Tai Nan Street 大南街 – the Taiwan of Hong Kong? Boutique shops, cafes, indie music, and more

I had zero intention of writing this blog post.  Even when I first stumbled across the street, the thought hadn’t crossed my mind.

After having lunch at the prominent and long established名寶石餐廳 Tiffany Restaurant, I had some spare time and wanted to head over to White Noise Records, since I was already at Prince Edward’s.  Google Maps suggested it was an 11 minute walk from where I was.

White Noise Records was one of the few record stores in Hong Kong that sold indie music, from vinyls to CDs to merchandises, featuring Japanese, American, Hong Kong local artists etc.  It used to be upstairs in an unassuming building, but apparently that’s all changed as it has relocated to Tai Nan Street.

Upon arriving to the area, a lot of boutique cafés, stores, leather shops, terrarium shops greeted me.  They stood out because of how its exterior look was far different from its adjacent shops, the newer ones being far more elegant and clean.  What used to be the “ugly duckling” was turning into a beautiful swan. Continue reading Tai Nan Street 大南街 – the Taiwan of Hong Kong? Boutique shops, cafes, indie music, and more

The Genius of Gaudi – Barcelona’s Architecture and Museums

I’ve already covered about Barcelona numerous times already, three times about its food in Barcelona, the City of Gastronomy, Getting Fat and Getting Smart in Barcelona, and What is Living Without Food? The Food in Barcelona.  And then another post for Barcelona Architectural Design and More for things to do and visit.  In fact, some of the stuff I will cover in this blog post is briefly mentioned in the Architectural Design blog post, such as the La Sagrada Familia and Picasso Museum.  But stick around for more photos and more info about these tourist attractions, plus a couple of other cool things like visiting some of Gaudi’s works and Barcelona’s esteemed museums, something I didn’t get to do due to restriction of time from my other Barcelona visits.

And for those of you who have read my previous blog posts, you will know that I am particularly fond of Barcelona.  The gradient skies of pink and blue, some surprising and impressive restaurants, and a modern and elegant feel of the environment, it’s one of those cities I love walking around.  That said, this time I really got to get a sense of Barcelona as a city, since I came this time not for work but really as a tourist.

Continue reading The Genius of Gaudi – Barcelona’s Architecture and Museums

What Is Living Without Food? The Food in Barcelona

Seeing that I took a gazillion photos of Barcelona, I decided that I will split the visit to Barcelona into two parts.  This post will include all the things I’ve eaten in Barcelona, while the next post will contain everything else such as accommodation, transportation, and things to do.

I have touted Barcelona as one of my favorite cities to eat before, in both my old posts Barcelona, the City of Gastronomy and also Getting Fat and Getting Smart in Barcelona.  This time, I will admit I was less impressed and thrilled about the food in general, and I don’t think it is because of Barcelona food fatigue.  Who knows, maybe it’s because this time I’m here as a tourist rather than for work and appetites may change depending on the purpose of the visit.  In fact, one of the restaurants I went to before ended up being soso this time I visited, when last time I rated it as one of my favourite restaurants I’ve tasted in Barcelona. Continue reading What Is Living Without Food? The Food in Barcelona

Shrines and Limestones, Fukuoka and North

In my last post on One of the Best FOOD Trips Ever in FUKUOKA, I covered not only the places we went to eat and which ones I recommended, but I also covered the accommodation and transportation (car rental really) for our trip to Fukuoka, so you can just read that blog post for more info.  Or if you’re interested in visiting the southern side of Fukuoka, like Aso and Beppu, you can see my photos at Fukuoka, Aso, and Sea Hell in Beppu for some of the things I did (and ate, but the eating aspect was terrible because we joined a tour agency).

So let’s dig straight into the things to do in Fukuoka, which also included us going north and visiting places like Kitakyushu, Akiyoshidai, Yamaguchi, Nagato, and Hagi.  I’ll be writing in order of the things we’ve done.

Continue reading Shrines and Limestones, Fukuoka and North

One of the Best FOOD Trips Ever in FUKUOKA

I’ve actually been to Fukuoka before a couple years ago, but during that time we joined a tour group that brought us to these horrendous restaurants.  I didn’t write much, but there are a couple of photos you can see at Fukuoka, Aso, and Sea Hell in Beppu.  During that trip, we focused more on the southern parts of Fukuoka.  As such, this time we focused more on the northern side of Fukuoka.

Anyway, the tour guide trip we were on brought us to these ridiculously atrocious restaurants.  In fact, some of these restaurants were overcharging, with the help of the tour guide, who managed to convince us to HAVE to try this Kinki fish for USD 250 that turned out to be undercooked, with lots of bones, and not delicious at all.

That trip, I had an incredibly poor impression of the food in Fukuoka.

THIS time, since we planned and managed the trip ourselves, the food experience was the opposite of what I had compared to my first trip in Fukuoka, in that we had extraordinary food experiences, from sitting near the seaside BBQing raw oysters to eating traditional and sumptuous traditional Japanese traditional cuisine.  I dare say this was one of THE best food experiences I’ve ever had, and I’m about to share with you some of the restaurants we went to.  What a difference planning a trip by yourselves and joining a tour group makes.  I’ve always been AGAINST joining tour groups, as you can manage your time however you want if you’re going by yourself and you can plan the restaurants YOU want to go to rather than being brought to tourist restaurants where the tour agency probably gets a cut or commission from bringing us there.

For things to do, you can read about my blog post Shrines and Limestones, Fukuoka and North.

Continue reading One of the Best FOOD Trips Ever in FUKUOKA

Food in Madrid, with the Oldest Restaurant in the World

In my previous post on Too Much Art and Walking in Madrid, I mentioned that since I felt that post was running a bit too long from my over display of photographs from museum art, I decided to separate the food portion of Madrid into a separate post, so here it is.  You can expect a shorter post.

But yes, just like most food in Spain, you can expect food in Madrid to be “saltier” than what you may be accustomed to.  For your information, just because a restaurant is packed may not necessarily mean it is fantastic – it may just mean that the décor and theme of the restaurant was intriguing, but you’ll see what I mean in a bit.

I also separately covered DiverXo in xoxo DiverXO – A Restaurant Review, for those looking to find out more about the three star Michelin restaurant. Continue reading Food in Madrid, with the Oldest Restaurant in the World

Too Much Art and Walking in Madrid

As the title already has implied, this post will contain a lot of pictures from some of the most prominent museums in Madrid, including the Prado Museum, Reina Sofia, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and National Archaeological Museum.

Despite having visited Barcelona two times already prior to this trip, I haven’t had the chance to visit Madrid until this recent trip.  After visiting Madrid, you could definitely feel a certain difference between Barcelona and Madrid.

For one, there is way more people in Madrid.  The metros and subways are crammed.  Then there’s the feeling that it feels more “Spanish” in Madrid, which I don’t know how to explain but it just is, possibly with the colors and the whole vibe.  Then, perhaps being influenced by the crammed situation in the metro, there appears to be more people who are more poor as compared to Barcelona.  Anyway, Madrid feels more busy.

While I will be posting about the different restaurants I had in Madrid, I specifically created a separate post for the three star Michelin restaurant we had on the first day, DiverXo.  (Also, I decided to make a separate blog post about Madrid’s food considering the amount of text and images in this blog already, which you can find in Food in Madrid, with the Oldest Restaurant in the World)
Continue reading Too Much Art and Walking in Madrid

Lisbon, That Mysterious Girl in Class

At first I hated her.  Her dimples were lopsided on one cheek to another, she had a capricious mood where she would shed quiet tears from time to time and then be happy again, she was an inch taller than me, and her eyes were grey.

But the more you become familiar with her, the more you start to find her romantic and magical.

Her imperfections make her seem raw and wanting to be loved, a vulnerability.  She’s mysterious, and wants somebody to explore her, somebody who loves her more and more because that somebody finds her edges and imperfections so… perfect.

And the more you spend time with her, the more she opens up to you.  She uncovers what you always loved – food, restaurants, energy, atmosphere, gorgeous skies, nightlife, districts, exotic languages, and her elegant body.

Her name was Lisbon, or Lisboa for what her friends called her.  She offered everything, from lust to everlasting. Continue reading Lisbon, That Mysterious Girl in Class

An “Importoant” Place called Porto

My final stop for my recent Europe trip was in Porto, a somewhat heavenly location in Portugal.  Located about a little more than 3 hours north of Lisbon, Porto was evidently colder and coincidentally greyer during the weekend I was there.  That said, one of my favorite areas of the entire trip was Bairro da Ribeiro and Cais da Ribeira.  Bars and restaurants line adjacent with one another, all of them overlooking the magnificent Douro River that looks as if it’s been sleeping for a thousand years.  I remember just sitting at Cafe do Cais and lazily observing the sunset, and thinking to myself what a surreal and delightful place this Porto was.

Continue reading An “Importoant” Place called Porto

The Matadors in Seville

When you think of the culture of Spain, one might imagine passion, royalty, and excitement.  Seville embodies these traits perfectly, and its passionate heat was felt throughout my time there; it was hot enough to wear t-shirts during the day whereas in Barcelona it was already cold.

Seville

Seville is notable for its bullfighting events and its flamenco dancing.  I was unable to witness either of them, although I did watch some flamenco dancing that was on the streets.

In a way, Seville reminded me of Nice (you can read my blog about Cote d’Azur here), where everything was spacious, a tram ran through the city center, it was the whole vibe and atmosphere that was very similar… I guess both cities being part of the Southern part of their respective countries lends itself to create such an atmosphere.

Continue reading The Matadors in Seville