Melbourne: NYE fireworks up close

I don’t think I’ve gone out on New Years’ Eve to watch the fireworks in Melbourne (except maybe once when I was really little). I really don’t enjoyed crowded and loud places. In recent years we’ve gone to my uncle’s apartment where we can see a the fireworks, since he lives very close to the city. Since moving into my own apartment, which is located close to The Yarra River, I’ve been watching the fireworks from my balcony! Because the fireworks are set off from various tall points across the city and I’m fairly central, I don’t get a view of the all the fireworks though, just close ups of the few from nearby buildings.

Travel: Japan Trip 2012 (Day 14 – Yokohama, Tokyo)

Travel: Japan Trip 2012 (Day 14 – Yokohama, Tokyo)

See: Japan Trip 2012 itinerary and summary

Day 14: December 9

On this day we visited Yokohama (Minato Mirai area), mostly taking it easy before a long day at Tokyo Disney Sea the next day, so this should be a short post. Enroute to Yokohama from Shinjuku, we briefly went to Shibuya (because that was the recommended travel route). So of course we went to pay Hachiko a visit, and made the obligatory walk across the famous Shibuya crossing.

Yokohama is where I spent half of my Japan exchange trip in high school, so it’s a special place to me. Minato Mirai is the harbour area of Yokohama and has lots of shopping complexes, an observatory, amusement park and museums (including the Cup Ramen museum). I’ve visited the Sky Garden Observatory and been on the large ferris wheel previously and think they are both excellent! On this day though, we just walked around the harbour and the shops. For lunch, we had doria and ramen.

We returned back to Tokyo for dinner. Again we got lost in Shinjuku station and got so hungry trying to find our station exit that we chose to have dinner first in a restaurant we came across that specialised in hambaagu (Japanese hamburger steak).

With more energy, we resumed our journey of finding the right exit and thus the way to our hotel. We ended up walking passed a small event for Japan’s bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, before retreating to our hotel ahead of our big day at Tokyo Disney Sea!

Melbourne: Gingerbread Village by Epicure

On Saturday I visited the annual Gingerbread Village by Epicure, which this year is raising money for The Royal Children’s Hospital. I’ve been wanting to go for a few years now, but the lines are always long after work and on weekends, especially the closer it gets to Christmas. I arrived at 10am, which is precisely when the line grew to some thirty people, even though T said there was no line just five minutes before. Whoops.

It’s a small-ish room of people moving in a circle and they let in as many people as the number that leaves. Because the lighting was really dim and I had to keep moving along, my photos unfortunately ended up blurry.

Docklands and The Melbourne Star:

The Melbourne Zoo:

Albert Park and The Grand Prix:

St Kilda Beach:

Luna Park:

Flemington Racecourse:


Melbourne Town Hall:

Arts Centre Melbourne:

And of course The Royal Children’s Hospital… the inside is so adorable! They even have the famous meerkats!

The Gingerbread Village by Epicure is located at The Melbourne Town Hall and opens 9am – 8:45pm daily from December 1 to December 24.

Food Lately: October & November 2016


Croquetas: Sweet Corn & Pickled Jalapeno & Chipotle Aioli (Pacos Tacos, Melbourne CBD)

These were perfectly fried, incredibly smooth and creamy on the inside with a great kick of of jalapenos, making it the perfect fried snack.


Pad Thai: Thin rice noodles stir-fried with homemade Pad Thai sauce with vegetables (Chinese chives, dried shrimp, tofu and minced peanuts) and crispy pork (Nine Elephants, Docklands)

Apparently some people say this is one of the best Pad Thai in Melbourne. I can’t really argue with that. The sauce was so fragrant and balanced, but it also had body from the sweet, sour and (surprisingly) spice. I loved how well everything was coated. The crispy pork was a bit dry and felt like it had been re-fried.


New Shanghai Xiao Long Bao/Steamed Pork Dumplings (New Shanghai, Melbourne CBD)

This is one of my favourite places for dumpling-style Chinese dishes. It helps that it’s not the hole-in-the-wall kind of place that is my other favourite dumpling place. Being Shanghai-nese, I’m proud of these xiao long bao. The thin, springy, almost-translucent skin houses piping hot meat soup (and meat). Delicious and perfect every time.


Beef burger: Beef pattie, smoked bacon, beetroot relish, cheese, tomato, lettuce, American mustard, tomato sauce and aioli (The Beer and Burger Bar, Richmond)

I have a small list of my favourite burgers in Melbourne, and I didn’t expect to find this new contender. The size and construction was just right, the patty was delicious, and I loved the addition of the beetroot relish for some extra acidity and sweetness. Unfortunately the generous sauce was spilling everywhere around the halfway point of eating this thing and I was looking like a right mess. (The chips had great seasoning but were too fat for my liking).


Dragon roll: Iside out roll with seared tuna, cucumber, avocado, tobiko, Japanese mayo, chilli sauce and spring onion (Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya, Fitzroy)

Yes I returned again! Three times in five months is literally unheard of for me as I rarely tend to revisit restaurants. This is one of my favourite rolls they make, especially because the chilli sauce packs a punch and it has all the right textural elements.

Travel: Sydney for 10 hours

Travel: Sydney for 10 hours

Earlier this month, I visited Sydney to attend a USyd masterclass for the Masters I will be pursuing next year. I had around ten hours in total, flying in in the morning and leaving at night.

As soon as I landed, I trained into Newtown and had some brunch at Cuckoo Calley. It was a bit out of the way of central Sydney but it was the brunch place I wanted to visit. It was pretty empty and the staff were friendly. I really liked my dish.


The Sideways Shuffle: Blue swimmer crab cake with corn & avocado salsa, watermelon, cucumber & lemon jelly and a 63° poached egg

I also really enjoyed their sense of humour.


After brunch, I took the train to Circular Quay. I didn’t really have plans for the day except to wing it. Even though I’ve been to Sydney three times in very recent years, going to see the Opera House and Bridge again seemed like as good as plan as any. I didn’t want to go out of my way too much but just wander around.


I then walked a little around the city and meandered to Darling Harbour. My mum adores Darling Harbour so I made sure to take lots of pictures to send her.


I was dying of heat walking around and I unfortunately got sunburned on my shoulders.

Around mid afternoon, I started walking to Koi Dessert Bar. It was time to see whether Reynold’s desserts lived up to everything. I also wanted to bring some back for people. Unfortunately I was hesitant to buy more than two as I wasn’t sure how they’d hold up in the weather and all the walking plus the flight. I figured if they got too dismembered, I could just eat them myself. (They made it to Melbourne just fine, despite the box getting turned on its side at airport security!)

I tried the naked raspberry brownie on the day, and a bit of the Bailey’s I got my bf the next day. I also got the passionfruit one for my parents but didn’t try it. (I wish I actually had the names…) As everyone says, his technique in desserts is just about flawless. I’m not sure I would or could ever have a dessert degustation though.


After my sweet snack, I had to walk back in and meet my friend for a light dinner and catch up. We met up at Bowery Lane at 5pm and unfortunately it was too early for the dinner menu so we ate bar food – fries and croquettes. After the cake, all the fried food made me feel a bit queasy and I could barely touch it.


After our catchup, I had to head off to the USyd masterclass a block away. It was not what I had expected at all, and seemed more like a course pitch than a taste for the course, as I had hoped. Nonetheless, I enjoyed chatting to two other girls from very diverse career backgrounds.

Then I headed to the train station, arrived at the airport, had another light dinner to tide me over and flew back to Melbourne. T very kindly came to pick me up even though it was like midnight.