Showing posts with label Yummy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yummy. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Royal Cuisine: Jihwaja 지화자 , A Taste of Joseon Dynasty

With over 5000 years of history, royal cuisine is the essence of Korean food culture having been passed down by word of mouth of court cooks and royal descendants as well as the records written on royal feast. Royal cuisine was prepared by the best cooks in the court with quality ingredients sourced from across the country. Having reached its peak during Joseon Dynasty, there are still 7 traditional restaurants in today serving the royal cuisine that has been inherited over generations so that more people can enjoy the taste and art of royal cuisine. We decided on Jihwaja, which was the first restaurant specialising in royal cuisine in the country. 
The entrance to Jihwaja.
Directions to Jihwaja
There are a couple of ways to get there:
By Subway
* Alight at Anguk Station, Exit #5 and walk for 50m straight to SK Hub Plaza. Jihwaja is located on the first floor of the building. 
* Alight at Gyeongbokgung Station, Exit #3. Go straight for 1.2km, approx 20 min walk. Jihwaja is located on the left side of the street.
By Bus
* Gyeonggisanggo High School bus stop, green bus: 1711, 7016 and 7018. 
We reached slightly ahead of our reservation timing, so we ventured into the mini gallery next door which documents the history of Jihwaja and the founder, Master Hwang Hae-Sung. The late Master Hwang Hae-Sung, was appointed master of royal culinary art when the Joseon Dynasty royal cuisine was proclaimed part of the Important Intangible Cultural Properties of Korea (no.38). Jihwaja is run by the family and her daughter, Han Bok Ryeo is also known for her commitment to the culinary tradition. 
Posing on the Eojwa (the King's royal throne during the Joseon Dynasty) with Irworobongdo, a Korean folding screen with the landscape painting of a sun and moon with five peaks. The sun and moon symbolise the king and the queen while the five peaks denotes a mythical place. 
We were greeted by this gigantic porcelain vase when we stepped into the restaurant. We were then shown to our table at a little corner, giving us a lot of privacy for picture taking. 
A place card which detailed about the history of royal cuisine, as well as the founders of Jihwaja. 
Leecher kept saying that he is Jeonha (전하) aka King since this is a meal fit for a king. 
For appetizers, we had pumpkin soup, water kimchi and also, sauteed vegetables wrapped in pancakes and cucumber-stuffed dumpling. The pumpkin soup was so good and sweet. My first try at mulkimchi and the broth tasted so refreshing. The veggie wrap was really chewy and needless to say, they are delicious yet healthy. 
The highlight of the day - the royal casserole with vegetables and meat. I was talking to the server when I got startled by the fire and she was, in turn startled by me. 
The royal cuisine are very healthy and nutritious as they are prepared with only natural ingredients and royal culinary techniques, without using any MSG, artificial flavours or additives. As the server was explaining the dishes, I had a vision of Dae Jang Geum (大长今) preparing my dishes at the back of my mind. 
This was indeed a meal fit for a king for we struggled to finish all the dishes placed in front of us which included the casserole, glass noodles with sauteed vegetables and several other seasonal delicacies. 
We finished off the meal with dessert and tea.
We were lucky that the chef came out of the kitchen to greet the customers, so we took the opportunity to take picture with her and also, thanked her for the amazing meal. 
Jihwaja 지화자
Address: 125, Jahamun-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Tel: +82-2-2269-5834
Reservations are required

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Autumn in Korea, Jeju: AirBnB Accommodation

It was a life trip-changing moment since the day I was introduced to AirBnB. I have been using it for all of my trips ever since and gotten the chance to stay at interesting places. Before I begin my search on AirBnB, I will use Google map and input the attractions that I planned to visit. If possible, I try to stay near to a cluster of attractions so as to reduce travelling time. This is where I will decide on the number of times to shift accommodation. For Jeju, I had booked 2 accommodations - one where we stayed with the host and the other, we booked the entire apartment. Based on the availability and the price filter (personally, I try not to book any accommodation that is over SGD$100/night), I will look through the list of accommodations and read through the reviews. Once I have shortlisted a couple, I will google for these places and see if there are any reviews on blogs before confirming the reservation. 
Citrus BnB was my choice for the 1st leg of the journey. This BnB offers 2 rooms: an ensuite room with king-sized bed, while the other room consists of 2 single-bed with shared bathroom. We chose the ensuite for convenience. Young (the owner) is friendly lady and on top of that, she's an excellent cook! We looked forward to her wonderful creations daily at 8AM - yes, breakfast is served early which forced us to drag our lazy bums off the bed
The BnB is located in an orchard filled with citrus trees, hence the name. The orchard is owned by Young & her siblings. There are 2 houses on the land and we stayed at Young's place (nearer to the entrance). I was all ready to offer my service for harvesting period but Young told me that it wasn't the season yet. 
The place that we stayed for 3 days. I especially love her open kitchen, which is filled with the wonderful aroma of home-cooked food in the morning. Her kitchen is filled with treasures and it was amazing seeing these old antiques in such good conditions. 
Telephone and coffee machine. This is my first time seeing such a cool coffee machine. 
I could sit at the cozy corner all day, with a cup of tea in my hands and overlooking the citrus orchard. #idealretirementplan
Leecher at the dining table; tapping on wifi and catching up with the latest gossip news. Young always made sure we are fed by offering us more bread/tea/juices/coffee. As such, we tend to skip lunch because we had such heavy breakfast.
Breakfast on day 1, what a spread! 
Salad for breakfast is totally not my cup of tea. However, this salad is amazing since everything is grown from their own farm. I'm not a fan of green and I hate it when the leaves are too big to be stuffed inside my mouth. Young made everything bite-sized on this plate, which was a pleasure to eat. 
Toasted bread with garlic spread. Even though the bread was slightly toasted, the middle remained soft. I thought Young made the bread, but she told me it was from Paris Baguette. I tried looking at several PB branches in Singapore, but I can't find any bread that is similar to the above. If you happen to see, let me know! 
Sipping tea in a pretty tea cup, love it. 
Breakfast on day 2, accompanied by soft music playing in the background. We chatted over K-drama/varieties. Young's not really a TV person, but she did watched some of the shows that I mentioned. 
Our last breakfast before we packed our bags for the next accommodation. It was also pouring outside, echoing my sad feeling. Over breakfast, we chatted about Young's family and learnt more about her family and this house. 
With our lovely host, Young. She looked really young and her skin is so good! By the way, Young only has a handphone so it was really difficult to navigate to her place using GPS. We asked a stranger to help us with the navigation and even he input the wrong address. We ended up at a petrol station where the nice chaps assisted us and we finally arrived at the right location.
Citrus BnB
Address: 256 Naksu-ro, Hangyeong-myeon, Jeju-si, Jeju-do 695-940, South Korea
After leaving Citrus, we moved onto the next accommodation located at Seogwipo-si. Similarly, we are staying in an orchard but this time we booked the entire house. Sadly, there won't be any breakfast to look forward to in the morning.
Even though there is a nearby petrol station and supermarket, the location of this pension is slightly out of place, hence it would not be advisable to book this if you are using public transportation. 
The place is rather big, with several pensions available for rental. During our stay, the parking lots were always full. This place seemed to be popular with the Koreans too, for we saw quite a couple of them coming out from the various cabins. 
Our host, Woonhak, stayed in this house with his puppies. Omg, they were so cute even though they kept barking at me. Woonhak is prompt on replying messages on AirBnB and I enlisted his help on booking tickets for Seoul. He gladly obliged and even the extra mile of monitoring seats for me. Thanks to his kind act, I don't have to head down to the ticketing office in Seoul to purchase the tickets.
Our cabin house for the next 3 nights.
The cabin house comes equipped with a small kitchen & kitchenware, TV, wifi and air-conditioner. If you opt for a korean ondol, there is also floor heating system available. Since we tried ondol before, we decided to stick to a proper bed this time. The whole compound is quiet at night, so we spent our time watching TV shows. Oh, I loved their TV channels except that language is a barrier, lol! Plus, I even caught the last 2 episodes of Moonlight drawn by Clouds in Korea - real time. Can I just gush over Park Bo Gum ... he's sooooo cute! *fangirl mode* More on that later (^^)
Tangerine Pension (Cabins with Mandarin Oranges)
Address: Taeheung-ri 1936-6, Namwon-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do 699-940, South Korea
For those who are new to AirBnB, sign up using my link (www.airbnb.com.sg/c/caihonglto get some travel credits off your first trip and this will help to offset part of your booking cost. It will be a trip-changing experience, for sure.

🍃🍃🍃 Navigation for Jeju 🍃🍃🍃 

I have inserted a table that lists down the phone numbers for the various attractions. Simply enter the numbers in the GPS and viola - the places will appear on your map. Have fun driving in Jeju (^^)

Attractions Navigation
Yongduam Rock 용두암 (Dragon Head Rock) 7283918
Cafe Aewol Monsant 카페 애월 드 몽상 (GD Cafe) 7998900
Bomnal Cafe 카페 봄날 7994999
Accommodation Navigation
Citrus BnB N.A
Tangerine Pension 7646002

Psst ... more links will be added. Click on the links to read on our adventures!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Leeds Castle, Kent Day 2: Team Dinner

P7189232 copy 
I have received another invitation to Sales Conference 2016, which prompted my poor memory that I had unfinished entries for Leeds Castle. I'm jotting down a quick entry to finish up on Day 2 before heading for the next conference in a couple of weeks time. 

Ducks lazing around and finding comfort on the grass. They don't seem to be afraid of humans and stayed at their comfort zone even when I stood really close to take the pictures.
With my fellow colleagues from the various offices. We worked closely together, but some of them had already left the team for other ventures by now.
We had a pre dinner drink session in the Castle Library. However, the weather was so good that we decided to head outdoors to enjoy the evening. I had a glass of my fave bubbly and we gathered around exchanging notes and stories. It felt good to see other colleagues from the various offices. 
 
As evening came, we gathered in the dining room in our pre assigned team. During the course of dinner, there will be quizzes and each team will have to pit our wits against one another to win the games. The winning team will get a prize, which usually consists of champagne, lol!
 My place card for the table.
A 3-course dinner accompanied us, as we exhausted our brain cells figuring out the answers on the various quizzes. Due to jet lag, I didn't had a good appetite but nonetheless, the food was really delicious! I was surprised at the quality of the food, as I wasn't expecting restaurant-standard. It was almost mid-night when I headed back to my room and boy, I was really tired that I concussed immediately after shower.  

❤ ❤ ❤ Read the rest of my London-Kent Castle adventures here ❤ ❤ ❤
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