Shop Wonderland / Wonderland For Detailed Planners

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During last year’s Christmas festive season, I visited Shop Wonderland’s new digs at 37 Haji Lane twice, once with the husband and the other time with my cousin. They moved from their previous shop in Haji Lane to a larger 3-storey unit on the same street. With the larger premises, they have added a cafe to the ground floor, a small cosy space that sits probably no more than 20 people. The second floor consists of a retail space showcasing a curated selection of lovely things for the homesuch as vases, bottles, snuff boxes, cushions, calendars, as well as a studio for conducting workshops and classes.  It is great because we no longer have to trek all the way to their warehouse in Bukit Batok for classes like the one that I previously attended.  The third floor is an office space for the business.

While the decor of the new shop space has retained the characteristic Wonderland style –  whimsical, quirky and romantic – they have also tweaked the look slightly to include a Chinoserie feel to the place.  I took some photos of the place using my iPhone and my DSLR, not as many as I would have liked, and mostly of the cafe.  I was too busy shopping in the retail store on the second floor to take photographs.  I bought some table calendars, a little dish to hold my ear-studs, a vintage lead crystal vase (I think!) and some white enamel plates with a blue rim.  I have been looking for these enamel plates like forever and was so happy to see them in the shop.

Pretty vases in different shapes and sizes held stalks of bright-faced sunflowers.  Creating a brand, an ambience, a feel?  It is in the details.  Casual little touches that follow a consistent theme, give the place its character.

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Named as ‘The Pantry’,  the cafe serves beverages and an assortment of cakes, muffins and pastries from Plain Vanilla, Maple and Market, Patissierie G and Carpenter & Cook.  They do not make their own food.  This is probably the only cafe in Singapore right now where you can get to taste the baked goods from these popular bakeries in one place.  I see from Wonderland’s Facebook page that their all-day breakfast during weekends is served on cake-tiers.  I might try that one of these weekends, except that whenever I am in that area, I am tempted to eat prawn noodles and ngor-hiang at Beach Road.

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I spotted the raspberry cake, one of my favourite cakes by Maple and Market, on display.  That, or  the croissants by Patissierie G.  I went with a muffin in the end.  Well, one of my New Year resolutions (sorta) is to cut down on sugar which means that I have to will myself to eat less cakes, pastries, ice-cream and most desserts really.  I do not have a particularly sweet tooth but I do enjoy eating cakes and ice-cream from time to time.

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Artfully arranged on pieces of tree stumps.

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Iconic Tiffany chairs which are the signature of Wonderland’s styling events, in gold here, provide a eye-catching contrast against the black table-cloth.

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Stretch out and grab a magazine while waiting for your food.  I chose Frankie.

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My breakfast, a flat-white and a muffin (chocolate, I think).

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Lovely tea-cups in a cheery berries print.  Tea-drinkers, anybody?  

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Christmas wreaths! We bought one from the shop (not this one though), our first Christmas wreath, which we hung on the back of our door instead of the front.   So that we can see the wreath whenever we are at home.

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I really like these retro-looking ceiling lamps.

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That’s all I have. I will have to try and take some photos of the second floor when I next visit. Hopefully soon.  It is a nice stop to rest your feet while exploring the rest of the shops in Haji Lane.  Also, it is really nice to see more of these indie cafes popping up all over Singapore.

Shop Wonderland / Wonderland For Detailed Planners
37 Haji Lane
6299 5848

Other posts on Shop Wonderland:

A Wild English Garden With Wonderland For Detailed Planners
Flower Crafting Classes By Wonderland

Lao Ban-style Beancurd

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I was totally mad for Lao Ban beancurd when the beancurd fad descended on Singapore two years ago. I would join the long queues that formed at various times of the day just to eat the cold pudding-like beancurd, made popular by this stall known as Lao Ban.  The cold, light and smooth texture of the beancurd was wonderful in our hot, tropical weather.  Lao Ban produced several flavours of the beancurd pudding – original, almond and durian.  My favorite was the almond-flavoured one and the original came in as a close second.

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Making the beancurd pudding is a breeze once you get hold of all the ingredients from the supermarket and specialty baking shops. I have to figure out how to make the almond-flavoured version.

Lao Ban-style Beancurd
Cuisine: Singaporean
Author: Bee
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 60g Polleney Soybean Powder (from NTUC)
  • 30g Unisoy Soya Milk Powder (from NTUC)
  • 30g Nestle Coffeemate (from NTUC)
  • 20g sugar
  • 13g REDMAN Instant Jelly Powder (from Phoon Huat)
  • 700ml water
  • 1 vanilla bean pod (optional)
  1. Place the Polleney Soybean Powder, Unisoy Soya Milk Powder and water in a saucepan.
  2. Heat the mixture over low fire and use a whisk to combine thoroughly. There will be plenty of bubbles forming on the surface of the mixture once it is heated but do not let it boil. Add the vanilla bean pod.
  3. Add sugar and Nestle Coffeemate to the saucepan and whisk to combine. The bubbles would have disappeared. Again, do not let the mixture boil.
  4. Once the soybean mixture is very hot (when steam appears from the mixture), add Instant Jelly Powder and whisk quickly to dissolve the jelly powder.
  5. Pour the mixture through a sieve (to remove bubbles and any bits of powder floating in the mixture) into a measuring cup.
  6. Pour the sieved mixture slowly from a low height into serving bowls. This is to prevent bubbles from forming in the serving bowls.
  7. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours.
The above-mentioned ingredients were doubled to make the quantities shown in the photographs.[br][br]Recipe is adapted from

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

I made this Vietnamese lemongrass chicken dish on Christmas Day, using a recipe created by my friend C. I am sure she would not mind me posting her recipe here.

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As she promised, it was a delicious and super easy dish to make.  It does not involve any complicated ingredients or cooking techniques.  I marinated the meat overnight, pan-fried it in my Happycall Pan and served it with steamed rice and a cold home-made lemongrass drink.  I know that I am going to see this chicken dish on my dinner table very frequently.

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken
  • Marinade
  • 2 chicken Marylands (with the thigh bone removed)
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 chili (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • Dipping sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 minced chili (optional)
  • 2 tbsps fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 tsp sugar
  1. Mince lemongrass, garlic and chilli (optional).
  2. Mix with pepper, sugar, fish sauce, light soy sauce, sesame oil and peanut oil.
  3. Rub meat with the mixture and let stand for up to 2 hours, or overnight.
  4. In the meantime, make a dipping sauce with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Heat a grill pan, oil it and let sit over the flame until it gets really hot. Sear the meat on both sides till golden brown. Let the chicken rest on the a plate for 5 minutes when done. Pour juices over rice and eat with dipping sauce.
As an alternative to chicken, one can use skirt steak. Cut the beef into strips and stir-fry it, or “bake” the beef in a hot oven till cooked.

Osmanthus Flower Jelly

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There was a period of time when konnyaku jelly was all the rage amongst people I know.  I would see konnyaku jelly made with strawberries, or fruit cocktail, or nata de coco appearing at potluck gatherings and parties.    When I first I tried the jelly some years back,  I didn’t appreciate it.  There is something about the texture of konnyaku jelly that didn’t quite agree with me.

Recently, I came across a couple of food blogs which featured konnyaku jelly flavoured with osmanthus flower.  The end-product looked so pretty that I just had to try making it.  I was curious to find out whether the subtle fragrance of osmanthus flower would improve my opinion of konnyaku jelly.

I had some help from K and we made this together one lazy afternoon. It was so easy to make! We finished making this in under 20 minutes. That’s it! Such an easy and pretty dessert to make for a dinner party.  Unfortunately, the verdict is that I still don’t really enjoy konnyaku jelly.

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Osmanthus Flower Jelly
Recipe Type: Dessert
  • 1 box of pre-mix konnyaku jelly powder. I used the one by REDMAN.
  • 2 tsp to 3 tsp of dried osmanthus flower. This is available in certain Chinese medical halls.
  • 10g to 20g of castor sugar (optional)
  1. Follow the instructions to make konnyaku jelly provided on the box. I used the one from Redman which calls for 1250ml of water and 250g of pre-mix konnyaku powder.
  2. Soak the dried osmanthus flower in 1250ml of water for approximately 20 minutes to flavour the water.
  3. Add konnyaku powder into the water gradually until the mixture starts to boil. Taste the mixture for sweetness and add 10g to 20g of castor sugar if you like it sweeter.
  4. Pour mixture into konnyaku jelly moulds. Let the jelly cool in the moulds before chilling it in the refrigerator.

Brunch With Lang Leav

As we approach the end of 2013, I did a quick review of the hectic year that has sailed past. One of the interesting things that I did this year was to have brunch with a writer.

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The writer, Lang Leav, was in Singapore to promote her new book titled ‘Love & Misadventure’,  and the promotion events included having brunch with readers selected by Penguin Books (or Kinokuniya, I am not sure) and several book signing sessions at various Kinokuniya bookstores. A good friend of mine was selected to have brunch with Lang Leav. As she was allowed to bring a friend along, she invited me to come along.

Before this, I had never heard of Lang Leav but I thought it would be quite fun to tag along for the experience. On that morning, I scrambled to look for a copy of Lang Leav’s new book in iTunes. I bought the digital copy, downloaded it onto my iPad but didn’t have the time to read it carefully. My brief impression of the book was that it was a collection of poems, with lovely illustrations drawn by the writer.

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Brunch was at Salt Grill & Sky Bar in ION Orchard.  The restaurant, offers gorgeous views of the city, was not crowded that morning and we had almost the entire place to ourselves.  Besides my friend and I, there were four other persons, including a couple from Penguin Books.  It was a good thing that Lang Leav didn’t ask me questions about her book, it would have been rather awkward having to confess that I had not read it.  She seemed rather nervous about the book signing sessions that day, and having to start the day having brunch with strangers didn’t seem to help settle her down.

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We chatted a little about our respective countries (she was born in Thailand, moved to Australia when she was a child and now lives in Auckland), her travel schedule and what inspired her to write and sketch. By the end of brunch, she became more relaxed and took photographs with us, as well as autographed copies of her book for us.  She is a lovely lady.

I read her collection of poems  in Love & Misadventure when I reached home that day. I have never been a reader of poetry because I don’t get most of it. Poetry has always been something quite abstract to me.  I am bit dim in that area.  Maybe it is supposed to be that way but I find it difficult to appreciate something that I cannot grasp. I found reading Lang Leav’s work to be quite a different experience for me.  I understood her poems, mostly about love and relationships, and the sentiments that she was trying to put across.  I thought the poems were beautifully written, simple yet poignant.   Some of my favorite pieces are here:


Love is a game
of tic-tac-toe,
constantly waiting,
for the next x or o.


She lends her pen,
to thoughts of him,
that flow from it,
in her solitary.

For she is his poet,
and he is her poetry.


Like time suspended,
a wound unmended –
you and I.

We had no ending,
no said good-bye.

For all my life,
I’ll wonder why.

And that’s us with Lang Leav! 🙂

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Eating Weekend In Kuala Lumpur

Merry Christmas! This blog is still alive, it just went into hibernation mode for a while.

November, an eventful month for me, came and passed by so quickly. Besides turning a year older, my dear maternal grandfather passed away peacefully at the age of 94. He had a long healthy life, and lived it to the fullest, enjoying the last twenty years of his life in retirement, helping to raise his grandchildren and spending his free time painting, a hobby that he picked up when he was a young man.

I also left my job to take a break. (So I have now joined the un-employment queue…a first in my adult life.) It feels freaky. I have no idea what I am going to do next, but I tell myself not to fret too much about it. I should just focus on the moment and enjoy NOW.

We are almost at the end of December 2013 with 2014 peeking at us from around the corner. Time seems to whiz past even faster when I am not working. I should have plenty of time to blog now but I just cannot seem to get myself back into the groove. There seems to always be something to do! Having said that, I do have plenty of back-dated posts to put up. A beautiful wedding. A gastroporn-ic weekend trip to KL. A ‘memorable’ trip to ClubMed Phuket – memorable for totally the wrong reasons. A stay-cation at the Capella in Sentosa. Catching up with friends. Strange, now that I am writing stuff here, it doesn’t feel like I have been terribly busy. So what in the world have I been doing?

I am just going to start with my pig-out weekend in KL. It is always easy to warm up with food posts. 🙂

Bright red umbrellas and lanterns giving off a festive atmosphere in Petaling Street, Chinatown. This was where we stopped for supper after we arrived in the city.

Kim Kian Kee Restaurant, the zi-char stall that fed us a delicious supper. A stall that definitely won’t pass the hygiene rating in Singapore but some dirt is what gives street food its character.

KL black Hokkien noodles.

A very yummy plate of crunchy greens. The reason why the plate of vegetables tastes soooo good is because it was cooked with lard. Whenever I am faced with the dilema of consuming a plate of goodness laced with artery-clogging lard, I always remember what my granny likes to say – lard is un-processed animal fat, so it cannot be too bad for you! My granny is a lover of junk food and all things unhealthy. And I doubt her view will pass muster with any medical/health guru, but considering the fact that this comes from someone who has lived till 92 without any major illness (unless you consider gout, rhumatism and vertigo), we try not to argue with her.

Restoran Win Heng Seng, an immensely popular old-school coffeeshop around the Jalan Imbi area. It has two stalls selling glorious pork noodles. I have never tasted anything close to what these two stalls serve, in Singapore, or anywhere else.

Stall number 1: Kway teow (flat rice noodles) topped with minced pork and some kind of a sausage in a dark sauce. It is accompanied by a bowl of hand-made pork balls in a clear, flavourful broth. The noodles and pork balls were superb, and had me squealing away in delight.

Stall number 2: Bee-tai-mak (also known as ‘rat’s tail noodles’; made with rice flour, it looks like a rat’s tail, not that any part of a rat’s tail goes into it) topped with lard (yaaaay!), also accompanied by a bowl of pork-bone broth with slices of pig’s liver, pork and vegetables. The broth was out-of-this-world! I immediately felt sorry that I had agreed to share this bowl of heaven with my three other friends.

Right after eating the noodles (which was a last-minute decision fuelled by gluttony), we headed to a Hainanese coffeeshop called Wong Mei Kee for our ‘actual’ lunch of the day.

Succulent roast pork and juicy roast chicken. It was amazing how I felt immediately hungry again when the mouth-watering platters of meat were placed in front of me. Not after the noodles and some bits of other stuff that we ate before this!

We had a fairly light dinner of hotpot before heading to Marini’s On 57, a club located on the 57th floor of the KLCC. Beautiful paranomic night view of the city with the spires of the Petronas Twin Towers looming above us. I am way too old for the loud, thumping noise in a club.

Claypot chicken rice at Huen Kee. I have been told that this place makes one of the best claypot rice in town. I have never cared very much for claypot chicken rice but this was really good. The side-dish of salted fish enhanced the smoky flavour of the dish. I could be a claypot rice convert if I eat this often enough.

The open-kitchen at the front of the restaurant where they cook the rice on charcoal stoves.

Coffee at Coffee Societe at Publika, a hip residential-commercial enclave away from the main city area. I really like this place. It has an interesting mix of boutiques, galleries and cafes, and you see none of the usual big brands and chain shops.

We squeezed in a last meal of chili pan-mee even though we were already bursting at the seams. I have never eaten this before and it was so good. Very spicy and super shiok! My tongue was on fire afterwards and took a while to cool down. Perfect for the chili aficionado.

To end it all off, we each downed a wheatgrass shot to cleanse our system…! Eeeewwwww. 🙂 But our insides felt squeaky clean afterwards!

Ten-ele-ven 2013

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What did I do on my birthday?

Made a stack of buttermilk pancakes in the morning, opened a bottle of champagne, laid down on my couch the whole day, watching dramas on my computer. With the rain pitter-pattering outside. Not a bad way to spend a birthday.

Seoul: Toy Museum At Heyri Art Village

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After leaving InSquare Cafe, I turned the corner and walked pass a colourful window display of toys and dolls. I looked up and saw that this building is a toy museum.  *squeals* How could I not visit this place…?

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The first thing that greeted me when I entered the museum was this GIANT Keroppi-lookalike statue. I didn’t think it was Keroppi – firstly, the shade of green was wrong and it didn’t have the Sanrio character’s V-shaped mouth.  (Keroppi is one of my FAVORITE Sanrio characters, the other being Hello Kitty.  My first car was a Nissan March in a Keroppi colour.)

The two-storey museum isn’t that huge.  After purchasing your entrance ticket, you will be shown the way to the first part of the museum which is called the Doll’s Town.

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As the name suggests, all the exhibits in this room are dolls. Dolls of different sizes, from different time periods and reflecting cultures  from different parts of the world. I spent quite a bit of time looking at the dolls, and reading the descriptions.  Many were exquisitely made, from the facial expressions on the dolls to the clothes that they wear.

This place is a wonderland for little girls, if they like dolls, though I doubt little girls still play with dolls these days.  Growing up, except for one Raggety-Ann doll, I don’t remember playing with dolls at all.  I did not own a Barbie doll, simply because my mother felt that such dolls were expensive and encouraged vanity, or a Cabbage Patch Doll or a Strawberry Shortcake Doll.  I was told to spend my time reading books instead of playing with dolls and toys.  At six years old, I didn’t care too much for Barbie Dolls but I really wanted a Strawberry Shortcake Doll because they had just come out then and seemed all the rage amongst my friends. (Maybe I could have a Strawberry Shortcake Doll for my birthday this year…?)

As I didn’t bring my wide-angle lens with me on this trip, I had to take most of the photos of the toy museum with the paranomic function of my iPhone.  Pity ‘cos the images are not great in the low light museum.

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Although I quite liked looking at the doll exhibits, I found some of them slightly creepy ‘cos their expressions were either a little disturbing or they reminded me of Chucky in Child’s Play.  But on the whole, I felt like I was reliving the days of being a kid, and experiencing a little of the euphoria of entering a giant toy shop.

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Ooooooh, this Shirley Temple doll reminds me of the character Annie played by Aileen Quinn in the 1982 movie.  I was crazy about the show when I was a kid.  Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow is only a day awaaaaaay…!

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This is the gift shop in the museum.  Everything looks so whimsical and attractive.  I very nearly bought a limited edition Lego set from the gift shop but managed to dissuade myself from doing so.

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This is a really nice museum to while away an hour or two.  I ended my visit with a cup of joe at the museum cafe, another pretty little place, watching the rain and dreaming away.

Directions to the Heyri Art Village are here.

Almond Milk with Ground Cinnamon and Honey

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I have never been very much of a milk drinker. I like having milk in my coffee and cereal, but I am not crazy about drinking it straight from a glass. Compared to cow’s milk, I prefer piping hot soybean milk, especially when it comes with dough fritters.

When I did the 3-day detox juicing program by Sana Cleanse some months back, I loved the nut milk that was part of the program. It was the only drink that I craved for way after the detox program ended. Ever since, I have been keen to make my own nut milk.

I did some research online and discovered that nut milk is actually quite easy to make at home. All I needed was raw almonds, a blender and a cheese cloth. I bought a packet of raw almonds from an organic store some weeks back and finally made myself some nut milk.

I am ecstatic that my nut milk experiment turned out quite well.  The nut milk is creamy, refreshing and downright tasty.  I am gonna drink this straight, or use it to make banana smoothies.


1 cup raw almonds, preferably organic
3 cups of water
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1 tbsp of raw honey, preferably organic
Pinch of sea salt


Soak the raw almonds in 2 cups of water for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.  As I live in a humid country, I soaked my almonds in the fridge.  The first time I did this, I left the bowl of soaked almonds out in the open, and after a day, the almonds were spoilt and I had to throw them away.  Such a waste!

Using a blender, blend the raw almonds with 3 cups of water, or you could you use the water which was used to soak the almonds in, until you get a white, creamy milk.  I wish I had a Vitamix…!

Strain the milk using a cheese cloth.  I used a cloth bag that is made for straining coconut milk.  If you like more texture in your milk, add some of the almond pulp to the milk.  I poured the milk that has been strained into the blender, added the honey and cinnamon and blended the mixture for another 30 secs.

Keep refrigerated and consume within 2 days.

I am trying to make a nut milk that is as tasty as the one by Sana Cleanse.  They used cashew nuts, medjool dates, coconut, ground cinnamon and vanilla.  I will try this combination soon.


Pandan Chiffon Cake + Earl Grey Chiffon Cake

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I love pandan chiffon cakes and the Bengawan Solo version is my favorite. Their pandan cakes are so soft, moist and flavourful.  I can eat one whole pandan cake on my own.

I have tried baking chiffon cakes several times, including a goma version and a kinako version from the Okashi recipe book, but my cakes just would not rise properly. So I signed up for a class at Maple & Market to learn how to do it properly.

During the 2-hour class, we made two types of chiffon cakes – a pandan cake and three smaller sized Earl Grey cakes.

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Both cakes turned out quite well.  I felt that the pandan chiffon cake would have tasted much better if we had used fresh juice extracted from pandan leaves, instead of pandan paste from a bottle.  I will try using fresh pandan juice the next time using the Hurom, and crossing my fingers that the machine will not let me down.


Seoul: InSquare Cafe at Heyri Art Village

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I have been planning to visit Heyri Art Village, a cultural art village located outside Seoul in the city of Paju, since I first heard about the place in 2010.  From the accounts that I have read of the place, it sounded like an art-sy, quirky and bohemian type of place that I would like to spend some time exploring in.

I finally made it to Heyri during my summer trip.  The 20 minute bus ride from Seoul to Paju was one of the nicest rides that I have gone on, passing by the outskirts of Seoul and a barbed fenced up area, which is probably North Korea beyond that.  Heyri sits on a fairly large plot of land dotted with buildings housing galleries, restaurants, cafes and several shops. Maybe it was due to the dreary, gloomy and rainy weather on the day that I visited, ‘cos the village looked grey, cheerless and desolate, and not showing the ‘vibrance’, ‘trendy’ and ‘cultural’ vibe that I was expecting to experience.

Entry to the village is free-of-charge but some of the museums charge a small entry fee.  The information office located at the entrance of the village provided maps in the Korean language only.  I couldn’t really tell what was available to see in the village so I decided to just check out as many buildings as possible.

But before I do so, I needed to fill my belly, quench my thirst and put my feet up.


Crepe Cake

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I learnt how to make a crepe cake at baking class today!

We were taught a Japanese pastry cream, crepe batter, how to cook crepes, and finally, assembling a crepe cake with pastry cream and sliced fruits such as strawberries, kiwi and banana.  It should look flat, but mine was a dome-shaped cake (‘cos I didn’t place the sliced fruits at the end of the crepes).

Yaaaay, I can make crepes now. Thin, golden crepes that do not end up looking like pancakes or roti prata.

Sigh.  It’s MONDAY TOMORROW.  Help.

Seoul: SOFTREE Organic Milk Soft Serve In Garosugil

Soft Tree photo SoftTree-DSC_0111-003-130731_zps9b126dff.jpg

On my way to One Chu at Garosugil, I walked passed this nondescript-looking ice-cream parlour called SOFTREE which was two shops away from One Chu.  The fonts on the signboard caught my attention and I decided to check it out after my churros binge.  The ice-cream parlour is tiny, simply furnished, with very limited seating space.  It has a narrow aisle that is wide enough for a bench that sits at most four people, and a table with some chairs outside.  I guess it is more of a take-away ice cream place.


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