August 3, 2014

taipei eats

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Fellow Hong Kongers will know, the best weekend trip to get some serious eats in is Taipei - a speedy 1.5 hour plane ride away. NGL, there's really not much else to do there besides eat, eat and eat. Those who follow me on Instagram will probably have seen these pics already, but here's my quick go-to list of places to hit up when you've got a case of the munchies:

Yong Kang Beef Noodles (永康牛肉麵)
Within 24 hours of arriving in Taipei, we had already tried 3 different Taiwanese beef noodle joints. Yong Kang was by far the best. The broth tastes like it's been boiled since the beginning of time, and the braised beef tendon seriously melts in your mouth. Be prepared to wait at least 30 mins for a table in the blistering heat (if you go in summer), but trust me, the sweat and almost-tears is well worth it.

No. 17, Street 31, Jinshan South Road Section 2, Taipei.

Din Wang Spicy Hotpot (鼎王麻辣鍋)
Taipei is home to A LOT of spicy hotpot places, but Din Wang is one of the more well known ones (I think). The spicy soup is rich and flavorful, and the best part is when they refill, they ACTUALLY refill your soup with soup and ingredients - none of that plain hot water BS. I'd say don't bother with a yin yang pot and just go all out spicy. All you need is paper-thin sheets of beef and lamb and you're good to go. For carb lovers, you'll be happy to know the buffet table has unlimited rice, so fill your bowls with steaming white rice, and ladle the spicy soup over it and you have yourself a DIY congee.

No. 89 Guangfu N. Rd, Songshan District, Taipei.
Tel: 886 2 2742 1166

Kanpai Classic (老乾杯)
You can almost never go wrong with Japanese BBQ and Kanpai was by far my favorite meal in Taipei. We got the Wagyu beef set, which is basically a platter of fresh, red, marbly goodness. The restaurant provides a variety of different dipping sauces, but the meat is so juicy you don't even need to bother with that. Reservations are a must and this restaurant is best maximized when you're with a group of 5 or more.

No. 44, Lane 280, Guangfu South Rd, Taipei.
Tel: 886 2 8773 1150
Other locations here

Honey Creme
Soft serve ice cream topped with a piece of honey comb. It doesn't get any simpler and yummy than that. Perfect for a momentary escape from 36 degrees celsius.

1F, No.8, Lane169, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da'an District, Taipei.
Tel: 886 2 740 7070

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June 29, 2014

the big guys

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OMG!! ELEPHANT CUTIES!! A quick google search for "ethical elephant park Chiang Mai" gave me Elephant Nature Park, and I knew instantly that's where I wanted to go. No riding, no tricks and gimmicks, just pure crazy cute elephant epicness! The park will arrange a van pick up directly from your hotel, where you're immediately greeted by your guide (ours was Psy and he's damn funny) and the group you'll be with for the rest of the day. A sleepy 1.5 hours drive into the country side and you'll reach Elephant Nature Park.

This park differs from a few of the others that exist in Chiang Mai, because it rescues abandoned and abused Asian elephants - they even take in stray dogs and cats that mingle around the park! As soon as we arrived, I couldn't believe how free-roaming the elephants were, and we pretty much got right into it with a full-on feeding session - pumpkin and watermelon are their faaavess. Following a quick lunch break (provided by the park), we went over to the river where you can really get friendly with the elephants at bath time! This was probably the funnest part for me, so if you're not ready to get wet then I'd say you're seriously missing out. Dani (the elephant) is so super cuties and she's so friendly you can get right up there and give her a scrub down.

After more feeding, meeting the babies of the herd (so cute but so feisty so be careful!), we were driven all the way back to our hotel. Hands down one of the best experiences of my life, and I'd go again and again in a heartbeat! For those that are interested, here's what to bring:

  • hat
  • sunblock
  • a crap load of water
  • an Otterbox case (or some sort of waterproof case for your phone)
  • flip flops
  • mosquito repellent
  • change of clothes (just in case you get cray cray at the river bath sesh)
  • Elephant Nature Park | #elephantnaturepark

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    June 15, 2014

    hello humidity

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    I've gotten pretty good at battling 90%+ humidity (thank you Hong Kong!). Here's a list of travel essentials I make sure to pack when I'm hitting up a resort destination where humidity, heat and I are pretty much BFF:


    Muji Gel Cleanser - low-foaming and fragrance free, this cleanser is good for super sensitive skin and doesn't dry you out. With that in mind, don't expect it to smell like roses!
    Primera Avocado Cleansing Oil - I use this mainly to wash off the day's worth of sunblock. It's heavy without feeling greasy, but make sure you apply to a dry face before adding water to emulsify!
    Innisfree Rice Sheet Mask - I'm addicted to Korean sheet masks, and if I wasn't so lazy I'd do these all day everyday. They're easy to travel with and perfect for revitalizing your face after baking in the sun.
    La Roche Posay Gel-touch Sunblock - By far the lightest sunblock I've come across, it barely feels like you're wearing anything which is just what you need when you're sweating 320942509235 times a day.
    Primera Gel Cream - A lightweight gel cream that won't irritate sensitive skin and is light enough for 100000% humidity.
    Aesop Rind Concentrate Body Balm - Trust me, you'll NEED this after your body's been stripped of every ounce of moisture thanks to the sun and the hardcore scrubbing you do to wash off sunblock. And this one smells super zesty!


    Nars Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturizer - Perfect for summer vacationing because it's got SPF!
    Shiseido Perfect Mascara - The best part about this mascara is it washes off with warm water, and when you go sweeming with it, it doesn't give you panda eyes like most mascaras do (even "waterproof" ones).
    Tom Ford Brow Sculptor - The most vital part of my makeup routine, because without it my brows are pretty much non-existent.

    Poolside Essentials

    Triangl Black neoprene bikini, Shiseido Sunblock, straw flat-brim hat, Ray-Ban sunglasses, iPhone, Thai sodaaaaa

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    April 28, 2014

    my oh my chiang mai

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    For years we've kept Nha Trang on the top of our favorite holidays list, but it finally seems like we have a new winner. Chiang Mai is now our favorite destination to head to for that perfect combo of cheap food, ZOMG resorts and ELEPHANTS! The amazing March weather (sunny and 40% humidity) just made it THAT much more awesome.

    We actually planned to go to Chiang Mai last year, which meant this time round I had already done all the research and knew straight up that 137 Pillars House was where we were gonna stay. We booked through The Luxe Nomad because they offer 10% off F&B and 20% of the spa ooooooomg. This cute boutique hotel fuses traditional Thai architecture with a modern edge , offering an experience that's private, luxurious and super swankeehhh. Even the entry-level Rajah Brooke suites are MASSIVE - boasting things like a king size bed, a private verandah, a roll-top bath (my faaave) and an outdoor shower because why the hell not! (Room tip: request for a higher floor for even more privacy).

    We spent most of our days lazing around different areas of the hotel, hitting up the Chiang Mai South Gate food market of course, getting the shit twisted out of me at my first Thai massage and not to EVER forget, the Elephant camp. I spent some time researching ethical elephant experiences and I'm so glad I came across Elephant Nature Park. It was one of the best things I've ever experienced in my life so far, no joke, SO good that it even requires its own post. But here's a little sneaky peaky of the best day ever:

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    137 Pillars House
    2 Soi 1, Nawatgate Road
    Tambon Watgate, Muang Changmai

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