A place to read, rest, relax – OPEN Library in Seoul!

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It’s been a while since I wrote my last blog entry, I have been busy travelling and working the past month or so. Stepping into July, I have decided to pick up blogging again, and also to start writing a new destination – Korea!

So I was in Seoul (capital of Korea) about a month ago for work. Our office is located in COEX mall in the Gangnam area. I have been to this mall many times so nothing really excites me here, but, my jaws dropped when I walked past the atrium on the 31st May 2017! It was the opening day of the Starfiled Library (often referred as Open Library).


This library is 2800 square meter, and with over 50,000 titles, you could easily spend hours, if not days here! An interesting concept of the library is that there are no doors, no gate, no librarians, no nothing. Passer-by can freely pick up a book and read it at their own leisure, and return it back to position when finished – all free of charge. I do however wonder if some of the books are for “display” only, as I have no idea how you can reach some of them…

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The concept of the library is to combine shopping, culture, and relaxation all in one. Not only will you find books from different genre, there are also study space, independent community space for reading related meetings, all with gentle indirect lighting (and some natural lighting), creating a very comfortable environment for the readers.

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A little bit different to the traditional “library”, here you can also find more than 400 kinds of the latest magazines (both Korean and overseas), preparing you for the latest trends in the world. E-books are also available.

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So, next time when you are in the Gangnam area, and your feet are tired from all the shopping, why not come here to rest a bit, read some books, grow some knowledge, before you walk onto your next destination?

Useful Information:

Operating hours: 10:00-22:00 (Open all year round)
Location: Located at the center of Central Plaza within Starfield COEX Mall, B1-1F, 513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Closest Subway Station: Samsung Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 6
Official Website: www.coexmall.com

MAP:

TRAVEL KOREA-05“>

No Jokes, the BEST Pineapple Cakes I’ve ever tried! Hidden Bakery in Taipei

Travel Taiwan Pan's Cake Taipei 比吃台北小潘蛋糕坊

Eat what the locals eat!

Today I want to introduce you to this super small bakery in the alley way of New Taipei City called Xiaopan Bakery (小潘蛋糕坊). It is not close to any train station, and it doesn’t have any fancy decoration, the pastry they sell looks very ordinary, BUT, the taste is unforgettable! Not to mention, they  have won so many awards over the years!

Travel Taiwan Pan's Cake Taipei 比吃台北小潘蛋糕坊

I was introduced to this store by a local friend in Taipei, he told me that he’s going to take me to a very famous local bakery to buy the traditional Pineapple Cake. He also said that, once I took a bite into this little piece of cake, I would not want to try any other brands’. I was a bit skeptical at first, because to me, all the pineapple cakes which I have tried previously all tasted pretty much the same.

Continue reading “No Jokes, the BEST Pineapple Cakes I’ve ever tried! Hidden Bakery in Taipei”

A One Stop Shopping Destination for MIT Products – Maji Food & Deli

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Food Deli Supermarket 神農市場

Buying souvenirs is never an easy task!

When you travel overseas, it’s always a difficult task to think of what to bring back for your friends and families You would want to bring back something that is within your budget, and can symbolize that place.

Upon my last visit in Taipei, I discovered this gourmet supermarket inside the Maji Square Market (Link), and not only do they sell everyday grocery, but they also sell lots of MIT (Made In Taiwan) products, which are great for gifts and souvenirs!

Entrance of the Supermarket

The Maji Food & Deli is located on the right hand side when you walk into the Maji Market. It’s one that you would not miss! I would suggest you to take a walk in the supermarket first before heading to the restaurants further inside the market, as the supermarket closes earlier.

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Food Deli Supermarket 神農市場Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Food Deli Supermarket 神農市場

Interior of the Supermarket

The supermarket is quite spacious, and there are ample spaces between the shelves, which made it very easy to walk around even with the shopping cart. It is separated into different sections, such as dry products, the deli, frozen goods, wines etc.

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Food Deli Supermarket 神農市場Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Food Deli Supermarket 神農市場Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Food Deli Supermarket 神農市場Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Food Deli Supermarket 神農市場Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Food Deli Supermarket 神農市場Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Food Deli Supermarket 神農市場

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Food Deli Supermarket 神農市場
Maji Supermarket has their own branded ice-cream made from fresh Taiwan fruits and dairy

Continue reading “A One Stop Shopping Destination for MIT Products – Maji Food & Deli”

A Playground in The Heart of Taipei for KIDULTS – Your Perfect Weekend Place

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集

During my weekend escape to Taipei, my local Taiwanese friend took me to a market in the Yuanshan area called the “Maji Maji Square”. I have to say, as a Hong Konger, I know Taipei pretty well, but to my surprise, this market that my friend took me to, I haven’t even heard of it before, and it’s been there since the end of 2013. Better yet, this place is like a playground for adults!

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集

A little bit of the background information about the area, Yuanshan is home to a popular children’s theme park, and has been very popular with parents bringing their kids for a family day. With the opening of “Maji Maji Square” (By the way, “Maji” means buddies/good friends in Taiwanese), adults now have a place to spend a few happy hours too. Located in the Taipei Expo Park’s Yuanshan Park Area (this was one of the exhibition ground for the World Flower Expo a couple of years ago), the square is designed as a fun and causal gathering spot for friends – an adult version of a children’s playground! The square is like a mix of a flea market and shopping complex, a place filled with culture, music, food, and agricultural products!

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集
Entrance to the Maji Market

“Maji Maji Square” is about a close 5 minutes walk from the Yuanshan MRT station, and upon entering the market, visitors immediately notice the slow pace and laid back, casual foreign-style atmosphere.  The market uses a variety of recycled materials, using wooden pallets for the walls of restaurants, old cargo containers to house small eateries, and discarded military tents and iron frames to create sunshades and display racks. The design is eco-friendly yet still chic and stylish. Adjacent to the market is a carousel, adding to the atmosphere of youthful play.

Continue reading “A Playground in The Heart of Taipei for KIDULTS – Your Perfect Weekend Place”

A Budget Stay in the Heart of Taipei – A Minimalist Boutique Hotel

Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介
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Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介

The last post I have wrote about hotel stay in Taipei was a review of a 5 stare hotel (Palais de Chine Hotel). That hotel was a great stay, everything was perfect! Except… the price was still towards the higher end, and may not be my first choice when I want to go on a budget trip to Taipei…

I was staying over in Taipei for 2 nights before heading back to Hong Kong from a business trip in Japan. As this Taipei trip was only intended to be a lay over, so I want keep everything at a budget. I also want to stay in a location where a lot of actions take place, whether it’s food, drinks, or other form of entertainment… after doing some research, I have narrow down to hotel stays in the Ximending area (西門町).

Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介

A little background of Ximending – it is often being referred as the Harajuku/Shibuya of Taipei! It is the source of Taiwan’s fashion , subculture and Japanese culture; an area full of little boutiques, clubs and pubs, tattoo salons, local food stores and hawkers. Ximending was also the first pedestrian zone in the whole of Taiwan! This is an area highly recommended to those who wants to experience a bit of the local life here in Taipei.This area gets extremely lively at night time with all the food hawkers, just look at the video below and you will see!

So, this boutique hotel is at the edge of Ximending, and is only a short 10 minutes walk from the closest Metro Station. The name of the hotel is Art’otel, and is on the 5th floor of a semi-commercial building. Even though it is inside a building, they have big signage with the name of the hotel, so you won’t miss it.

Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介

The hotel was opened in February 2015, and has a total of 30 rooms. There are a few different types of rooms available, with the most basic room being the superior room with no window, and the price is around USD$60/night for 2 people. A good thing about this hotel is although there are only 30 rooms, but they also offer family room for a maximum of 4 people (around USD$85/room), which is a great choice whether you are travelling with your family, or with a group of friends.

The decoration of the hotel and the rooms are very minimal yet with great details. The corridor tends to be a bit dark with very dim lighting. However, once you enter into the room, it’s completely the opposite – white is the main colour for all the rooms, with wooden furniture and black steel frames.

Continue reading “A Budget Stay in the Heart of Taipei – A Minimalist Boutique Hotel”

Calling Mozzarella Lovers!! A Stunning Dinning Experience next to the Milan Cathedral

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Travel Italy Milan Cathedral Duomo Obica Mozzarella 意大利米蘭 大教堂 餐廳 推介
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Travel Italy Milan Cathedral Duomo Obica Mozzarella 意大利米蘭 大教堂 餐廳 推介>

Travel Italy Milan Cathedral Duomo Obica Mozzarella 意大利米蘭 大教堂 餐廳 推介

The last restaurant entry for the Milan series – save the best for the last!

I’m sure a lot of the people who travel to Milan have been to the Milan Cathedral, maybe you have taken some photos at the piazza, or even took a tour up onto the building, but I bet you may not know about this restaurant with an absolutely stunning view of the Cathedral!

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This view is yours at this restaurant!!

The restaurant’s name is called the Obica, and is a casual Italian restaurant concept based on best Mozzarellas! Yummmm!! The Obica is a chain with many outlets thru-out Italy, as well as Internationally in UK, USA, and Japan. The outlet which I’ve visited is on the top floor of the la Rinascente department store, and gives you a great view of the Cathedral!

Travel Italy Milan Cathedral Duomo Obica Mozzarella 意大利米蘭 大教堂 餐廳 推介

Travel Italy Milan Cathedral Duomo Obica Mozzarella 意大利米蘭 大教堂 餐廳 推介

Continue reading “Calling Mozzarella Lovers!! A Stunning Dinning Experience next to the Milan Cathedral”

Italian Fashion Icon Prada meets with Milanese Cafe Pasticcerie Marchesi

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Travel Italy Milan Prada Pasticceria Marchesi 意大利 米蘭 推介
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Travel Italy Milan Prada Pasticceria Marchesi 意大利 米蘭 推介>

Travel Italy Milan Prada Pasticceria Marchesi 意大利 米蘭 推介

It doesn’t matter which part of the world you are in, I’m sure all of you would have heard of Prada – a famous Italian leather brand that started off in Milan in year 1913. Prada is well known for their leather goods and fashion accessories, but did you know that the brand also operates in the Cafe business in Milan?

Pasticceria Marchesi – one of the most iconic cafe in the Milan. Founded in 1824, the brand is famous for its time-honred traditions and hand-made production, aiming to deliver the freshest and best pastries, sweets and coffees to their supporters.

In March 2014, Prada acquired 80% of Marchesi. As two brands that are deeply Milanese in heart, Prada and Marchesi aim to preserve the pastry shop’s historic mores while expanding its celebrated imprint. In September 2016, the third Marchesi shop opened inside Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II arcade, which is right next to the famous Milan Cathedral. The new venue is located on the mezzanine floor above the oldest Prada boutique in the world.

Travel Italy Milan Prada Pasticceria Marchesi 意大利 米蘭 推介

Travel Italy Milan Prada Pasticceria Marchesi 意大利 米蘭 推介
Christmas at Milan’s famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Covering 2,700 square feet, Pasticceria Marchesi is located on the mezzanine level and allows a remarkable view of the Galleria’s mosaics from its many arched windows. The interior of the cafe is fitted out with aqua green marble walls, juxtaposed with a green floral jacquard silk wallpaper & dark marble floor, the use of green velvet armchairs and sofas, together with the brass detailing adds the elegant touch to the whole environment.

Continue reading “Italian Fashion Icon Prada meets with Milanese Cafe Pasticcerie Marchesi”

Truffles at a very affordable price in Central Milan

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Travel Italy Milan Truffles Osteria dei Vecchi Sapori 意大利 米蘭 推介What food or foods would you think about when you think of Italy? Would it be cheese? Or prosciutto? How about pizza and pasta? Perhaps Prosecco or Limecello for the alcohol lovers? How could we forget about TRUFFLES!!!!

Alright, I’ll be honest, I did not think about truffles when I was in Italy… I always thought truffle was the delicacy of France, but not until my local friend in Italy showed me to this cute little local restaurant near Centrale Station in Milan – Osteria dei Vecchi Sapori. It is about a 15 minutes walk from the station, or alternatively, you could catch the metro to Isola station, and the restaurant is 7 minutes away.

Travel Italy Milan Truffles Osteria dei Vecchi Sapori 意大利 米蘭 推介
Exterior of the restaurant

We’ve got a reservation at 6pm for an early dinner, and waited for about 5 minutes for the table to get ready. When I walked inside the restaurant, I was quite surprised, as the restaurant was already almost full at this time. I was told that it is very difficult to have seats for walk-in, so better make a reservation before you go.

Travel Italy Milan Truffles Osteria dei Vecchi Sapori 意大利 米蘭 推介Travel Italy Milan Truffles Osteria dei Vecchi Sapori 意大利 米蘭 推介My friend and I sat down, and the waiter who served us was extremely friendly and knowledgable about the menu. We told him that we want to have some truffle dishes, and he suggested us to try both the black and white truffle so we could compare the taste. At the end, we ordered Beef Tartar with Black Truffle (€12), Fresh Noodles with White Truffle (€18), and the Milano famous dish Veal Marrowbone with Polenta(€14).

Travel Italy Milan Truffles Osteria dei Vecchi Sapori 意大利 米蘭 推介
Wine list
Travel Italy Milan Truffles Osteria dei Vecchi Sapori 意大利 米蘭 推介
Menu

The Beef Tartar arrived first as an entree, and oh my, I was so surprised when the dish arrived with the huge amount of fresh truffle on top of the minced beef! We were advised to mix the minced beef with the raw egg yolk and truffles and eat together. I’ve also tried a piece of the truffle by itself, the texture was somewhat like raw mushroom, except with a extremely strong smell of gas/petroleum. The meat tasted fresh and tender, and together with the egg yolk and truffle, it was very delicious. The portion was so big that it didn’t felt like an entree at all!

Travel Italy Milan Truffles Osteria dei Vecchi Sapori 意大利 米蘭 推介
Beef Tartar with Black Truffle

Continue reading “Truffles at a very affordable price in Central Milan”

Ham, Ham, and More Ham – eat like a local in Milan

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You can’t say you have been to Italy without tasting some Prosicutto!

Continuing from my last blog post about the aperitivo in the absolutely stunning Palazzo di Paragi, my friend and I were still quite hungry afterwards, as the portion of the snacks were quite small, so we have decided to go and find somewhere for a late dinner. It is actually quite difficult to find restaurants that are still open at 10pm, but we managed to find this gem – “La Prosciutteria”! The name probably suggested a lot of what this restaurant is about, yes, you are correct, it’s a place that serves the famous Italian ham “Prosciutto”.

La Prosciutteria is about a 10 minutes walk from Palazzo di Paragi, and is situated on this street full of restaurants and little boutiques. By the time we got there was already 10:30pm, and the place is still full! We waited for about 15 minutes before we were seated in this cutely decorated homey restaurant. According to my friend who lives in Milan, this place is always full all day round! There must be something very good about this place, it’s time for me to check it out!

Before I talk about this restaurant, let me just give you some fun facts about Prosciutto – “Prosciutto, which translates to ham in Italian, is made only from the hind legs of pigs and is aged during a dry-curing process. There are typically two types of prosciutto: prosciutto cotto, which is cooked, and prosciutto crudo, which is uncooked and is most popular to enjoy on its own, wrapped around fruit, or used on charcuterie boards.” (What is Prosciutto?)

Travel Italy Milan Milano Must Eat Prosciutto La Prociutteria 13

Now, back to the restaurant, I must say I love the decoration of this place! It is so unique and warm, makes you feel like you are having a meal at a friend’s place! The staffs were super friendly as well, which makes the place even warmer!

I especially like the arch shaped hallway here, separating the front of the restaurant – which consist of normal table seating, cash counter & the meat cabinet, and the back of the restaurant – which are tables with low seats & the bar seating area.

Travel Italy Milan Milano Must Eat Prosciutto La Prociutteria 23Travel Italy Milan Milano Must Eat Prosciutto La Prociutteria 22

Continue reading “Ham, Ham, and More Ham – eat like a local in Milan”

Affordable Drinks at a Luxury Hotel in Milan – Palazzo Parigi

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When I was in Italy, I’ve picked up this new habit – Italian Aperitivo!

As talked about in my last posts, the concept of the Italian Aperitivo is one where you meet up with your friends and social over a glass of drinks and some snacks. It is a simple idea, yet a great way to relax and to meet people. It is very similar to Happy Hour I’d say, just more elegant.

Talking about elegant, how can we miss the famous Palazzo Parigi Hotel and Spa in Milan? According to the hotel’s website, it is “re-constructed on the former site of the historical Palazzo Cramer from the 1600, the Palazzo Parigi Hotel & Grand Spa is set in the heart of Milan, in the fashionable Brera District. Facing a private park and surrounded by residences, banks and offices, it is close to the glittering shopping district Via della Spiga, art galleries, bars and night spots. Designed by Pierre Yves Rochon, featuring a classic style of the ’30 with a private garden and fountain, the new palace hotel embodies the very best of Milanese style with subtle French influences.”

Travel Italy Milan Milano Aperitivo 5 Star Palazzo Paragi Hotel 1

Travel Italy Milan Milano Aperitivo 5 Star Palazzo Paragi Hotel 2
Entrance to the hotel
Travel Italy Milan Milano Aperitivo 5 Star Palazzo Paragi Hotel 3
Hotel Lobby
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Pretty Decoration

Continue reading “Affordable Drinks at a Luxury Hotel in Milan – Palazzo Parigi”