• Asia,  Bali,  Food,  Travels

    Bali Part 1: Ubud

       Quiet, except for the singing cicadas.  Thick air, the smell of incense heavy and slow in the steaming heat.  Green leafy trays of floral offerings along the pathways.  Orange marigolds, strung around the necks of Ganesha or placed on stone steps.  This is waking up in Ubud. I love this “island of the gods” that is Bali and Ubud is the spiritual heart, located in the middle of the island, amidst the lush green rice fields, far from the pulsing beats of the bars at Seminyak.  This is my third trip here and I can confidently offer some suggestions for you, if you’re planning a trip. Wander the charming…

  • Chinatown
    Singapore,  Travels

    Returning “home” to Singapore

      This week, I’m returning to my former “home”, Singapore.  It’s been over 7 months since I left Singapore and I had been missing it so much.  Returning after only 7 months is nice because things haven’t changed so much here yet that I feel like I’ve lost touch.  Most of the friends I had are still here, and I’ve even been able to crash at my old flat, so I’m truly feeling like I’ve returned home. When I am in Vancouver, Singapore seems like a dream, so long ago, but back in the stifling steamy heat of Singapore, I feel like I’ve never left! But Singapore doesn’t slow down. …

  • Bucketlist Collage
    Travel Bucketlist,  Travels

    My Travel Bucket List

      The good ol’ travel bucket list; who doesn’t love to dream and make a list of places they want to visit eventually? I’ve been lucky to have lived in a few different countries and have taken the opportunity to visit many others.  Knowing myself, this list is always going to be a certain length because the more I see, the more I want to see! My current list, in alphabetical order… Argentina – Buenos Aires and the rest of it Belize Bhutan Boston Brazil – and catch Carnival China – a big trip Colombia – all the parts I didn’t see yet eg. Bogota, Ciudad Perdida, Salerno, Cali Czech…

  • Friends
    Uncategorized

    How to make friends in a new city

       Probably one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when moving to a new city is making new friends and forming new social circles. I moved to Sydney in 2010, and then picked up and moved again in 2014 to Singapore.  The challenge of finding new friends is definitely real but essential for feeling happy and settled in a new place.  Even now, relocated back in Vancouver, I find myself going through this same challenge again.  Making new friends is arguably a lifelong process; here are some strategies I’ve employed over the years… Organised social networks In this day and age, there are many different social networks available with the…

  • making wontons
    Food,  Recipes

    Wrapping up 2018 and wrapping up some Shanghainese wontons

    This is my last post for 2018, and as I wrap up the year, I’m going to share a very traditional recipe that also requires some wrapping up.  Today I’m sharing our family recipe for Shanghainese wontons.  It takes a bit of effort, but homemade wontons are much yummier than store-bought frozen ones, definitely worth the time.  We always make extra to put in the freezer for later as well. Leaving aside cantonese wontons for now, there’s usually two types of Shanghainese wontons:  small ones or big ones.  Literally that’s what they’re called in Chinese. Small wontons (小云吞)- usually filled with just meat and maybe some shrimps, these are “wrapped” as…

  • Food,  Singapore

    Kopi & Kaya

    Kaya toast, served with kopi and extremely soft boiled runny eggs is a uniquely Singaporean experience.  I first tried it as a visitor to Singapore, when my Singaporean friend Kelvin demonstrated how to eat it properly.  The toast and kopi can be consumed as served, but most Singaporean’s season the two runny eggs with soy sauce and white pepper, mix it all up, and slurp it up.  Two classic places to try this are: Yakun and Killiney Kopitiam. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the runny eggs, but I love a kopi and if I want to treat myself, I’ll go for some kaya toast too. Kopi Kopi is…

  • Braised pork belly
    Food,  Recipes

    Melt in Your Mouth Braised Pork Belly

    My Dad is a great chef and never follows a recipe.  So, in putting together these recipes, it’s my best attempt to extract the details from his brain and document them.  #DadsCooking It’s no secret that Chinese people eat a lot of pork and we are no different.  Growing up though, I wasn’t (and still am not) a big meat eater.  I prefer my veggies, I’m a self-confessed carbaholic, and have a big sweet-tooth.  Days go by where I haven’t had any meat at all, and I’m not even consciously aware of it.  My Grandma and Dad would make these dishes of soft, tender, braised pork chunks, and I’d be very…

  • Santa Marta waterfront
    Colombia,  Travels

    Santa Marta | Gateway to adventures in Northeast Colombia

    I took the bus from Cartagena to Santa Marta, planning to use it as a base to discover what the North East corner of Colombia had in store. The town of Santa Marta itself is tiny, with a few hostels and restaurants catering to passing tourists.  Hot & sunbaked, I wandered around with my camera, capturing a few sleepy moments of the golden hour.                                     From Santa Marta, there are a number of interesting places on the backpacking trail including: Tayrona National Park, Minka, Palomino, Ciudad Perdita, and Aracataca (only of interest to…

  • Ajiaco
    Colombia,  Food,  Travels

    Las comidas de Colombia | Food of Colombia

    For me, one of the best parts of travel is to taste the different foods of another culture.  Colombia has not disappointed so far, and though I am not a fan of ALL the food here, I love observing and trying. Colombia is not the land of healthy green juices and salads (at least not yet, but it’s coming fast I’m sure).  Tis the land of fried empanadas, platanos, french fries, fried chicken, fried dough balls, and more.  If you like greasy fried food, you’ll be in heaven. Some classic Colombian food… Empanadas – corn flour “dumplings” filled with beans, cheese, and meat.  Relatively easy to make!  We made these…

  • Sunset views by Santa Marta airport
    Colombia,  Travels

    Aeropuerto El Dorado | El Dorado Airport

    Bogota’s El Dorado airport has been a pleasant surprise.  Big, modern, with decent amenities, I am impressed.  I even had a chance to chill at the El Dorado lounge, thanks to my Priority Pass access and was blown away.  Nicer than many Airline VIP lounges, I got a chance to snack, eat, drink, and use the WIFI at this expansive and opulently decorated lounge.  Inside the lounge, there are plenty of seating areas, reclining chairs perfect for sleeping, showers, a beauty salon (no joke!), and a full on bar. Within the international wing of the airport, there is an Avianca Lounge, an Avianca and Star Alliance Diamond lounge, and a…