Saturday, September 27, 2014

D-2: Weekend Road Trip to Malacca! #Julies

Yet another photo travelogue post for my Day 2 in Malacca! So the night before i checked into our bungalow by One Residence, it's at like those private estates area you see in SG. Had a pretty good sleep and woke up early for breakfast at this place called "Toast N Toast", which specializes in different type of toasts. Very filling breakfast i would say as we ordered 2 sets each! After breakfast is the start of our half day Malacca tour! We were brought to the iconic "Red house" which is the Christ Church. It's like a must visit when you go to Malacca, must at least take a mandatory photo in front of it, HAHA After which we climbed up a small hill to historic St. Paul's church that was originally built in 1521. It's located at the summit of St. Paul's hill along with the A Famosa Ruins, the Stadthuys and other historical buildings. I sound like i know a lot about the place but i'm actually referring to Wikipedia when i do blog posts like this, LOLOLOLOL
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The half day tour took about an hour, had a free and easy session after which to shop at Dataran Pahlawan Mega mall and to get some local delights from this famous place called "San su gong" to bring back to home. Lastly, how can we leave Malacca without trying their Chicken Rice Ball! The staff of Julie's brought us to this apparently famous chicken rice ball stall and and had a fulfilling lunch before departing for Singapore, another 4 hours journey back on the coach.

That's it for my 2D1N Malacca Photo-Travelogue with Julie's! Photo credits to William (onlywilliam) Don (donnlicious) Celine (secretnudges) for some of the photos in this travelogue. Really enjoyed myself over the weekend with the other bloggers and felt that it was a good break away from Singapore. Hope you enjoyed reading this travelogue :D

Sunday, September 21, 2014

#foodporn: Supply and Demand.

I have been cafe hopping so much this year that nowadays when i'm thinking of a place to have my meal, the question i would ask myself would be, "What are the cafes nearby, which cafes have i not visit?" Then again, cafes nowadays offer the same typical menu like Big breakfast set, Eggs Benedict, Pastas etc. Even though i have visited 30 plus cafes in Singapore till date, when people ask me which is the best Egg Benedict i had, or which cafe i would recommend, i cannot really answer because i've tried so many variations that i can't remember which one had the largest impact on my taste buds. They all pretty much taste the same and honestly speaking, i think brunch sets are quite easy to make :|

If you look at "cafe hoppers" IG nowadays, you often spot common (insta-worthy) dishes like truffle fries, eggs Benedict, waffles etc AND most people often upload photos of their food before actually tasting it. People like us who happen to see the uploaded photo probably won't know how good or bad the food is but when more and more people visit the same cafe and take photos of the same kind of food, you probably think it's good and should visit it soon to join in the hype. Half the time you realized the food is just so-so but the place is worth visiting just for that 1 "hit item" or because of the nice ambiance, decor and setting. You probably won't go back the 2nd time though. A good example would be this cafe at Macpherson, not gonna mention which but you prolly go there, have a meal and order that "hit" item, take a photo of your meal, upload it and probably not return again. Sounds familiar? I admit that i'm one of those guilty ones.

Sometimes i feel that whenever i go cafe hopping, it's like paying an "admission fee" into the cafe, paying for average food and to "explore" a new cafe. Normally i spend an average of $25 - $30 a meal which consist of the dish and a drink, sometimes dessert. Come to think of it, not cheap hor? Every week i have brunch about once or twice, so 1 month i spend about $200 on just brunch alone? Anyway, this post technically isn't a cafe post because Supply & Demand is considered more of a restaurant. Other than the newly opened Orchard Central outlet, i heard there's one at Esplanade.
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Not related to this post but i found this photo in my camera and have no idea what to do with it so might as well just post and share with you guys. I've always been a fan of Churros and when i heard about the newly opened (ok, maybe now it's not so new already) Spanish Doughnut at Orchard central, i decided to drop by to give it a try. Apparently this Spanish Doughnut is famous in Melbourne. Got myself the 'Choco Churritos' ($9.90) which is made to order and it comes in a cone with 3 chocolate dips - Milk chocolate, white chocolate and dark chocolate. Waited about 15 mins for my order and it was really good. The portion is quite A LOT for one so i would recommend for two to share, quite worth it!
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Decided to visit Supply & Demand after seeing an influx of photos of it on Instagram (See what i meant!) but this time there was really good reviews of the food so i was expecting quite a lot. After all Supply & demand is supposed to be a restaurant rather than a cafe so i expect their food to be much better in terms of quality and taste. Headed down at about 6 plus for dinner but had to be put on waiting list and got the call about 30 mins later. The restaurant was nicely decorated with dimmed lighting. Maybe because it's dinner time thus they have a lighted candle on each table. *wink
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Looked through the menu and decided on Garlic Truffle Fries to share, super awesome and addictive. Love the cut! Carbonara for Leon and Angie, Salad for Fenny and to top it off, a La Mattina Dopo / The Morning After pizza which consist of tomato sauce, Mozzarella, bacon and mushroom with a soft egg in the center for us to share as well. Pizza was not bad and it's supposed to be the highlight of the meal, but we had it cold because of all the photo taking. #FOL

I ordered a chicken dish for myself. The unique thing about their meat dish is that you only get to choose the meat, that's it. How the chicken is being prepared or the 2 side dishes that comes along will be based on the chef preference. Scary but interesting at the same time. i was praying that i would get something i eat because i'm super picky when it comes to food. Thank god it was greens (not a fan of veggies but hey! at least i eat broccoli) and sauteed potatoes :D
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Overall it was a pretty good meal, definitely much better quality food (slightly more expensive than cafe hopping) and we agreed that we should come back again for the food. Maybe we should go back during lunch time, maybe the "feel" different,lol. I would want to try the pizza again! This time have it hot upon being served instead of spending time taking photos of it. Super bad habit of waiting for all the dishes to arrive then take an "overall" photo of it. Some people would even spend time editing the photo nice nice, upload it before eating. The food cold until bu ke yi zai cold already. Put the phones away and just enjoy the meal. "People who love to eat are always the best people." Agree.

Then again, it depends on what food also, LOL

Monday, September 15, 2014

D-1: Weekend Road Trip to Malacca! #Julies

If you read my previous post on my trip to Alor Gajah, Melaka, you would have read that a few weekend ago, i visited Malacca and here's a photo travelogue of my trip. This is the probably the only few paragraph of words you are gonna read in this post, lol. Well, if a picture speaks a thousands words, this is gonna be a rather "wordy" post. Ok, not funny.
Anyway, here is a quick summary of my day 1 in case some of you cannot get the flow of the photos even though i think it's quite self explanatory. Early in the morning, met up with the other bloggers at Golden Mile complex to catch our coach for a 4 hour ride to Alor Gajah, which is somewhere near Malacca. Stopped by a rest stop to grab a bite but for most of us, it's to get a 3G SIM card so that we can stay connected over the weekend (and to update our social media..)

Reached Julie's factory in the noon which i blogged about in my previous post. The Julie's staff brought us to have authentic Peranakan meal for dinner (and chendol for dessert!) We then headed over to the famous Jonker Street night market which i never had the chance to experience during my previous trips. I think i have been to Malacca twice during my poly days like 5 years ago? Checked in to our apartment at One Residence (1 huge bungalow for a group of 3 or 4s, so we took up like 5 bungalows in a row, LOL) and that pretty much sums up my Day 1. Now that you get the flow, enjoy!
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In case you missed my previous post, read about my visit to Julie's factory at this LINK!
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Not sure about you guys enjoyed looking at the photos without words but i love doing up photo travelogues like this. The flow of the photos is somewhat able to convey a story of its own, sometimes or should i say most of the time better than typing a whole chunk of words which might bore some people. Photo credits goes to William (onlywilliam) for the group shot taken at Julie's and Don (donnlicious) for those paparazzi shots taken at Jonker Street! Till the next post

Day 1 | Day 2

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#Julies Factory visit at Alor Gajah, Melaka!

Couple of weekend ago, i was invited by Julie's (also known as Perfect Food Manufacturing) to go on a weekend road trip to Melaka along with other bloggers to visit their biscuit making factory located at Alor Gajah, Melaka. When i first received the invitation, I was really excited as i was a huge fan of their peanut butter sandwich biscuit and to be able to see the whole process of how it's being made seem like a really rare opportunity! It's like getting a golden ticket to visit Willy Wonka' chocolate factory if you get what i meant. LOLOLOL Anyway, I will be doing a photo post of my 2D1N trip to Malacca after this post shortly, but this blog post mainly summarizes my afternoon visit to Julie's Factory! Before i go on sharing about my experience, here's a mandatory group photo of all the bloggers and the friendly staffs of Julie's! :D
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Welcome lunch where everyone introduced ourselves. Motherhood statement, "Hi, my name is Andy and i'm a lifestyle blogger." Basically if you don't blog just a specific topic like mainly food, or mainly travel but you blog about everything else or "everything under the sun", you fall under the "lifestyle" category. Yes, the term is being abused, i know right...
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Had a really sumptuous Nasi lemak lunch and there were a couple of highlight dishes or should i say desserts as well. One was this glutinous rice wrapped in (lotus?) leaves, and the desserts were made using Julie's biscuit! One is the Kek Batik, which tasted somewhat like Brownie and the other is what you see in the above photo. It's something like canapé with fruits on their biscuit and decorated with chocolate sauce. Interesting way of using their biscuit to create desserts!
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After lunch, we went up to their meeting room where a presentation was given to share with us more on Julie's. Things like their mission and vision, how they started and how much they have grown throughout the years. One of the more significant things i remembered was when Mr. Martin Ang (director of Julie's) shared on how their biscuit are baked with love and they serve only what they eat. Everyone has the perception that strawberry cream is pink in color but in actual fact, it's white. What you see out there is pink color because of the coloring added, which Julie's do not practice.

The staffs also shared on the campaigns that Julies embarked on. Like giving back to the community, appreciating the unsung heroes and their latest, #Bestofyou social movement which is currently running in Singapore. (Anyone spotted their Ads on buses or MRT stations lately?) The moment encourages one to take a moment to appreciate the people and experiences by asking yourself, "Who is the best of you?" Take some time and recognize the small actions and achievements one often neglect. There will be a "Best of you" exhibition at the central atrium of Marina Square from 22 to 26 October (11am to 9pm daily) which showcases the public submissions and artwork established for the movement
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Next up is the moment that most of us are waiting for, the factory visit! Due to hygiene purposes, we had to donned their factory coat, put on the hair net, wear a face mask as well as put covers over our shoes (not forgetting to wash our hands thoroughly before entering!). All of us looked like surgeons getting ready for a surgery, LOL Being bloggers, everyone was camwhore-ing in our new "outfit" and taking selfies/ group photos, took awhile for us to be "ready". LOL
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These are the official photos from Julie's as we were not allowed to take any photos inside the factory. I was really quite impressed and amazed by the machinery and the amount of biscuit produced at any one time. I watched how the dough was being flattened and mold into individual "coin", after which go through the oven for baking then oiled to give it a nice golden glaze, cooled down before being sent for manual packing. I also saw how the cheese cream or peanut butter cream were inserted between 2 pieces of biscuit! Other than the packing, it's done via their awesome machines!
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Quality check was also done frequently to ensure standards. At the packing station, they gave us each a freshly packed peanut butter sandwich cookie and it was HEAVENLY!!! It was still straight out from the oven, still warm and nice, oh my tians. Unless you try it at the factory, you can never get this warm delicious feeling anywhere else. *drools all over
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Ended the factory visit with Mr Martin giving us a big bag of Julie's biscuit each (enough to last a few months!) and also their latest #Line oat cookies! Julie's was having a FB/ Instagram contest recently where you have to take a creative photo with both their Brown (chocolate) and Cony (strawberry) Line cookies and stand to win Line plushies. I joined the contest after i returned to SG and guess what, I'M ONE OF THE CONSOLATION PRIZE WINNERS!!!! Thanks for picking me!
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Thanks for the invitation Julie's! I really enjoyed myself
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Some of the goodies in the big bag of biscuit given. My favorite is definitely the Cheese sandwich and the peanut butter sandwich cookies! The PR is probably reading this as well so thanks Ellice for hosting us and making us feel comfortable. Before i end this post, have you guys ever thought of "who is the best of you"? I shall leave it to you guys to ponder :)

Baked with love,                                

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Travelogue Day 3: 안녕하세요 Seoul! Myeongdong, Gyeongbokgung Palace, COEX Aquarium and Itaewon!

Back to updating my Korea Travelogue! I know it has been taking forever to complete and there is still 2 more posts after this post... As much as i want to quickly finish up this travelogue, it really takes up a lot of time and effort to do up such a post because of the time needed to edit the countless photos, then making sure that i include accurate/ relevant information for the benefit of those intending to travel to Seoul and that would mean i would need to refer to my itinerary every now and then while typing this post and of course, lastly share my personal experience for the trip.

Some people out there like to think that bloggers are people who gets free stuff all the time and all they have to do is take some selfies (with the free stuffs) and at the same time earn some additional income from advertisers. Sounds easy hor? What they don't see is time and effort behind each post. Shall leave the rant to another post, LOL Back to Day 3!!!

If you read the previous post ( we practically spent the whole day at Lotte world and returned back to the hostel late at night. Had a really good sleep and woke up later than usual the next morning :| Instead of having our usual breakfast (Isaac toast, lol) I decided to bring Don to have authentic Budae jjigae, also known as the Korean army stew! During my last trip with KTO, Elizabeth (polkadotyyan) brought me to this restaurant for late dinner and it was so good that i told myself i will be back again!:D
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Was led to the second level of the restaurant where the layout is like a traditional Korean house setting and we have to take off our shoes before stepping onto the platform. Sat in front of our table (on the floor but there's cushion. Quite comfy) and soon our table was slowly filled with random side dishes, and of course the main highlight, our army stew!
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Basically Budae jjijae (부대찌개) is a stew where in the past during the Korean War when food was scarce in Korea, people basically made use of the surplus food and incorporate them into a traditional spicy soup. Nowadays Budae jjijae consist of ingredients such as instant noodles, cheese, sausages, ham, green onions and many more random stuff. Something like our steamboat, HAHA Being such a picky eater, i was super happy the ingredients were all to my liking!
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I don't have the exact address of the restaurant (actually i don't even know the name of the restaurant, lol!) But it's located in Myeongdong street, just right behind the one and only Burger King so you have to go through the small lane on the left of BK. Not that difficult to find actually, the main thing is to look for the Burger King. After having an awesome early lunch, we decided to explore Myeongdong for awhile before proceeding with our itinerary. For the past few days by the time we returned to Myeongdong, it was already late at night and most of the stores were closing...
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As usual, poster of Korean celebrities were everywhere! Especially Kim Soo-hyun! He is practically EVERYWHERE. But i'm not complaining and i don't think anyone would complain. Doo MinJoo, where is my cheong songyi!!! HAHHAHAHA
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When you are walking around Myeongdong, you can never miss this huge SPAO store. It's something like our H&M or Uniqlo and the brand collaborates with SM Entertainment for marketing so you can spot your favorite SM entertainment celebrities like Super Junior, SHINee wearing SPAO on their posters! The apparels are not bad and is quite affordable.
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Moving on to the first stop of our itinerary, the famous Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁! Korea is famous for their rich history and culture so i felt that everyone who visits Korea should visit their palace at least once during their trip so i included it in our itinerary. At least Don can see how and what the place is about (and maybe grab a few selfies along the way!) To get to the palace, hop on to the Subway Line 3, alight at Gyeongbokgung Palace station and take Exit 5.
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Saw this pretty interesting way of getting your groceries while waiting for your train. Basically you download their app, scan the code of the product to add it to your cart and finally check out and have it delivered to your place! So innovative and definitely useful for those busy working adults who can't afford the time to buy their daily groceries.대박
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Arrived at one of the gates, the Gwanghwamun gate! #butfirstletmetakeaselfie
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The Gwanghwamun gate (광화문) is the main and largest gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace and was opened to the public on 15 Aug 2010 after restoration. Lucky us arrived when it's time for the Royal guards changing ceremony! The changing of guards ceremony is held in front of the gate every hour from 10am to 3pm, whole ceremony takes about 15 mins.
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When the ceremony was over, everyone had the opportunity to go forward to take photos with the different guards so i went up to this guard in blue and tried to take a selfie. Even before i could take the photo, i felt a push on my back and i was like, "TMD, who push me!" Apparently it was the guard and he said something like, "Too close." -_- So pai seh can. I went slightly in front and took the selfie anyway. I WILL REMEMBER YOU! Then again, they all look the same. HAHAHHA
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Did not go into the palace because we both know that it will bore us after awhile and i have already been to a couple of these palaces during my previous Korea trip. Anyway, the Gyeongbokgung palace is opened from 9am to about 6.30pm daily, and there's an admission fee of 2,400 won or 10,000 won for entry to the Jongmyo Shrine and 4 different palaces. 
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Dropped by the famous King Sejong statue which is just a short walk from Gwanghwamun. If the statue looks familiar, you probably saw it in some Korean drama or variety show. (I remember seeing in on Running Man!) I've been there once in 2010 but little did i know that there is an entrance to a underground museum 세종이야기 at the back of the statue!
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Next stop on our itinerary, COEX Aquarium 코엑스 아쿠아리움! While i was searching for places to visit in Seoul, i came across COEX Aquarium as one of the recommended attractions and after reading a few blogs on the place, i decided to include it! To get to COEX Aquarium, take Subway Line 2, alight at Samseong Station (삼성역) Take exit no. 5 or 6 as they are directly connected to COEX Mall and the Aquarium is located at the end of the Ocean Walk Section. Follow the signage along the way and it will lead you to the place. Admission fee is 19,500 won and it opens from 10am to 8pm :D
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I think it's quite amazing to have an aquarium inside a shopping mall. Just when you think inside the aquarium are all fishes and fishes, you are wrong. There are other animals and reptiles inside as well. I've always been fascinated by animals and i can stare at them for the longest time (especially those that you don't come across often, lol) Amazing.
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As you can see, on top of tanks and tanks of marine life, there are animals/ reptiles that are somehow related such as the alligator and tortoise. They had a beaver enclosure as well! Saw the beaver feeding time chart so i looked at my watch and realised it will happen in 15 mins time so i just sat there waiting... and for the longest time nothing happened. I then realised my watch is still in SG time which is 1 hour behind South Korea. I waited for nothing, FMLLLL
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Can't remember the name of this animal but it's something dog one. Seriously which part of it looks like a dog?
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Went over to another section of the aquarium where they "incorporate" fish tanks into different items which can be found in our everyday life. Literally the last thing you would ever imagine that it can be transformed into a fish tank...
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Traffic Lights, Telephone booth, Mailbox and even vending machines! The phone booth one is damn kua zhang, LOL
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Every time i see big fishes, it makes my skin crawl. Literally goosebumps all the way from my arm to the back of my neck! It's like how can fishes grow until so huge?! The ocean is such an amazing place with all sorts of creatures from as tiny as a plankton to the largest fish in the world - the whale shark. Nice to see and watch, but not to interact, HAHAHA
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Feeding session for the Manatee, affectionately known as dewgong if you watch Pokemon, HAHAHHA
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Came across the Garra rufa also known as "Doctor Fish", you can put your hands into these slots and the fishes will forward and nibble on your fingers, eating off the dead skin. The feeling is super ticklish! Can try at those fish spas :D
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Don't ever know whether the starfish is alive a not. Or should i say, are they even real? #skeptical
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This tank houses like maybe hundreds and thousands of fishes. Like woahhhhhhhh~
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Loads and loads of baby jelly fishes. So tiny that you might not even realize them swimming next to you when you are in the ocean, hiak hiak hiak. Jelly fish can be really dangerous and poisonous even though they seem like pretty harmless.
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Some marine worm. Super disgusting omgggg.
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Just before you exit the aquarium is the penguin enclosure! Super cute!
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Upon exiting the aquarium (which was already 3 or 4 plus) we realised we didn't have our lunch so we dropped by this random hot dog place and got ourselves a hot dog set meal! Mine was super awesome with loads of cheese! Nom nom
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#Selfie while waiting for the train to Itaewon 이태원. Bought a backpack along the way at only 10,000 won which is about $12 and it's like one of the best buy for the trip as i get to dump all the things i bought into it compared to the Porter camera sling bag which i brought along. It was too small to fit everything, heavy and it's sling. My shoulders  T_T
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Itaewon 이태원 is one of the places in Seoul where you can find people of all sorts of nationalities, especially ang mos. Seoul even designated Itaewon as its first ‘Special Tourism District,’ to highlight it as a destination for internationals to enjoy a diversity of culture, shopping, and entertainment experiences. Nothing much to see so we left shortly after...
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Finally after 2 days in Seoul, we arrived back in Myeongdong early to shop! Even though our hostel is just across the road, our itinerary was so packed that by the time we arrived back in Myeondong, most of the shops were already closing. Myeongdong 명동 is one of the primary shopping districts in Seoul and it's the place to buy all the facial grooming products from famous brands such as Etude house, Face shop, Nature Republic etc. There is also a difference if you go to Myeongdong during the day and during the night. Definitely one of my favourite and must go place in Korea!
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Recently i took a liking to MCM products and i literally went crazy when i saw the outlet at Myeondong! Their backpack are known to be super expensive (The basic one cost around $900 to $1000 at MBS!) I was still considering whether to buy it. Anyway, i could bear to leave the store without getting anything so i bought a wallet for myself! :D #happyboy89
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Dinner was practically street food all the way! The above are just some of the street food i had! Super nice especially my favourite egg bread - Gyeran Bbang 계란빵! I can have one of it every single day without feeling sick of it. That's it for a pretty long and photo intensive Day 3 post for my Korea trip! Next up, Everland theme park!