the ultimate singapore food trail

One of the many reasons I was so excited for my brother’s visit was that I knew that he would be down to eat ANYTHING here. Some visitors tend to be a bit pickier than others about new foods they are willing to try. However, with my brother and his wife, I knew that I could take them anywhere. So I got to take them to some of my favorite places along with some of the must eat places for authentic Singaporean food.

Here’s the list of places we tried and some of the must order dishes and foods we had:

  • Jumbo Seafood Restaurant @ Clarke Quay Riverwalk- If you are with a big group, order both the chilli crab & black pepper crab with the fried mantou buns. The salted egg golden prawns are also delicious. This is definitely the go-to touristy place for chilli crab. Make reservations before hand online! jane&brian trip-9005
  • Swee Choon Dim Sum @ 191 Jalan Basar – Considering the cheap prices of the dishes, it’s easy to try a lot of the dishes, especially if you go with a big group. Make sure to try the salted egg yolk buns, xiao long bao,mee suan kuay, sichuan oil chili wanton,egg tarts, and mango-pomelo dessert. Remember, it’s open from 6pm -6am. So go there for dinner or supper!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
  • Foong Kee Coffee Shop @ 6 Keong Saik Street- This was my first time trying this place thanks to the recommendation by my friend. This place is known for their char siew. At $3.50 for char siew and rice, this was worth every dollar. Their wanton soup was pretty good as well! Next time, I want to try their noodles.IMG_4610
  • Tian Tian @ Maxwell’s food centre- Chicken rice. Apparently the best place in Singapore, which was evident by the long queue. Honestly, I still can’t taste the difference in chicken rice, but I’ll take everyone’s word that this place is the best.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
  • Durian stall @ Balestier – There are a few durian stands along Balestier that are pretty well known. Luckily, even though it’s not durian season, we were able to find some durian. Thanks to Bryce for taking us and eating the majority of the durian!IMG_4616
  • Toastbox- These are everywhere in Singapore,just make sure to try their kaya toast! However, I prefer the peanut thick toast for breakfast.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
  • Mozza @ Marina Bay Sands Shoppes- I had to take my guests to my favorite pizza place in Singapore. I usually go for the prosciutto de parma pizza! Jane even stated that it was quite possibly the BEST pizza she has ever tasted. That’s quite a compliment!IMG_4583
  • Tim Ho Wan @ Plaza Singapura- My brother was very adamant about wanting to try pork buns before leaving, so I had to take him here. Yes, they have the best pork buns, and you can’t forget that they are such an affordable 1-Michelin star restaurant here.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
  • Salad Stop & Cedele- I admit that we needed at least one “healthier” salad and sandwich meal to balance all the unhealthier food we were eating. Plus, a good western style salad and sandwich are hard to come by in Korea.
  • Landing Point @ the Fullerton Bay Hotel– This is definitely one of my favorite afternoon tea places in Singapore! Even though it’s a bit pricey at about $45++ per person, it’s unlimited tea/coffee/hot drinks, scones, and a 3-tier set full of finger sandwiches and other delicious desserts. The view of the Marina Bay Sands and live music help create a lovely ambience. Make sure to make a reservation beforehand! Afternoon tea is only from 3-5:30pm.
  • jane&brian trip-0485
  • Las Ristrettos @ Novena Medical Centre- The cafe culture is huge here in Singapore. There are always new and hipster friendly cafes sprouting everywhere, it’s often hard to keep track. This place has pretty good food and drinks. It’s also on the eighth floor of a huge medical centre, so you kind of need to know about it. It’s not a place you will stumble upon.
  • Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

If we had a few more days in Singapore, there’s a few more places I would have loved to taken them to eat roti prata, stingray, satay, char kway teow and more…

family time in singapore

As I reflected on 2014, I realized that my entire family had visited me in Singapore this past year. It was pretty much close to a miracle that they were all able to visit. I ended 2014 with a visit from my brother and sister-in-law. It was fun showing them around all the good eats, touristy and non-touristy spots, and introducing them to my friends. Not only did we get to see Singapore from the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, walk the OCBC Sky Walk, explore the Cloud Forest, but I also equally enjoyed time just hanging out in my apartment and introducing them to episodes of Master Chef Junior.

With all the visitors that come, I do make it a mission to tailor each visit depending on what I know about their travel style, budget, and adding in some of my favorites (of course). It’s always an added bonus when we try out places or food that I’ve never done before. For my brother’s visit, I got to check out the OCBS Sky Walk for the first time. It was a pretty good visit, despite the fact that it was an extra windy night, we timed it perfectly so we could see the light show at Gardens by the Bay, and may or may not have adhered to the “spend only 15minutes” rule. The light shows are daily at 7:45pm and 8:45pm. If you are highly motivated, try to catch the 8pm light/water show at MBS,  then walk over to Gardens by the Bay for the 8:45pm show. All shows are free, but the OCBS Sky Walk does cost $5.

It was also cool having my brother taking the majority of the photos on my camera for the visit. He has a pretty good photographic eye, so the majority of photos I’m sharing are taken from him!

Stay tuned for the next post on some of the spots I took them for FOOD. 

jane&brian trip-9123jane&brian trip-9125jane&brian trip-9139jane&brian trip-9302 jane&brian trip-9286jane&brian trip-9151 jane&brian trip-9208jane&brian trip-9297jane&brian trip-9371jane&brian trip-0360jane&brian trip-0529jane&brian trip-0516

a year through photos

The other day, I was telling my friend how I had no space on my phone to download another app because of all the photos that I took. It’s true, especially when you have a 16gb memory space and you love to document everything through photos. I blame it partly on one of my strengths (according to strengths finders test) of “input” that makes me want to collect things.

I like to collect things, and photos in particular because every picture reminds me of a moment, that I will never get back. Who knows when I will need that photo or memory later on in my life? I might as well take a photo and save that moment forever. Ok, I’m sounding a bit more OCD than I really am. To clarify, I have been able to delete a lot of photos (considering my lack of memory on my phone). Currently, I only have 1,707 photos on my iphone and maybe a few videos as well.

In an attempt to reflect on this past year, I decided to look at my photos I took on my dslr camera and shared on my blog. I came across a few that stuck out to me, whether it’s the colors, emotions, or the memories they reminded me of. Each photo brings me back to a moment, big or small, from this year. Here’s a small glimpse into my 2014.

lentrecote-1099janice-0818untitled (11 of 34)janice-seoul-1344-2aimme's baby shower-0049 paris-2087 amsterdam-1618 amsterdam-1570HK2014-0310nyc_2014-0525 nyc_2014-0519beach_jake-0598penang-8581penang-8490christmas-8951christmas-8937

battery park restaurant review {seoul}

If you are living in Seoul or planning on visiting, you must visit Battery Park located near Myeong Dong station.  (From exit 4, walk straight a few minutes, and you’ll see the State Building. Take the escalator down and you’ll see it across the Starbucks.)  Little did I realize that my cousin, who is a few years older than me has become a restaurant mogul  in Seoul. He has recently opened multiple restaurants, ranging from Korean, Japanese, fusion, and even an American brunch place in the works. And, I’m in the midst of convincing him to open a Korean restaurant in Singapore (of course).

During my short and unexpected visit to Seoul a month ago, I was able to finally visit two of his restaurants that are located in the Myeong Dong State Building. We had a big family dinner after my grandmother’s burial service at his two restaurants. They are actually located right next to each other. One is called Battery Park and the other one is Kobachi. The “younger” adults, went to Battery Park, a fusion place, while the “older adults” went to Kobachi, a Japanese place.

I really loved the modern and clean interior of Battery Park. I was impressed with their menu and range of choices. They even had beer from Craftworks Taphouse there. Well, I quickly learned that when your cousin is the owner, we get great service and selection of food! He ordered us appetizers and entrees from the menu. There was a delicious salad with grapes and goat cheese. I specifically asked for the fig & prosciutto pizza with pesto sauce, which was well worth it. There were also some unique fusion dishes like the spicy pasta with pigs intestine (Korean dish).  I also really recommend the black sesame cream spaghetti! That might have been my favorite after the pizza.

Battery Park also has a great selection of bar food including big hamburgers with lots of french fries! We tried another fried platter that included fried chicken, onion rings, fries, and more. At this point, I was getting pretty full as the entrees kept coming out. My cousin even sent over a few sushi platters from next door. It was quite the interesting, but delicious combo of dishes. I knew my grandmother was smiling down on us. She would have been so proud to actually come to one of my cousin’s restaurants in person. She was definitely one of the best cooks I knew.

Obviously, there’s always room for dessert! Battery Park had some unique and delicious dessert dishes including a dropped ice cream cone, banana pudding, and Oreo cheesecake. I admit at this point, I could barely shove any more food in, but I tried. I’m always a sucker for good banana pudding. They actually opened a second location of Battery Park in the new Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park! I hope that all of my fellow foodies and bloggers (ahem, Melody, Dyanne, Elaine, Derek) in Korea will add this restaurant to their list of places to check out! 🙂

batterypark-1448 batterypark-1452 batterypark-1454    batterypark-1456batterypark-1457 batterypark-1460 batterypark-1462  batterypark-1465 batterypark-1467  batterypark-1469batterypark-1470


slice of life challenge day #15: the first meeting

slice of life 2014

My grandmother had 7 children, 16 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. Since she lived in NY the past 30 years, she had some great grandchildren in Korea that she never had a chance to meet. A few of her great grandchildren finally had a chance to meet my grandmother at her funeral. One of them, a sweet young boy, cried tears as he sat in front of her on the last day of her funeral.

My grandmother was always good with her hands. Our house was full of these swans she created with origami paper up until the end of her life. She would fold hundreds of these small pieces of origami paper to create these swans. She would make pairs of swans for our family, friends and people at our church. My parents brought two of the smaller swans she made to Korea for the funeral. This great grandchild that met my grandmother for the first time asked about these swans. I shared with him proudly how they were made by his great grandmother with much love and care. We decided to give these swans to him and his sister to take home.

After we buried my grandmother’s ashes into the ground at the cemetery, I saw the children gather in front of her grave. I knew that even though they didn’t meet her in person, I could see glimpses of her in them. I knew that I would make sure they would know her story when they got older. I knew that she was smiling to have finally met them.

seoul-1344-2seoul-1292   seoul2014-1364seoul-1369seoul-1415

slice of life challenge day #7: an incredible woman

slice of life 2014

I come from a family of writers. My mom loves to write, especially poetry and short stories. Both of my brothers are very talented writers, it comes to them very naturally. There have been a few times where I’ve asked them to edit my writing, and I remember feeling quite intimidated by what they would think of my writing. However, they always gave me really honest and good feedback.

I was really glad to hear that my brother Andrew would be able to attend my grandmother’s funeral in NY and give a eulogy. As I read through his initial draft of the eulogy, I kept crying as it brought back memories about all that my grandmother did and meant to me. My words to express how I feel and remember my grandmother are still being formed and not ready to come out quite. I hope that I can share my words with you all soon…

Today, I wanted to share this beautiful and powerfully written eulogy by my brother Andrew.

Eulogy for Halmuni (Grandma)

Read on 3/4/2014 at her funeral

By Andrew Kim

My grandmother is an incredible woman. Born before the First World War, she grew up in rural Korea during a time when girls were not allowed to receive a formal education and she passed away having seen Korea’s first woman President. All this to say, she lived through an incredible time of difficulty and transition. And through it, she remained steadfast- unwavering in the face of myriad challenges and change.

When the Second World War ended, she fled to the South with her children in tow. They left everything behind and made a perilous, night-time escape across the border. They made it to my grandfather who was already in Seoul at the time. Their lives were hectic as the Korean War raged on and as another son, my dad, and another daughter were born. Every day brought new challenges. My grandfather passed away when my grandmother was just 49 years old, leaving her behind with their seven children in post-war South Korea.

I wasn’t there, of course, but I can imagine how my grandmother responded. Backed up against a wall, future uncertain, and I imagine, rather I know she was strong, gloves up, full of grit, ready to face this hardship with calm, but also with fire in her soul. I know because her life is evident in the lives of her children- they have inherited this grit, this fire; they too have risen from hardship, they too have persevered.

She moved to America when she was almost 70 years old to help out with her children and grandchildren. She was uneducated, she was a widow, and in a country not her own. Yet she flourished.

When my grandmother was 75 years old, my 5 foot tall, 95 pound mother gave birth to twins. After which, with my mother recovering, she took up the unenviable task of taking care of me and my brother. She helped raise us- doing it with grace, with poise and with a smile despite our best intentions.

Halmuni, you couldn’t speak English, yet somehow I remember you talking to all the American grandmothers at the track you walked on everyday. I remember the huge garden you built and meticulously manicured in our backyard. I remember your army of handcrafted cranes brought to life from scraps of old newspaper. I remember at 100 years of age you flew from New York to the scorching Memphis summer to be a part of my wedding.

Halmuni, you came from a generation so vastly different than mine. You were selfless. You were never flashy. You never ever talked about yourself. You only cared that everyone else was taken care of first. You were the first Christian in our family and have planted an amazing legacy of faith. You always read your bible, each new version with larger print than the previous one. You were steadfast and never backed down from hardship.

On your final day in this world, you ate jajangmyun (black noodles) and soondubu (tofu stew) and you smiled and laughed. When the end neared my parents brought you to the ER. There you told my dad that it was time to go, that you didn’t want anything else done. You left this world unafraid of death, knowing you were going somewhere much sweeter. I think saying bye was your most selfish act. Even though you were 101 years old, I wish you would’ve stayed longer.

Halmuni, I love you and miss you.

slice of life challenge day #2: missed calls

slice of life 2014

The first thing I do in the morning is usually checking my iphone or pressing the snooze button on my iphone alarm. Today was a Sunday morning, and I woke up on my own a little before 9AM. I always keep my phone on vibrate during the night, so when I checked my phone, I was surprised to see a bunch of text message and 10 missed phone calls from my dad in the States. I opened the text message from my dad that said, “Halmuni (grandmother in Korean) passed away now.”

It took some time for it to really hit me what those words meant. Everything else on my mind seemed to take a pause.  It was the moment I was dreading, the moment that deep inside I knew would happen, especially after the heart attack she had earlier on in December and considering how she was 102 years old. I just thought that I would have more time.

I kept thinking about the last conversation we had over Google hangout on Thursday night, where she asked me what I ate for dinner, and then asked me when would I see you again. And I replied, in 3 months, when I come home for the summer. It looks like it might take me a little longer to see you again. ❤