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When you just don't know what to do with that stuff

Posts Tagged ‘Dessert

Stopping for sikhye at Gwangjang Market

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On the last visit to Seoul, as usual, arrived early in the morning and got to the hotel way too early for check-in. As is the tradition, the concierge offers to hold the bags for free and left to spend the first morning in Seoul a mere couple hours after getting off the plane. Stopped by Namdaemun Market first, which has become a regular haunt since the preferred accommodations are always in Myeongdong, located just next door.

Afterwards, headed straight to Gwangjang Market and walked up and down the numerous rows of freshly-cooked food with friendly ladies hard at work behind their griddles. Was still a big groggy from the flight and could not entirely take everything in in that moment, a very unfortunate dilemma in such a magical place like Gwangjang Market.

However, on the way out, stopped by a stand after spotting one of those machines filled with the ever-recognizable sweet rice punch called sikhye (식혜) and had to stop for a cup. It was ₩1,000 (less than $1) and offered a flavor unique to both Korea and to the market culture itself. It’s sweet and refreshing, and even has rice kernels floating around it.

It became a memento of the first wandering adventure on the second visit to Seoul.

On the next visit (because pretty sure there will be a third), will make sure it a longer stay and will involve many more market tours (and that’s on top of the daily visit to Namdaemun).

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Written by Paulo Loreto

January 19, 2018 at 5:44 PM

Pastries in Gangnam

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With an ever-shifting work schedule at the newspaper, it has been a while since last getting to update. Ever since the last post of enjoying lasagna in Genoa, Italy, have also re-visited New York City, returned to Seoul, and made the first venture to Busan. With 2018 underway, am looking to ensure this blog is regularly updated (guess it’s a resolution for the New Year).

On the second trip to Seoul, made the first visit to the ever-touted neighborhood of Gangnam and it is definitely a far-cry from the regular haunts of Myeongdong and Itaewon. However, like Myeongdong, it is a shopping haven, with lots of stores to walk in and out of. Also wandered through various back alleys and found lots of small restaurants and cafes all over the place.

Also stopped into a massive Daiso store… shortly before happening upon another one a block over.

Eventually, took a pit stop at Gontran Cherrier, an international bakery chain named for its founder, a French baker and pastry chef.

Clearly, a green tea latte is likely not the typical French café item, but with the likely Asian twist given to the products offered at the Seoul location, it was one of many “fusion” items available. A delicious and creamy offering that helped cool down from the long day of walking – especially after climbing a few hills.

Then, there was the croissant – and their version was filled to the brim with cream. The taste is worth getting croissant flakes and powdered sugar all over the place. The idea of just opening it and seeing all the cream inside is enough to bring on hunger pangs.

However, the only downside was, when walking out of the café, it’s only a few steps until you’re right in front of a gym; at the time, fit and toned clients were standing outside taking a rest (some on a smoke break). While it may have put the deliciousness of the croissant in perspective, it was still very much worth it.

Written by Paulo Loreto

January 5, 2018 at 5:02 PM

Gelato in Rome

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During a walking tour of Rome, the group stopped at the Trevi Fountain for lunch. After enjoying a stromboli for lunch at a small spot a couple blocks down from the fountain, stopped at Gelateria Cecere on the way back for gelato.

Walking into the tiny establishment, which occupied the corner of a building, customers are greeted with a wide freezer display with heaps of flavors, along with a backdrop of multicolored cups – a different color for each size.

Seeking out which flavor was calling, went with the pistacchiosa – it was not the standard pistachio. Beyond the creamy texture of the gelato, the delicious pistachio taste, and the sprinkling of chopped pistachios, there was also a ribbon of pistachio spread that snaked through the scoops.

It was the kind of thing that could potentially swear one off the typical pistachio.

According to a TripAdvisor review, “The pistachio gelato is unlike any I have ever had and, believe me, it is my favourite dessert.”

Written by Paulo Loreto

June 20, 2017 at 9:42 PM

Taro bingsu is lovely

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It has been a while since getting to enjoy a huge bowl of bingsu, the Korean shaved ice dessert. Have tried to keep track of the different flavors tasted but that’s been lost. Took a shot in the dark and ordered the taro bingsu, whether it’s been requested before or not, it was delicious.

The refreshingly flavored ice, red beans, ice cream, cheesecake bites, and whipped cream mode for an amazing treat – as always.

It is amazing how all the different flavors go so well together and the ice, as it melts in the mouth, takes on a creamy feeling, not just water. The worst part is when it is over; it’s such a unique dish with a taste that is all too delicious.

Taro bingsu with red beans, cheesecake bites, and ice cream.

Written by Paulo Loreto

March 19, 2017 at 12:18 AM

Encountering a sweet monster in Hong Kong

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Wandering Mong Kok, meandering through the market stands just opening up for business, walking in and out of the endless shoe stores, and perusing menus of all the restaurants lining the shopping avenues in the area, attention was grabbed immediately while passing a shop covered in cartoon monsters. Took a closer look and it was a soft-serve stand.

Amongst the bright colors and caricatures, there were a variety of toppings offered for, what appears to be, the standard delicious soft-serve ice cream.

Of course, with a soft spot for peanut butter, it was the first choice – did spend time going back and forth, but it is always good to stick with instincts.

Watched the attendant gather a healthy portion of ice cream into the cone, decorated with the shop’s monsters, followed by sprinkling on powdered peanut butter and garnishing with a pretzel, it looked exactly like the picture on the wall. There was no doubting how amazing it would be and it was exactly what was needed after hours of window-shopping.

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Peanut butter soft serve in the middle of Mong Kok, Kowloon.

Portuguese egg tarts in Macau

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On the third trip to Macau, it became a mission to enjoy at least one Portuguese egg tart, also known as pastel de nata or 葡式蛋挞. Similar to the common egg tart found all over Hong Kong, the Portuguese version comes with a slightly charred top, much like a crème brûlée.

Started at the Lardo do Senado, or Senado Square, meandered through the narrow, yet packed, side streets checking out everything the tourist center had to offer. Lined with a variety of shops, in particular those selling all forms of beef jerky, the streets force tourist eyes to dart all over the place between souvenirs, jewelry, and all types of food.

At the end of one particular street are the Ruínas de São Paulo, built in the 16th century, it was originally St. Paul’s College and the Church of St. Paul. Today, it is listed as part of the Historic Centre of Macau and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

At the foot of the landmark is a shop selling all types of cookies and crackers, but directly in front is an oven filled with fresh Portuguese egg tarts. Each treat costs HK$8, about US$1 (the Hong Kong dollar is just about equivalent to the Macau pataca).

Crispy, creamy, and delicious, there is nothing that could make a visit to the Ruínas de São Paulo any more of a memorable experience.

Given the choice between the two, not sure it would be easy to select a winner, they’re both so delicious. However, to be completely honest, the edge might have to go to the Portuguese variety.

Nothing makes a Portuguese egg tart more lovely than having the Ruínas de São Paulo in the background.

Nothing makes a Portuguese egg tart more lovely than having the Ruínas de São Paulo in the background.