奀雲吞麵世家 in Singapore's Vivocity

Mak's Noodles, also known as 麥奀雲吞麵世家 in Hong Kong, has been in Singapore for quite some time now. Founded by Mak Woon Chi in 1920, the noodles go a long way back, and the Singapore branch promises to 'ensure 95% of similarity in taste just like the restaurants in Hong Kong'.

The second letter of its name, 奀, reads 'un' in cantonese. Which literally means 'small'. In fact, the spelling itself also reads 'not big' (不大). Hence, already managing your expectations in its name, that you're not gonna get a big bowl of noodles when you dine here.

Get your cutlery from the drawer under the table.
I ordered the Wanton and Dumpling Noodle soup. Indeed, true to our expectations of a minuscule bowl, the first reaction stings because I am reminded that I'm paying a whooping $8.90 for it.

I don't regret it though, because from the soup, to its shrimp based wantons and slightly peppery dumplings, are flavourful. If you have to compare Singapore's wanton mee which is heavier in flavour, Mak's noodles would be what most people would term as 'bland'.

But not to me.

Mak's noodles are the taste of Hongkong's wanton mees, and you shouldn't come here expecting to have Singapore styled ones. In fact, Mak's Noodles would suit the tastebuds of a lady very well - the springy but firm bite to its noodles, the lightly flavoured soup, the delectable wantons and finally the one-hand-can-hold-entire-bowl portions.

But I have an appetite of a guy, so I also ordered the beef brisket tossed noodles to try. Here, I have to say that they did a good job with the beef brisket. The tenderness of the brisket, stewed to perfection. The tossed noodles are served dry and tossed in beef brisket sauce, albeit seemingly too little. But mix it up well, and you'll realise that it's fine.

Despite hearing negative feedback about Mak's noodles, I had found my taste experience to be flavourful, in a yummy Hong Kong way. It reminded me of my trip to Mak's Noodles in Wellington Street with my family a couple years back. Brought back lovely memories of our noodles which was delicious in its own right.

Drinks are made and cooked in-house, which I tried with their iced watercress with lemon drink ($3.50). Not bad, but can do without. The servers here are friendly too, in a fairly Cantonese way. I had a little chat with a lovely auntie working there and she promised me some free drinks the next time I returned. That, I loved.

The only gripe I have is about the size of noodles itself, ironically. But if you haven't tried it for yourself, don't be too quick to judge. I can only say that if you tried and don't like the taste, perhaps don't bother having wanton mee in Hongkong, since this is one of their best to offer already.

Mak's Noodle 麥奀雲吞麵世家 (Vivocity Singapore)
Location: Vivocity, 1 Harbourfront Walk #B2-27 & 27A Singapore 098585
Tel: 6358 2582
Website: http://www.maksnoodle.sg/

Afuri's Yuzu Ramen in Ebisu (阿夫利)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Afuri's Yuzu Ramen in Ebisu (阿夫利)
Ebisu was such a lovely neighbourhood, lined with hidden good eats and good coffees. In our first night in the neighbourhood, we went to the nearby AFURI Ramen, famed for their yuzu tsukemen (dipping ramen) and well, the normal yuzu ramen bowls.  

We walked by some cigarette dispensing machines, which were just outside the stores. Too many cigarettes. Bleah.
 AFURI stood out with its minimalist entrance in the midst of the older signages and buildings.
 Staff were busy preparing the food for hungry patrons in the packed eatery.

Here's the full menu in English. You're welcome. :)
 When we sat down, they gave us this English sign, for us to choose the amount of chicken oil. We went with Tanrei, since it was the AFURI recommended style.

Simple table layout
We ordered the signature Yuzu Tsukemen and the Yuzu Shio (Salt) Ramen. Each ramen comes with braised pork slice, egg and seaweed.  Make sure to ask for the noodles and broth hot if that’s how you like it!
 The broth was tasty and not overly salty, though it was 'salt' ramen. :)

For the Tsukemen, instead of the pork slice, there was the braised pork belly. Melts in your mouth!
The dipping sauce on the side was refreshing, with a good tinge of yuzu. Pretty special, if you ask me.
Can you blame us for finishing it all? There were still slices of yuzu leftover when we were done, though. Really generous with the yuzu. 

AFURI Ramen  阿夫利 恵比寿店
Location: 1F 117 Bld., 1-1-7 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Google Coordinates: 35.64835, 139.71089
Operating Hours: 11:00 am - 5:00 am (open daily)
Website: http://afuri.com/

Cute shaved ice in Summertime Japan: Tokyo Ebisu's Ice Ouca (ジャパニーズアイス櫻花)

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Cute shaved ice in Summertime Japan: Tokyo Ebisu's Ice Ouca (ジャパニーズアイス櫻花)
It's summertime! Located near my airbnb in Ebisu, I saw many locals queuing up for this and I knew I had to make a stop to try this out. Famed for its ice-cream and kakigori (Japanese styled shaved ice), and just nice that it was summer, I have seen queues for this every time I walked by.
Some sat outside the store to enjoy their ice-cream
Freezer bags can be purchased to 'buy' back tubs of ice-cream, if you don't want to have them immediately.
Freezer bags
 Flavours galore!
Here are the sizes for the ice-cream. Starting from small sized ones, prices range from 400yen to 1,280yen.

Small - Komori
Medium - Namimori
Large - Oomori
Extra Large - Tokumori

 The place is extremely small. But somehow, it seems that the locals are used to the space constraints already. Some were even eating near the tea counter, where you can pour yourself a nice cup of hojicha.


We went with the small size ice-cream combi, which was good enough for both of us. It came with a wafer biscuit and also some dried seaweed on the side. You're supposed to eat the ice-cream with the salted seaweed, and my friend was thinking it was strange until she actually tried it. The overall combination was good and the ice cream was deliciously smooth!
Matcha, Milk and one more, I can't remember the flavour. XD

Here's our shaved ice (640yen, shirokuma)! For the summer, they have 4 types of shaved ice available. I asked the counter lady which one was the least sweet, as I don't really like extremely sweet desserts, which was what the Japanese seem to have a liking for.

But she told me every thing is quite sweet, so I just ordered something which seemed like it could be the 'least sweet'. Our shaved ice came in a cute polar bear shape, and I snagged a solo shaved ice shot and put myself in great risk of getting captured in another group's wefie shot.
We thought that the ears were mandarin orange, but it turned out to be peach. LOL. The shaved ice was quite fine, but not as fine as Korean bingsu.
We also got their matcha ice shake (520yen), which was also one of the most popular summer drink in their shop. Matcha in Japan never seems to go wrong.
 Overall, we loved it, despite all its sweetness.

 Japan's big on recycling, and doing it well. Hence, don't forget to throw your straws and cups in the right bin!

Japanese Ice Ouca (東京恵比寿 ジャパニーズアイス櫻花)
Location: 〒150-0013 東京都渋谷区恵比寿1-6-6
Google Coordinates: 35.64767, 139.71082
Operating Hours: March to October - 11:00 to 23:30 (23:00 last order) / Nov to February - 12:00 to 23:00 (22:45 last order)
Website: http://www.ice-ouca.com/