Saturday, May 27, 2017

Day 3: Gangneung Cherry Blossom Festival and Globin Shooting Location: Jumunjin

It's Day 3 in Seoul for this Spring Trip 2017. Few days before our departure to Seoul, I happen to come across this promotion on Facebook for the Gangneung Cherry Blossom Festival advertisement by
Seoulpass 首爾旅遊通. With a 80% discount, the day tour is now only 19,000KRW per person. Without hesitation, I took the offer and booked the tickets online. 

Here's the itinerary for the Gangneung Cherry Blossom Festival 2017 or also known as Gangneung Cherry Blossom Romantic Tour: 

07:30 Meet at Hongdae Station, Exit. No. 8
08:00 Meet at Myeongdong Station, Exit. No. 4
11:30 Arrival at Gangreung Cherry Blossom Festival
14:30 Depart for Anmok Beach
14:40 Arrival at Anmok Beach
15:30 Depart forJumunjin Beach
16:00 Arrival at Jumunjin Beach 
16:30 Back to Seoul
19:30 Arrive at Seoul


Woke up at about 6 something in the early morning to get ready for the day tour. Since it was still early, we managed to grab some hot and mouth-watering sandwiches from Issac Toast nearby the hotel in Myeongdong (Issac Toast opens at 7am). Then, proceed to wait for the bus at Myeongdong MRT Station Exit 4 as per itinerary. There was a group of ladies from Taiwan who were also waiting at the Exit No.4 and there was some minor confusion on which is the correct exit that we should wait at when the bus did not arrived at sharp 8am ~ oh well, it did arrived at 8.15am. Lesson to learn: Always wait at the exit stated in your itinerary and wait till your transportation arrived.

We were greeted by our tour guide named Hee; yes! he can speak English. No worries if you can't speak Korean like me . The journey from Myeongdong to Gangneung took about 2hours and 30 minutes or about 3 hours depending on the traffic condition. The bus also took a 15 minutes break at the highway rest area for toilet breaks. p.s. the toilets are clean and passable under PS toilet check. haha. and you can grab a coffee or light breakfast too - their rest area has a mini market and food stalls.


Arrived at Gyeongpo Lake for the Cherry Blossom Festival. You will be greeted by a calm lake surrounded by pale Cherry Blossom trees. The bus parks quite a distance from the main entrance of the festival; thus you can enjoy the cherry blossom by the lake while you walk to the main entrance. 
 





You can also rent a bicycle to cycle around the lake and enjoy the scenery. Priced from 10,000KRW and above for an hour of rental; price varies from the type of bicycle you rent. We rented this 2 seats bicycle fit for 2 pax at 20,000KRW per hour. Suitable for someone who can't cycle like me ~ but still want to get on the bicycle. haha.




The Cherry Blossom Festival at Gangneung is not a large scale event like the one in downtown Seoul or Jinhae but it's more cater to the locals. There's some food and souvenir booths with a stage for performances. Well, it's a unique experience for me to check out what's the locals do during the cherry blossom festival. And some of the booth do sells local products such as dried seafood items, nuts, herbs and so on.



You can also check out the nearby Gyeongpodae Pavilion overseeing the lake. It is said that this pavilion is famous for moon viewing on the 15th of the lunar month.The blooming cherry blossom trees make it a even better scenery to look at. A traditional architecture structure surrounded by pale pink trees; and when the win blows, it's raining pink petals!
 











We stopped for 2 hours at this place and we spent the remaining time enjoying our lunch at a nearby cafe/restaurant. Well, there's this building right next to the pavilion and cherry blossom festival booths which sells coffee I assumed that's famous for their coffee - as everyone seems to come in for a takeaway coffee. This shop aka cafe also serves food; which I think is quite popular among the locals (it was full when we were there). I must say that the owner and staff at this restaurant/cafe is extremely kind and helpful. We had trouble ordering at first as they can't speak english and there's no english menu available. They actually brought us to other customer's table to point at the food they were eating and then point back at the menu - to explain to us what the menu is all about! And when the food arrived, we noticed that there's beef on the dish (which we do not consume); we told them to remove the meat using sign language (oh well, it took a while to communicate what kind of meat is that on the dish too) and they actually brought it back to the kitchen and cooked a new one for us!! They were so kind and patient to the max for taking the time to explain and communicate to us. You gonna visit this place if you're coming to this place!




Delicious lunch!

Next stop was Anmok Beach Coffee Street aka Anmok Beach. It's known as Anmok Coffee Street because there's a row of cafes serving ultimate coffee facing the beach.


Clean and sandy beach with seagulls flying over you!





We actually took a lot of photographs here but opps.. they were gone together with the smartphone! I'm gonna be back here to capture those images AGAIN! It's worth a visit.

Stopped by the Kikrus Coffee Cafe along the coffee street. Had an awesome purple sweet potato latte and a piece of awesome cake. I only had this pic on Instagram as a memory now.


Finally, our last stop for that day was the infamous Goblin K-drama shooting location; the Jumunjin Beach aka Jumunjin Breakwater. Lucky for us; we were the only soul stopped there that very fine day,thus there's no one to photobomb you or lining up to snap your memorable pictures.

There were a few of these breakwaters made of stones at that beach. The correct one used for the filming is actually the piece with views below.






There's a few pieces of them looking alike standing there side by side. They looks almost identical; thus it doesn't matter which piece you stand on to take your pictures.



Our lovely tour guide; Hee prepared a black coloured paper cutting of a Goblin so that we had something to take pic with. Yes, we didn't brought along the flower props or red scarf with us. hehe. Should plan for the props if you intend to do some photoshoot here.

Instead of the paper cutting, we made our tour guide the model for the picture instead! haha. So, presenting you my lovely handsome tour guide! Took a lot of pictures here but gone together with the smartphone. 'sob'.



That was the end of my journey here this time! Thanks to our friendly tour guide,  bus driver and the red bus that we sat on for this whole journey!


Reached Myeongdong around 8pm or 8 something pm and slept soundly along the journey back! Gangneung is wonderful place to visit! And I'll be back to snap back the pictures which I had lost! hehe. This tour can also be booked through KKDay here.


Bye!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Simmer Huang, Pavilion Elite

Simmer Huang (黃記煌), the expertise in the Imperial Cuisine of Qing Dynasty has landed its feet in Malaysia. Famed for its 'Three Sauce Simmer Pot' which is originated from the 'Spicy Fish' dish in the Imperial Cuisine during the reign of Qing Dynasty. This restaurant is already marking its fame in several countries - and if you run its name on Google, you will come across its Australia based website on top of its search
 


Last month, Simmer Huang opens its door (its first outlet) at the Level 8 of Pavilion Elite; the new extended Pavilion building right next to the existing/original Pavilion KL shopping mall. 




I'm grateful to have sampled its food on the first day of its opening thanks to Chin Yee. Walking to Pavilion Elite from the main Pavilion KL entrance, the Pavilion Elite building was still quite vacant where most of the tenants were not opened yet. To get to Simmer Huang, just head straight to the Level 8 of Pavilion Elite and you will spot this restaurant right in front of the escalator.




The restaurant is sparking neat and odorless; which is something I would look forward to coming here again. A usual steamboat/hotpot meal would always ended up with a oil/food odor on our clothes and yes - hair! However, there wasn't any odor on my hair/clothes at the end of our meal the other day - probably due to its excellent conditioning/ventilator system in its restaurant.





This restaurant had won numerous awards in China where you can check out the list of awards obtained on its wall. 
 



As it was during the Chinese New Year period, our feast for the night begins with a louhei session; Prosperity Yee Sang from Hui Lau Shan Dessert. Hui Lau Shan's desserts and its Signature Fruity Yee Sang was available at Simmer Huang. Fyi, Hui Lau Shan's dessert is permanent item on Simmer Huang's menu while the Fruity Yee Sang was available during the Chinese New Year period at Simmer Huang.




Then, our real Simmer Huang feast begins...

The menu at Simmer Huang is divided into a few categories namely Appetizers, Hot Pot (Fish, Poultry, Meat, etc), Add-Ons and Desserts & Beverages. Do stay tune to the full soft launch menu at Simmer Huang at the end of this post.

We sampled three types of signature appetizer which are the Signature Simmer Huang Octopus, Vinegar Peanut and Mushroom Bites. 

The Simmer Huang Octopus (RM20) comes with a plate of boiled baby octopus and potato vermicelli noodles - with a small bowl of soy-sauce + chinese wine based dipping sauce. The octopus has a crunchy texture and it tasted best with its dipping sauce. Not to forget that there's slices of garlic, spring onion and Chinese parsley in the sauce; reminding us that it's a Chinese cuisine afterall.







The Mushroom Bites (RM15) is quite amusing too where Chinese mushroom and Abalone mushroom were sliced and marinated to bring out its flavor. There's also some slices of preserved veggies to give this dish its crunchy texture. A dish that you can't missed when you're here.





The last appetizer dish was Signature Vinegar Peanut (RM8) which is our common peanuts (which you can find inside our usual Nasi Lemak) dipped in its special vinegar sauce. It's quite a big bowl of peanuts served but I prefer my peanuts without the vinegar (it's a personal preference lol). If you're curious about this dish, do have a try and it's also one of the lowest priced appetizer dishes on its appetizer section menu.







The main item at Simmer Huang is its Hot Pots - the signature 'Three Sauce' combining with its unique simmer cooking method alongside the medical herbs, juices from 10 types of vegetables - without additional water in it. That sums up what its Signature Hot Pots is all about.  

First of all, you gotta choose the type of hotpot that you would like to try - either the seafood, meat, or the mixed based. Then, you can choose the type of sauce that you would like to go with it. There's a choice of Classic, Seafood, Spicy, Hot & Spicy and Soy-based sauce. Well, if you can't make up your mind on which one to go for, there's a recommended sauce choice info to match the different type of hotpot on its menu.


Check out the ingredients used for the Hot Pots. It consist of vegetables - and more vegetables. I bet it's one of the meal where most of the ingredients are made up of vegetables; root vegetables to be precise.





For us, the Hot Pot stars of the night were Assorted Seafood Pot with Classic Sauce and the Pork & Fungus with Spicy Sauce. The Assorted Seafood Pot (RM130) comes with prawns, cod fillets, oysters and cuttlefishes as its main ingredients. Each of these hotpots is good for 2-3 pax. Check out how the signature Simmer Huang Hot Pot is being prepared when you're dining there.




The Assorted Seafood Pot (RM130)

A solidified vegetable oil is being placed in the special simmer pot - these are cooked right in front of you - at your dining table. This solidified oil looks like a wobbly jelly/ice-cream which resembled those wobbly solidified collagen added to the soup based in the authentic Taiwanese steamboat.
 





Next, the chopped vegetables are added on top of the solidified vegetable oil. Check out the colorful vegetables in the pot below. There's carrots, celery, yellow sweet potato, baby tomatoes, spring onions, red dates, zucchinis, lots of garlic, chilies and green onions. This got to be the most healthiest hot pot ever.







Then, the selected choice of hot pot ingredients are added on top of the root vegetables. In this case; the prawns, cod fillets, cuttlefish and oysters are added. 

To ensure that all the seafood ingredients are not overcooked. The marinated prawns and cod fillets are added into the pot first. 








The pot was covered with the lid and cooked for a few minutes before adding in the remaining oysters and cuttlefish. Some seasoning (pepper and salt I suppose) were added onto the seafood before the lid is closed.







While the food is being cooked, the staff will be patiently preparing the sauce; by stirring the signature thick and dark in colour sauce continuously for a few minutes. I bet that you can get a well-toned arms by working here for a few months. LOL.






Then, the sauce is added onto the semi-cooked seafood.






The hot pot is almost ready. Just closed the lid and wait for a few minutes. Meanwhile, you can continue to enjoy the appetizers (if you're ordering).






The staff will come over and check on the vegetables using a giant spoon. Once it's ready, the spring onions are added onto the dish. Voila, it's ready to be served. You can smell the savory sweet aroma throughout the cooking process - and I'm sure you're pretty hungry by now.







This Assorted Seafood Hot Pot is delicious and healthy because there's lots of vegetables (different types of vegetables) underneath the seafood. All the root vegetables and seafood had absorbed the signature Three Sauce resulting in a fresh and unique taste of its own. Each ingredients in the hot pot retains its original flavor and the vegetables are simmered to a just-right soft texture- best for the elderly who would like to include more vegetables in their diet. 


Pork and Fungus Pot with Spicy Sauce (RM110)

Next, the Pork and Fungus Pot with Spicy Sauce (RM110) follows the same cooking process as the Assorted Seafood served earlier. 

 It has the same vegetables based but comes with additional some pepper/chili powder on it.






The main ingredients for this hot pot - the marinated pork belly, oyster mushroom, king oyster mushroom and black fungus were put into the pot in one go.







This time, a spicy sauce is added onto the pork & fungus mixture. You can smell the pungent peppery aroma at this moment.




This Pork & Fungus with Spicy Sauce is indeed spicy- if you can take very spicy food, there's a hot and spicy sauce too. This spicy sauce is considered as a Level 1 spicy sauce if you were to compare with its Hot & Spicy Sauce on its menu.







To me, this Spicy Sauce is a bit too overwhelming for me; I bet that my partner piggy would love this sauce better than I do. But I do love the pork and black fungus ingredients in this hot pot as it's well marinated! Would order this to go with the Classic Sauce on my next visit if we were to opt for one among these two hot pots served.


Once you're done with the ingredients in the hot pot leaving the remaining root vegetables in the pot, you can order some Add-Ons ingredients to continue your hotpot meal expedition. There are several types of Add-Ons items on the menu and we had these added into the hot pot the other night: Potato Vermicelli (RM8), Frozen Tofu (RM6), Chef's Special Mushroom Ball (RM12), Chef's Special Cuttlefish Paste (RM15) and Fried Beancurd Crust (RM8).












Before you put these Add-Ons ingredients into the pot, a special soup is added into the hot pot. Then, put into the Add-Ons ingredients in it. Now, it looks like our local steamboat pot. Be sure to try the Chef's Special Cuttlefish Paste, Mushroom Balls and other Chef's Special items as these paste/meatballs are made in-house.







To cool down your hot and fiery taste buds, do order some sweet endings from its menu. There's a limited selections of Hui Lau Shan desserts on its menu. If you're clueless on that to go for, have this Mango Feast (RM15) which comes with 3 types of mouth-watering mango based desserts. You can never go wrong with this choice. Portion served is good for sharing after a heavy hot pot feast.




As promised earlier, here's the full soft launch menu of Simmer Huang Malaysia!












Do drop by Simmer Huang to go on a cross century dining experience today. Check out its Facebook page at Simmer Huang Malaysia for more updates on its news and promotions.   


Congratulations on your opening, Simmer Huang Malaysia!




Simmer Huang (Pavilion Elite)
Lot 8.101.00, Level 8
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur,
168, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100, Kuala Lumpur.