Binggrae Banana Milk

*moans….* I miss drinking this brand of banana-flavoured milk from Korea. I didn’t realise the Koreans were big on banana milk.

If I find this milk in Singapore, I’m going to stock my fridge with many, many, many bottles…!

I have loved drinking banana milk since I was a kid in primary school when we had to drink a carton of milk everyday. We got a different flavour everyday – chocolate, strawberry, plain, vanilla. I remember looking forward to Friday because that was the day we were given banana-flavored milk. (Anyway, I love all things banana….)

So every week, I traded my chocolate milk, strawberry milk and vanilla milk for my classmates’ banana-flavoured milk. I couldn’t understand why no-one seemed to like the delicious banana-flavoured milk.

It has a been a long while since I drank banana-flavoured milk.  Except for HL, I don’t see any banana-flavoured milk in the supermarket.  I guess it isn’t popular because Singaporeans seem to favour strawberry and chocolate milk.  Some time back, I tried HL’s banana-flavoured milk but I didn’t like it. Too bad. It just didn’t taste right. There wasn’t enough banana flavour in the milk.

Cheki 25


A cute new Polaroid camera that I bought in Seoul. The Instax Mini 25 (also known as Cheki 25 in Japanese).

There is an even cuter Hello Kitty version that comes with a Hello-Kitty-shade-of-red strap that is being sold in Japan now. You can also purchase the special film pack which prints photos in Hello Kitty frames!

Yeah, I am not shy to say that I am a fan of both the Hello Kitty and Keropi cartoon characters.

I love watching the image appear gradually on the film before my eyes.

Gwangju: Boseong Tea Plantation


I have managed to tear myself away from watching Marry Me, Mary to put up a picture of the tea plantation known as Daehan Dawon in Boseong, Jeollanam-do (somewhere in the south-western part of Korea) which I visited as a day-trip while staying in Gwangju. Boseong is a 90min bus ride from Gwangju. And from the Boseong bus terminal, it takes another 20mins to reach Daehan Dawon by a local bus (which departs Boseong in approximately 30-minute intervals; I think the intervals could be shorter during spring and summer but I lack the linguistic ability to make such inquiries with the folks manning the ticket counter.)

I lugged my computer to Korea just so that I could keep myself entertained at night in my room watching dramas, posting photos on Facebook and on the blog. I’m doing a lot of watching dramas and posting photos on Facebook but very little on the blog ‘cos this requires me to apply more of my brain cells and I am kind of low on brain-juice right now.

What I need is a super light MacBook Air. The camera bag and Acer computer together weigh a ton. I have already given up bringing the camera bag everywhere, relying mostly on my 18-200mm zoom lens unless I’m pretty sure that I’m going to a place which definitely requires the use of my other lens.

I’m going to keep this short. Will have to put up backdated posts and fill in the blanks on the trip when I get home.

Jeju: Jeonbang Waterfalls

We’re heading back to Seoul today and will spend the rest of tonight and tomorrow morning going on a mad shopping spree in Skin Food, Faceshop, Nature Republic (and hopefully, nothing else) so that TBH can cart all the loot home. When he goes home tomorrow afternoon, I will make my way down to Jeonju by train and thereafter, by cab to the guesthouse.

I haven’t had major problems getting around in Gangneung and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will remain this way for the rest of the trip to the provinces down south. I have learnt that I must write down the names and addresses of the places that I want to visit in Korean characters and show them to the taxi drivers. I cannot assume that they would recognize the name of the hotel or destinations that I want to visit simply because my intonation in pronouncing Korean words is completely off and they have no idea what I am saying to them.

I should post some more pictures of Jeju-do before I go back to Seoul where hooking my computer to the Internet in the hotel room is a pain.  Staying in Hotel Sun-Bee in Insadong was an incredibly BAD choice on my part – not so much the quality of the room but where the hotel is situated.

I thought the location of Sun-Bee sounded good because it is gobsmack in Insadong, but navigating the human traffic in Insadong with our lugguage in order to get to the hotel from the airport limousine stop is an utter nightmare. Even the taxis can’t seem to find their way through Insadong to the hotel lobby and they would ask you to alight at wherever is most convenient for them, and you go figure your own way to the hotel.  Also, Sun-Bee is located in a back alley of Insadong so it is not quite safe walking back to the hotel from the subway stations station after 10pm.  Especially when you are alone.

Okay, back to photos.

^Jeonbang Waterfalls

After lunch at MINT, we visited the Jeonbang Waterfalls – one of three famous waterfalls in Jeju – on our way back to the resort.  There is a pathway lined with camelia trees leading to the rocks and one can get pretty close to the waterfall.  It was very picturesque and save for the sound of the water crashing onto the rocks, the spot was delightfully quiet and peaceful.  I was half afraid of having to rub shoulders with busloads of tourists that we saw heading along the same way as us.


We saw a couple of ahjummas squatting under a tent that was pitched on the rocks.  Ah, this was a makeshift stall selling raw oysters and shellfish – exactly something which I have wanted to try.  I pointed to a basin filled with shellfish (some sort of clam) and oysters and asked for one of each.


^ This is what we got from the ahjummas.  Not cheap – this plate costs us slightly over S$20.

We plonked ourselves on a dry rock and proceeded to have a taste of the sea!  Even though I love sashimi, I must honestly say that this was a rather squeamish experience for me.

Obviously, we left behind the “most delicious bits” because when we returned the tray to the ahjumma, she gave us a dirty look, muttered something under her breath and ate the leftovers on our plate.


^ Glass House, Phoenix Island, Seopjikoji

How’s the scenery in Jeju-do?  I haven’t seen enough of the island but from what I have seen so far, the beauty of the island has not touched me very deeply. The oreums and coastlines are lovely but they did not leave an indelible impression on me the way Bhutan did with its rugged terrain or the Great Ocean Road with its gorgeous coastline.

I guess the comparisons with Bhutan and the Great Ocean Road may be inappropriate but that’s all the experience I have to draw a comparison with at this point in time.  Oh, I have done the 17-Mile Drive in California but for some reason, that famous stretch of coastline did not leave any deep impression on me too. Perhaps it was the jetlag.

^ Phoenix Island, Seopjikoji

During our stay in Jeju-do, we spent only one full day out, visiting the Jeonbang Waterfalls and Phoenix Island at Seopjikoji and half a day at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

For a tourist destination, it is rather odd to me that Jeju-do didn’t seem particularly accessible for the independent foreign traveller.   Unless one drives, it is quite challenging to get to and from the tourist attractions on the island because public transport including the availability of taxis, appears to be almost non-existent.  We got around by hiring a cab for a full day and for the trip to the museum, we had to get the receptionist at the museum to call a cab to take us back to the resort. There were no cabs at the museum that we could flag down.

What else did we do…?  Pig out, of course, on Jeju pork and soju.  Except for lunch at MINT restaurant, we ate every meal at PODO because the food is just so good. I am going to miss it when we leave Jeju tomorrow.

^ MINT Restaurant, Phoenix Island

On hindsight, I wouldn’t have bothered with eating lunch at MINT because the food was disappointingly mediocre; although I must say that the views afforded by the restaurant more than made up for the lack in its culinary standards.

Korea 2010: Roses & Bubbly


I am 35 years old today.  Holy cripes.  THIRTY-freaking-FIVE years old…?  I am definitely in the ahjumma category.

I don’t actually feel like 35 (not that I know what a 35 y.o. should feel like) though my constantly aching back reminds me that I am on the wrong side of 30. 

I desperately need a deep tissue back massage because my shoulders and upper back are hurting so badly from lugging the heavy camera bag everywhere.  And I seem to get tired very easily after walking for a couple of hours – the physical stamina seems to be deteriorating day-by-day (although I’m inclined to think that this is largely a consequence from sitting in front of the computer most of the day and a lack of regular exercise).

After breakfast, the resort staff delivered an unexpected surprise to my room.  


For a very very brief moment, I thought it was from TBH.  But that chap denied it vehemently and I believed him.   Why did I even think that he would do something like that?   

Turns out that the surprise was from a few friends in Singapore.  I was utterly surprised that they would go through all the trouble and expense (TBH was super pleased that he was saved the trouble of getting flowers…)!  We were totally looking forward to getting drunk on champagne during dinner.

I spent quite a bit of time prancing around the room with my basket of flowers, snapping photos of it, and replying to text messages from friends wishing me ‘Happy Birthday’. 

Afterall, how often does a girl receive fresh flowers and champagne…?!  This is definitely a first in my 35 years (and hopefully not the last).

And I am looking forward to lunch at the MINT restaurant on Phoenix Island.

Jeju: PODO Hotel


We arrived in Jeju-do yesterday and came straight to PODO Hotel from the airport. The flight from Seoul to Jeju was a short 1 hour but it was a noisy one, as half the flight was occupied by hordes of rowdy 12 year-olds on a school excursion to Jeju and they created a minor ruckus on the plane as well as at the Gimpo and Jeju airports.  We scrambled to collect our lugguage before the kids descended on us but unfortunately, we could not out-run them and were nearly flattened by their pre-adolescent enthusiasm at the carousel.

I thought about renting a car from Hertz or Avis at the airport and drive ourselves to PODO. But I forgot about getting an international driver’s license before I left and I guess I could do without the stress of navigating in a place where people drive on the left. 

After a couple of days in muggy Seoul, we were really hoping for clear skies in Jeju but unfortunately, the foggy skies had followed us down south.  Though not as foggy as Seoul’s, the Jeju sky has been swathed in thick, grey-ish clouds. 

From time to time, we get a peek of the clear, blue sky with strong rays of light streaming through when the clouds move.  That’s when I rush out of the hotel room with my jacket and camera hoping to snap some photographs before it becomes all gloomy again.

^ View of the dining room of PODO.

We are going to be in Jeju till Friday – that gives us about 3 full days on this island before we head back to Seoul.  But one look at PODO and we decided that we would be chilling out in the resort for most of our stay in Jeju.   It is a stunning building situated on beautiful grounds with lots of vegetation and tall grass.  I don’t mind just hanging out in the resort, do nothing but read and recuperate from last week’s travels.

^PODO gave us a beautiful Korean-style room and this is where I have been parking myself at during my waking hours.

Also, the food in the PODO restaurant is amazingly good.  It serves mostly Korean cuisine, but done in a slightly fusion-esque style which seems to be going down quite well with TBH.



I am pretty much whacked-out today. It is only 9.30pm (Korean time) now and I can barely keep my eyes open. My sleep on the plane was disrupted by the crew serving breakfast at 4am…!  Who eats breakfast at 4am?

I arrived in the Land of the Morning Calm at 7am this morning and it took me over three-quarters of an hour to clear immigration. After I collected my luggage, I hopped onto the airport limousine for the 1-hr ride to the Dong Seoul Bus Terminal in Seoul where I caught the express bus to Gangneung. The express bus turned into the Gangneung bus terminal at 1pm, by which time I was dead beat and starving.

I was hoping to be able to eat something in the Gangneung town centre before heading to the hotel at Gyeongpo beach where I had reserved a room. But the town centre resembled a ghost town. There was hardly a soul on the streets – where is everybody? The shops also didn’t seem to be open for business on a Monday and the Tourist Information Centre was closed.  I figured that I should just forget about lunch and get myself to the hotel asap.

Late fall is probably the off-peak season for the coastal town. While I hoped that the Gyeongpo beach area might be slightly more bustling, I am also looking forward to a quiet time in this little town. Which is one of the main reasons why I headed to Gangneung the minute I arrived in Korea instead of spending some time in Seoul – I wanted some andante to wind down, far away from the mad crowds in the city.


The hotel that I stayed in was just a street away from Gyeongpo beach – which was also deathly quiet.  The quiet beach was lovely, with a cloud-less blue sky, clean beaches and gorgeous crystal clear waters.   The air was so fresh and crisp, I could have sat there for hours on stretch sitting on the wooden swings watching the waves crash onto the beach.  Instead of having just benches or beach chairs, the Koreans installed heavy wooden swings (with lots of love messages engraved on them) on the beach.  I thought the swings are a great idea. 

So excited over the beach, I almost forgot that I was very hungry.  I walked along the stretch of seafood restaurants facing the beachfront, trying to figure out which one I should dine at.  In the end, I decided on this particular restaurant only because the owner  was very friendly and he spoke some English.


First meal of the day – a huge pot of haemul tang (or spicy seafood soup).   It was delicious, especially the snails!  I was determined to return the next evening to try their raw fish. 

I crashed out immediately after dinner.

Mee Soto


Home-made mee soto! We had tanghoon instead of the usual yellow noodles or beehoon. 

I didn’t make it of course.  C’s domestic helper cooked the soup from scratch.  It is super tasty, especially when mixed with sambal chili.   I like that the flavour of the soup is very subtle.  Some of the mee sotos sold outside have too much spices for my liking.

They gave us a big serving of mee soto to bring home.  We slurped everything up in one sitting today.  I don’t really need the tanghoon or the chicken bits.  Just the soup with lots of sambal chilli and lime.



I am in one of those strange moods when I feel a strong urge to declutter. So I’ve thrown out half the books sitting on my bookshelves. Mostly novels.

These are books which have been with me for the last 10 to 15 years. Books which I have devoted time and energy (not to say money) to collecting. Books which I never thought would leave my bookshelves because I enjoyed reading and re-reading them so much. But sadly, no longer interest me now. But I have could never bear to give them away because they represented the swinging twenties of my life.

Throwing out these books away is a big thing for me. It feels like I’m moving on to another phase in my life.

Okay, I didn’t exactly throw the books into the rubbish chute. What I did was to deposit them with Bookcross at the library. It took me several trips to the library just to do so.

How is it that reading tastes change? Maybe it has to do with age.

I feel good now. 🙂

Jeju: MINT Restaurant

^ Photo from Happy Mize Travel

I came across this restaurant while surfing the Internet for Western restaurants to feed TBH when we are in Jeju. 

Any Korean drama addict would be able to recognize this restaurant.  I saw it in Boys Before Flowers and Life Is Beautiful. I have always thought it would be a gorgeous place to dine in because of the dramatic views of the ocean and cliffs offered through its floor-to-ceiling windows.


It is the MINT restaurant in the Phoenix Island Resort  situated in the eastern part of Jeju Island. 

I checked out the resort’s website and the entire place shouts F-A-B-U-L-O-S-I-T-Y.  Great views of the ocean.  Waking up to a beautiful sunrise.  Sipping a cocktail and watching the sun go down.  Taking slow walks through the fields of yellow rapeseed flowers and along the cliffs.  Breathing in the fresh ocean air every morning. 


November Is Just Around The Corner

My friend took this photo with his iPhone 4. I’m impressed with the quality of the photo – it’s pretty sharp for a phone camera.

The few of us had our usual monthly dinner – Korean BBQ at Jangshou – and we had a cake to celebrate in advance the birthdays of the two Scorpios amongst us.

I ignored the number of candles on the cake (age is just but a number!) and focused on enjoying the very yummy longan chiffon cake.

And why do people think that I’m going to Korea BECAUSE of Rain…?! Can’t blame them.

It is quite obvious why people put “going to Korea” and “Rain” together but I have to say that I AM NOT THAT MAD.

Banana Cake @ Bollywood

I used to dread going west in the general direction of NTU – Tuas/Jurong West.  It is so ULU and there is nothing there to do. 

Maybe it is age or maybe it is a different perspective that comes with aging or maybe it is just that I have a car now,  I actually like going to that part of the island during the weekends.  Where there are no tall buildings, no crowds and lots of greenery.  I feel a lot refreshed and recharged whenever we drive out to Neo Tiew and Old Chua Chu Kang Road to check out the nurseries and farms.  Ten years ago, I would have thought myself insane.


Today we drove out to Bollywood.  We spent a rather short time wandering around in the farm and watching a gecko on a horseradish tree before the scorching heat sent us running to the cafe for cover. 


I couldn’t wait to eat the banana cake (and cart some back home).  I love love love it. It’s very tasty, fluffy and moist. 


Even though I was still full from breakfast, I couldn’t resist ordering the banana curry, crunchy chicken with kedongdong salad, brown rice and lemongrass drink.  And one of the staff gave me a banana as dessert.  The bite-sized fried chicken was good but I was a bit disappointed with the kedongdong salad.  It wasn’t exactly a salad the way I understand a salad to be but a very small serving of grated kedongdong fruit, which was delicious by the way – slightly tart and crunchy – and I wished for a bigger serving.  The curry was a tad too mild for me as I like my curry hot and fiery.  The lemongrass drink was very refreshing but it could do with a bit more syrup. 

The cafe is a really nice place to chill out.

error: Content is protected !!