August 14, 2017

JJCM : Suka Sucre Bistro

I'm not a fan of Dato' Fazley Yaakob but I watched MasterChef Celebrity Malaysia Season 1 before so I knew he was the winner. Then I heard he opened a restaurant but because I'm not a fan, I never paid attention to it.

My sister and I was in Cheras recently and we were googling places to eat and tadaaa... we came across Suka Sucre Bistro which is owned by him.

The location is a bit off though, at the unknown Wisma Ryu in Taman Pertama. But just waze it, you'll get to the location.

As soon as we entered the restaurant, I was impressed. Love the ambiance and the interior of this restaurant. Perfect for family outing, dating, chilling and relaxing.

Dato' Fazley was nowhere in sight but no big deal, his staffs were nice and welcoming.

So, what to eat here?

A touch of East meets West.

We were rushing to other places so we only ordered these!

Pasta Daging Salai Lemak Cili Api

Pasta combine with masak lemak cili api. I think they gave me too much kuah it looked like mee kari haha but I love masak lemak cili api so it's ok. Loveee this! Highly recommended guys!

Pasta Salted Egg Yolk Cream with Cili Api

Also highly recommended!

My verdict: I really like both. Really different from the usual pastas we eat.
Tak sempat try their desserts so I guess I will drop by this restaurant again whenever I'm in the area.

You guys should visit the restaurant to taste the yummylicious food too.

Address: SukaSucre Bistro, Wisma RYU, 81, Jalan 2/90, Taman Pertama, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hour: Tues - Thurs 12pm - 7pm / Fri - Sun 12pm - 10pm
Closed on Mondays
Contact : 03-92017750
Instagram: @sukasucrebistro

August 10, 2017

PyeongChang Winter Olympic : Gangneung Coffee Festival

Other than the attractions I mentioned in my previous post about Gangneung, there's a lot more reasons for you to visit this city.

The Gangneung Coffee Festival held its first event in 2009 as part of project in making Gangneung, a city of coffee. The festival celebrates the emerging coffee culture of Gangneung-si, which in recent years has welcomed in famous coffee chains and artisan coffee shops.

The festival celebrates the scenic city’s past and present culture with a variety of coffee-related events such as exhibitions, photo exhibitions, coffee-making and coffee bean-roasting experience programs. Coffee entrepreneurs can also sign up for on-site seminars about the coffee industry.

Admission/Participation Fees: Free (Some programs may require a fee)
Period: 6-10 Oct 2017
Address: 131, Nanseolheon-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Transportation: From the Gangneung Intercity / Express Bus Terminal, take Bus 221.
Get off at Anmok (안목, the last stop) and walk to the festival grounds (10-min walk).

Anmok Coffee Street

This street slowly transforms into a coffee heaven attracting coffee chain stores and café owned by baristas. Each café in Anmok Coffee Street offers its own specialty coffee and dessert menus so there is a vast variety that you can choose from. Particularly, terrace seats facing the coastal line of the East Sea of Korea are popular among visitors. Furthermore, you can find coffee vending machines that started this coffee street in numerous spots.

Address: Changhae-ro 17, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do (Anmok Beach)

Coffee Cupper Museum

This is a place where various and rare coffee relics from around the world are displayed. Visitors can see the history and culture of unique coffees from countries around the world and learn about, understand and experience the world of coffee. Visitors can also visit the coffee farm where coffee beans were grown and produced for the first Korean coffee for commercial purposes.

Address: 2171-17, Wangsan-ro, Wangsan-myeon, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Operation Hour: 9:30-19:00
Admission Fee: 5,000 KRW for adult/ 4,000 KRW for underage (4-19 years old)
Program Fee: 10,000 KRW per program (Coffee roasting, Hand-dripping, Espresso Extraction, Planting activity, Chocolate activity)

Historically, Gangnueng is known as the town where people enjoyed drinking tea. The love of tea developed into interest in coffee, now the City has established its own coffee culture.

Heo Gyun/Heo Nanseolheon Memorial Park

The Heo family lived in Gangneung in 16th century. They were talented in literature, especially the daughter and son, Heo Nanseolheon and Heo Gyun. Heo Nanseolheon was a prominent female poet and produced 211 beautiful poems before she died at the age of 27. Heo Gyun was prominent Korean politician and poet, novelist and scholar. Heo Gyun is often credited as the author of the famous Korean story tale of 'Hong Gildong', which in many ways reflects his progressive thinking.

Heo family enjoyed drinking tea same as noble families in Joseon dynasty did. Especially Heo Gyun, knowing how to appreciate arts was a tea lover and wrote many poems about tea.

Heo Gyun/Heo Nanseolheon Memorial Park was built to commemorate these talented sister and brother in 2007. The park consists of birthplace of Heo Nanseolheon and Heo Gyun, memorial hall and traditional tea experience center.

Chohee traditional tea experience center was named after Nanseolheon’s given name, Chohee. It opened in December 2012 and Korea Tea Culture Assocation members are promoting Korean tea culture and offering tea ceremony session to visitors.

During tea ceremony session, the instructor explains about tea utensils such as tea kettle, tea cup, cooling bowl and draining tray. And the instructor moves on teaching how to serve tea step by step from pre-heating the tea utensil to brewing the tea. The session is about 20-30 minutes and advised to make a reservation beforehand.

Address: 1-29, Nanseolheon-ro 193beon-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Operating hours: 09:00-18:00 (Closed Mondays)
Admission: Free (Tea ceremony experience 5,000 won)

Gangneung Chodang Dubu Village

Just south of Gyeongpo Beach is Chodang Dubu Village, which is famous for tofu. Along Gangneung's most famous food street the beans are ground for Chodang tofu, then through several steps, salt water from the East Sea is used in the congealing process resulting in a soft and light tofu.

The name of this village, Chodang, originates from the name of a famous person that lived here known as Chodang Heo Yeop. When Heo Yeop was a minister in Samcheok, he made a tofu with sea water of Gangneung and people complimented on tofu’s plain and savory taste. That is how it was given a name as Chodang, which is Heo Yeop’s pen name.

Address: 99, Chodangsundubu-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do

July 31, 2017

Great Wall of China - Mutianyu

Long overdue post as I visited this UNESCO World Heritage Site back in March 2016. Some things may have changed... but I'm writing this to preserve my aging memory so yeahh.. here it is!

When in Beijing, a visit to the Great Wall of China is a must. There are several sections where you can visit the wall - Badaling, Mutianyu, Jinshanling, Jiankou etc. The most visited section is Badaling due to its close proximity to Beijing city. Most tour groups will visit this section so be prepared for the crowd.

Easiest way is of course to follow tour groups but you are given only about 2-3 hours to walk around.
I need more time to explore the wonderful heritage site so I decided to go there on my own.

After some readings, blogwalking, googling here and there, I chose to visit the Mutianyu section due to several reasons.

#1 This part of the Great Wall is the longest and best fully-restored section open to visitors.
#2 Less crowded and has better architecture compared to Badaling, with more watch towers.
#3 There are cable cars up and down, making it very easy to visit.
#4 Surrounded by beautiful mountains, the scenery there is fascinating year round.

Mutianyu is about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours drive from central Beijing. There is no direct transportation to the area so if you don't want to go through all the hassles, go visit Badaling la.

First thing first, if you're taking the subway from anywhere in Beijing, get off at Dongzhimen station. Take Exit B and walk about 10 minutes following the signboards to Dongzhimen Bus Station (or officially called Bus Transfer Hall). Here, walk to the North Platform and take bus 916 快 (this is express bus, 916 without 快 is not an express) to Huairou town. There are signs overhead to guide you in the direction to the 916 Express Bus Stop so don't worry. Fee was RMB 12 and paid on board the bus.

916 Express Bus operating hours: 
05:50 ~ 19:50 - Dongzhimen Transport Hub to Huairou
04:50 ~ 18:50 - Huairou to Dongzhimen Transport Hub

I don't speak Chinese and trust me, most of the people on the bus don't speak English. I was the only foreigner on the bus that morning. A group of oldies sat near me, I felt safe cos I saw them holding what looked like trekking poles. In my mind, perhaps they were going to hike the Great Wall too. Cun la ada gang haha. Unfortunately, we were like chicken and duck talking.

One by one, they got off till there were only a few people left on the bus. I didn't hear the bus stop names clearly and when I looked at the bus route, I lost count. There was this one stop where I saw a lot of taxis waiting and a driver even jumped on the bus looking for foreigners to offer rides. The driver didn't see me and I was scared to get off as I was alone. Scared I would be ripped off.

In the end, I stopped at the last station. I bargained with a taxi driver to take me to Mutianyu. The ride was about 20 minutes and cost me RMB 45.

If you were alone like me, just be aware on where to stop. The bus will announce the name of the bus stops but in case you didn't hear it, just remember to count till the 15th stop from Dongzhimen. It takes a little more than an hour from Dongzhimen to Huairou so after an hour into the journey, just get ready to get off the bus. Oh.. the stop that I saw many taxi drivers waiting was actually the right stop, Huairou Bei Da Jie.

Huairou Bei Da Jie is the 15th stop from Dongzhimen 

The driver dropped me off at the Tourist Service Building, where the ticketing offices are located. Here, you can buy the entrance, cable car, chairlift and toboggan tickets.

The cable car will bring you to Watch Tower 14, while the chairlift will take you to the lower area, Watch Tower 6. Both the cable car and chairlift are operated by different companies so you have to choose either one. Of course you can ride both, but it cost more as you need to buy the single ticket.

Entrance fee:
Adults RMB 45, Children RMB 25
Cable car RMB 100 (one way), RMB 120 (return)
Chairlift RMB 100 (one way), RMB 120 (return), or you can choose to go down by toboggan
Ferry shuttle bus RMB 15

 Opening hours: 
April to October 08:00 ~ 17:00
November to March 08:30 ~ 16:30

From the Tourist Service Building, we need to take the shuttle bus to get to the chairlift or cable car stations.

There are 23 Watch Towers on the Mutianyu Great Wall. As much as I wanted to hike from the start, I knew I wouldn't have enough time to do so. So I went up by chairlift to Watch Tower 6.

chairlift to Watch Tower 6

The watch towers are numbered from right (east) to left (west). From Watch Tower 6, I climbed the steps to Watch Tower 14. Took me about an hour or so, with numerous pit stops for photos. :D

Then I walked and climbed all the way to the highest point of the Mutianyu Great Wall, and the last section opened to visitors, Watch Tower 23!

yup... I climbed the Great Wall in cheongsam :D

cherry trees starting to bloom

The mountain of this section is covered with green forests in the summer and colorful autumn foliage in the fall. I went between winter and spring so most of the trees were bare. At some areas, the cherry trees were starting to bloom.

The view would've been gorgeous if the sky were blue. But it's OK, I'd love to repeat the trip during summer one day. Saw photos of the Great Wall surrounded by the green forest and it was sooo beautiful!!

Watch Tower 23

After few hours walking and climbing the steps, I made it to Watch Tower 23.
Think I'd climbed over 4000+ steps overall. *flex muscles*

Then I saw this.

Work was in progress to close the wall at this Watch Tower, preventing hiking beyond this point. Watch Tower 23 is the last point in Mutianyu where visitor can access. Beyond this area, the walls are unrestored so it is not advisable to explore. 

But I saw a couple of guys and a girl climbed over at the side past the wall so of course la I joined them. 

We continued hiking till the very end of the wall.

So sad looking at this! Grrrrr... 

bought the cheongsam in Shanghai and I didn't have iron so excuse the wrinkles hahaha

The end of the Mutianyu Great Wall. After this point, it will be a 4 hour hiking to Jiankou side of the Great Wall.

Done taking photos and admiring the view from the top, I walked all the way down back to Watch Tower 6. 
Tried the toboggan and it was really fun!

Going back to Beijing, it was the same but luckily I had company. A lot of taxi drivers were waiting at the shuttle bus area and a girl asked me whether I wanted to take taxi to Huairou together as she's also heading back to Beijing. Of course I agreed! We stopped at Huairou Bei Da Jie and took 916 Express Bus together back to Dongzhimen.

Overall, I was happy and satisfied cos I managed to get to Mutianyu all by myself. I got to spend longer time at the Great Wall, taking my own sweet time admiring the nature and of course cheaper than following the guided tours. It was rather daunting at first but heyyy..I made it!