Local Delicacies in Ha Giang | What and Where to Eat in Ha Giang

Pho Chua

At a local’s recommended, she insisted everyone who visits must try phở chua (sour noodles) at a popular restaurant called Phở Chua Hiền Lương. 

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Pho Chua

The dish consists of rice noodles, julienne cut cucumber and carrots, bean sprouts and pork and Chinese sausage (lap cheong), then topped with roasted peanuts, fried shallots, and fresh herbs, in a delicious broth.

Cost: 35k VND

Address: 📍 Nhà Hàng Phở Chua Hiền Lương, 12 Bạch Đằng, Tp.Hà Giang

 

Chao Au Tau

If you ask any local what is the dish to try in Ha Giang, most if not all will tell you to try their famous delicacy, chao au tau, also known as “deathly porridge” or “poison porridge”. How has it gotten its reputation?

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Chao Au Tau

Cuu tau, also known as the jujube, is the root of the ooc tre, which is actually listed in the poisonous group A list, but it is also a medicinal herb after careful preparation. The taste is really interesting – very aromatic, but also medicinal and bitter tasting. I would highly recommend trying this, especially if you’re feeling under the weather to reap its medicinal benefits!

Address: 📍 Quán Hương Ấu Tẩu, Tổ 5 Trần Hưng Đạo, P. Nguyễn Trãi, Hà Giang, Vietnam.

 

Banh Cuon

Bánh cuốn, a staple Vietnamese breakfast dish, is one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes, and is definitely underrated.

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Banh cuon in Haiphong

Similar to Cantonese cheung fun, these steamed rice rolls typically either have no filling (bánh cuốn chay) or a filling of pork and wood ear mushrooms (bánh cuốn nhan) , both are topped with crispy shallots. It is typically also served with pork patties/sausage (chả), and accompanied with a dipping sauce (nuoc mam) which comprises of fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and fresh chillis. You’ll always find a basket full of fresh herbs served alongside it too to help bring everything together.

Don’t fret if you don’t get to try it, you can sample bánh cuốn in all Vietnamese cities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

Address: 📍 Bánh Cuốn Bà Hà, 79H6+GC tt. Đồng Văn, Đồng Văn District, Ha Giang, Vietnam

 

Lau (hot pot) 

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Lau (hot pot) in Hanoi

Since the North is much cooler and colder than Central and South Vietnam, you’ll find many hot pot restaurants in Ha Giang, translated as ‘lau’ in Vietnamese.

Vietnamese hot pot varies depending on what restaurant you go to, but the standard is there will always serve red meats, fish, tofu, noodles, and vegetables, and of course, fresh herbs.

The H’mong people’s hot pot speciality is Thang Co. Traditionally made with horsemeat, it is now typically made from either cow, buffalo or goats meat, along with aromatics like lemongrass, ginger and cardamom.

You can find this speciality dish at local markets like Cho Dong Van. You’ll be able to locate stalls selling Thang Co very easily, as the stall vendors will be ladling portions from a large cauldron-like pot.

Address: 📍 Dong Van Market, Đồng Văn District, Ha Giang, Vietnam

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Where to Eat and Drink in Brussels | 24 hours in Brussels

Under two hours away from London King’s Cross, Brussels is a great city to explore for the weekend or even in 24 hours. I really enjoyed the food scene here, every place I went or stumbled upon prided themselves on sourcing local, seasonal produce; and only using the freshiest ingredients.

Here’s a rundown on where to eat and drink in Brussels.

 

Breakfast at Hinterland

Very much a locals’ spot, for breakfast to lunch, I’d recommend heading over to Hinterland. The food was satisfying and delicious, the service was super friendly and the atmosphere was cosy.

They have an all-day breakfast/brunch menu served until 6pm. There are plenty of options on the menu, from scrambled eggs to pancakes, acai bowls to toasties. If you’re vegan, there are several choices from the menu too.

We ordered their blueberry buttermilk pancakes, avocado and sweet potato toastie, and iced matcha lattes. 

hinterland cafe brussels cafe breakfast in brussels

Address: Hinterland, Chaussée de Charleroi 179, 1060 Saint-Gilles, Belgium
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat, 8AM-6PM / Sun, Closed

 

Morning coffee at OR Coffee

OR coffee brussels city centreWhenever I travel, I always make an effort to check out their coffee scene.

OR Coffee was one of the first specialty coffee shops in Brussels, part of a small chain based in Ghent. With two stores in Brussels, the branch in the city centre will most likely be the more convenient one.

They offer specialty coffee drinks, as well as other methods, like chemex, aeropress and your standard pourover coffee too. I like my coffee strong, creamy and rich – and their coffee was just that. And you know, I love a place that offers dairy-free alternative milks!

Definitely one of the top places in Brussels for a cup of coffee and people watching.

coffee in brussels, OR coffee, brussels coffee
Ordered: Portuguese egg tart with a regular and oat milk latte.

Address: OR Coffee, Rue A. Ortsstraat 9, 1000 Brussels.
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri, 8AM-6PM / Sat, 9AM-6PM / Sun, 10AM-6PM

 

Frites at Friterie de la Barrierefrites in brussels | what to eat in brussels

According to the Internet, this is THE place to get frites in Brussels. Friterie de la Barriere has been a Brussels institution for the past fifty-something years.

Similar to Australia Dairy Co. in Hong Kong, this place has a reputation for bad service (but it adds to the experience). But nonetheless, the frites were SO delicious; freshly cut every day and double fried in beef fat, so the frites had a lot of flavour! I love sauces so I was impressed with their large selection of sauces – from aioli to bearnaise, to curry, to your classic ketchup and mayonnaise.

Address: Avenue du Parc 5, 1060 Saint-Gilles
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun, 11:30AM-1AM

 

Read more: Top 3 Restaurants in Stockholm 

 

A healthy lunch at Tich Healthy Living

To balance out the obscene amount of fries we were eating, we opted for a healthy lunch at Tich Healthy Living. A concept store, they sell plant-based cookbooks, sustainable homeware (think mason jars, reusable straws etc.) with a trendy plant-based café, that serves your typical brunch menu (think avocado toast, acai bowls).

tich healthy living brussels | brunch in brussels
On the table: avocado toast, pancakes topped with coconut yogurt, acai bowl, and matcha lattes.

We ordered their avocado toast with pickled onions, banana pancakes topped with coconut yogurt and berries, and acai bowl. NGL, it’s a pretty standard brunch cafe spot, so if you’re vegan, plant-based or just health-conscious, I’d recommend visiting. Although I will note it is quite pricey for the portions.

Address: Tich Healthy Living, Rue de Namur, 25, Brussels, Belgium, 1000
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri, 9AM-6:30PM / Sat-Sun, 10AM-6:30PM

 

A pick-me-up at Belga & Co.

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Belga and Co. is another popular specialty coffee-shop in Brussels, so you gotta get their coffee.

We only ordered coffees so can’t vouch for the food, but their brunch menu did sound really good, especially the savory options like their croque monsieur with homemade parsley pesto.

NGL, I would come here just for the aesthetic and to people watch.

Address: Belga & Co, Rue du Bailli 7A – 1000 Brussels
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri, 7:30AM-6:30PM / Sat-Sun, 8:30AM-6:30PM

 

 

Waffles at Maison Dandoy

maison dandoy brussels, where to get belgium waffles in brussels
On the table: Brussels waffles with icing sugar and the other with brown sugar, hot chocolate, and green tea.

When you think of Belgium, you think of waffles!

Maison Dandoy is well-known for its speculoos and waffles, serving both the Liege and Brussels Waffle.

We ordered the Brussels waffle (because when in Brussels!). Rectangularly shaped,  the Brussels waffle has a light and crispy texture and is sprinkled with icing sugar. Whereas the Liege waffle is more similar to what we see in the UK marketed as a Belgian waffle. It’s much

Address: Maison Dandoy – Galeries, Galerie du Roi, 2. 1000 Bruxelles.
Operating Hours: Mon-Thurs, 10AM-7PM / Fri-Sat, 10AM-9PM / Sun, 10AM-7PM

 

Dinner at Tero

We stumbled across this restaurant on our way back to our Airbnb, and I’m so glad we ended up having dinner here. Tero is a sharing small-plates type of restaurant, and although from the outside it looks slightly pretentious, inside the atmosphere is very cosy and warm.

tero brussels, best restaurants in brussels

The restaurant prides itself on using only organic and seasonal produce, either directly from their farm, or from local suppliers. So as you can expect, their menu changes with the seasons.

We ordered four plates to share and then dessert, and there was a complimentary bread basket with amazing sourdough bread. All the dishes we ordered, the quality and freshness of the ingredients were noticeable.

I’d recommend trying to book a table. We visited for an early dinner and were lucky to be seated, as the restaurant got really busy as the night went on.

Address: Tero, Rue St.Bernard 1, 1060 Saint-Gilles, Belgium
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat, 12PM-1:45PM and 7-9:45PM / Sun, Closed

 

Indulge in Belgium chocolates from Elisabeth.

what to eat and drink in brussels | brussels elisabeth chocolatier store

And of course, you can’t leave Brussels without buying and eating chocolate. The most popular Belgian chocolatiers are Pierre Marcolini, Neuhaus, and Leonidas – all great chocolatiers. But it’s been two years since my trip to Brussels, and I still think about the chocolates I brought from Elisabeth. There are several stores in the city centre, so I’d recommend going in sampling a few, and buying boxes in bulk to bring home so you can reminisce about your time in Brussels (oh, and maybe for souvenir gifts for friends and family).

 

Top 3 Restaurants in Stockholm for Foodies


Stockholm is such a great place for foodies – from their fika culture of baked goods and lattes, to fresh seafood, and the Swedish classic, meatballs.

So from one foodie to another, these are my top three restaurants for foodies in Stockholm!

Sturehof

Loved by locals and tourists, Sturehof is THE spot for seafood foodies. Depending on the weather, opt for alfresco dining, and enjoy people watching as you eat your way through the menu. Oysters are a must. 

PERFECT FOR lunch, dinner; foodies, couples, small and big groups, families; seafood lovers.

ORDER a variety of different oysters – don’t worry if you’re not an oyster connoisseur, the friendly waiters will tell you all the subtle differences.

KEEP IN MIND it’s in the centre of Stockholm and is popular by locals and tourists so remember to book a resy in advance so you’re not disappointed.

OPENING HOURS: Monday to Saturday, 11AM – 2AM; Sunday, 12PM – 2AM

 

Soyokaze Omakase

PERFECT FOR dinner; foodies, couples, small groups; date night; sushi and seafood lovers.

ORDER …well, it’s omakase so you haven’t got much choice. Although it can seem daunting to have the chef decide what you eat, I can assure you everything I put in my mouth was delicious and I can’t praise this place enough.

Throughout the meal, the chef explains each course (in both English and Swedish), making you really appreciate the local produce and ingredients they source. Already looking forward to coming back!

KEEP IN MIND there are only 12 seats, so book a reservation in advance! It makes for an intimate and cosy atmosphere. If you’re unlucky, check out their sister restaurant Soyokafe.

OPENING HOURS: Wednesday to Saturday, 7PM – 10PM. Sunday to Tuesday, closed.

 

 

Meatballs for the People

Where to get the best meatballs in Stockholm? Look no more! Meatballs for the People is where it is at. Serving a Swedish classic, the team source organic produce and ingredients to create little balls of heaven (and their efforts to minimise their environmental impact). Meatballs are served with creamy mash and rich beef gravy. It is a must-visit for any foodie visiting Stockholm. 

PERFECT FOR lunch, dinner; big groups, family-friendly.

ORDER meatballs (duh!) If there’s two of you, order the platter so you can sample four of their meatball offerings (from beef to reindeer to bear), served with potato puree, gravy and lingonberries. If you’re solo, stick to a Swedish classic. (FYI, dessert is missable).

KEEP IN MIND to book a resy. If you’re making an impromptu trip, you can expect a long wait, especially during dinner service – don’t worry though, you can order drinks at the bar whilst you wait. And if you’re on a budget or an early luncher, head over from 11AM to 11:30AM for their early lunch deal.

OPENING HOURS: Monday to Thursday, 11AM – 9PM; Friday to Saturday, 11AM – 10PM; Sunday, 11AM – 9PM

 

 

City Break Guide: Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is the perfect destination for the perfect Christmas weekend city break. Get the low-down on where to stay, what and where to eat in Prague, and the best things to do in Prague.

Prague is the perfect destination for a winter weekend city break. It has everything – Christmas markets, mulled wine, delicious food and doesn’t break the bank!

Recommend: 2-3 days. Great for couples and trips with friends. £.


Stay.

Golden Key, located in Prague 1, is a boutique hotel in a 13th-century building. Despite formerly being a locksmith’s workshop, the rooms were modern, spacious and cosy. The location of the hotel was great: walking distance to the Prazsky Castle (ten minutes) and the iconic Charles Bridge (15 minutes) and the other tourist attractions. For any ventures outside of Prague 1, the transit system was nearby and also easy to use. Use the discount code FRIENDS for 10% off.

Getting Around.

Public transport fares/prices are cheap, and they do offer a variety of tickets based on the duration of travel – 60 mins, 90 mins, 24 hours, and 3 days – as opposed to the number of trips. Similar to other European public transport systems, it’s so easy to use. To soak in as much of the city as you can, I’d opt against using public transport, and walk as much as possible, just remember to wrap up warm!

Eats.

For breakfast or brunch, head on over to Cafe Savoy, located in the Little Quarter. It has gorgeous interiors, which includes a listed neo-renaissance ceiling which dates back to the 1890s. 

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Cafe Savoy’s french toast

It’s regarded as one of the best places to eat breakfast by the locals since it serves an array of different dishes and has its own bakery, which offers fresh confectionery and baked goods daily.

Order the french toast with fresh fruits and maple syrup with a freshly brewed pot of black tea to cut the sweetness, I’d recommend either the French breakfast or the Ruschka. Then finish off breakfast with a selection of their freshly baked in-house cakes. 3/5.

For a spot of coffee and a snack, head to EMA Espresso Bar, loved by the foodies of Prague. They serve good coffee in a minimal and Shoreditch-sque spot. 5/5.

Latte at EMA Espresso Bar
Latte at EMA Espresso Bar

For lunch, if you fancy something different and want to experience more of the Czech food culture, dine in a Vietnamese restaurant. The Vietnamese community makes up the largest ethnic minority group in the country, so if you’re up for some exploring and venturing outside the city centre, make a stop to Czech’s ‘Little Hanoi’ or ‘Sapa’. Although there isn’t much there to do since it’s a huge industrial park with supermarket stores and a place to buy bulk items. But there, lies a gem called Phuong Phuong, which sells in a northern Vietnamese speciality, banh cuon – a favourite of mine. Banh cuon is steamed rice rolls, either served plain or with a meat and mushroom filling, accompanied with a fish sauce vinaigrette and Vietnamese pork roll. 4/5.

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Banh Cuon at Phuong Phuong

Alternatively, for somewhere in the centre of Prague, head over to Remember, a family-run restaurant serving cheap yet hearty delicious Vietnamese dishes. 3/5.

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Traditional Czech dinner at Krcma

Accidentally finding Krcma, a tavern serving traditional Czech dishes, was the best thing to happen on my trip to Prague. Located in the Old Town near the street lit up by all the designer stores, it was a full-house on a weekday, packed with locals and tourists. We luckily managed to grab the last table of the evening. Must-have dishes include the beef goulash and the roasted duck with dumplings, and a side of mash potatoes. The portions were enormous, delicious and really good value for money. Highly recommended. 5/5.

 

Do.

charles+bridge+prague

Walk and get lost in the city. As I mentioned, the best way to really explore the city is to just walk and get lost, and you’ll find yourself strolling along Charles Bridge, walking past Prague Castle, St Vitus Cathedral, and through the Jewish Quarter.

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Climb 229 steps to Petrin Hill (or a ride the funicular railway). From the top of the hill, it offers a lovely view of the city and gives you a moment to appreciate Prague from a different perspective! 5/5.

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Christmas market in Prague
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Trdelík

Wander around the two main Christmas markets which are open during the Christmas period. Located at Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, both markets walking distance from each other. Grab a cup (or five cups) of mulled wine, some delicious overpriced cured ham, and the Czech traditional pastry, trdelík, a fully circular pastry which has the option of fruit, cream or ice cream fillings. 5/5.

 

 

City Break Guide: Copenhagen, Denmark

City Break Guide to Copenhagen: where to eat, hotels to stay and what to do.

Your essential travel guide to Copenhagen – my recommendations on where to stay, where and what to eat, and what to do.

Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, is home to hygge, functional and minimalist interior design and fashion. Copenhagen is perfect for couples, friends or even solo! Keep in mind that although you can grab plane tickets cheap, the cost of living is high (££££). Stick to three days, or four days if you’re planning a day trip to Malmo.



Stay.

Without a doubt, you can expect interior envy at any hotel or AirBnB you stay in. My hotel choices include:

I’d recommend using hotels.com where possible, because of their 10% student discount. But keep in mind, if you’re part of their loyalty scheme, you won’t be able to collect nights. Or book directly from the hotel’s website, sometimes there are deals which work out cheaper!

Eats.

In the morning, take a walk toward 108’s The Corner for a coffee and their in-house Danish pastries. Priding themselves on only using seasonal ingredients – something embedded in Noma’s food philosophy – their pastry selection always accommodates what produce and ingredients are most fresh and best. If you’re not near-by, there is an abundance of Ole and Steen branches dotted all around the city. Head in for a latte and their famous cinnamon socials. (And if all this talk of cinnamon buns has your mouth watering, head over to their London branches in Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Court Road or Canary Wharf).

Cinnamon bun from Andersen Bakery
Cinnamon bun, Andersen Bakery

For a light lunch, pay a worthy visit to Andersen Bakery. A Japanese chef, Shunsuke Takati, was infatuated by Danish baking and opened up this bakery as a result. The bakery offers traditional Danish pastries which are heavenly, and pastries which fuses his Japanese heritage, like matchabolle. Gourmet hotdogs are also on the menu, which are house-made and served in a delicious brioche-bread. We opted for the Spicylicious and Beef hotdogs and to satisfy our sweet tooth, we ordered the classic but delicious cinnamon bun.

fleish restaurant copenhagen review
Fleish interiors

A must-try when you visit Denmark is their smørrebrød – the Danish open sandwich. It consists of buttered slices of rye bread with a variety of toppings and accompaniments. We visited two spots during our visit, both as good as each other, but offered different experiences.

Fleish is located in Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District and serves smørrebrød in their afternoon menu. As soon as you take a seat, the ambience will have you immediately feeling cosy and warm, or what the Danes would call hygge, with their wooden chairs propped up with furry blankets and candles on each dining table. (It does get really busy, and if a table isn’t possible, Paté Paté, a bistro and wine/tapas bar, next door is an alternative option for lunch or dinner).

Smørrebrød at Fleish

Kronborg Restaurant offers a more traditional, homey, old-school aesthetic in comparison to Fleish, but still very delicious! If the weather permits, opt for alfresco dining and enjoy the sun as you chow down on an assortment of open sandwiches. Order 3-4 dishes between two. Order the classic, pickled red herring, the paté, and the Danish meatballs.

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Alfresco dining at Kronborg Restaurant

For coffee shop hang-outs, my favourites include Sonny, Democratic Coffee, CUB Coffee Bar, Coffee Collective and Atelier September. Take a seat, rest your feet, and enjoy your coffee (and of course, a pastry – or two – too!).

Restaurant Honey’s self serve soft serve set up

For dinner, head over to Restaurant Honey, one of my favourite restaurants, Despite being located very close by to the touristy area Nyhavn, the food is amazing!

The dining concept of sharing plates and carafes creates a chilled and social atmosphere., with a plethora of plates and cups spread across everyone’s table. Choose a main course, from lamb, pork to fish, which is then accompanied by their daily garnishes which changes according to seasonal ingredients. For our dinner, we were served gnocchi in brown butter, baked celeriac with truffle butter and chives, fried apples with cottage cheese and tarragon, and a salad.

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Sharing plates at Honey

Even if you don’t have space in your stomach for dessert – make space! Their soft-serve ice cream topped with in-house toppings was the perfect way to end the meal. The self-serve service enables you to choose your choice of ice-cream and toppings (which is unlimited!) Honey was definitely my favourite dining spot during my visit.

108 Restaurant

108 is the sister restaurant of the best restaurant in the world (in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014), NOMA. (Although it would have been quite an experience, NOMA was far too expensive, upwards of £300 per person – maybe in another life?) Both restaurants are known for their reinvention and interpretation of the Nordic cuisine, using only seasonal, fresh produce and famous for their fermentation kitchen which they share together. 108 is a cheaper alternative to experience New Nordic Cuisine. I discovered 108 by watching this MUNCHIES video, and I was in awe with the way the head chef, Kristian Baumann, spoke about food. For reference, we ordered cured squid, raw Norwegian scallops, braised oxtail and beef short ribs (for two). My favourite dish were the scallops – it was unbelievably fresh and delicate, and was plated beautifully. However, overall, the meal was quite average for me.

Fish and chips at Copenhagen Street Food Market

Visiting a food market gives you a great opportunity to sample a variety of different Copenhagen’s Street Food Market. Open from 12pm till 8pm, it’s an optimal place to grab lunch or dinner. Similar to Shoreditch’s Dinerama, there are a variety of different cuisines from 50DKK+, as well as alcohol. If the weather permits, sit outside by the waterfront in the sun with a cocktail in one hand and food in the other. Otherwise, there is indoor seating to accommodate for any rainy/cold weather. I highly recommend trying the fish and chips and the duck and chips stall located on the left-hand side of the market upon entering.

Other dining options include Manfreds, a farm-to-table restaurant, so you can expect fresh, quality produce. Opt for the ‘Chef’s Choice Menu’, which consists of 7-8 courses to share family-style, and make sure to order their famous tartar from the a la carte menu! Gasoline Grill for some delicious, juicy burgers! It’s in an old petrol station (the Landgreven 10 branch specifically) so it’s also definitely Insta-worthy too. And lastly, ILUKA, a seafood restaurant.

Waffle stick at Gelato Rajissimo

For sweet treats, a #CopenhagenFoodie spot is Gelato Rajissimo which serves delicious gelato and the Insta-famous waffle stick with melted chocolate and sprinkles!

A perfect treat whilst you’re walking along Nyhavn. Another choice is Osterberg Icecream located in Osterbro, which a selection of unique flavours like jack fruit and durian!

Do.

nyhavn+copenhagen+city+guide

Sit on a bench at Nyhavn and people watch. No matter what time of day, you’ll always find locals with friendly faces biking around; people enjoying al fresco dining and drinks by the water, chatting and gossiping; and freelancers sitting in coffee shops with their laptops. The neighbourhood definitely has a charm to it.

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Visit the Botanical Gardens. Visit the Botanical Gardens inside the University of Copenhagen, it’s absolutely beautiful (and humid!). Whilst you’re there, pay a visit to Rundetaarn, attached to the University’s Library, it provides a lovely view of the city.

Visit Christiania, also commonly known as the ‘Green Light District’, Freetown Christiania is a commune in the borough of Christianshavn, with a population of almost 1,000 residents.

Tivoli Gardens. If you’re a fan of amusements parks, schedule a day at Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world. However, bear in mind the park is only open from Mid-April to Mid-September.

Acne Archive finds!

Shopping. Denmark is famous for its reputation of being the happiest place in the world, but its fashion and interior design comes right after. So shopping is a must when visiting. To discover and explore Danish fashion, recommendations include Playtype, Acne Studios, Weekday and Norse Store Women. Remember to make a visit to Acne Studios outlet store, Acne Archive, with luck you’ll score some heavily discounted bits! If you’re a lover of stores similar to Dover Street Market, Storm is a must-visit. To shop Danish interiors, browse Frama and Dansk Made for Room, which sells a curated selection of homeware; and a beautiful ceramics store called Keramik and Glasvaerkstedet; and of course, a visit to Copenhagen wouldn’t be complete without a visit to HAY House.

Museums. There is a wide range of museums for you during your visit to Copenhagen. Favourites include the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Design Museum, and ARKEN Museum of Modern Art. Be sure to book in advance, if not remember to bring your student card for entry discount.

Day trip to Malmø. Malmo was never on my radar till my colleagues at my part-time retail job boasted about how amazing the city is. Only a 40-minute train ride away, Malmø offers great food, shopping and atmosphere! On every foodie’s list should be a visit to Saluhall, a food-hall market with a variety of stalls and eateries.

A Google Map list of everything mentioned.

Thailand Itinerary

Planning a trip to Thailand? My guide to Thailand – includes top destinations to visit, what to do, and top street eats to try.

Thailand is the perfect destination for travelling/backpacking newbies. Although it can be initially overwhelming, the country welcomes and envelopes you into its culture and life.

In 2015, I visited Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Tao, Koh Nangyuan and Ayutthaya. It’s definitely a place I want to revisit soon since Thailand has, I’m sure, changed a lot since then, but I also have changed as a traveller – anyone wanna join?

Always order a pad thai, papaya salad, fresh coconut water, and mango sticky rice.

Bangkok

Infamous for Khao San Road, street food and wild nightlife. My suggestion is just to wander around, get lost, and eat whatever looks delicious.

A Thai street food vendor near Khao San Road/Rambruttri Road
Food stall opposite Rambruttri Road

There is a plethora of street food, but there is a particular stall located on Khao San Road, opposite Rambruttri Road that needs to added onto your ‘to-eat’ list. It is operated by an older Thai gentleman, and you’ll recognise his stall from the bright coloured orange and green plates he serves his dishes. If a) you find it, and b) he’s still operating there, I highly, highly, recommend his green curry fried rice and tom yum soup. The heat and flavour hits your palette and preps you for all the food ahead, I’ve not had it better since.

bangkok street food
Fresh coconut icecream

Afterwards, walk along Khao San Road until you find an ice cream vendor, serving freshly made coconut ice cream, usually served in the coconut bowl with coconut meat, and topped with a sauce of your choosing, and peanuts.

The street food scene in Bangkok is great! You’ll find vendors/stall selling a variety of different dishes and delicacies, from local fresh fruit to pad see eiw, mango sticky rice to deep-fried insects (if you dare), and som sa to banana rotis. Try as much as you can, and I would say be prepared to get a stomach ache here and there.

Be respectful and remember to cover up when visiting the Grand Palace and other religious temples and monuments.

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The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace is magnificent and really beautiful. It’s hard to explain how extraordinary and exquisite it is – a must-visit in my opinion! It really is a literal description of what to expect – grandness.

Remember to cover up (if you forget, there are stall by the entrance to buy sarongs and trousers), bring an umbrella to shield yourself from the blinding sun, and of course water!

There are so many markets on offer, but my favourite is JJ Green Market a young, urban night market. You won’t find generic tourist souvenirs here, instead, you can shop new and old, second-hand clothes, home interior items, plants, boutique stalls, and vintage clothes. And the cherry on top – really good quality street food. The market is open 5pm till late, Thursday to Sunday.

From Bangkok, you can arrange a day trip to a floating market. There are few to choose from, we visited Amphawa Market. Beware of how touristy and busy it’ll be. From my experience, I think it can be skipped if you can’t fit it into your itinerary. The food isn’t near as good as other markets in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

amphawa floating market
Amphawa Floating Market

Chiang Mai

Overnight train to Chiang Mai from Bangkok

Catch an overnight train or flight from Bangkok, to Chiang Mai. Don’t make my mistake and book last minute! As nice as it is to be spontaneous, plan your trip in advance, and book a ticket prior to your journey at the ticket office. I’d recommend booking it as soon as you arrive in Bangkok.

We luckily got the last few tickets on the overnight sleeper train. Don’t expect the comfiest ride, but in comparison to sleeper trains/buses I’ve been on in Vietnam, this is much comfier. In terms of safety, a train attendant makes a few rounds up and down the carriages, speaks English, and generally speaking, everyone else is also travelling, so they’re really friendly and just want to make small-talk.

Chiang Mai is my favourite place in Thailand. It was much calmer and mellow than Bangkok, with a plethora of delicious cheap street eats.

Street vendor in Chiang Mai

Try arrange your visit during the weekend, so you can visit the Sunday Walking MarketEvery Sunday, the centre of the city closes and the market comes alive. The market looks never-ending from the beginning at Tha Phae Gate to Ratchadamnoen Road.

It’s packed with locals, vendors and tourists. You can find the generic tourists souvenirs to unique trinkets and items made by local artists; as well as, dried foods and speciality snacks, art and clothes. Local artists also perform adding an ambience to the evening.

Expect to spend the entire evening eating your way through the market, so have an early lunch to accommodate for the street food.

TOP TIP – have an early lunch to accommodate for the street food at the Sunday Walking Market.

Mango Sticky Rice vendor

If you’re not in Chiang Mai during the weekend, fret not, Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is open every night of the week on Chang Klan Road. You’ll also find several fruit and vegetable markets in Chiang Mai, like the famous Muang Mai Market. Take a wander through and purchase all the exotic fruits you wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere (or for as cheap) to taste. My favourites include mangosteen, rambutan and durian (if you dare) – and of course, Thai mangos are the bomb!

IMG_5177There’s always some kind of market going on Friday to Sunday. I’d recommend asking hotel/hostel staff or locals – from my experience, everyone in Thailand is super friendly and willing to help.

If you’re missing a taste of home or when your cravings for Western food kicks in, head to The Coffee Club, an Australian coffee chain. I recommend their coconut-infused fluffy pancakes with caramelised bananas and their eggs benedict, and the Britishness of me ordered a pot of English breakfast tea too. With free wifi and air-conditioning, it also gives you the opportunity to catch up on emails and FaceTime family and friends.

Koh Tao

Private pool in Koh Tao Cabana Resort

After Chiang Mai, head back to Bangkok to catch an overnight bus + ferry boat to the island, Koh Tao, which again, can be booked in advance in Bangkok from any travel tour agent on Khao San Road. Remember to shop around to find the cheapest provider. (Warning: It is a tiresome journey but definitely worth it!)

Splurge and stay at Koh Tao Cabana Resort. The rooms offer a space of tranquillity with amazing sea views, an outdoor shower and hammock. A buffet breakfast is served every morning, with a beautiful view to the beach. There’s also a private pool and the beach is right at your doorstep – what more could you ask for?

Breakfast by the beach at Cabana Resort

If you have been staying in hostels in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, a stay at Koh Tao Cabana Resort is needed – that’s how I felt anyway!

After a lot of (unglamorous) travelling and just exploring the other cities, Koh Tao offers you the opportunity to recharge for the next adventure ahead.  It’s such a luxurious experience and having the beach right outside is the cherry on top.

Koh Tao Cabana Resort Beach

Koh Tao is a hotspot for snorkelling – so add a snorkelling excursion to your to-do list. Most packages will offer to will take you around various other islands and beaches around the vicinity. And be prepared to have your mind-blown. Remember to pack plenty of sunscreen (apply on your face and the back of neck to avoid sunstroke), and snacks (your belly will thank me later)!

Koh Nangyuan

Only a 20-minute boat trip from Koh Tao, Koh Nangyuan is the perfect day trip. Getting there is easy, opt for either a day package from Lomprayah or charter a longtail boat. It’s infamous for its shallow reefs and clear waters, making it the perfect spot for snorkelling. Bring your own gear or hire once you get onto the island.

Koh Nangyuan

If you’re in the mood for some exercise, hike up to the viewpoint which takes less than 30 minutes long (or even longer depending on the heat) but, I promise you’ll be satisfied as it offers a view of the entire island. Just remember to be equipped and hydrate yourself. Then, spend the rest of your day sitting by the beach, topping up your tap and sipping on fresh coconut water. And feel zen.

Ayutthaya

Sunset at Wat Chaiwatthanaram 

Is Ayutthaya worth it? Yes, I’d definitely recommend putting Ayutthaya into your itinerary if you haven’t already. From Bangkok, a coach journey to Ayutthaya is 2 hours long, and tickets can be purchased at a travel/tour agency on Khao San Road. Alternatively, use the Thai Railway, trains depart from Hua Lamphong Station.

Visiting Ayutthaya means a visit to Wat Chaiwatthanaram, a UNESCO Heritage Site. Built in 1670, it is one of the most impressive temples. Despite the decay in the brickwork and the Buddha statues, it still is magnificent. To see it in its best light, check when the time of sunset, and arrange a trip to catch the sunset as it really lights up the restored temple and brings it alive.

TOP TIP – visit the Wat Chaiwatthanaram at sunset for the perfect picture and smaller crowds. 

IMG_5666_2Afterwards, pay a visit to Hua Raw Night Market. You’ll find, yet again, amazing street food! A highlight of mine was a small vendor’s stall who sells strictly halal pad thais – it’ll probably be the best one you’ve had.

Have fun exploring Thailand! Let me know what recommendations you have, and I’ll be sure to add it onto my (never-ending) bucket list.

Thuy’s Edit.

Thanks for joining me (again)!

It’s been a while – a year to be exact, and a lot of things have changed, and a lot of things have happened since. Highlights include: graduating (!!!), starting a new job, and travelling to new places, like Stockholm, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and revisiting one of my favourite cities, Paris. (More on this later).

Why have I decided to start blogging again? Reading and writing academically for so long, I began to find writing as a chore, and just lost interest in my blog. Hence, in my final year of university, I stopped blogging completely and just deactivated it. However, since graduating, I’ve rediscovered my love for writing, creating content relating to food and travel and sharing my recommendations and experiences. So, in the process of relaunching my blog, I decided to concentrate primarily on food and travel!

Ultimately, this blog is a space for me to remember where I’ve been, what amazing food I’ve eaten, and hopefully, you’ll find it interesting to read and it helps you in your future travels and helps you what restaurant and where to eat next. 

In the meantime, follow me on Instagram @thuysedit, where I’ll post more sporadically than of course here. (Beware, it is of course, very food heavy).

El Cafe: Havana, Cuba

Reminiscent of the independent, ‘hipster’ coffee scene in Shoreditch, El Cafe offers a little slice of home for tourists visiting Havana.

havana-cuba-ootd.JPGLocated five minutes from Plaza Vieja in Old Havana, you’ll find this vibrant cafe tucked away in the city’s street of vacant buildings.

El Cafe is the perfect spot to hide from the midday heat or to recover from a late night. Seats fill up with tourists and locals quickly, so be sure to head there early. You’ll find delicious brunch plates, homemade sandwiches, espresso drinks and freshly-made juices.

Order the seasonal pancakes! SO fluffy inside and crispy outside – basically the perfect pancake. The cubed pineapples and mangoes, with a drizzle of honey to cut the tartness of the pineapples.

You can expect friendly English-speaking staff; pretty tiles; courtyard seating and a cute Insta-worthy picture.

cafes-in-havana-cuba
Fluffy pancakes with fresh fruit and honey; served with iced coffees, fresh juice and espressos.

 

 

Opening times: Monday – Sunday, 10am to 6pm

Address: El Cafe, #358 La Amargura, La Habana, Cuba

What to order? Pancakes, your own custom juice, and a shot of espresso.

Perfect for: brunch, lunch, coffee breaks.

The Attendant

A review of The Attendant, a breakfast-lunch cafe based in Fitzrovia, London.

 

Located in Fitzrovia, close by Oxford Street, The Attendant is the perfect place if you’re around Central London and in need of a break. A small restored Victorian public toilet turned artisanal breakfast-lunch cafe, with really good coffee – it definitely is one to pay a visit to.

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Order smart – opt for a savoury and sweet option and share. We opted for their smashed avocado on toast with beetroot hummus, and topped with a poached egg and their dulce de leche french toast* – and it’s pretty clear from eating it why the french toast is part of their Hall of Fame Menu, highly recommend (4/5). Despite being a breakfast-lunch cafe, the dishes were beautifully presented, and the flavours of each dish were so complimentary.

 

Verdict – go! They serve good in-house roasted coffee and brilliant food that doesn’t break the bank. And an added bonus is their Fitzrovia branch is different and quirky in comparison to other cafes on the London coffee scene. And if you’re not nearby, don’t fret as they have other branches in Shoreditch and Clerkenwell.

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Dulce de leche french toast

 

Address: 

The Attendant, 27a Foley Street, London. W1W 6DY

https://the-attendant.com

 

* Since writing, the dulce de leche french toast dish has been removed from the menu, and now is the maple and vanilla bean mascarpone french toast.

Taste of London 2017

A round up of the best of Taste of London 2017.

Every summer, Regent’s Park becomes a mecca for foodies, welcoming restaurants and chefs to Taste of London, to showcase their best dishes!
Jose Pizarro‘s squid ink croquettes were SO delicious – so delicious that you could easily inhale an entire portion to yourself. The exterior was crunchy with a creamy, flavourful filling! And I’m very much hoping they offer this dish in their stores, but I need more of it in my life ASAP.

Les 110 de Taillevent‘s #TasteTheWorld dish of duck foie gras mi-cuit with beetroot jelly and eel, which was so delicious. Despite It was presented beautifully, we were both in awe. It was so decadent and rich!

Pierre Hermes’ macarons and ice cream were lovely! We sampled them all because we just couldn’t decide. Favourites include the salted butter caramel; passion fruit, rhubarb and strawberry, and their meadowsweet and Corsican honey macarons. Be ready for the sugar rush!!

Jude’s Icecream showcased their new icecream flavour, black coconut! Like all their other icecreams, this was creamy and flavourful, with hints of coconut but not too sickly sweet. It reminded me of the desserts I’ve had in Asia – so perfect on a hot and humid day in London. 

Pirate’s Grog invited Christy to sample some of their cocktails, and they kindly let us sample all their rums too. Their 13 Year Aged Rum has won several awards and is perfect for those who like drinking their spirits straight since it has such a bold flavour. My favourite was their Five Year Aged Honduran Rum which was made the perfect raspberry daiquiri. Christy enjoyed their espresso rumtini, which was on tap, mixed with their Coffee Rum.