It’s been cold lately … really cold. When chilly wind is blowing and temperate drops to 5 degrees in Sydney, I don’t feel like going out at night at all. And I don’t feel like cooking and washing up, either. Yeah, call me lazy.

So what’s for dinner? Well, let me tell you about my latest addiction (thanks to Josh) – Menulog:).

What’s Menulog? Some of you might ask. It is a company sells food, lots of different kinds of food from over 3,500 restaurants, online!

I’m no stranger of online shopping but shopping for food delivery online? Never before.

So I was a little curious and nervous to try it out. What if it’s difficult? What if the site crashes often? What if I can’t find what I like? What if…?

But it turned out to be so easy to order food delivery online from Menulog. I was super impressed with the service and really enjoyed the food of my choice from the massive selections menulog offers.

Here are the simple steps of how to order food delivery online:
  • Go to: you’ll see the main page as below:

How to order food delivery online

  • Make your selection: Enter your suburb or postcode and hit the “let’s go” button. It will then show you all the restaurants listed on Menulog within your area. There are lots of choices, but the “refine your search” menu on left hand side of the page will help you to choose what you want faster.  My choice was simple and easy as I’m always decisive about food;) I wanted Thai for dinner so I simply ticked the box next to “Thai” under select cuisine section. We love food from Thai on Wok so I simply went to them and ordered the dishes we liked. You can also browse all Thai takeaway & delivery available on Menulog and make your choice from there.
  • Put through your order and make a payment: Once you’ve selected the dishes, simple press the “place your order button”. BTW the delivery fee was only $3! Payment can be make via credit card or paypal. I uesd paypal so there’s no need to type in all the digital numbers.
  • Receive confirmation: Menulog will give you an order number and clear instructions as to what to expect until your order is delivered to you once the payment is done. You’ll then receive email and SMS confirmation of your order.
  • Yummy dinner to be delivered to your door! The good thing about Menulog online ordering is that you can place your order even when the restaurant is closed. There’s no need to wait until the restaurant of your choice is open. Thai on Wok open at 5pm. I placed my order at 3pm for the food to be delivered on 6pm. At 5.58pm, my door bell rung:) And there was the driver with containers of yummy Thai at my door step. How good was that!

Food was delicious as always from Thai on Wok and the price we order through Menulog was the same as we were ordering directly from the restaurants. That night J and I  finished our dinner while watch TV with the heater on, full and content. You know the rest of the story – I was hooked from then on. Order food delivery online, way to go:).








So I need to get my healthy food shopping list ready for 2014. If “You are what you eat” is true, I’ll be white rice and soy sauce. I’ve been living with my mum for the past year. And mum’s cooking consists of white rice, white flour and soy sauce in everything for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This year I’m going to “eat the rainbow”, not just black soy sauce and white rice. I’ll eat a broad mix of different colored fruit and vegetables to scoop up a good mix of antioxidants and other nutrients. The whole year round. This is for sure going to be a challenge as I can easily win “the most inconsistent person” title. Sticking to something all the time is just not in my blood naturally. But I’ll put this mission out there to make eating healthy food my habit for 2014, hopefully for life too.

Followed by my 16 healthy snack ideas, here’s my

Healthy Food Shopping List As A Start:

1. Salmon among other oily fish such as tuna, blue eye travealla, sardines, blue mackerel.

Healthy Food Shopping List salmonI’ll try to eat oily fish at least twice a week.

Why: keep heart healthy. Omega – 3s can help prevent the development of heart disease.

How: Grill salmon for dinner, raw sashimi.

2. Peaches

Why: Good for strengthening the skin, and fiber for improving bowel and heart health. Peaches also act as antioxidants which may help to prevent cancer.

How: Snack or salad meal

3. Yoghurt

Healthy Food Shopping List yoghurt

Why: Maintaining and building ( I know it’s a bit to late to build now:)) bone strength. Yoghurt is a fantastic source of protein and calcium. It can also help keeping healthy tummy bacteria.

How: Breakfast, snack or dessert.

4. Tomatoes

Healthy Food Shopping List tomatoes

Why: prevention of heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers.

How: snack on a punnet of cherry tomatoes, salad, stir fry with eggs, soup.

5. Blueberries, apples and prunes

Healthy Food Shopping List blueberriesWhy: Rich in antioxidant and delicious!

How: Snack, salad, eat with yoghurt for breakfast.

6. Citrus fruit

Healthy Food Shopping List citrus fruit

Why: A good source of vitamin C, B9, fiber and a range of protective antioxidants.

How: Snack or salad.

7. Cucumber:

Healthy Food Shopping List cumcumbers

Why: A beautifying food. High water content. They help to flush out toxins.

How: snack, salad

8. Celery

Healthy Food Shopping List celery


Why: Low-carbohydrate, protein. Helps to reduce high blood pressure.  Celery does not lose any nutritional value when cooked. Drinking celery juice throughout the day helps to curb your cravings for rich and sweet foods.

How: Celery juice, stir fry, salad.

9. Spinach:

Healthy Food Shopping List English Spinach

Why: High nutritional value and rich in antioxidants.

How: Steam, stir fry or soup.

10. Broccoli

Healthy Food Shopping List broccoli

Why: High levels of fiber and is a rich source of vitamin C.

How: Steam, stir fry.

Alright, I won’t loose my shopping list this time – it’s on the internet. What new habit do you want to have in year 2014?

It’s become a necessity for me to search for healthy snack ideas lately. I have a huge appetite and eat all the time.

At the moment, I eat big portions for main meals. For main meals we ate lots of meat and seafood but hardly any vegetables. There are chocolate, ice-cream and chips in stock at home so we can snack on anytime (mainly after dinner). There are fruits too but I rarely eat them.

10 kgs have piled on me in the last 2 years due to my free style eating habit and minimum exercise. Though not overweight, I don’t feel good. I feel sleepy after big meals and I can see my double chin, floppy arms and layers of juicy fat around my waist and tummy. Sorry, what waist? I don’t have one.

Oh how I miss feeling good.

Thankfully, it’s not too late to change my eating habit yet.

So here’s the plan. I need to increase fruit and vegetable intake and snack in between meals. Forget about snack bars and fancy dips. I’m just going to snack on raw everything so that I know what I’m eating exactly. But don’t worry. Raw meat is not on the snack menu. I’m trying to pick 16 tasty foods for my healthy snack ideas. All of them are packed with nutrients and easily available from my local super market.


One apple a day, doctors away. Is that true? Well, we have test the theory:). They are delicious and full of health benefits. So it’s a yes.healthy snack idears -apple



Low in fat and cholesterol, bananas are yummy and sweet. Yes.

bananas - Healthy Snack Ideas


Kiwi Fruit

High in Vitamin C and a great source of fiber. Great for digestive health. Yes!

kiwi - Healthy Snack Ideas


Historians believe peaches originated in China where they were first mentioned in writings dating back to the 10th century. No wonder peaches are regarded the symbol of longevity in China. They are sweet and full of nutrients with few calories and no fat. It’s a yes!

peaches -Healthy Snack Ideas




Grape fruit

Grape fruit has a bitty taste that initially put me off (Yeah, I only liked sweet and fatty stuff). But after reading more about grape fruits, I started to eat more of it and  like the taste. So, grape fruit  helps to change skin complexion and increase the body’s metabolic rate. The pulp and fiber of grapefruits provide aids for bowel movements and reduce chances of colon cancer. What’s not to love about grape fruit? It’s a big yes!

grape fruit - Healthy Snack Ideas


Yes, technically they are a group of foods. That are blue berries, raspberries, strawberries, black berries, cranberries… We all know they are naturally high in antioxidant. And mostly, they are so tasty and refreshing! I love all types of berries. So it’s definitely a yes:).

Healthy Snack Ideas blueberry

Water melon

Love water melon. Sweet and juicy, water melon has high nutritive value. It’s also so fun to eat. I recently heard that 1 water melon is the equivalent of 6 bowls of rice because of the high sugar content. But it only possess natural sugar not the harmful type. Besides, who will snack a whole water melon! So it is still a yes.

Healthy Snack Ideas watermelon


One of the citrus fruits, oranges provide a healthy dose of Vitamin C, which is vital for the proper function of a healthy immune system. Juicy and delicious, it’s an easy yes.

Healthy Snack Ideas oragnes

Rock melon

A wonderful source of dietary fiber, vitamin C and antioxidant,  rock melon has also been linked to regulation heart beat. Most people love its taste too. Yes please.

Healthy Snack Ideas rock melon


From memory, I consumed one and half Papayas so far in my life. Obviously it’s far from enough. According to research, papaya is also rich in fiber and low in  calories. The antioxidants in papaya help in controlling premature ageing. Who would say no? It’s a yes for me.

Healthy Snack Ideas papaya


Pears are an extraordinary source of dietary fiber when the skin is eaten along with the flesh. Pears are also an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin E, both powerful antioxidants and essential nutrients. Yes!

pears Healthy Snack Ideas


Once again, I’m talking about a group of foods. Nuts are high in health-promoting fats that help regulate blood cholesterol. Nuts also a good source of dietary fiber and provide a wide range of essential nutrients. Just need to make sure I stick to the raw nuts from now on.

nuts - Healthy Snack Ideas


Seeds are not just bird’s food. They come in different colors and shapes and mostly are are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Note to self: stick to raw seeds to snack.



Celery doesn’t sound exciting and it has a particular taste that  a  lot people don’t like. But celery is an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. Do you know it’s also excellent in preventing bad breath?

Munching on celery is helpful in scrubbing bacteria from the back of the tongue and cleaning the teeth. Oh yes!

celery - Healthy Snack Ideas


Cucumber doesn’t sound like an exciting snack idea either. cucumber is a little blend for some people’s liking. But I must add it due to its health benefits. Cucumber keeps you hydrated and suppliers skin friendly minerals. I like the fresh taste of it and will snack on it more often. So yes! 


Carrots are known to be good for the overall health and specially organs like the skin, eyes, digestive system.  Do you know carrots were first grown as medicine, not food? I love carrot juice but will start to snack on raw carrots too. Yes!

carrots - Healthy Snack Ideas


So there concludes my list of 16 Top Foods For Healthy Snack Ideas.

You reckon this will be enough for me to snack on for now? I’ll try not to finish everything in one go! Promise:).

healthy snack ideas

What about this snack idea for guests? Cute, tasty and healthy. I’m sure you’ll be a popular host:).

Healthy Snack Ideas

Have you ever thought about health benefits of pistachios before? I haven’t until recently.

Health Benefits Of PistachiosLove Pistachios nuts. Tasty and wrapped in shells. That’s something addictive and comforting about eating pistachios. Besides, I’m not that super health conscious, calorie counting kind of girl. Even if pistachios are not very good for health, I might still keep eating them. But make no mistake, Pistachios actually have bags of nutritional benefits, according scientific research. I’m happy to report the ones I found most important:

5 Key Health Benefits Of Pistachios

Good for your eyes

Pistachios are the only nuts that contain reasonable amounts of Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These two antioxidants play an important role in protecting the eyes. They may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of blindness among elderly.

Keeping Hormones balanced

Pistachios are especially rich in Vitamin B6, which is important for keeping hormones balanced and healthy. For the ones with problem periods, pistachios are a good option.

Low in Calories

Here’s some good news. Pistachios are considered the best nuts for your diet. Pistachio nut is dubbed the “skinny” nut because each has only three calories. The lowest-calorie nuts at 160 per ounce are almonds (23 nuts; 6 grams protein, 14 grams fat); cashews (16 to 18 nuts; 5 grams protein, 13 grams fat); and pistachios (49 nuts; 6 grams protein, 13 grams fat).

Good for your skin

Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol (contain about 23g per 100g). vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that offer protection from harmful oxygen-free radicals. Vitamin E helps skin retain moisture and is often added to sunscreens because it protects the skin against UVB damage.

Contain potassium and fibre

Pistachios contain postassium and fibre more than three times that supplied by the equivalent weigh of plums. fiber and Potassium are nutrients required by the human body to maintain optimal health. Fiber helps move solid waste easily from the body. Potassium helps conduct electricity in the body, plays a role in skeletal and muscle function, and maintains heart and lung function.

There are many other health benefits of pistachios but there’s no need for me to list them all, right? Oh wait. I forgot about the most important health benefit of pistachios: they make me happy. Out of all types of different nuts, pistachios are definitely my favorite. It’s even more fun to eat pistachios since I discovered Wonderful Pistachios.

Pistachios Range[1] Wonderful Pistachios  Sweet Chili, Salt & Pepper, Roasted & Salted and Unsalted.

Look at the packages, aren’t they stylish? It you judge nuts by the cover, they’ll certainly pass your test. Not to mention there are so many flavours to choose from – Sweet Chili, Salt & Pepper, Roasted & Salted and Unsalted. I personal like all these four flavours. With J’s help, it didn’t take much effort to finish a whole pack, very quickly.

Health Benefits Of Pistachios

If you like pistachios but are super strict with what you eat, then the roasted unsalted would be your choice.

I’m rushing to Coles (also available in Woolworths) to get more of those Wonderful Pistachios now. What is better for guests during this festive season?

When they come I’d bring drinks together with pistachios.

And at the second they started to snack on them, I’d say, “they are very good for you too. Merry Christmas.”

Food waste in Australia is a serious issue.

Did you know? Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase. Have you bought fresh vegetables with all the good intention to cook them one day but eventually left them rotten in the fridge? I’m guilty as charged.

But wait, that’s not the only area of food waste in Australia. Look around the produce section in our supermarkets. Notice how well presented the fresh fruits and vegetables are? Almost all of the red delicious apples are of the same size, blemish free with pretty labels on each one of them. Without thinking we take it for granted that all of our fruits and veggies are equally good looking. But there are cosmetic imperfect fruits and veggies that don’t make it on to the supermarket shelves. Often they get discarded if there’s no other use of them. Believe it or not –  even food is judged by its cover in our modern society. While so many people in less fortunate counties are still suffering from starvation, good food is being wasted without hesitation right here in this lucky country.

Help Fight Food Waste In Australia. Think Before You Throw.

Those are the messages OzHarvest trying to send out through Feed The 5000 event held at Martin Place, Sydney on Monday 29 July.

For the first time ever in Sydney, there’s such thing as free lunch for general public. Sydney’s top chefs along with hundreds of OzHarvest volunteers united against food waste and served up a free meal to 5000 members of the public at Martin Place in Sydney.

Fight Food Waste In Australia


Actually, more than 5000 people were fed during Feeding The 5000 organised by OzHarvest, one of Australia’s leading food-rescue organisations. They rescue quality excess food and redistributed it at no cost, to more than 500 other charities and welfare agencies. The event is part of a global initiative in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program which aims to raise awareness about saving food and encouraging everyone to produce less wastage.

All food served at the lunch – from vegetable curry to soup to dessert and lemonade – are made from ingredients sourced from farms, manufacturers and back-yard gardens that would otherwise have been discarded. Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore declared the event open and many other familiar faces appeared to help fighting food waste in Australia on the day.

Fight Food Waste In Australia

ft5 public

Fight Food Waste In Australia

TV presenter Peter Overton serving food to public among volunteers.

fight food waste in Australia

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore declared Feed The 5000 open.

Just accompanied her husband, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to the war zone over the weekend, Therese Rein was back in Sydney addressing Feed The 5000 together with OzHarvest CEO Ronni Hahn.

Fight Food Waste In Australia

Therese Rein with OzHarvest CEO Ronni Hahn.

The whole premise of the exercise is that there is enough food in this world to feed all of us. If only the Western World wasn’t so wasteful.

Let us not waste food.

Because. Fresh, not so good looking food is crying out: “I cook better than I look.”

Think before you throw.

new shanhai restaurant ashfield

We’ve been regulars to New Shanghai restaurant in Ashfield for many years. New Shanghai Restaurant started out in my memory as this rather small, cramped restaurant that was in need of a lot of TLC. Chipped bowls and cups and almost non existent customer service. But we love their great food choice, the value for money and most importantly, their consistently delicious food. J used to be the only non-Asian customer eating in the restaurant 99.9% of the time. But he didn’t mind it at all: “It’s a good sign, you know. Food here must be really authentic.”

That’s true. New Shanghai restaurant in Ashfield has really tasty food… and cheap. Eating out in this Sydney inner west suburb is not expensive at all. There is a row of restaurants on that street serving traditional Shanghainese dishes at relatively cheap prices. We’ve tried every single one of them, but New Shanghai restaurant is the one that we keep going back to. They just cook better. We always order a bit of everything whenever we eat there. Why not:)? For 50$ two people can have a feast, even a doggy bag or two.

new shanhai restaurant ashfield


Stir fried bean spouts

Drunken chicken - Chicken soaked in Chinese wine with herb & spice

Drunken chicken – Chicken marinated in Chinese wine with herb & spice

We couldn’t remember its name for years. Every restaurant on that street has Shanghai in their names. And they all looked similar from the appearance. Believe me, it was quite hard to tell which is which. But New Shanghai Restaurant in Ashfield used to have a large glass window at the back of the restaurant showing staff working in the kitchen making buns and dumplings. That made it a bit easier for us to remember.


Newly renovated restaurant, still has big glass window on the side showing staff making dumplings.

You know what? Many people like us must have also remembered the good food or that big glass window at the back. Queues to get in New Shanghai restaurant got longer and longer. At times the waiting time was too much for us and we’d just go somewhere else. It’s been in the news lately, that a lot Sydney fine dinning restaurants went out of business in recent years. But don’t blame it solely the economy. Dinners are getting much smarter nowadays. Posh looking restaurants serving expensive, average food just won’t cut it any more. During the same period of time New Shanghai restaurant has opened a couple of more branches in Sydney. The original New Shanghai restaurant in Ashfield formally expanded its floor space and went through a full renovation last year.


Renovated interior, styled like a Chinese house in the old days.


Expended New Shanghai restaurant with new signs.

Even though New Shanghai Restaurant in Ashfield isn’t the closest to me, I still prefer eating at New Shanghai Ashfield simply because it has the biggest menu. There are more tasty dishes available in New Shanghai ashfield, like Fujian fried rice, pork and egg congee, Beijing style pork spare ribs. Yes, that’s right, New Shanghai Ashfield doesn’t just serve Shanghainese dishes.

Ashfield New Shanghai Restaurant Address:

273 Liverpool Rd
Ashfield, NSW 2131


Favorite dishes of all time:

  • Drunken chicken – Chicken marinated in Chinese wine with herbs & spices
  • Hot, spicy & sour soup with shredded pork and bean curd
  • Stir fried sting bean with dried shrimps & soy sauce
  • Pan Fried pork buns
  • Steamed mini pork buns
  • Beijing style pork spare ribs

I’ve put a few of our favorite dishes in bullet points rather than explaining the taste and look in details. Thinking or writing about these yummy, unpretentious dishes makes me hungry. All I can say is that I could finish the whole plate of Drunken chicken(refer to 3 picture from the top) less the skin all by myself, very quickly. You’ll just have to go and find out how good it is yourself.

New Shanghai on Urbanspoon

Brazilian buffet in Sydney has been on my must-eat list for a while. Yes, in case you wonder, I do have a must-eat list.

The perk of living in Darling Harbor area is that there are always lots of places to eat out, including one Brazilian Buffet restaurant. We went to Braza Darling Harbor for Sylwia’s birthday last Sunday, during the Australia Day long weekend.

The restaurant setting is very pleasant and we were sitting at one of the tables outside. It was an otherwise rainy and gloomy looking day but good company, nice food and plenty of alcohol did the trick. Everybody was happy and upbeat. A couple of dishes later, I started to regret having had breakfast that morning.

OK. Let’s do lunch.

Brazilian Buffet In Sydney

Brazilian Buffet In Sydney

Brazilian Buffet In Sydney

If you go… There are a few things you need to know about Brazilian Buffet in Sydney:

1. Those are not colorful salt and pepper shakers.

Brazilian Buffet In Sydney

They are indicators to the waiter so that they know whether or not to continue serving you food.

Green end on top means: I’m hungry. Bring it on!:)

Both ends lying on the table means: I’m almost done, slow down.

Red end on top means: No more for me, thank you.

2. Wait for BBQ meats come to you & order your side dishes.

Brazilian Buffet In Sydney

There’s a menu, which shows you the BBQ selection and side dishes. Large skewers of meats and racks of ribs will come to your table repeatedly but you need to order your own side dishes, as many as you wish. Have all you can eat, for $47. That’s the deal.

3. It’s not all about meat.

There are other dishes like fish of the day wrapped in banana leaves, BBQ peeled prawns, pineapple, chicken hearts on skewers and exotic cheese too. Eating hearts somehow sounded cruel too me but out of curiosity, I tried chicken hearts the first time. They are actually quite tasty (we carnivores are terrible creatures).

4. Occasionally you get the salty batch.

The foods there are generally very tasty, especially at the beginning when you still have a good appetite. But be mindful of the large chunks of salt on the surface of the meat. It can be really salty depends which part you get, unless you love salt.

5. Larger Pure Blond.

Braza has a very impressive bar and there’s a large selection of drinks to choose from. If you are cheap drunk like me, getting drunk after one glass, share your Pure Blond with someone else. Braza serves larger bottles of Pure Blond. They are 700ml bottles not your average 355ml ones.

Brazilian Buffet In Sydney

Top pick of the day:

“What did you like the most after eating for hours?” You might ask. If I ever go again, I’ll have these for sure:

  • Rocket salad

The mixed citrus, rocket leaves, beetroot and nuts make it a perfectly delicious and healthy dish. Did I say it’s not all about meat?

  • Pineapple

Those cooked pineapples are delightful.  “YES please” was our only reaction every time they came around.

  • Beef ribs

Very tasty and not tough at all.

I was looking forward to pork ribs. But the waiter cut me a very small piece, which mainly consists of 2 chunks of bones. They never came over for the second round.

  • Pork neck

The meat is juicy and tender.Tastier than pork leg in my opinion.

  • Dirty Granny Apple Cider

Refreshing, crisp with just the right amount of sweetness.

So that’s all I can say about my Brazilian buffet experience in Sydney. Now if you excuse me, I’m going out for lunch.


Braza - Darling Harbour on Urbanspoon

A few years ago, some one asked me this question: “What does Australia Day mean to you?” Immediately I replied: “ A day off.” Blunt, but these were words of truth from an exhausted employee.

On a serious note though, I always look forward to Australia Day, not merely because it is a public holiday. Australia Day to me is all about relaxation and celebration.

Australia Day is on January 26 and commemorates the establishment of the first settlement at port Jackson, now part of Sydney, in 1788.

There are a list of typical Aussie things to do on the Australia Day such as:

Have a picnic in the park.
Have a cold beer or a few.
Have an Australia Day BBQ.
Watch the Cricket.

If you want to go out and about, I would highly recommend these 3 things to do On the Australia Day in Sydney even if you are just in town for a short visit.

  • Go to The Australia Day Carnivale

Sydney hosted its first motoring celebration on Australia Day in 1986. Since then Australia Day Carnivale has been a tradition on this special day. Not interested in cars? But those are NOT just ordinary cars.  One of the largest vehicle displays in the southern hemisphere, Australia Day Carnivale offers a large range of vintage and classic cars, high performance and luxury vehicles vintage buses and trucks for show. Have a look, are they the coolest (my mobile phone camera was smudged as usual. Note to self: Remember to wipe the lens before taking photos).

Australia Day Carnivale

Super cars

Australia Day Carnival

While I was snapping with my phone camera, J delved into great details:

bbk (1 of 1)

Location: Macquarie St (Bridge St to Hyde Park), College St

Time: 10am – 5 pm

  • Have The Most Authentic/Tasty Laksa In Sydney

What? Having Laksa on Australia Day? Yes. Why not :). Australia is a multicultural country. Having a bowl of Laksa on Australia Day might be the best way to embrace it;). Maylay -Chinese Takeaway has the reputation of have Sydney’s Best Laksa (Sydney Morning Herald). It is only minutes away from the Australia Day Carnivale. Lucky for us, it is open on Saturday and this public holiday. The menu was full of tempting options and the most expensive dish was only $12.5. Of course, there were lots of people in the restaurant. Waning: Don’t follow others to put lots of that chilly source in your soup. It (the chilly source) is hot stuff.


Eat in – King Prawn Laksa

Shop 1, 50-58 Hunter St, Sydney NSW 2000
(Closest intersection Bligh St/ Castlereagh St.)

  • Experience The Darling Harbor Spectacular

The Darling Harbor Australia Day Spectacular is a stunning multimedia symphony of light and music, culminating in a fireworks extravaganza over Cockle Bay, Darling Harbor. It runs from 7pam  – 9pm on the day. The night was nothing short of spectacular. Being a local resident, I have never seen Darling Harbor so packed. Every inch of Darling Harbor was covered by people. There was no point to take any photos of the extraordinary fireworks of the night unless  you have a special reserved spot allowing enough space for a tripod. I don’t think any camera could really capture the moment to its full extend. All I can say is Music + Fireworks on water + Light +cheering crowd = Magical moments.

Next time if someone asks me what does Australia Day mean to me, I might just say: Magic.




Kate Moss famously said ‘Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels’. I’ve never been that skinny so I am not sure how good being skinny feels. All I know is how good it feels having good food. London Borough Market is like a food heaven to me. It is a treat just to wonder around and look at the exquisite produce on offer, if you love good, fresh and sometimes exotic food from all over the world.

London’s oldest market, Borough Market could be traced back to the middle ages. It is now located on the Southward Street and Borough High Street just south of Southwark Cathedral on the southern end of London Bridge.  The day we went was a Saturday. London’s weather truly lived up to its reputation, tricky summer, that is. The day started mild and dry, then the rain came, then the thunder storm… It rained like it never rained before most of the day, which made it a perfect day out under the cover of Borough Market, eating and drinking.

Feeling good… ready to eat… A LOTYep, it was raining:Feeling  hungry:Cheeeeesssse:Thought I’ve seen bread before until this one appeared:While I was busy eating J kept on shooting:

Tastiest scallops, with the orange bits on.. If you like seafood, don’t miss out on this!

Just out side Borough Market, there’s this coffee shop that everybody goes to. The queue to get in was long and there was no available seat to be found inside on the weekend. The coffee was a bit too strong for my liking but obviously I was the minority there. And it was a nice surprise to see London Olympic torch…

The Olympics torch inside Monmouth

How to get there:

Address: 8 Southwark Street, London.

It is extremely easy to get to Borough market by public transport. Just get off at London Bridge whether you are taking a bus, underground or train.

Borough market open hours is: Thu 11am-5pm, Fri 12pm-6pm, Sat 8am-5pm (retail food section).

Danke Schön (thank you) is the only German I could speak. It pays to be polite… most of the time. You see, it’s always good to learn saying “thank you” first, even before “hello”. When you say “hello” to someone in a foreign country, people might expect you to say something more after the initial greeting. When you have nothing else to say, it’s kind of embarrassing. If you can only say “thank you”, people would understand that you are just a tourist trying hard to speak their language.

We hired a car to drive around and see more of Germany. Before I forget where we went and get all the places and pictures mixed up, I’d better write down the route that we drove through in Germay: Kolgne – Unna – Dortmund – Warburg – Gottingen – Leipzig – Chemnitz – Dobeln –Dresdon.

There are some places I really want to write a bit more about when I’m more settled. Here’s just a brief summary of Germany trip while I’m getting myself organised.


Cologne was talked about in this blog: Cologne Highlights.


Unna is a very pretty, peaceful German town with cute sculptures on the street.

Unna Germany

Unna Germany


We went to Dortmund to catch up with our old friends. The first place they took us was this lake, where it used to be a factory. The only thing remains from the factory today is this huge machinery. Kind of cool huh?

This lake used to be a factory.

dourtmund germany


Warburg is oh so pretty, yet an even more peaceful small town. So peaceful that I felt like disturbing it by simply being a visitor. We stopped by Warburg on a Sunday. The whole town stopped for Sunday mass. There was not even one moving car on the street. Every body was at the mass near the church. Nobody, literally, nobody was on any other street.

Warburg Germany

See what I mean? Quiet quiet streets everywhere else on Sunday.


What can I say? Most of German towns are just so picturesque. We stayed in Gottingen for a couple of days and went a bit multinational … from a grand Vietnamese restaurant (always empty, took 45 minutes to serve some bland pho soup) to expensive steak in old town center to a busy African restaurant served hearty food. The African restaurant won our final vote.

Gottingen germany

Gettingen Germany


First German town we visited during this trip that used to be part of Eastern Germany. Fairly large in size, Leipzig boasts a few fairytale looking buildings, big shopping center and a bit hmmm… chocolate.

Lepzik Germany


Sorry karl, your home town is the least attractive German town I’ve visited. There are ugly, grey, square buildings and huge smoking chimneys everywhere in the city. I couldn’t help but feeling sorry for these beautiful, run down old period buildings that are about to collapse. Karl Marx’s gigantic head sculpture scored the top spot on our turist attraction list.


Street in the city center of Chemnitz. Though not pretty, it is clean. Definitely not popular with tourists.



Dobeln is a gem. I have so much more to say about this wonderfully beautiful town later on. But for the time being, have a little sneak peak of the photos of Dobeln… Isn’t it the prettiest?


Doblen town center germany


Having a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Kings of Saxony, Dresdon is grand. That was the first time I had this one shoulder top on, since I bought it in a Sydney boutique in 1999. Somehow it managed to avoid being thrown out, donated or gifted over the years and ended up in my suitcase to Europe. Now it’s back to life!

Dresdon Germany



Dresdon Germany

Shortly after this gorgeous trip to Germany, we are already making plans to go back next year. When I do visit again, for sure I’ll have lots of bratwust and hopefully still remember how to say: Danke Schön!


A few years ago, I went to this fancy restaurant in Toronto for business dinner with a group of people from all over the world. The restaurant staff came to our table, specially recommended “Australia Barramundi and red wine from south Australia”. I couldn’t help but laugh inside. Yep, as if I flew all the way from Sydney Australia to Canada for Australia Barramundi and wine. But lets’s say that recommendation make me a little proud of being an adopted Australian.

A few days ago, I went to Four Points Darling Harbor with a group of friends. From the a la carte menu I picked the Jewish. That piece of fish was somehow half raw. As I was wondering if they have invented a new way of cooking, my friend complained.

That led me to this recipe. I decided to cook Barramundi at home, the Australian way!

For the record, I refuse to spend too much time cooking cause I’m kind of lazy. Trust me, this dish was super easy to cook.

Main Ingredients, serve for 2 people:
  • 2 Australian Barramundi portions, skin on
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon, cut into wedges
  • Mixed salad leaves

How to make Tomato Caper Vinaigrette:

  • 1 ripe tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoons baby capers
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper  to taste
Ready to cook? Follow the simply steps:
  1. Combine tomatoes, capers, parsley, vinegar/lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl. Add salt and pepper, mix and set aside.
  2. Pat fish dry with paper towel, add a small amount of oil, salt and pepper to the skin side only.
  3. Using a non-stick fry pan cook fish skin side down on a medium high heat for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to hold fish sown for 30 seconds to ensure the skin is in contact with the fry pan.
  4. Turn fish and continue cooking on  a medium heat until just cooked.
  5. Serve fish with mixed salad leaves and a wedge of lemon. Spoon tomato caper vinaigrette over the top of the fish.
That night J and I fished all the Barramundi, feeling full and content.



Naturally I’m the adventurous, reckless type. For the sake of curiosity, I wouldn’t hesitate to travel to places where most people consider dangerous. Try different food. Try different career paths. Go out with different type of people. Dye my hair to different hair colors… But as I grow order (OMG, can’t believe once upon a time I couldn’t wait to grow up!), things have changed.  Suddenly I have a list. An old favorite list.  A list of things like my favorite local Thai restaurant, my favorite gardener when I need something basic to be done, my favorite tailor, my favorite website designer, my favorite handbag brand, my favorite seafood shop in Sydney fish market for mud crabs… I’m still open to adventures but for certain things I stick to my list.  Because I know that way, I won’t get nasty surprises.  Vapiano is my new favorite restaurant when I want satisfying – safe food away from home.

Has it ever happened to you? You were new in town. You wanted to eat out but had no idea which restaurant to go to. You finally picked one to try your luck. The food was awful and you thought even Macca’s was better than that. It happens to me less since I found Vapiano.

Vapiano is a German fresh casual restaurant chain offering Italian food. The concept is to “offer a dining experience that combines fast food and a more extravagant experience.” They are not your usually type of sit and order restaurants. The food was made to order and you get to watch the whole process. Every dinner get a chip card to be waved in front of the bar counter when ordering food and drink. When the dinner is finished, the card is waved in front of the register and the bill appears on the screen.

The best thing I like about Vapiano is the freshness of the food. You order your dish from the pizza or pasta bar, they cook your meal right in front of you. There are many different kinds of freshly cooked pasta in plastic containers, right behind the chef. You pick the pasta/pizza you like and tell the chef what ingredients/toppings you want from the menu. You watch they cook while waiting in line. You take your dish to the dinning table and pick fresh herbs from the pots on your table. I thought that is the cutest idea.

It’s a great place to catch up with friends in a relaxed atmosphere. We had dinner one day with friends at Vapiano Dortmund. It was packed. You’ll undertand after you try… freshly cooked, tasty Italian food for just around 6- 9 euros. Why wouldn’t it be popular? And the tea bottles are so pretty that I want to take them all home.

The good thing in Europe is you get these hop on hop off bicycle racks everywhere. The first half hour is free. Talk about convenience!

There are lots of Vapiano all over the world. I haven’t been to the ones in QLD and Melbourne. There isn’t any Vapiano in Sydney yet. I wonder if that has something to do with the ridiculously high rent and labor cost in Sydney. Luckily I don’t really need one close to home.  If you ever have trouble finding a good, reliable eating place my friend, look out for Vapiano.

Don’t ever skip breakfast; it is the most important meal of the day!

~ Yes mum.

Don’t have cold food in the morning. It’s not good for your stomach!

~ Alright mum.

Make sure you buy fresh food everyday!

~ Ok mum, I’ll try.

 And don’t forget…

~ Yes and yes, mum! I’ve got to go, bye!

No matter how old I am, mum always loves telling me what to do. Since we live in different countries, she’s particularly worried about what I eat. Sometimes I could get a little offended, like, I’ve been living in Sydney for more than 15 years now, my mum still thinks I’m not capable of looking after myself? But hey, remember, mum always has the best intention. Note to self:

  1. Mum is always right.
  2. It is good have a warm, big breakfast to kick start your day.

I love exploring different places around the world. The perk of travelling is, someone else will cook me breakfast and there’s no need to clean up afterwards!

Tamanu On The Beach restaurant is the only beachfront fine dining restaurant in Vanuatu.  This eggs benedict with smoked salmon was divine.

It’s on a tropical island so there are always plenty of fresh flowers and fruits.

My coffee after the big breakfast was tasty and sweet looking:).

J took this photo of me while I was having my coffee and checking messages. What I love about it is that the photo was so nature, no make up, no posing. Who said you have to smile to the camera?:).

I haven’t been blogging for nearly a week, mainly because I’m among the happiest people on earth(aka people in Vanuatu).

One really doesn’t think much of Internet, television or phone, when the sunset is this amazing…

McDanald’s won’t be in one’s mind either when freshly cooked seafood is served on the deck of your cottage…

Very often, you get visitors like this:

Life is full of precious moment. Embrace it.

This time I didn’t forget to take photos before eating as I wanted to be able to remind myself  later how lucky we were. Vanuatu has been voted the happiest country in the world. It’s also a country without McDanald’s. I guess it doesn’t need one.

Extremely impressed with the picturesque historical towns, superbly clean streets and endless shoe shops in Germany, we even managed to get a speeding fine in a country that normally doesn’t have speed limits. Our Journey in Germany started from Cologne. If you only intend to stay in Cologne for 2-3 days, here are a few things you could try.

Cologne, view from Hilton

Cologne Dom

We were lucky to have an awesome view of the Cologne Dom tower from our hotel room in Hilton. Cologne Dom is a splendid Roman cathedral and heart of the metropolis on the Rhine. And yes, it only took 600 something years to complete.  On the second day in Cologne, I got to see the impressive panorama from the cathedral tower across the city and Rhine on the top of Cologne Dom though in order to do that we had to climb 533 narrow, winding steps first.  Honestly at one stage I felt the climbing was never going to end and it was becoming increasingly hot battling with traffic (lots of people going up and down) on the narrow stair case inside an old cathedral. But the view from the top was rewarding. On the way to the viewing platform, we walked pass the St Peters bell, the largest freely swinging church bell in the world weighting 24,000 kg. I’m still wondering how could this bell swing being so huge and heavy?


This is the view from the top:cologne

Kolsch and Roast Pork Knuckle

In the heart of Cologne city, just a few steps from the cathedral is the old town where you can always find authentic German food and enjoy the famous local beer in Cologne, Kolsch. Kolsh is a beautifully refreshing warm- weather beer normally served in skinny glasses. Its pleasantly fruity and slightly bitter taste goes perfectly well with roast port knuckle, one of my favorite Germany/ East European dishes. You know, the roast port knuckle with golden brown crispy, crackly skin attached and fell-off-the -bone tender meat. Finding nicely cooked pork knuckle however is a bit of a hit and miss. We finally found it at Peters Brauhaus in the old town. Sorry I didn’t take any pictures, couldn’t wait to start eating and drinking.

Pretzels and Berliners

They are on the list  because they are huge. And everywhere. And surrounded by massive bees.


Cologne is one of the most popular cities for shopping. We were told that there are people who make special trips to Cologne just to stroll and shop on the most popular shopping streets Schidergasse, Hohe Strabe and others. Apparently Schidergasse is the number one shopping street in Europe. Its highlight is the weltstadthaus, which resembles a huge glass whale. Inside the glass whale is a gigantic, multilevel shopping centre with a sea of clothing and shoes.. more clothing and shoes.. You guessed it, more shoes.

Below left, view of the glass whale shopping center from Cathedral Tower.

Whenever you are tired of shopping, stop to have a cup of coffee. Or have a pretzel, they are everywhere.