Sunday, 16 August 2015

My New Hubby (este, Hobby)

I've found my new love. 

We've met last year. 
We've been seeing once in a while but we started to see more often last month, 4th of July to be exact. 

Maraming nagsasabi na mahirap siyang harapin, mahirap panindigan.
Ngunit kung mahal mo siya, walang mahirap.
Masaya at napapawi niya ang pagod mo.

Everybody, I would like to introduce you to my new world, another love of my life, BAKING! 

Hindi ko sinadyang dalasan siya, dalas meaning 4 or 5 times a week.
Pero, parang lagi niya akong tinatawag. hehe

Here are some of my adventures and misadventures :D

my favorite chocolate cake :D

1st try on this tricky naked pandesal (no bread crumbs)

honey oat bread (1st try)

one of my favorite creations , cinnamon roll (1st try) 

one of my favorite cupcakes - Red Velvet (1st try) 

But yesterday, I've tried to bake one of the most challenging bread recipes for me (aside from pandesal).
Challenging dahil matrabaho. Tatlo ang kailangang iprepare - Filling, Dough and Frosting.

My journey to my 1st attempt on COFFEE BUN 

Ready to put the filling..

margarine and sugar mixture 

little buns with the filling, proof for 1 hour

Ready for baking :)

Done! after 12 mins in the over at 180C

and i got that butas effect
COFFEE BUNS on my 1st attempt went well 
My journey to coffee bun is special because this is one of my favorite breads and tricky to do.
I read from blogs that they've tried twice or thrice before getting the puffy effect.
Special because I didn't expect to get it on my 1st try. It really amazes me

I'm happy with the result because I got the perfect look of it. Although I should have added more coffee on my frosting mixture.
There's always a next time :D

Balestier, Singapore
Aug 2015

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Overnight stay in Sydney

Have you stayed in a hostel/ mixed dorm alone and mix with strangers?
Ako, hindi pa. 
I've stayed in mixed dorms / hostels but I was with my friends. 
Another achievement to be listed again :) 

Aside from travelling alone, staying in a hostel for me is another thing that I need to experience.
I booked Sydney Harbour YHA for my overnight stay. I booked female dorm. Haha
Medyo naduwag ako sa mixed dorm. Baka hindi na ako makatulog. Haha

When I was still working in Changi Airport , I always see backpackers. And even actually arond Singapore, there's a lot of backpackers. It's cool to think to be like them. 
And for some time, I became like them in Sydney. carrying my backpack looking for my hostel. 
Hindi pala madali. Walked fro Circular Quay to The Rocks which is uphill. 

Park facing in Circular Quay. Andaming nagpapaaraw. 
Passed by going to YHA. 

sunbathing muna
Quaint shops along The Rocks

There's YHA in Gray and Orange

Good thing they were able to took note of my request to have the bottom bed :)

That's my bed for the night 
Female 4 bedded dorm. There's 3 of us in the room

Too bad I didn't have enough time to cook 
Roof Deck. It was so chilly though
movie room. this is where my roommate  stayed for the entire afternoon. I wish I had her time.
One of the things I can't forget in my hostel stay is the toiletries. 
I have a friend here in Singapore who's working in a hostel. They provide a bath towel, communal bath soap and shampoo.
I also went to Yangon a month before I traveled to Sydney and stayed in a hostel. They also provide the same. 
And so, I expected the same in Sydney. 

I guess, I had to lower down my expectations next time. haha
Hindi ako nagdala ng kahit ano sa nabanggit sahil umasa ako. 
Sa huli, wala ni isa ang provided. wah!!!!
Kinailangan ko tuloy bumili ng sabon at shampoo. 
Ang twalya?.
Gumamit ng tissue (atleast provided)
Lesson learned.

Feel na feel :) 
 Minsan, nakapaghostel din ako mag isa.

Sydney, Australia 
July 2014

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Achieved in Sydney, ALONE!

Travelling alone is one of the things I want to experience before I get married.
Achievement and bragging right para sa akin. 

Last June 2014, I got a job offer from one of the biggest Travel Agencies here in Singapore. Fortunately, I got the pass/ working visa.
So I guess, this calls for a celebration! 
break break break! 
Scoot and Jestar are calling me. 
So I let myself be swayed. 

I immediately thought of visiting my family in Melbourne enroute to Sydney. 
Applied for the visa and got it after 7 days.

Here I come! ALONE!

I was so ecstatic travelling all by myself. Eto na to!
Kaya lang, habang papalapit, natatakot na ako. There’s this mix emotions. Natatakot ako sa mga pwedeng mangyari. Ayaw kong mag isip ng mga nakakatakot pero alam ko sa sarili ko na  naduduwag ako.
Pero ang inisip ko din, 1st world country naman yun. 
I’m not a baby anymore. I’m a grown woman. Kaya ko to!

Ayun oh! bye Singapore for the meantime :)

ang mga supporters ko 
the double decker train. Amazing! 
how it looks inside
Got of the train..
Saw the Opera House and the harbour Bridge
“Ah eto pala yun. Thank you Lord, thank you! . Big smile :)"
It’s still fresh until now and I won’t forget that moment. 

Upon arriving in Sydney, jumped to the train to the city proper. God blessed me with this man I met in the train ticketing area. He handed me his 7 day city pass because he needed to leave the city that day and that card can still be used.
Pass for ferries, buses and trains. Ayos to. Savings :) 

So now, I’m confident to take any bus and trains around the city. Kahit magkaligaw ligaw, I can find my way, for FREE. 
Good start.
(I still bought my train ticket from Airport to Central though at AU$ 17/ pax )

I went to the Central Station to leave my big luggage at the SmarteCarte for 24+8 hours = AU$15+AU4 12 = AU$27. Aray, ansakit. 
But I needed to. I just brought with me my backpack to move easier.

I took the train to Circular Quay, the nearest train station to The Rocks where my hostel is.
Got amazed with their double decker trains.

When I reached Circular Quay, the first thing I saw is the Opera House.
I remember my reaction.

I made it!  ALONE :) 

kailangan talaga ihighlight na mag isa ako. haha

Sydney , Australia

July 2014

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Munching in Saigon

Vietnam is known for its Pho which is flavorful beef soup noodles.
When I came to Saigon 2 years ago, I usually had Pho or Bahn Mi or Prawn roll only. Kaya when I came back, sabi ng boyfriend ko, I have to try other dishes, which I bravely did. 

I want to list down the restaurants I've been to to refer it to my friends, and to not forget them :) 

1. Pho 2000
01 - 03 Phan Chu Trinh St., District 1 Ho Chi MInh

It is next to Ben Than market, on top of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
This was my 1st dinner in Vietnam and what's the best to have?
None other than Pho Bo or the Beef Noodle Soup.

Well, I think it's fine. Nothing special though :)

Pho Bo (VND 67k) 

2. Pho Quynh Restaurant    
293 B, Tran Hung Dao, Phuong Go Giang, District 1 Ho Chi MInh

Ito ang tumatak sa akin the last time I came to Saigon.
It was near our hotel in Pham Ngu Lao. The receptionist told us it's famous to the locals.
We gave it a try and became our standard on the best Pho.

I visited it again this time. Love their generosity on veggies.
And I had a realization, it's just like the one in Pho 2000 pala.  hehe

Pho Bo (VND 60k)

3. Nha Hang Ngon
160 Pasteur, Ben Nghe District 1, Thanh Pho, Ho Chi Minh

I was so lucky that night that I got to see this restaurant.
Dahil nga sabi ng boyfriend ko na kumain ako ng iba bukod sa Pho, nagsearch ako online ano pa ang ibang sikat na pagkain sa Vietnam at nabasa ko na must eat ang Bun Thit Nuong. Ito ay grilled pork na may noodles at herbs.

Habang naglalakad at naghahanap ng restaurant, napadaan ako Pasteur Street at mukang may high end restaurant.. Mmm, may budget naman ang office sa dinner e. hahaha Why not give this a try.
The place is jam-packed. I was there at around 730pm. Luckily, I managed to get a seat instantly. After 10mins, dumating ang mga tour groups at ibang walk-in diners. Buti nalang!

The place is nice. It's really nice. Too bad I was not able to take a nice photo.

Pagkaupo ko, hindi na ako nahirapan mag isip pa ng kung anong kakainin ko. But when I ordered for the Bun Thit Nuong, it's not available. The waiter told me to try Bun Cha Gio rather, so I did.

Bun Cha Gio - VND 62k ONLY!
Vermicelli & fried pork and crab spring rolls served with fresh herbs and fish sauce. 

Why did I highlight on the "ONLY"?. Because it is so cheap for this kind of food and serving and service and ambiance. Panalo tong restaurant na to! 

I also tried their Tom Xien Nuong or Griller Shrimp - VND 43k and Che Suong Sa Hot Luu - VND 30k
Che Suong Sa Hot Luu is a kind desert / drink which is jelly, water chestnut - Tapioca Pearls & Coconut Milk. In short, parang Halo halo sa atin.

4. Quan Bui
    8 Nguyen Van Nguyen, Tan Dinh 1 , Ho Chi Minh

This restaurant was recommended by one of my agents.
I wanted to try anything grilled but they don't serve it for lunch so I just had soup.

Canh sau suon non - VND 119k
Tangy soup with "trai sau" and pork ribs
Para siyang sinigang sa atin pero mas masarap pa din ang sinigang. hehe
I think this place is a bit pricey.

5. I.D. Cafe
   34D Thu Khoa Huan Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh

At long last, I will be able to try the famous Bun Thit Nuong!
I was expecting the pork to be served hot but to my disappointment.

Anyway, the food is generally nice with the fish sauce :)
(I just wish the pork was hot)

Bun Thit Nuong - VND 70k

6. Runam Bistro 
    202 Pasteur District 3, Ho Chi Minh

This is a recommendation of one of my agents again.
He told me that it's nice to have a meeting here so I checked it our.
I saw it in Tripadvisor and this roasted pork belly is just so appetizing at mukang may class. Maitry nga. haha (social climber mode: ON)

Roasted Pork - VND 210k
This is my own photo of the food :)
took 30 mins to be served (I was advised though) 
I was awed when they served my plate.
I love the plating the the textures of the other things beside the pork
Actually, I got a bit disappointed with the pork crackling / skin. It was not that crunchy that I expected. It taste like an ordinary chinese recipe. (Hindi po ako food expert, personal insights lang)

I was not able to finish it :(
Pero ang sarap tumambay at matulala lang.

outdoor area
sat here but it was just too hot. transferred to indoor. hehe
outdoor area on the 2nd floor
Indoor where I sat. I want to go back there. :) 
7. Huynh Hoa
    26 Le Thi Rieng, Ben Than 1, Ho Chi Minh

When I was on my way to the grocery to buy pasalubong, I passed by this shop and there's a lot of people queuing so I got curious and join the que. This is one of the times that I appreciate travelling alone. I get to go wherever I want to and stop whenever I need to.
I just had Bahn Mi the other day but might as well try this. Long Que = it must be good :)

joining the bandwagon, blindly. hehe
keeping the baguette hot and crunchy
preparing the Bahn Mi - VND 35k [or 30k, i'm not sure :( ]
Too bad I didn't able to take a photo of the Bahn Mi.
It's expensive for a Bahn Mi but it has a lot of meat and stuff inside. Personally, I still prefer the Bahn Mi with the roasted pork. But their baguette is such a fun. One bite and I think the person beside you will hear it's crunch :)

8. Puoc Thanh Bakery
183 An Duong Vuong, P8, Q5, Ho Chi Minh

It's just beside my agent's office so while I was having meeting, my mind is slowly drifting away. haha Amoy bakery sa loob ng office.

Bahn Mi - VND 17k

The Bahn Mi is nice but I was looking for that roasted pork type taste.
Too good and generous for its price though:)

9. Bahn Mi 37
   37 Nguyen Trai , Ho Chi Minh

Nagtanong ako a hotel receptionist kung saan ang famous Bahn Mi at itunuro niya nga itong Bahn Mi 37. Actually, wala siyang binigay na pangalan. Binigyan lang niya ako ng direction at nasa loob daw ito ng isang alley. He was not even sure if the number is 37 or 39.
So when I was walking, I keep on checking evry alley if there's a que for Bahn Mi and there I got it, its an alley near Pedro shop.

It's the stall further end where a man wearing a white shirt stands
One of the famous  Bahn Mi stalls

now you know why there's a long que?
She patiently grills all the patties and a Banh Mi has 4 or 5 patties inside. It costs VND 17k.
So that explains why there's a long que here. hehe
But I think the Bahn Mi with the roasted pork / pork crackling is still the best.

And speaking of Bahn mi, naalala ko iyong nabasa ko online. Apparently I was able to locate and try the 2 of the "best" Bahn Mi in Ho Chi Minh (No. 7 and 9).

Panghuli, sabi nga  nila, eat where the locals eat and do what the locals do.
And I also did my assignment!

This gave me a joy and capped off my night.
I was wearing my smile through out the ride.
Bragging right that I was able to join the motor traffic in Ho Chi Minh. Yohoo!
Pat on the shoulder for me.

Motor taxi - VND 30k but gave him 40k anyway. He gave me a lot of smiles :) 

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
July 2017