Header Image


Navigation images

We came, we ate, we went home happy

Growing up, prowling the pasar malam at least once a week for food was pretty much a given. Cheap yet delicious street food easily attracted the throng, and at some stalls, show up late and you can forget about tasting their goods. I miss the hustle and bustle of food preparation by the street, the perfection achieved by stall owners who have run their business for (often) decades. I also often chide my younger self for taking such wonderful thing for granted.

Le Food Market

Le Food Market

With the advent of globalisation, food truck and street food have arrived in Paris, although often with a price tag that had me mentally calculating how much more food I could buy at the same value and I’m not even taking into account currency exchange – just the figure! On the other hand, the joy that I get from reliving my childhood habit is kinda priceless, so who cares if I’m not one of the cool kids and I pay a wee bit more? Luckily, Le Food Market came along.

Continue reading »

SAaM: gua bao with a twist

My memory of large banquet dinners while growing up: they were noisy affairs, with a menu that was pretty much the same from one dinner to another, in large multi-purpose halls that were too stuffy for a crowd of several hundred, most of whom I did not know nor recognise but they’d all inevitably identified me as my great-grandparents’ great-granddaughter, or my grandparents’ granddaughter. (Ah yes, I was never my own person back then…) One of the messier dish to eat would be braised pig’s trotter, served with pacman-like buns on the side, and we were supposed to make our own bun sandwiches by stuffing the braised meat – or fat, if you were too slow on the uptake – then chomped away.

SAaM buns

SAaM buns

It was an upgraded version of these gua bao which awaited us at SAaM when my friends and I popped over recently for a food- and gab-fest. Five versions of buns were served in this small but quaint eatery, not overly crowded for a Saturday lunch, with four staff holding the fort between the front house and the open kitchen. Each has been given a Korean twist, although still as messy to eat as I remember from all the years gone by. ;)

Continue reading »

Hero: Korean fried chicken and cocktails

The mercury climbed past 33°C and the air was still. If I could have gone to work in tank top and shorts, I would have – hey, we don’t have air-conditioning in the office – but since that wasn’t an option, a summer frock was my best bet although it may have pushed the limit on “workplace-appropriate attire”… ;)

Hero Paris

Hero Paris

I was out with Vivian and her friend, B, for a catch-up session and to check out Hero, a recent addition to the dining scene in Paris. The restaurant was not as busy as we thought it’d be, but in that heat, most people were probably (illegally) dipping their feet in one of the many fountains around the city. That, and I guess quite a few people would have also left for the summer vacation?

Continue reading »

A taste of Singapore, in Paris

Something caught my eye when I clicked through this week’s Paris event listing. Did it say there’s a small Singaporean street food market at the Berges de Seine for a few days? I immediately forwarded the article to Wee Ling and managed to persuade F that we should check it out. He agreed. *Happy dance*

Saveurs de Singapour

Saveurs de Singapour

I arrived just ahead of my meeting time with F, so I scoped around to see what’s there. A tent from which you get your food vouchers from – purchase strictly by cash so find an ATM beforehand! – followed by a few tents where food were served from, and a large tent as “main kitchen” I guess. And I spotted signs reading “satay”, “chicken rice”, “bak kut teh”, “Indian mee goreng” and “bandung/chendol”. Starting to get hungry!

Continue reading »

Delicious Danish eats

You know we’ve got to talk about Danish food at some point, no?

Much as I wish I could report back on an experience chez Noma, that did not happen because it’s so freaking difficult to get a table, not to mention the risk of going into an overdraft given how puny my salary is by comparison to the living standard in Denmark. But, there were plenty of delicious things to eat at more wallet-friendly prices *phew*

Danish cuisine

Danish cuisine

Continue reading »

Siseng

It appears I’ve been flitting in and out several “hip” eating places lately, and Siseng Asian Food Bar is one of them. Each time, I feel just as awkward as ever besides the stylish folks (although I do question the decision of a man stepping in with a bathrobe from a hotel as his coat – F was there too so he can attest to this!) until the food was set in front of me. Then, all else was forgotten and my taste-buds got to monopolise my thoughts.

Siseng

Siseng

After New York, London and Hong Kong, bao burger has landed in Paris, thanks to Siseng. White, pillowy steamed buns replace the traditional sesame burger buns, and two different versions are available: bao burger kaï – marinated chicken burger with coleslaw, red pepper confit and a sauce of basil and coconut milk, or bao burger 5 épices – 5 spiced-marinated beef steak with rocket, spinach, onion confit, onion rings and a sauce of caramelised tamarind. They were juicy and the Asian-fusion flavour combination hit the right spots for me personally. The mid-week lunch menu comes with a serving of sweet potato fries, which makes a nice change from the usual french fries, and housedrink of the day for €15.

Continue reading »

Ellsworth

It seems la rentrée is not the only time of the year when we ponder which among the many new restaurants to eat in; there has been a spate of openings of late and by the Palais Royal, Ellsworth popped up on the ground floor of a building that’s currently under works (I thought I’ve got the address wrong when I first noticed the scaffolds) just steps away from its sister restaurant, Verjus, and helmed by Hannah Kowalenko, formerly a sous-chef at the latter.

Ellsworth

It was A’s birthday and as a treat, together with a couple of friends, we headed over for a celebratory lunch. The menu was small (just what I like in places I eat) with three options per course, and priced at an affordable €18 for 2-course and €24 for 3-course meal. FYI, in the evening, Ellsworth transforms into a tapas place with small plates to share, and come Sunday, there’s even brunch to be had. Could this be some kind of square peg for the city?

Continue reading »

Randomly: Food

Eat in, eat out, does it matter which? Sure, I haven’t been cooking nor baking as much at home lately, and the next couple of months will unlikely to see an increase in kitchen-y activities for me as we have a good few trips coming around. And when I do, things are kept easy and simple, leaving the fancier stuff to the professionals and all I need to do is order them. ;)

Food

Food

Continue reading »

Gwon’s Dining

For anyone looking for a good and classy Korean restaurant in Paris, with a menu that has more than bibimbap or garlicky fried chicken – don’t get me wrong, those are good Korean staple dishes, but don’t you want to try something new? – search no more. You should book a table at Gwon’s. It’s perfect for a date night. ;)

Gwong's

Gwong's

Truth be told, we’d meant to eat here for a while now. Located mere minutes walk from home, there was no good excuse not to, especially since each time we peered through their windows, the place was busy and filled with Korean diners. However, its upmarket setting means it carries a price tag that says “for a splurge”, so we’ve been saving it for an occasion which finally arrived: the completion of the Paris Semi Marathon.

Continue reading »

La Cuillière en Bois

We used to go to a particular crêperie at least once a month, and we brought just about every one of our visitors there, who loved it too. We were therefore fairly sad when the brother-and-sister team decided to sell their business. While we had been back there under the new ownership, things were just not the same anymore.

La Cuillière en Bois

La Cuillière en Bois

We started to test a few other crêperies near us but failed to find one that we really like. Incredulous, in a manner of speaking, since we lived near Montparnasse – the veritable neighbourhood filled with crêperies! We found some of the more famous ones served something very average, and horror, even pre-cooked galette. A crime, if you ask me.

Continue reading »

Food I’m missing

Barely back in Paris and I’m hankering for Malaysian food. Apparently a fortnight was hardly enough for me to eat to my heart’s content, and boy did I eat. Gone was the 3 meals per day “rule” which got easily doubled up when different people tried to feed me at different times of the day. Not only that, I wouldn’t even think about photographing the food but just grabbed the plate/bowl and started wolfing them down. The damage? Just under 3kg of weight gain… (eeep!)

Malaysian noms

Malaysian noms

From homemade favourites such as popiah, mee suah (longevity noodles in Chinese red wine – not shown), bak chang and assam laksa – made upon request; my aunt and grandaunts are simply awesome! – to eating out as well as trying to finish up Chinese New Year meals, it was a full-fledged makan-thon! My family was not the only people enthusiastic in feeding me, my close friends put in major contribution too! Had I remembered to photograph everything, this post is going to be very, very long indeed.

Continue reading »

Dining Izakaya – 6036

Last year, Chef Haruka Casters – formerly of Abri, where I had great meals with family and friends but a nightmare to get into nowadays – striked out on her own and opened up a small, 14-seats izakaya in Belleville. Its name 6036 represents the distance, in miles, separating Paris and Tokyo, but here, the two food cultures are closely wed to make an interesting Franco-Japanese meal, tapas style.

Izakaya 6036

Izakaya 6036

The menu here changes regularly but there are seemingly some staples (onigiri, cold cuts of Galice and Belotta, St Nectaire or Comté, macha crème brûlée), others rotated and appear every so often, and some depending on the season. A good mix, I would say, for a menu of approximately 10-12 items: 7-9 savoury, 1 cheese and 2 desserts. On the late November night we were there with a few friends, we tasted 10 of the 12 items possible, skipping out on the soup and the carbonara.

Continue reading »

How to gain a few kilos in a week

First, there were dim sums. Then, came desserts. There were even some street food/ snacks. But, as you may have guessed, I was not done with eating yet. I dare not step onto the weighing scale when I got home from Hong Kong, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I’d put on a few kilos; my jeans felt snugged… /whistles

Food in Hong Kong

Food in Hong Kong

For someone who is not big on biscuits and cookies, I had fun tasting a large range of goodies offered at Kee Wah Bakery and Koi Kei Bakery. There are multiple branches for each of these famous bakeries, with friendly staff that really want you to know how delicious their treats are and why you should buy a few more packet of everything. Guess who was the sucker who hand-carried boxes of delicate egg rolls back to Paris?

Continue reading »

Chinese desserts galore

One Chinese New Year many moons ago, I organised a dinner in Dublin for 35 friends and colleagues. In keeping with the theme of the meal – Chinese dishes which non-Chinese can’t find on their version of the menu (the restaurant owner was very nervous when he saw 35 non-Chinese walked in with me because I had pre-ordered some very traditional dishes!) – I had specially ordered red bean soup for dessert. The meal was a great success but I wish I could say the same about the dessert; a majority of the diners abandoned it after a spoonful or two, and proceeded to order frozen desserts available in just about every Chinese restaurants in Europe (you know which one I’m talking about, right?).

Asian desserts

Asian desserts

It is true that Chinese desserts are not very conventional by European/Western standards. Many are in the form of warm soup or custard, the ingredients often include beans or seeds or nuts, there are glutinous and/or jellied textures… I could go on, but that’s no reason to confine Chinese/”Asian” restaurants’ dessert menu to ice cream, frozen stuff, and at a push, banana/pineapple/apple fritters. If bubble tea and the chemically-induced flavours could gain popularity in the West, why not other desserts too?

Continue reading »

More dim sum, please

Even prior to landing in Hong Kong, I knew what I wanted to eat – dim sum! There are a few dim sum places in Paris, some better than others, but I miss those that I get in Asia which somehow always tastes better and comes in more variety. I know, this could just be the biased Asian in me speaking. ;)

Dim sum

Dim sum

Four of my six lunches in Hong Kong constituted of just dim sum. The first among them was at a small place called Ding Dim in the Central district, and we were so glad to dig in our food that not even a single photo was taken. Two of the next three dim sum restaurants I went to were noticeably packed with Asians and barely a couple of token Caucasians. If they were, I’d hazard there have been a lot of cart peeking and dish pointing instead of ordering, unless they are long term residents in Hong Kong. Fun times!

Continue reading »

Not your average traiteur: Jin Xin Lou

When I was a young visitor to Paris who barely spoke French donkey years ago, the first time I noticed the sign “traiteur” while walking around town, I wondered out loud “how could a Chinese takeaway be a traitor” (yes, it’s usually outside a Chinese restaurant/ takeaway that you’ll see the sign). My friend chuckled. “Nobody’s a ‘traitor’; the word traditionally stems from giving yourself a treat at home – i.e. dine in but don’t cook. However, today, it simply means a caterer or a takeaway.”

Anyway, I digress.

The recommendation of a friend of a friend brought us to my old neighbourhood of Cité U to check out a restaurant within a restaurant. Or more accurately, a French restaurant within a Chinese traiteur. Tucked away on a street at the edge of 13ème, bordering the 14ème and near the périph, you’d easily walk past without even noticing it. There’s not much to shout home about the decor and this is not a place for a romantic dinner à deux either. Yet, at 7.30pm, on a Saturday night when the streets were eerily quiet in this corner of the city, the place was bustling. If you had not made a reservation ahead, you’d be out of luck.

Jin Xin Lou

Jin Xin Lou

Once seated, ask for the French menu; a small and regularly changed, but not the single-menu variety (like many of the trendy new openings), there are 2-3 options per course. Seasonal ingredients were prominently featured. But, first thing first, a small basket of prawn crackers appeared at the table. I got munching away, and perhaps enjoying too many pieces of them, that F confiscated them away in case I ruined my appetite. As if! :p

Continue reading »

Weekend eats

I don’t do brunch on a regular basis. In fact, I even suck at sleeping in. Any random Saturday morning, by 11am – the time when most people (or hispters?) grab their first bites of the day – I would have done my grocery shopping, ran a load of laundry, and probably planning what to cook for lunch. Nowadays, I’m even throwing in a swimming date with a friend into the mix. And on Sunday morning? F is supposed to “encourage” me to take a long jog in nearby parks.

Weekend eats

Weekend eats

Going to brunch is still a special occasion to me, usually for a irregular catch-up gabfest with a friend. Or to hangout with a visitor. I don’t have a favourite place to brunch, but it does give me an excuse to try out different spots around town. Most recently, when SL was in town and we were meeting in the neighbourhood around Canal St Martin, she let me led her to Holybelly so I could finally check it out.

Continue reading »

Dining in Lu.C.C.A. – L’Imbuto

It is no secret that F and I like eating in single menu – or no menu, depending how you see it – restaurants. We like to be surprised with something different, something that pushes our (usual) palate boundary, and more importantly, something that the chef creates based on what’s fresh and in season from the market. Even better combination, for us, would be a meal that’s creative yet home-y at the same time.

You may have noticed the lack of planning to our Italian trip thus far, relying mainly on serendipitous wandering around town for sightseeing, food, and gelati. Apart from knowing where we would be sleeping on any particular night, everything could happen. L’Imbuto (i.e. The Funnel) was the sole restaurant that I’d pencilled onto our itinerary, having seen it mentioned in an article about Lucca and got me all curious.

L'Imbuto

L'Imbuto

It was a tough self-debate if we should seek out Cristiano Tomei’s contemporary restaurant, or head to one of the local favourites which serves more traditional fares. We eventually decided an evening of out-of-the-ordinary meal over two weeks of traditional Italian could be a good culinary break. Our B&B host did make us doubt our decision for a moment, with his constant mention of how “special” this restaurant is, according to his friends.

Continue reading »

Not hungry in Brest

When in Brittany, go to the crêperie. Actually, even if not in Brittany, if there is a good crêperie nearby, seriously, go. My favourite buckwheat galette is one filled with either andouille or andouillette (and we’re not talking about pork sausage here but good ol’ chitterlings!), preferably with an egg and mustard creme. This surprises quite a few people, especially concerned crêperie owners who wonder if I knew what I had ordered. They are usually happier with my sweet crêpe choice: salted butter caramel, with or without apple pieces.

Dining in Brest

Dining in Brest

Dining in Brest

Continue reading »

Cook’n with Class

Thanks to a recent-ish Easter egg hunt over at Savoir Faire Paris, I won a spot on Cook’n with Class French desserts session. I duly made my way to Montmartre one Saturday afternoon, met three other fellow bakers (of which one was a fellow countryman – talk about a small world!) and started working under the guidance of Chef Pino, a wiry Italian with a passion for food, of course.

Cook'n with Class

Cook'n with Class

In the gleaming kitchen, we went through the work plan for the afternoon. In a short few hours, we were going to make five different classic French desserts – moelleux au chocolat, strawberry and chocolate roulade, crème brûlée, (reconstructed) tarte au citron and choux puffs – and in the order they were listed, due to some refrigeration time needed for some of these. Most of the ingredients were already weighed out and prepared ahead of the class, so we were able to efficiently churn out one dessert after another.

Continue reading »

Lunch at La Ciboulette

The rain just wouldn’t let up. We were supposed to roam the famous market that lined the streets of the old town and canals of Annecy, but we ended up staying in for a grasse mat’ and read in bed. Eventually, we had to brave the weather and headed out, since we had a lunch reservation at La Ciboulette. We took the long way round so we could at least catch a glimpse of the market.

La Ciboulette, Annecy

La Ciboulette, Annecy

Slightly drenched after our walk, we stepped into a visibly posh restaurant with opulent interior, charming paintings, antique decorative pieces, and actual silver salt-and-pepper shakers and butter dish awaited us at the table which we were assigned. The couple at our neighbouring table were clearly in celebratory mood: a bottle of champagne with two long-stem flutes had just been brought over by the sommelier.

Continue reading »

20/Vins: more like 12/20

A couple of days prior to our departure to Annecy, I was in a small panic. The couple of restaurants I’ve researched on and tried to reserve tables for were closed for the week when we would be in town, and compounded with the presence of the labour day bank holiday, I needed new alternatives quickly. I looked into Gault & Millau and was happy to find a highly recommended restaurant (5 toques!) in the historic centre with a clever name to boot.

Wine bar

Wine bar

20/Vins is a play on the perfect score of 20/20 within the French system and the word wine. It is primarily a wine bar, but hey, coupled with delicious food, we’ve got a winner on hand, no? I guess that would be too good to be true. Our Airbnb hosts had never heard of this place, and Marc has experience in the wine industry, even if his main business focus is on Sino-Franco business-relationship consultancy…

Continue reading »

Sunday brunch at Colorova

If there’s something I’m failing rather miserably every month, it’ll inevitably be related to my food budget. More precisely, I’m eating out more than I should and as a result, I’ve busted my eating out budget more often than I dare to count. Good thing, or not? (Pssst: I’ve been transferring my wardrobe budget towards food, so I am just a wee bit very proud that I haven’t been out shopping for months!)

Colorova

Colorova

Clearly, either way, I have a hard time resisting the siren call of all the wonderful eating places in the City of Light. Last weekend, after putting in some “not drowning” time in the pool for the first time since we moved, Chloé and I went for a lovely, albeit pricey, brunch at Colorova. Located just off the stretch of the street where I used to live, I’ve been there for afternoon tea break and for breakfast too, but never for lunch nor brunch, so my curiosity was piqued as to the kind of savoury fare they serve.

Continue reading »

Hotpot dinner at Auciel

Five ladies, one hot date. Thanks to Wee Ling‘s initiative, we found ourselves at the door of Auciel rather early in the evening by Parisian standard – 6.30pm – but we did not want to risk losing our table and then having to go on a long queue, such is the reputation of this small eatery in the 11th arrondissement. Their specialty – (individual) hotpot – is a favourite among the Chinese community. They also serve cooked dishes but let’s face it, why would anyone do that in a hotpot restaurant?

Hotpot dinner

Hotpot dinner

The concept is pretty straight forward here. You could order a specific hotpot ingredient set (e.g. with meat, with seafood, vegetarian), or à la carte (pick and mix your ingredients), or go the buffet style (as much as you could eat, any ingredient selection). There are also three broth options: the clear broth, the satay broth (slightly spicy) and the Szechuan broth (hot, hot, hot). Since everyone gets an individual pot, no worry about finding the one right broth for everyone at the table. Win!

Continue reading »

Dinner at Frenchie

Just shortly before our 7pm reservation, I strolled up rue du Nil, spied Gregory Marchand in his office attached to Frenchie To Go, and gaped in amazement to see the excitable queue outside Frenchie Bar à Vins rushing in as soon as the door slid open. Luckily, I had secured a table at Frenchie restaurant a couple of months ahead (yup, that long) on La Fourchette, but what, or rather, whom, I was missing was my dinner companion. F had left his office a little later than planned, but on his way nonetheless.

Frenchie

Frenchie

Decided I’d be polite and not deemed as a no-show, I popped in quickly to let the staff know that I was here but would prefer to wait outside for F. It was all therefore very strange when she told me that if he was not here before 7.15pm, the table would be given away. Surely my level of French wasn’t that bad that mentioning a wait outside would be misunderstood as I planned to pull a disappearing act because F was late? I decided not to dwell on it and stepped outside anyway, and sure enough, F hurried along to greet me shortly thereafter. We even had five minutes to spare.

Continue reading »

Le Mary Celeste

Now that daylight saving has finally kicked in, at last, I could write a little show-and-tell about Le Mary Celeste, although the spotlight would be more on the French-Asian fusion cuisine and less on the interesting cocktails. (We’re terrible drinkers, really.) Up until now, the somber winter had rendered it quite difficult to photograph the dishes – the menu changed daily – in the dim interior, so we’d whole-heartedly piled our attention on the food that tickled our tastebuds.

Le Mary Celeste

Le Mary Celeste

Situated in the Marais, this is undoubtedly a place where many of the chic and the stylish hang out. I’m not quite that cool, so you won’t catch me perching on one of the bar stools and chatting casually to the bartenders. Instead, I tuck myself into a corner table with F or my friends, eye the menu hungrily, and mentally ponder how to persuade all at the table that we should order one of every item there is on the menu. Not that a lot of convincing was ever needed. ;)

Continue reading »

Frenchie To Go

Something must have lined up in the celestial. I am constantly in search for good grub in Paris, but I am by no mean someone from the “in” crowd who score tables at the latest gourmet openings in the city, not to mention our eating out budget doesn’t quite stretch that far to be a fixture in the dining scene. Imagine my surprise at easily snagging a table for two at Frenchie (via La Fourchette), albeit two months in advance, and then successfully wrangling Chloé to lunch at Frenchie To Go in matter of days.

Frenchie to go

Frenchie to go

Tucked away in rue du Nil (very near to the Passage du Caire, of course) and adjacent to Gregory Marchand’s other ventures – Frenchie and Frenchie Wine Bar – it wasn’t too crazy busy when we were there on a warm Sunday afternoon, but clearly well-loved, as we just about snagged the last two seats in the cosy café-deli. ***

Continue reading »

Tasty surprises at Pierre Sang Boyer

Having read many good things about Pierre Sang Boyer, bolstered by the image that I had of the chef from watching him on the French Top Chef Season 2 (ah, my first months in Paris and watching TC2 was, ahem, “a way to improve my French”), F and I recently found ourselves queueing for dinner in his restaurant in Oberkampf. Not once, but twice, in as many months.

A no-reservation policy (unless party of 6 or more – used to be strictly none) was the main factor that put us off for a long time from dining here, but now that the early days buzz had calmed down somewhat, we found that by arriving a few minutes ahead of opening time got us our table without any problem. Just as well, given the winter weather is not particularly suited for long wait outside.

Dinner @ Pierre Sang Boyer

So here’s the concept of eating at PSB: He’s a champion of the ethics of locavore as well as sustainable fishing. He works with local producers and sources what’s fresh and available according to the market and the season. The menu therefore changes day-to-day, sometimes even within the service if something runs out. This simplifies thing (and cooking), and fret not, guests are enquired shortly after being seated if there are any food restrictions or allergies.

Continue reading »

Les Pipelettes, café-épicerie

While breakfast meeting is a rare occurence for me, I found myself at Les Pipelettes, bright and early, to brainstorm with fellow volunteers of a scientific outreach programme on this year’s activities that promote collaborative works between high school students in Paris and in Turin. How apt, that we met in a café which name means the chatterboxes, since we chatted for a good couple of hours before wrapping it all up.

Our breakfast was very French, with most of us ordering a “get out of the bed” menu that consisted of a hot drink (hot chocolate with salted caramel for me please!), tartine with beurre Bordier and a basil-based jam (surprisingly good mix of sweet and savoury), and a juice (a combo of carrot, apple and ginger). The service was efficient and friendly, and we felt very much at ease, as if we were working from the home of a friend.

Les Pipelettes

Les Pipelettes

Continue reading »

10 first bites

It is no secret that I love to eat and I always prioritise things that seem unusual when picking from the menu. Sometimes, when there are more options than I can manage on my own, I throw the puppy eyes at my dining companion in hope he/she picks up on my inner plea to order one of them… ;)

Last year, in writing the list of 101 goals, I added “10 things I’ve never tried before” and hope it’ll make food discovery more interesting. However, actually having dishes in front of me often translates to “busy eating, no time to think or take photos” and therefore writing this post had taken a little longer than expected.

10 new food

1. Courgette flower: semi-hidden here between a slice of chorizo and a cherry tomato, the courgette flower is bright to look at and delicate to taste. They don’t transport well nor last beyond a few hours after picking, so it’s not something that can be easily found in Paris (much easier in south of France though). It tasted like, well, courgette, but a “lighter” version. The flower also has a soft velvelty texture, like most edible flowers really.

Continue reading »


Notify me!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.