Alien's Day Out

April 15, 2014
by Mipa
6 Comments

Spring is Flung

Waaah, the weather is so nice, it’s difficult to focus on work these days, let alone blogging. There’s always a lot going on, so many distractions, so much to do….

Untitled
Cherry Blossoms! I didn’t think I was going to have a chance to see them this year, but luckily I was able to visit Yeoido Park just as they were in full-bloom.

Untitled
Walking under clouds of cherry blossoms.

Untitled
Now that it’s plenty warm outside, I’ve started running a little again after a very very verrrryyyy long hiatus (been feeling sluggish these days, I can’t take it any more). I’ve missed it so much, but not as much as I miss boxing at my mma gym. I’m still praying for the day when I’ll have more free time to get back to it.

Untitled
Bunny is loving the warmer weather too~~ here she is checking out my new shoes! Hot pink, yeaaz.

Untitled
Sunday Brunch with the sister at Le Alaska, Garosugil.

Untitled
It’s been forever since I last came here, it was nice to revisit this spot. I think I got the exact same thing as before too. Just their simplest salad with the usual chicken omitted, and some ciabatta bread on the side. My sister got a sandwich and cappuccino. But more than anything, I just love the interior of Le Alaska and the vibes. If you get there before the lunch rush, it’s just a perfect chill spot to start the day.

Untitled
And check out their grapefruit juice, with a mountain of shaved ice on top. It’s like an upside down snow cone. Really nice and refreshing.

Untitled
And now for some recent PLANT food: vegan “turkey” grilled cheese sandwiches with seitan deli slices, cranberry sauce, and cheese. All handmade from scratch. This was a simplified version of the Thanksgiving sandwiches I made last year, minus the mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy dip. If I ever write a vegan recipe book, this one will definitely be in there. :)

Untitled
Kale salad with chickpeas, carrots, smoky tempeh bits, and agave-mustard dressing. A lot of people have been asking where I get my lacinato kale from. I order it from a Home Base supermarket across the street from PLANT in Itaewon. They don’t carry it in their veggie section, but I can order a big box from them and they will have it ready for me to pick up the next morning. And if you want this lacinato kale, you have to call it “New Green” because if you say “kale,” you’ll get the flat leaf, dinosaur style kale, which probably isn’t what you’re looking for. So just say you want to order a box of ‘new green’ and they’ll understand. capiche? :)

Untitled
And even if you don’t have a Home Base around your area, try asking another local supermarket if they can get some for you. Just think of all the amazing kale salads and green smoothies you can nourish your body with!

45539e77-3aeb-42d8-a841-87fc8e7ceeba
One thing I love about PLANT is that it’s like this little community gathering spot. It’s not unusual for random people to start talking and become friends. If you’re new in Korea and don’t know many people, come to PLANT. More often than not, you will make friends with someone. The shop is so small and the seating is so limited that many times, you kind of have to sit with people you don’t know. I understand it’s uncomfortable for some people, and especially native Koreans are a bit wary of sharing tables with strangers, but foreigners and expats are always more than willing to squeeze together and start talking to each other. Just an observation as someone who works there every day. :) Anyway, I’m grateful for all of Plant’s customers, you guys make it worthwhile. Overhearing a vegan customer say that Plant is their sanctuary and home away from home, makes my heart melt. That kind of compliment is priceless. I know we are inadequate and undeserving in so many ways, and there’s so much room for improvement, but thank you to everyone for accepting us, despite our limitations and short-comings.

Untitled
On the rare occasion, we’ll have fresh flowers in the shop and it just brightens up the whole place.

Untitled
Furry friends have the same effect. :)

Untitled
Dark Chocolate Chery cake. The most chocolatey cake ever, with chunks of half-dried cherries and a splash of amaretto. This was one of those random cakes which came together because I just happened to have all those ingredients on hand at that moment. Death by chocolate? Bring it.

Untitled
Last month I had two wedding cake orders. Each one was a little different, but here’s one of them. Wedding cakes are pretty labor intensive, even small two-tier ones, so I now understand why bakeries charge a lot. It’s also a lot of pressure cuz you gotta make the bride happy, as well as impress the guests. Anyway, I’m glad all the cakes were made without too much trouble. For this cake, the bride wanted the swirly flower design around the edge, but the other cake I made was much simpler with just spackled frosting. Sadly, I don’t have a photo of the final product with flowers, etc.

Untitled
Lastly, after a long work week, my favorite place to get a drink and wind down is the Southside Parlour by Noksapyeong. The guys over there are so great and are also super supportive of PLANT. There’s this really precious camaraderie between the expat/gyopo restaurant owners in Itaewon that is really encouraging and cool to see. We all want each other to succeed and I just love that. So yea. I love Southside for their amazing cocktails, chill vibes, and the guys behind the bar. They’re doing awesome things and once they add a few vegan options on their menu, they’re gonna be unstoppable.

Aiights, that’s all I got for this blog post. Thanks for reading!! xoxo

I love hearing feedback from you guys! Feel free to leave a comment by clicking here~~ :)

March 26, 2014
by Mipa
8 Comments

Fresh Vegan Salads @ Dean & Deluca

This blog post has been sitting in my drafts folder for a really long time~~ but better late than never, rah?

I’m so grateful for my Sundays off because it’s my chance to get out of the studio and eat out! Especially now that it’s spring, I just neeeeed to get out and breath some fresh air.

Created with Photo Editor-
So I’m sure a lot of you already know this, but there’s a Dean & Deluca in the food court area of Shinsegae Department Store at the Express Bus Terminal station. They have a market, cafe, and deli/restaurant, all rolled into one. The market section has all kinds of imported products like gourmet crackers, cheese, nuts, sugar sprinkles, to Peanut Butter & Co nut butters. Ofcourse everything will cost an arm and a leg, but that’s the price you gotta pay for a taste of home.

image
They have a gorgeous bakery section that is loaded with all kinds of sweet and savory treats. Even though none of it is vegan (except for maybe a few breads), the visual of all the baked goods will make you salivate.

image
I love the way they displayed everything~ Different from the typical Korean bakery.

image
Anyway, it’s obviously not quite the same as NYC Dean & Deluca, but I think they did a pretty good job of bringing it to Korea.

image
At the deli, there is a salad bar of sorts where you can choose to ‘build your own salad’! For 11,000won, you can choose your greens, 5 salad toppings, and your salad dressing of choice (vegan option available). I totally think it’s worth it, considering it’s located right in Shinsegae, and most fresh salads in Seoul cost around 12,000won or more.

image
I built my own salad with spinach greens, roasted beets, edamame, roasted veggies, green beans, and olives, with balsamic vinaigrette. Sooo delicious. This was one of the best salads I’ve had in Seoul (other than what I made at PLANT, obviously).

image
And if you don’t have time to sit and order a custom salad, you can also get this pre-packaged “Super Veggie Salad” to-go. I don’t know about you, but I’m craving lots of fresh salads these days, so this is right up my alley. Check em out!

Dean & Deluca:
Shinsaegae Department Store, B1, food court. @Express Bus Terminal, Line 7 & 3

I love hearing feedback from you guys! Feel free to leave a comment by clicking here~~ :)

March 13, 2014
by Mipa
9 Comments

Samcheongdong sights

I think spring is around the corner! I’m so excited for warmer weather, but also bummed that I can never really enjoy it that much because I’m always at the shop. But I’ve been noticing the sun rising earlier than before which makes me happy.  All winter, it was still dark when I got to the studio in the morning, but now, it’s either dusk, or the sun is already up. :) I hated waiting for the bus when it was freezing outside, but I admit I liked the eery calmness of Itaewon in the early morning. I gotta say, there’s something to getting up and starting the day ahead of everyone else, while the world is still asleep.

Anyway. The past few weeks have been busy as always, but I’ve also managed to get some precious time away from the shop and do some of the things I used to do, like just wandering around Seoul. My sister is also back in Korea from HongKong! I’m so happy to have her back for the next few months or so.

image
I had some free time a few Mondays ago, so I made a visit to Samcheongdong.

Created with Photo Editor-
It has been forever since I last went to Samcheongdong. Sooo much has changed. Tons of new shops, cafes, and random things to see. It’s also become increasingly commercialized… it’s weird and a bit sad to see the area lose some of its indie vibes. But there are still some gems in the area fighting for survival.

image
Found this tiny hotddeok shop tucked away, and decided to get a snack. They had two kinds- a sweet honey one, and a vegetable one with japchae noodles. The dough itself is vegan too– just flour and water.

image
Getting hot and crispy~~

image
Walk and eat.

Created with Photo Editor-
There’s nothing quite like some greasy street food. Being the japchae lover that I am, the filling was my favorite part. It was super hot, straight out of the fryer so we had to eat it really carefully so as to not scorch the inside of your mouth off.

Created with Photo Editor-
Grabbing some coffee.

Created with Photo Editor-
Peeking into a quiet hanok cafe.

Created with Photo Editor-
Walked by the lovely pie shop in one of the side streets at Samcheondong. Unfortunately nothing vegan, but the pies looked amazing.

Created with Photo Editor-
Cute little blocks of bread.

Created with Photo Editor-
v^ㅜㅜ^v

Ahhh, all I can say is, I miss Seoul-wandering!!!! I’m looking forward to my next outing~ :)

I love hearing feedback from you guys! Feel free to leave a comment by clicking here~~ :)

February 25, 2014
by Mipa
19 Comments

Hey y’all.

Yea, so it’s been a ridiculously long time since I last blogged. :( I’ve been a bit distracted with work and life, but I haven’t given up on this blog yet, even though it’s practically holding on for dear life. The guilt over not being able to blog even once a week is eating me up! I always attempt to blog, but then something comes up and I never get to finish the draft. So then it sits around for another week, and by then everything seems old and outdated and I forget what I wanted to say. Sigh. So anyway, please forgive me for this horrifically delayed post, and hope you enjoy these random photos from my life:

2014-02-24
Making a mess in the kitchen is my specialty.

Created with Photo Editor-
I’m always dropping flour on my shoes and the floor. My (fake) uggs are probably not the best for the kitchen because they aren’t easy to clean when I get flour or cake batter on them, but they are so dang comfy, especially since I have to be on my feet all day long.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
This is what happens when you work in the kitchen all the time and are constantly washing your hands…. and my fingertips are even worse. :( My skin has become so dry and cracked that it stings if I’m not careful. My hands have aged several years within the last 6 months. ㅠㅠ I’m turning into a halmunee before my eyes.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Tax season in January was also a real pain in the arse. Learned a lot of business lessons which hopefully I will remember for the next round.

And now onto more happy things… food pics!

image
Me eating one of my own vegan ‘tu-no’ melt sandwiches, with homemade vegan cheese. I don’t always get time to eat lunch during the day, but when I do, I sit myself down in the corner and enjoy every bite!

image
Carrot cake….

image
Chocolate cookies, waiting to be dipped in mint-chocolate.

image
Two words: Oreo Brownies.

image
My friend was hosting a UCLA alumn gathering and asked me to make some UCLA-themed cupcakes. So I made these simple chocolate cupcakes with swirly frosting using the school colors, ‘gold’ and blue. Turned out better than expected. :) All I did was make two batches of frosting in different colors, fill them into separate piping bags, and then stuff those two bags into another bag with a large round piping tip. Then I squeezed the frosting out evenly, and voila, it created this cool effect.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Valentine’s Day came and went quite silently. I didn’t do anything particularly special at the shop… just made lots of red velvet and chocolate cake throughout the week.

image
Mini chocolate cookie bite, waiting to be baked.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
I’ve been missing my morning smoothies lately. I got some spirulina powder in my last iHerb order, so I made a banana-chia-spirulina smoothie. Simple but so good. I should start every morning like this, instead of my usual coffee…

image
My friend Camille came by the shop bearing gifts of Taco Amigos take out! It’s always fun getting to eat outside food at PLANT. Thank you Camille!

Lately, I’ve been trying to make more time to catch up with friends. Being locked down at the shop most days from morning til night means that I don’t have much of a social life. But I’m trying to be a bit more intentional about making time for friends. And ofcourse there’s always food involved.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Lunching at Garobee~~ (*UPDATE March 11, 2014*** GAROBEE has closed.)  It’s been ages since I went to a veg buffet. Loved all the fresh veggies and also the mandu. And I was jealous of Chris’ Voodoo Doughnut tshirt.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Round two.. or was it the first,… molla.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Also got some coffee from Brilliant Roasting Lab in Gangnam. The shop is pretty small and there aren’t many (if any) seats. But the coffee is great and also really affordable, considering it’s in the busy part of Gangnam.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Coffee in-hand, and I’m a happy camper.

Created with Photo Editor-
Catching up with a friend over pizza at Trevia in Noksapyeong. It has been years since I last ate here~ The place seems to be going strong because every time I was past, it’s packed with people.

Created with Photo Editor-
I got the mushroom pizza, which does not include cheese. It was far from the best pizza, but it’s pretty affordable priced and the fact that they have vegan options is a plus!

image
And finally, on one of my free days, I grabbed some lunch at Marakech Night in Itaewon (**UPDATE**: Marakech has moved to a new location by Itaewon Station, Exit 3). It’s actually pretty close to PLANT and they have a few vegan options like falafels, hummus, and wraps.

image
We ordered the falafels, pita bread, hummus, and salad. I wasn’t in love with their hummus to be honest. Maybe they were having an off day, but the hummus tasted a bit artificial. Not sure what it was…

image
Yummy falafels, which comes with a salad and hot sauce. I wasn’t expecting the salad to have that yogurt dressing on top, so next time I’ll ask them to leave that out. The falafels were crispy and flavorful– They definitely had a peppery kick to them.

image
Everything wrapped together.

So that’s about it for this blog post. There are so many more things that I want to blog about~ Hopefully I will get to it soon. Thank you to all my readers for being patient and so loyal! You guys are the best.

I love hearing feedback from you guys! Feel free to leave a comment by clicking here~~ :)

February 7, 2014
by Mipa
16 Comments

Alien’s Day Out & Eat Your Kimchi

My Aviary-Edited Photo
LOOK WHO IT IS!!! Eat Your Kimchi! (Sorry for the terrible photo quality, my phone sucks.) Every expat or anyone with an interest in Korean pop culture knows Simon & Martina, the faces of EYK. They have built their own empire of awesome from scratch, and their YouTube videos are hilarious, informative, and addictive. With such loveable personalities, it’s no wonder they have hordes of adoring fans all over the world. So EYK and ADO started blogging around the same time, and turns out we’ve been following each other pretty much from the beginning. And now they are superstars. It’s funny how a little side project like blogging/YouTube can change your life and become so much more. Anyway. They came to PLANT recently (actually, twice in one week), and I have photos to prove it. And yes, they are just as cool in person as they are in their videos. They are so famous that our customers all recognized them and started chatting with them. Simon and Martina are such nice friendly (and funny) people that they will talk to anyone.


Here is their FAPFAP video at PLANT! So funny– I love the way they banter with each other and then how they proceed to devour the food. One thing to note is that not everything at PLANT is vegan. The pies by Yona’s Kitchen, like the pecan pie in this video, are not vegan (they include eggs, dairy, butter, etc). If you are vegan, check for the (V) on the name cards, which indicates what is vegan, and (GF) for gluten-free. Just wanted to clear that up!

So that was that! :) And now the only thing left is to organize a play date for Bunny, Spudgy, and Dr. Meemerz.

I love hearing feedback from you guys! Feel free to leave a comment by clicking here~~ :)

January 29, 2014
by Mipa
3 Comments

WWOOF CSA: My organic, local, and vegan basket!

It’s been so long since I last blogged. Ever since plant reopened after the mini holiday, things have been pretty busy. It’s funny how a seemingly short break can mess up your groove at work. The first day back, Yona and I were dropping pans, over-baking things, breaking cups, bumping into things… Lol. Mayhem. But now I’m settled back into the routine, and I’m also ready to get back into blogging. Thank you for your patience!

My Aviary-Edited Photo

So I’m sure a lot of you have already seen this on FB, but there’s a brand new CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) organized by WWOOF in Korea! They just launched at the start of this year and they offered to send a sample box for me to taste and blog about. First of all, I’m suuuuper excited about this WWOOF CSA not only because I’ve always wanted to join a CSA where I can get fresh organic, local produce delivered right to my doorstep, but also because this one is so foreigner-friendly.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
CSA literature. I know in the past, people have tried signing up with other co-ops like Hansalim or Orga, but their website is all in Korean and its just hard to navigate and understand the rules. But with this one, everything is explained in both Korean and English, and their staff can answer any of your questions, no problem.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
A list of all the items and various box options come with the package. I love how the farmer’s name or the source of each item is listed… makes you feel connected to them. This person put their blood sweat and tears into their farm and I get to enjoy the rewards. It’s a beautiful thing.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Oh, and another rad thing is that they have taken into consideration vegans and those with gluten allergies, so you can get a box that is vegan or without bread, based on your needs.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
My loot. 1 cabbage, 2 large onions, 4 carrots, 5 or 6 potatoes, garlic, a pack of mushrooms, two bags of lettuce greens, three yellow/orange bell peppers, a bag of clementines, two different kinds of mini bread loaves, a small container of mullberry (or blackberry?) jam, and spinach and root banchan. The majority of produce was separated into paper bags with a few wrapped in plastic for freshness. I really appreciate that they take into consideration their eco-friendly packaging, etc.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Peeled garlic cloves, because who has time to peel their own garlic? Not me.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
A bag of clementines. These were the first to disappear.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
I also got two loaves of vegan bread. This one is made with local-grown wheat flour, potatoes, walnuts, grapeseed oil, yeast, and salt. That’s it.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
The other one was a little firmer and dense, but this second loaf was quite soft and pillowy infused with the flavor of onions and herbs. I probably should’ve used this for a vegan sammie or something, but instead, we just broke into it to enjoy it for what it was. A good hunk of herby bread.

So I think I was supposed to come up with one amazing innovative recipe using all or most of the items in the box, like it was a challenge from Chopped or Top Chef, but honestly I had no time for dat last week and I needed to use the produce before they went bad. So instead, everything got consumed in different ways… some of the foods were eaten pretty much on the spot (like the clementines and breads), while other ingredients went towards the making of deliciousness. It was reassuring to know that I had this amazing box of veggies to rely on if I ran out of other ingredients while cooking at Plant. I wasn’t able to photograph all the ways I used the produce, but I’ll post what I have.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Beautiful organic carrots.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
I ended up juicing one of the carrots, along with some cucumber and an apple I had on hand. It was sooo good. I used to juice a lot, but then I fell off that bandwagon and my juicer has been mostly idle ever since. It was nice to break it out for this occasion though. I was baking cookies when I took this photo, haha.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
I got a total of 4 carrots in my basket, so I used the others to make a delicious carrot cake.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Perhaps I mismeasured the sugar, or maybe it was the organic local carrots, but the carrot cake was noticeably sweeter than usual. I’m pretty sure it was the carrots. It’s amazing how much sweeter organic produce can taste sometimes. The difference in quality is noticeable.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
And you see that onion there, in this burrito? It was a csa onion! Cooked together with quinoa, black beans, tofu scramble, bell peppers…

My Aviary-Edited Photo
And then today I used the mushrooms and bell peppers to make some vegan grilled cheese sandwiches. The CSA yellow bell peppers are hiding in there, and I supplemented them with some green ones I had on hand.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Vibrant color~

So yea, I’m beyond thrilled that this WWOOF CSA has started. I wish them nothing but huge success and loads of support. How amazing would it be if all of PLANT’s produce came from a csa? It’s definitely something that is on my mind for the future.

Anyway, go check out their website and sign up for a box! Or ask them questions on their FB page. Yay!!!

I love hearing feedback from you guys! Feel free to leave a comment by clicking here~~ :)

January 17, 2014
by Mipa
7 Comments

Asiana Airlines veggie meals

Whenever I travel, I usually post photos of my veggie airplane food. I figured I’d do it again, except this time I’m just posting the ‘going’ and ‘return’ flight food together in one blog post. My mom and I flew together on Asiana Airlines and we both got the vegetarian (non-dairy) meal option. Since it was only a three-hour flight from Incheon to Hongkong, we only got one meal~ And as always, the flight attendants delivered our food first before everyone else. hehe, just one of those little perks.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Ew, what the heck is that. Looks totally creepy, like a plastic body bag with blood and brains peeking out. But don’t fear, it’s just an eggplant split through the middle with rice and marinara sauce. On the side, we had salad and fruit. And I like to treat myself to some coke when I’m flying. :)

My Aviary-Edited Photo
The main dish was actually pretty good. It was a bit oily, but also flavorful and satisfying.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
And then this is what we got on the flight back to Seoul. Turmeric yellow rice, beans and grilled veggies with tomato sauce. On the side, there was a bun with margarine, salad, and some fruit. Pretty plain and simple. I think the others got some kind of bibimbab dish.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
This was actually kinda bad. I’m not sure what it was, but the whole thing tasted a bit off and funky. A little plasticky and also charred. Hm, not sure what was going on there. Neither my mom nor myself finished even half of it. I just picked at some of the beans~ blegh.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
At least this view of the sunset made up for the unsatisfying meal. Ahh, I love flying.

I love hearing feedback from you guys! Feel free to leave a comment by clicking here~~ :)

January 16, 2014
by Mipa
9 Comments

ADO in Hong Kong (Part 3): Final explorations & veggie eats

I’m back in Korea now, but my mind is still in vacation mode! I’m kind of dreading having to wake up at 5:30am again after sleeping in for the past two weeks…. But before my regular life starts up again here in Seoul, I have one last post about Hong Kong! Here goes~

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Most breakfasts in HK looked similar to this. Soy yogurt which I got at the City Super at the IFC mall, and meusli or granola. I miss vegan yogurt so much! When is Korea going to get vegan yogurt?!!!

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Went up to Kowloon and checked out some of the popular tourist markets. First, the flower market.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
No idea what these yellow things are (not lemons), but they were everywhere. Someone enlighten me.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Next we whizzed through the popular Ladies’ Market, which is basically just lots of souvenir shops… nothing specifically lady-like about it either, haha. It was definitely crowded and a bit overwhelming with all the sights, smells, and people.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Passed by the goldfish market… Wasn’t too excited about seeing so many fish confined in plastic bags, and tightly packed in aquariums. These guys look like they have a big red tumor on their head. Kinda cute tho.

My Aviary-Edited Photo

My Aviary-Edited Photo
I saw this place ‘Nood‘ online and wanted to check out a fresh, healthy spot. It’s even located in a yoga studio. Lots of healthy, glowy people walking about. I got this ‘Key West’ smoothie which included coconut water, avocado, banana, coconut sugar, and spirulina (I’m in love with spirulina these days). It was really good.. and filling. It could totally be a meal replacement.

For one of our dinners, I make my sister and mom come with me to Life Cafe which a lot of other blogs and even some readers recommended. I really liked the interior of the shop and there was a lot of vegan/gluten-free packaged products for sale too, in addition to fresh food. The place was really busy but we managed to get a table to eat there, which actually turned out to be a bit of a mistake. All the items on the sit-down menu were significantly more expensive, and we weren’t able to order any of the less pricey items from the deli showcase because they were for take-out only. Also, I wasn’t completely blown away by any of the food we did order, and the portions were quite small.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Vegan pizza (I think it was also gluten-free?). The pizza itself tasted pretty good, but it was all just really small that we didn’t think it was worth the price. Each tiny quarter slice was about two bites of food~~ (haha). I gotta say I was a bit disappointed.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Pita chips with veggie dip. Decent but nothing to write home about.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
The soup of the day with some multi grain bread. We actually enjoyed this one the most, and I thought it was the best value. Overall, the food enjoyable and I wouldn’t mind eating at Life Cafe again, but definitely for take-out only. Now I understand why most people I saw there were getting food to go! And I gotta give them props for using lots of organic ingredients and providing so many vegan and gf options.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Before leaving the cafe, I got a gluten free quinoa apple cake which I enjoyed over two breakfasts~ A little crumbly and I wouldn’t liked some more apple flavor (or maybe apple chunks) in the cake, but it was still tasty. It’s always a pleasure eating vegan baked goods that I didn’t make myself.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
In general, Hong Kong probably isn’t the right place for a quiet, relaaaxing vacation… There is construction going on everywhere, crowds of people everywhere, and the air is quite smoggy. So for some peace and quiet, I went to the Chi Lin Buddhist Nunnery which was like a breath of fresh air, figuratively and literally. It was such a tranquil little haven, tucked away in the middle of apartment buildings and shopping plazas.

My Aviary-Edited Photo

My Aviary-Edited Photo
The Nan Lian Garden, connected to the nunnery was also impressive. The grounds were really well-kept, and everything was perfectly groomed and in the right place. There was also a vegetarian temple food restaurant in the middle of the park, but it was so packed and we were more in the mood for simple food. I really liked this area though. It was sooo peaceful and it felt so different from the rest of HK that I saw.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Ate lunch at a random Chinese restaurant and got steamed veggie dumplings…

My Aviary-Edited Photo
…and black soy sauce noodles.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Here’s some take out from NoodleMi. Fried tofu and sauteed veggies with vermicelli noodles.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
One of my last meals in HK. We went to a Taiwan-style restaurant and I got veggie dumplings and steamed Chinese garlicky greens.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Yummy steamed veggie dumplings stuffed with vemicelli noodles, mushrooms, chives, etc.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Steamed red bean buns for dessert. They looks so cute and pokeable.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Soft chewy steamed bun with creamy and sweet red bean paste inside. Yum!!

My Aviary-Edited Photo
One final ferry ride~

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Terribly crappy photo of the skyline. We went to see the night light show from the Avenue of stars. I really loved the harbor– it was definitely my favorite thing about HK. It’s too bad I only had my crappy phone camera to take these photos. Doesn’t do it justice.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
So I think that wraps up my trip to HongKong. I had a lovely time and ate soooo much good food. Aside from being with my sister and mom, the trip was mostly just about the food. haha. It was great getting to know a new country and city, and I feel like I came away with a lot of new ideas for some of my own kitchen experiments. Traveling to new places is always inspiring, and it gets me thinking of things I can do when I go back home. I was also really impressed with how easy it was to eat vegetarian/vegan in HK, and I’m really hoping that Seoul can catch up quickly. :)

Bye Hong Kong! Thank you~~

I love hearing feedback from you guys! Feel free to leave a comment by clicking here~~ :)

January 14, 2014
by Mipa
3 Comments

Alien’s Day Out in Macau!

My Aviary-Edited Photo
For a vacation within a vacation, we went on a very short day-trip to Macau! It was just an hour ferry ride from HK, so we figured why not. The weather was absolutely gorgeous the whole day, definitely warmer than HK. Dubbed the Las Vegas of Asia, Macau is known for its  luxurious casino hotels and gambling scene. Although we did check out one of the hotels and saw lots of gambling going on, I didn’t participate~ haha. I’m too afraid of losing to risk money gambling. Besides, we were more interested in seeing historical sights and the Portuguese colonial influence in this part of China.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Senado Square. The exterior of the buildings has an old-world European feel to it, but then everything on the inside is all Chinese. Pretty interesting. Unfortunately, I think the square has become too commercialized with big brand name stores, rather than small local, independent shops, which takes away from the cultural value of this area.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
St. Dominic’s Church..

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Ruins of St. Paul’s cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is my favorite shot of it because you can’t see all the tourists along the stairway leading up to it.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Love the cobblestones! You half expect a horse-pulled carriage to go by.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Coconut covered chewy ginger candies. These were sooo good and vegan too. I ate several samples and then bought a few packs for myself~ Everywhere we went there were shops generously giving out tons of cookie samples and everyone was grabbing several as they walked along. While the cookie samples weren’t vegan, at least I enjoyed the ginger gummies.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Lovely Portugese-style hand painted tiles.

My Aviary-Edited Photo

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Lunch was a bowl of street food yumminess. Fried tofu blocks, tofu skins, zucchini, mushrooms, with curry sauce. There’s a chance there was fish broth mixed in there too, but I didn’t ask so this may not have been totally vegetarian. In general, it seemed much harder to find ve*gan food in Macau compared to HK. And instead of waiting at a super long line for a restaurant table (because we were on a tight schedule), we just went with street food. Luckily, we also brought some peanut butter sandwiches to keep me fueled. Gotta travel prepared, yo.

My Aviary-Edited Photo

My Aviary-Edited Photo
piazza~

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Rue de la Feliciade, aka “Happiness Street.” Apparently this was historically part of the red light district, where fishermen used to come? Not sure of the exact history, so don’t quote me on that. I just liked the red doors and white walls. The road is really quiet and relaxing, compared to the main streets, a few blocks away.

My Aviary-Edited Photo

My Aviary-Edited Photo
I much prefer quiet alleyways where I’m not so overwhelmed with so many people and noise that I’m too distracted to notice the small beautiful things.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Because no vacation would be complete without a photo of feet.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Overall, Macau was a nice day trip~ but by the end, we were definitely tired. Thankfully, we were able to catch an early boat ride back to my sister’s place in HK. Stay tuned for one last post on my time in Hong Kong! Different neighborhoods, some nature, and ofcourse more food.

I love hearing feedback from you guys! Feel free to leave a comment by clicking here~~ :)

January 12, 2014
by Mipa
8 Comments

ADO in HongKong (Part 2): Exploring Sheung Wan

While I’m in HK, I’ve been staying at my sister’s place in Sheung Wan which just happens to be a pretty trendy spot in HK. It’s a bit quieter (relatively) than most other neighborhoods I’ve been to, and there are a number of nice cafes and veggie eateries tucked away in various alley ways. Going in search of small, independent coffee shops and bakeries is my way of exploring neighborhoods, and lucky for me, a lot of the places I’ve been wanting to check out are within walking distance from my sister’s apartment. Yay!

2014-01-09
Getting some blogging done at the Cupping Room, home of HK’s two-time barista champion. It wasn’t on the menu, but upon request, they were able to make a soy cafe latte! The portion was small, but it was a really good cup of coffee. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay long because my butt was sore from the hard seats and there were no outlets to recharge my laptop.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Snapshots of sidewalks…

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Because hand rails get cold too.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Browsing the vintage posters and trinkets along Cat Street. The street name alone is enough to warrant a visit.

My Aviary-Edited PhotoMy Aviary-Edited Photo
The Legend.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Lots of stairs along the hill side~

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Po’s Atelier bakery, and Deadend Coffee. Really liked how peaceful this area was. Great vibe, good food, friendly service at both places. :)

My Aviary-Edited Photo
“The Dirty” at Cafe Deadend. This was my first time trying ‘The Dirty,’ which is a shot of hot espresso between layers of cold milk, or in my case, soy milk. I guess it doesn’t quite look the same when it’s made with soy milk because with regular milk, the layers are more distinguishable. Doesn’t matter. It looked dirtier and still tasted great.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
English breakfast tea, coffee, and our bag of Po’s bread on the side.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
ddong-ggu-mung!

My Aviary-Edited Photo

2014-01-10

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Went to this small health food store ‘Just Green,’ up one of the many hills of Sheung Wan. Considering the tiny size of the shop, they somehow managed to fill it with quite a decent selection of goodies, from energy bars and vegan cheese, to raw snacks, and gluten free flour mixes.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
This sight makes me so happy.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
I bought a mini tub of ‘Happy Cow’ icecream which is all vegan, gluten and soy free. And produced here in HK! So cool~~ I got the Cherry Almond Fudge flavor and sat on a bench by the street to enjoy it before it melted. Sooooo amazingly creamy and delicious. Better than Purely Decadent, IMO.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
A little street art~

My Aviary-Edited Photo

My Aviary-Edited Photo

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Fresh produce market in Sheung Wan. I was probably happiest walking through this market. So many gorgeous fresh fruits and veggies, for great prices, and I love the feeling of shopping with the locals.

My Aviary-Edited Photo

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Papaya and mangoes- the fruit of my childhood. Love them!!!

My Aviary-Edited Photo

My Aviary-Edited Photo
A lot of little boutique stores and in between old traditional Chinese shops. It’s interesting how the old and modern intersect.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Lunch at O Green cafe. I went with the organic fusili pasta green salad with pesto sauce. It was one of the better salads I’ve had in a really long time. First of all, it’s hard to go wrong with pesto sauce, but then they also included crushed nuts, dried fruit, lightly pan-fried fusili pasta, plenty of greens, and a small wedge of whole wheat bread. This picture doesn’t do it much justice, but it was delicious and exactly what I wanted.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Fried mushrooms with soup, and rice with crispy fried tofu ‘steaks.’ This was good too, but not as good as my salad. :)

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Veggie Pho at Noodle Mi, by Central. Not the best vegan pho I’ve had, but pretty good.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
The curry vietnamese rice noodles with tofu~

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Snacking on some Go Raw spirulina super chips (bought at Just Green shop) with a soy ice coffee at Pacific Coffee Company. I love how so many cafes here have soy milk available.

Last but not least, I also ate at ‘Mana! Slow Fast Food’ restaurant. It topped my list of places to check out, and so many other blog readers recommended it too. As a veggie blogger, I knew I wouldn’t hear the end of it if I went all the way to HK and didn’t eat here. We went for dinner but the place was so packed that we ended up getting the food to-go. I wish I had gotten some interior shots, but the lighting was too dark (could barley see anything) that I just gave up. But it seemed super hip, eco-friendly, and relaxing.

My Aviary-Edited Photo
After a bit of indecision over what to order, we got the Mana Classic Flat with za’atar and added roasted veggies and hummus. The whole thing was simply amazing. It was pretty big too~ loved every bite. We also got a burger (not pictured) which was super tasty too. Gosh, they make good food!

My Aviary-Edited Photo
Mana’s large salad. I was in love with everything in the box. The kale, the other mixed greens, the roasted veggies, and the hummus all came together to create the best salad I’ve had in a long time. I wouldn’t mind eating Mana’s salads every day. Sigh~~ I can only imagine a place like this one day opening in Seoul. Everything about Mana is so intentional and thoughtful, from the almost all-vegan menu, to the eco-friendly packaging (no plastic whatsoever!). It runs one of those business models that I think we should all strive for. It makes me want to be a more responsible business owner and a better friend of the animals and the earth.

While I’ve been here, I’ve realized how veg-friendly HK is… definitely more than Seoul! There are so many veg-specific restaurants as well as places that just have vegetarian options included. Plus, a lot of cafes have soy milk, and there are more health-food shops with a wide variety of vegan, gluten-free products. In general, I think it’s less stressful because almost everyone speaks some level of English, so they can understand what you need. So yea~ I’ve definitely been eating very well here. And there’s still more to blog about, but I’m really behind on the blogging. I’m heading back to Seoul soon, but I’ll try to blog about the rest of my trip from there. See you soon, Korea!

I love hearing feedback from you guys! Feel free to leave a comment by clicking here~~ :)