Travel like a Minimalist

I guess by now you know how I like to simplify things. Travel is no exemption.

When I travel, I try to not bring too many things. I only want to focus my energy on the travel experience rather than stuff.

Continue reading “Travel like a Minimalist”

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Dubai Eats: Chinese Food Indulgence on a Budget

I’m so sick of eating at fancy, over-priced Asian restaurants. For a bowl of noodles, and 4 pieces of dim sum, I would have to fork out up to AED 100 just to satisfy my craving.

There were times when I craved for Hot & Sour soup, but the thought of spending AED 30 for a temporary high is overwhelming as that is almost Php 500 for a bowl, which is enough to feed an entire family back home.

After living in Dubai for more than 3 years, the long search for affordable authentic Chinese food in Dubai is finally over! Thanks to the recommendation of my Chinese friend who has a discerning palate like mine.

Noodle Bowl is located at Dune Center, Al Diyafah, Dubai.

The menu is huge from soups to braised dumplings to noodles, not to mention the rice dishes, stir fried dishes, and traditional congee. There’s a number of vegetable, egg, chicken, beef dishes which made it so difficult for me to choose. The long list of steamed & deep fried dim sums, and cheung feung (or cheung fan) is so appetizing. Ordering was a struggle!

Out of curiosity, I tried Salted Egg Chicken (AED 39) because anything with salted egg is very popular now in Singapore and Malaysia. The quantity is more than enough for one. It was very good.20180803_173103

Cheung Fan is a must. We had Steamed Prawn Cheng Fan (AED 23). Honestly they hit a home run with its flavour.20180803_173015.jpg

Another dish I liked was the Salt & Pepper Squid (AED 39). It is so simple yet  so good. I will come back for this.20180803_173105_001

Their Hot & Sour soup was satisfying and cost only (AED 15), good for one. I wish it had a stronger sour flavour though. The Spicy Wanton in Soy Sauce (AED 20) was also good but not as spicy as I hoped it would be.20180803_173219

The ambiance is not anything special but the portion of some dishes are quite big and definitely good for sharing, and the authenticity and quality are exceptional.

It was our first time here and we enjoyed the food that I totally ignored the fact that the customer service was below average. That or maybe I was just on a good mood.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this to everyone who likes Chinese and Malaysian cuisine without breaking the bank. Next time I go I will have their Beef Ho-Fen and Ha Kau Prawn Dumpling.

Would you like to recommend other inexpensive Chinese or Japanese restaurants for us to visit? Please feel free to comment! We would love to hear from you.

15 Kuripot Things to do in Bangkok

Last year, the budget airline Cebu Pacific Air messed up (long story) my booking on my trip to South Korea. To make up for the stress and sleepless nights, they offered a free short-haul trip to any destination of my choice, valid for 1 year. I had no plans of traveling to Bangkok this year but nobody wants to waste a free ticket!

I have always wanted to see the temples in Thailand so might as well book it for the summer. I called the airline and confirmed a 5-day trip to Thailand in between my annual vacation in the Philippines. The fare is free but I had to shoulder terminal fee and taxes, which was Php1,620.
Keep on reading!

Lechon Cebu

I love lechon (roast pig) so much. I mean, I really really love it. Thinking about it now makes my mouth water.

Cebu is the lechon capital of the country. From Dubai, we traveled to Cebu to spend time with Rod’s parents. His dad is based there so he knew where to go to satisfy my lechon cravings.

We went to 3 lechon restaurants:

Cebu”s Original Lechon Belly. Located at SM City Cebu, this was our first stop. We had both the original (Php 560/kilo) and spicy (Php 600/kilo) versions, plus puso (rice).

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I liked the orignal flavour better than the spicy variety. I wish it was spicier as I have a high threshold.

Zubuchon. Also located in SM City Cebu, we bought a kilo for take out. The place was packed when we got there, full of locals and tourists alike. The lechon tasted so good. I remember making happy sounds.

The meat is packed with flavourful herbs and was so delicious, I didn’t even need any sauce for it.

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Cnt Lechon. On our 3rd day in Cebu, we headed to Ayala Center food court to try out Cnt Lechon. The meat was juicy and melts in your mouth, and the skin oh so crispy. For me, this is the best tasting lechon. Not too salty but so flavourful! It was also reasonably priced at Php 750/kilo (good for 4-6 pax).

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I was also amazed at how the skinny young lady chopped a whole pig using a giant knife with ease. She’s got skills!

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Dip it in the soy sauce & vinegar combo, matched with ice cold Coke, and you’re on your way to a great meal.

The best thing about lechon Cebu is that there is no, or very little, fat on the meat!

Tony Bourdain was right. It really is worth flying all the way to Cebu for.

L.A. Eats: Pampas Grill Churrascaria

I am a certified meat lover. Back in Dubai, Texas de Brazil is our go-to “meat heaven” and would spend a fortune just to have different types of meat. We would do that only on special occasions – last I remember it was my birthday from two years back – as the price is a bit too much at AED 165/person, without drinks.

Located in The Original Farmers Market at The Grove in Los Angeles, Pampas Grill Churrascaria is a casual, cafeteria-style Brazilian BBQ. My friends took me there for brunch.

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In Pampas Grill, you pay by the pound and there is a huge variety of sides and meats to choose from. The place has a buffet style setup, starting with a salad bar, followed by sides and last, the Brazilian BBQ.

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They offer many types of meat including Sirloin Cap, Top Sirloin, Spicy Chicken, Garlic Chicken, Pork Loin, Garlic Beef, Brazilian Sausage, Lamb, and Bacon Wrapped Chicken. I was practically drooling as they were cutting the meat! I highly recommend the Top Sirloin and Garlic Beef – tender, juicy and flavourful.

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For the sides, I had collared greens and fried plantains. I came with two friends and we all ordered different things and picked up different proteins, starches, veggies and sides.

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My meat craving for was fulfilled without the guilt of over-eating. I was not feeling too stuffed and bloated afterwards! I must say, during my visit to L.A., this was definitely one of my favourites.