Singapore 2017 (Part 4) / S.E.A Aquarium

Here comes my last installment of our family trip to Singapore earlier this year during Chinese New Year. The reason why this blog entry came so overdue was that I had completely forgotten about this part of the trip. We covered S.E.A Aquarium on the same day as Universal Studios Singapore as it came bundled in a tour package we signed up for.

After gotten our tummy fixed with lunch, the four of us moved on to S.E.A Aquarium. The queue was long at first due to the lack of staff at the admission counter but it was resolved when another staff came to open up another admission counter. I am not going to write much in this blog entry but I will let the pictures do all the talking. LOL!

It took us less than an hour and a half to complete the tour inside S.E.A Aquarium. I think the four of us were not so interested in sea life as compared to botanical at Gardens by the Bay.

Played with the stuffed toys selling in the gift shop located nearby the exit of S.E.A Aquarium. We did not get anything for ourselves as the price was pretty steep and they will be left collecting dust on our bed anyways.

Pikachu was just leaving as we took the elevator up to the Ground Floor area. I think Pikachu spotted me trying to snap a picture and it was nice of him or her to do a turn around for a short while before leaving.

Our dinner was sorted at the Kopitiam outlet located inside Vivo City. We were starving and parents were looking tired from all the walking so we did not bother to look for options but settled with the easiest and quickest one.

Penang Fried Kueh Tiaw | B$5.00

Curry Laksa | B$5.00

I ordered myself a bowl of Curry Laksa as I was craving for something hot and spicy at the time. It was really burning hot and I ended up unable to finish even half of the noodles. Sister shared some with me and complained about the spiciness. I returned to the hotel with a weak bowel until the next morning due to the spiciness of the broth.

So, this summed up my entire Singapore trip earlier this year during Chinese New Year.

Singapore 2017 (Part 3) / Universal Studios Singapore

We started our third day in Singapore early as it will be a long day of sightseeing. After witnessing parents’ reluctance with Western breakfasts, we decided to let them try out the locals’ favorite – Ya Kun Kaya Toast.

After some Google-ing, we chose an outlet which was the closest to where we were at the time and accessibility to the MRT Station as we needed to alight at HarbourFront Station for Sentosa. We took the bus from Ganges Avenue and alighted at the bus stop in front of The Central on Eu Tong Seng Street.

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This is how Clarke Quay looked like during the daytime. Honestly speaking, this was my first time being at Clarke Quay during the day as I am usually there in the evening for dinner.

YAKUN FAMILY CAFE
The Central, 6 Eu Tong Seng Street, #01-31, Singapore 059817

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Ordering is to be done over the counter and food collection is on self-service basis. Therefore, there is no service charge imposed on top of your total bill. Ya Kun is one of the local favorites but you will see tourists as well.

Apart from the usual Kaya Toast, they are also serving noodle and rice dishes. We ordered two set meals. Each set meal came with either hot tea or coffee and two eggs. You can choose either soft or hard boiled.

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Steamed Bread Kaya Set | S$4.80

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We ordered Steamed Bread Kaya for Mom as she is not a fan of toasted bread. We love the thick yet soft and fluffy white bread. Something for a change if you do not want “heaty” food.

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Kaya Toast with Butter Set | S$4.80

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This is the toasted version as compared to the steamed version. What’s unique about this Kaya Toast with Butter is that there was a lemon hint in the butter. I think it was a specialty in certain outlets. We had the same Kaya Toast with Butter at Changi Airport but there was no lemon hint in the butter.

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Nasi Lemak Istimewa | S$6.00

This is like the standard Nasi Lemak we have here locally but this one came with various condiments. There were pickled cucumbers which Mom adores and stir fry long beans. The coconut milk infused rice was nice and aromatic. The sambal chili paste had the right spiciness which I was craving for and the chicken was done nicely.

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Mee Siam | S$5.20

This was my first ever trial of Mee Siam and it was surprisingly good albeit the oily top. The soup base was slightly sweet and yet sour at the same time. The sourness of the soup makes it even more appetizing. Rice noodle was blanched beforehand and soup poured, topped with cubed tofu puffs, prawns and halved hard boiled egg.

We made our move for Sentosa after breakfast. We got our single entry tickets to Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A Aquarium in a package with unlimited cable car rides for S$118 per person. You may not need to use the tickets for USS and S.E.A Aquarium on the same day. It grants you single entry and valid for 6 months time from the time of purchase.

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My first cable car riding experience. It was bit stuffy as there was no air-conditional inside the cable car. All you got is wind from the ventilation. It is good preventive measure for global warming but it was really humid inside when the weather is hot outside. It was cool in the afternoon though on our ride back.

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The mandatory shot with the globe. Sister took tons of shots like this. They were all similar and this one was closest to the best. Everyone was crowding to take pictures with the globe nearby the entrance. All you need to do is make a detour to the back so you will not have to squeeze with everyone to get a decent shot. The globe is moving horizontally anyways. LOL!

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You can purchase entrance tickets here but we got ours at HarbourFront Centre. It saved us the hassle of queuing. The fare rate is the same anyways.

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There are 7 zones in Universal Studios Singapore – Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, Lost World, Far Far Away and Madagascar. We covered all 7 zones and it took us less than three hours if I am not mistaken.

I was caught by surprise to know the size of the entire USS in comparison to Tokyo Disneyland which I had been to last September 2016. USS is only a small fraction of Tokyo Disneyland.

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Hollywood

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People queuing for Roasted Turkey Legs. I am not sure how good it is but I do not think I will enjoy eating an oily food under the hot sun. I think an ice cold beverage sounds better off under such circumstance. LOL!

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Madagascar

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We joined most of the adventures in USS apart from Puss In Boots Giant Journey and Revenge of the Mummy from Ancient Egypt. Anything with roller coaster is a no no for me.

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Far Far Away

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We queued the longest for this Treasure Hunters ride at Ancient Egypt and it was a short ride. I think it was only a five minutes ride. We felt like we had wasted 30 minutes queuing for something which was not really worth the time queuing for.

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I think this was probably my favorite picture taken at USS as Sister managed to capture to make my legs looking long and skinny. LOL!

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A picture of us taken with Betty Boop. She was the only character whom we encountered at the time we were at USS. I was anticipating Hollywood Dreams Parade as I had missed the day parade at Tokyo Disneyland previously. Unfortunately, Hollywood Dreams Parade was unavailable on Sunday.

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When we came across these vintage cars parked outside an American diner, Mom requested for pictures (which is rare as it is hard to ask her to pose for pictures). LOL!

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These were our late lunch at USS and guess how much these cost us? S$40+! Dining at USS is such an expensive affair. After we got our tummies filled with these fast food, we left USS and headed for S.E.A Aquarium.

There were not much pictures taken at S.E.A Aquarium but I am still doing a separate blog entry for it. So, do stay tune if you are interested.

Singapore 2017 (Part 2) / Gardens by the Bay

It was a free and easy day of our second day in Singapore. We actually had an itinerary planned out for the day but we cancelled it as Sister needed to meet up with an ex-colleague for lunch. So, we woke up slightly later and headed for breakfast at Forty Hands. According to the map, Forty Hands is within walking distance from Louis Kienne but we decided to take the bus instead as we were not sure how reliable the map was.

On my visit to Singapore last April 2016, Sister and I intended to try out Forty Hands but failed due to time restriction and accessibility. So, we decided to bring parents this time round. It turned out that parents did not enjoy cafe food as much as compared to Sister and I. Parents preferred Asian breakfast with black coffee.

FORTY HANDS
78 Yong Siak Street, #01-12, Singapore 163078

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The cafe is long in size. The front area of the cafe was fully occupied by diners and the waiter led us to the back. He prepared us with menus and informed that ordering is to be carried out at the Cashier counter.

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Orange & Carrot Juice | S$8

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Apple & Watermelon Juice | S$8

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Big Boy Breakfast | S$23.00

Choice of organic smoked beef or pork sausage, grilled tomatoes, mushroom ragout, organic bacon, beef bolognese, flat bread with sour cream, free-range eggs any style: poached, scrambled, sunny side-up or over-easy

We had ours with pork sausage and more organic bacon as we informed the Cashier to leave out beef bolognese. The pork sausage was pretty good in my opinion albeit being tad bit tough to slice up. The mushroom ragout was nice as well. Organic bacon was crispy but rather salty for our liking.

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Egg Cocotte | S$18.00

Free-range poached eggs, sautéed spinach, Portobello mushrooms, mushroom puree, truffle oil, homemade toast

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Kong Bak Pau (Asian Sliders) | S$8.50

Steamed buns with braised pork in soya sauce

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This took the longest to arrive after placing our orders. We almost believed that they had forgotten our order. Thank goodness that the wait was well compensated. Parents loved this as compared to Big Boy Breakfast and Egg Cocotte. The pork belly was well marinated and the meat was tender. The sauce was just nice with a bit of spicy kick.

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Loved the lighting at Forty Hands as it made my skin looking all flawless. LOL! We left Forty Hands as soon as we saw that the cafe was starting to pack up with more diners. It was really packed to the extent that we had to squeeze through to exit.

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After breakfast, we walked from Forty Hands to Tiong Bahru Plaza whereby the parents and I shopped around while Sister went off to meet an ex-colleague at Novena. There was nothing much to shop in Tiong Bahru Plaza. I was not in the mood for clothes shopping as parents were with me.

After sensing their boredom, I left Dad at Popular bookstore for an hour whereby he could kill some time reading books (which is one of his favorite pastimes) and brought Mom with me for manicure and pedicure. Sister returned to Tiong Bahru Plaza to meet us and we went for lunch at KOPITIAM.

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Chicken Bibimbap | S$5.50

I could not decide what to eat so I ordered this Chicken Bibimbap from a Korean stall. It was honestly good or I was too hungry to be fussy. LOL! I think I preferred this version of Bibimbap over the regular hot stone version.

After lunch, we took MRT to Bayfront for Gardens by the Bay. Do not expect much wordings ahead but pictures. I will let the pictures do all the talking. Do enjoy the pictures of flowers and nature.

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We bought tickets for entrance into both conservatories – Flower Dome and Cloud Forest for S$28 per person. I was told by Kaylie that the conservatories are cold and I was expecting a chilly experience. It was chilly when we first entered both conservatories but got used to the cold as we walked on.

FLOWER DOME

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CLOUD FOREST

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This marks the end of our visitation to Gardens by the Bay. We were famished as we were leaving. And therefore, we headed to Marina Bay Sands for dinner at their food court – Rasapura.

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Coming up next for our Singapore’s travelogue is Universal Studio Singapore. Do stay tune if you are interested. See ya!

Singapore 2017 (Part 1)

Disclaimer: Some pictures had been edited for privacy reason.

The entire family and I went to Singapore last week for a short weekend getaway. It was Sister’s initial plan to fly over to Singapore on her own to meet a university friend and I asked if I could tag along as well. It turned into a family vacation by the end of the day. LOL! All four of us flew to Singapore via Royal Brunei Airline last Friday morning.

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Before boarding, we had our caffeine fix at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) situated in the Departure lobby. There were not much shops to hang around inside the departure area. So, CBTL is our ideal hangout spot to kill time until it was time to board. Flight time was approximately two hours and time was spent watching Legend of The Blue Sea on board.

Landing was smooth and we were done with clearances rather quickly. We proceeded to the Arrival Hall for currency exchange and collected the portable WiFi router which I reserved from Changi Recommends prior to our vacation. For your information, you can exchange Brunei Dollars to Singapore Dollars at the rate of 1:1 at the UOB counter located nearby Belt 31 to 34 at the Arrival Hall. Sister tried Travelex and the rate was B$100 to S$86. However, do take note that S$300 is only allowed per person.

We took MRT from the airport to the nearest MRT station to our accommodation – Louis Kienne Serviced Residences Havelock. It showed on the map that the nearest MRT Station is Outram Park. Unfortunately, it took us more than 40 minutes by foot to reach Louis Kienne upon exiting Outram Park Station. It was supposedly a 15 minutes foot journey but dragged due to the road work maintenance around the area and we had to make several detours.

Check-in procedure was a brisk and we rested for an hour or two before we headed out to meet Annie and her family for dinner at Bugis Junction. Dinner was at Yoogane located inside Bugis Junction. Venue was not planned ahead and all gave me the green light to choose a venue for dinner. Most of us were starving at the time so I chose the nearest Korean restaurant nearby and Yoogane was the convenient choice.

YOOGANE, BUGIS JUNCTION
200 Victoria Street, #02-47/48 Bugis Junction, Singapore 188021

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Group picture together before our foods were served. In the picture were Steven, Annie and Anson with our family. It was a heavy meal at Yoogane the other day. I was pretty much bloated after the meal. But thankfully, they digested rather quickly and I was able to go for second round for dessert. LOL!

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Chicken Galbi

Yoogane’s unique spicy sauce marinate with tender chicken meat and fresh vegetables

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I was craving for spicy Korean food. So, I got a portion of this to share. Albeit craving for spicy food, there is still a certain tolerance level when it comes to spicy food. So, I asked the waitress how spicy this could go. She replied saying that the spiciness is the same as preserved kimchi. Little did I know that their preserved kimchi was spicier compared to the ones I usually have here in Brunei. Albeit spicy, they were extremely addictive.

The chicken was just as tender as stated on their menu but I think it was probably because they use the meat of a chicken thigh. The spicy sauce with chicken meat went so well with steaming hot rice.

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Golden Rooster Set | S$88

Comes with Golden Rooster Stew, Japchae, 4 Soft Drinks and free Yoochick Soft Toy. Stew option of Chicken Galbi (Spicy) or Chicken Bulgogi (Non-Spicy)

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It took quite some time for this entire stew to be fully cooked. But no worry, there will be a staff attending to this stew until it was fully done. I liked the texture of the ramyun noodles. It was cooked to the texture which I love. The egg on the side has shredded cheese in it. So, if you love cheese, you will love the egg.

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Egg Roll

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Japchae

Bean vermicelli stir-fried with assorted vegetables and tender chicken strips

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Marinated Chicken Bulgogi Fried Rice

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Will you look at the cheese streaks???!!! It was good and yet sinful at the same time. Hence, we all ate this in moderation. LOL!

After dinner at Yoogane, we walked around Bugis Junction to digest part of the Korean food that we ate earlier on before heading for desserts at Ah Chew Desserts. Unfortunately, we found out that Ah Chew Desserts was not open until the next day during this festive season. I did not bother to do research prior to going as I assumed that they will be open since it was the 7th day of Chinese New Year. We decided to get our dessert fix at JiDeChi Dessert since it is located along the same street.

JIDECHI DESSERTS, BUGIS
8 Liang Seah Street, #01-03 Liang Seah Court, Singapore 189029

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Ginger Bean Curd | S$3.80

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Durian with Pomelo Sago (Cold) | S$7.00

Self-explanatory that this was mine and I shared it with Sister. Sister ordered three items for herself inclusive of this. She had Ginger Bean Curd as well. The durian paste was pureed topped with a scoop of Durian ice-cream, sago and Pomelo flesh. If you like thick durian pureed paste, you will like this dessert. For me, I am in neutral position as I neither like nor dislike.

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Egg Drop Water Chestnut Paste | S$3.60

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Chendol Flavor Snow Ice | S$6.20

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Durian Flavor Snow Ice | S$7.30

To be honest, I think I preferred this Durian Flavor Snow Ice over Durian with Pomelo Sago. The snow ice texture was smooth, fluffy and melted instantly on your tongue. The durian taste is not extremely prominent but you could still make out the taste. Best paired with the durian pureed paste that came with.

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The place was not even half packed when we first arrived but there was a short queue when we left half an hour later. Jennifer recommended me another dessert place located a few shop units away from JiDeChi Desserts for their Durian desserts. I think I will try the place the next time I visit Singapore.

So, this basically summed up today’s blog entry of my Singapore vacation. Do stay tune if you wish to find out more of the tourist spots that we went to this time round. See ya …

24092016 / Tokyo Day 4

It was our last day in Tokyo before we fly back to Shanghai in the evening. We woke up earlier than the other days as we wanted to do some shopping before leaving. As there was not much variety around for breakfast, we settled with Yoshinoya located nearby our hotel. Yoshinoya was approximately 5 to 8 minutes’ walk from Hotel Mercure Tokyo Ginza.

YOSHINOYA
3-5-5 Ginza Chuo, Tokyo, Japan

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Pork Bowl | 330

Pork Bowl comes in four sizes and I chose the smallest one. I think it was the difference in portion size for the pork instead of the rice. The pork was sliced thinly, not exactly melt in the mouth texture but good enough for the price paid. I liked that it was not heavily seasoned.

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Deluxe Broiled Eel & Rice Box | 820

Deluxe Broiled Eel & Rice Box alone was 750円 but Sister made it a set deal so it was an additional 70円 for miso soup and salad. The broiled eel was not bad but I personally think it was not the best yet.

We retreated back to our hotel for some last minute packing and check-out. We left our luggage with the concierge for collection in the evening before heading to the airport. We took Marunochi Line from Ginza Station all the way to Shinjuku Station. We ended up not shopping much as the station was too big in size and we feared that we may not be able to make it back to the station.

Sister bought some skincare products from a drugstore inside the station and I got myself a pair of new glasses from JINS. Waiting time was half an hour so the both of us decided to kill the time by having lunch since we could not find the way out of Shinjuku Station to the street we intended to go.

すし三崎丸
1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Lunch was atすし三崎丸 inside Shinjuku Station. Most of the restaurants were queuing and you need to wait for other patrons to leave before you can have a table. But this restaurant does not offer chair and you have to stand while eating. So, everyone leaves right after they are done and no one lingers around. So, we got two spots once we were inside the restaurant.

The sushi chef do not speak English but they do have an English menu. So, we pointed to him what we wanted on the menu and with some finger language for quantity. LOL! It was a fun experience though. Albeit not speaking their language, it is okay as Japanese are extremely friendly.

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Assorted Sushi | 722

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Tuna Hand Roll | 150

All sushi in Japan are prepared with a tiny bit of wasabi on top of the raw fish. If you cannot take the taste of wasabi well, I suggest you might want to inform the sushi chef about it. I do not eat wasabi here in Brunei as I did not like the taste and smell. However, the ones in Japan were okay for my taste bud. So, all were good.

After lunch, we walked a bit here and there. As usual, we went into different drugstores to compare prices. We took the Metro and returned to Ginza Station as Sister was looking for MUJI. MUJI in Japan is a lot different compared to the ones we have in Shanghai. There are so many items which are only available at MUJI in Japan.

Sister bought assorted tea bags and I bought two packets of Instant Matcha Latte Powder. One for myself and one for Jennifer. On our way back, we dropped by a food mall and got ourselves a piece of Fruit Tart from La Maison Ensoleille Table Patisserie.

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Fruit Tart with Shine Muscat | 760

We bought this despite the steep price because Sister wanted to have a taste of how Shine Muscat is like. She wanted to purchase one whole bunch from a fruit shop but the price was horrendous. I think it was more than B$100 for like 20+ pieces of grapes? We rested a bit at Starbucks Coffee nearby Hotel Mercure Tokyo Ginza before we make our move towards Haneda Airport.

We reached airport early and check-in was a brisk affair. So, we decided to have dinner before going through Immigration clearance. However, most of the restaurants were crowded and required waiting. So, we decided to try our luck inside the departure terminal. And yeah, we got better luck inside and the pricing was not as steep as the ones outside.

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Gyoza

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I had their Tsukemen style ramen. It was good and the texture of the noodle was thick but springy. The soup broth was however too thick and salty for me. All in all, this was good if you like strong flavors.

So, this summed up my entire Tokyo 2016 holiday trip. As you can tell from my blog entries covering Day 1 to 3, we did not do much due to weather and time constraint. However, it is in my consideration that we will return to Japan next year (hopefully) but to Kyoto and Osaka. I was being told that Tokyo is not a city for food but Osaka is.