Merci, Montréal!

St. John’s: Done
Montreal: Let’s Go!

DAY ONE

As you can probably tell, I used the Via Rail Train instead of the Greyhound bus. I chose to take the train this time around because I wanted to use a different form of transportation. In all honesty, I’m glad I took the train. The seats were more comfortable, spacious with more legroom and you get to choose your seats. I, of course, picked the window seat. Oh, the ride was half-an-hour shorter than if you took the bus, so WIN! 😀 I couldn’t wait to see Montreal so got to pick the second earliest train to make sure I’d get my three full days in Montreal.

montreal-01Do note that it might a bit pricey if you picked a peak time to go. But if you buy your tickets on a Tuesday, it supposedly cheaper.

Upon my arrival, I noticed the differences of my surrounding between Ottawa and Montreal immediately. Montreal was awe-inspiring. The buildings had more history, character and style. There were rusty abandoned buildings, colonial-style terraces and so on. Since Montreal is a French-speaking city, one can’t help notice the Francophones conversing. The whole vibe I was getting was distinct compared to the rest of the Anglophone speaking places I’ve visited in Canada.

After dumping my luggage and stuff at Caryn and Yunyi’s place, we went to Jardin Nelson (Nelson Garden) to have some lunch.

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Jardin Nelson

Honestly, the interior of this restaurant is beautiful. It seriously felt like I was in Paris with the whole fancy French garden experience. There was also live Jazz music playing which added to the Parisian feel. I swear this is the closest to France I’m going to get. The ambience was great and the Francophone waiters/waitresses greeted us well.

Since Caryn and I can’t speak French, we allowed Yunyi to do most of the talking after we decided what we wanted to eat.

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Clockwise: Parnier de Bruschetta Maison, Cannolli au Four Maison and Patae Chinois Au Canard.

We ordered Parnier de Bruschetta Maison, Patae Chinois Au Canard and Cannolli au Four Maison to share.

I would say the Bruschetta and the Cannolli were decent but the Patae was not to my taste. Honestly, the food was alright and a bit hyped. Sure, the ambience was amazing but the food lacked flavour.

It started raining after lunch as we left and so exploring Old Port was kicked off the itinerary while we tried to find refuge somewhere. We sought shelter at Montreal’s famous Basilica Notre Dame. You have to pay $5 per entry and I was like “Who pays to go to church?” Apparently, tourists because my, oh my… The interior was majestic.

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Apse
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Chapel of Notre-Dame du Sacré-Cœur (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart)

I hope the photo gives you an idea of how magnificent the interior is. It’s Gothic Revival craftsmanship was complex and splendidly presented with lights shining from below giving this church a grandeur feel. It really made me want to say… “Take me to church.”

Although it was truly a magnificent sight, I couldn’t stay inside the church admiring it for too long because it was too crowded inside. Hence, we left and head to C’Chocolat for dessert.

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Matcha Matcha Man

We tried the Matcha Matcha Man, C’Wow and their Chocolate Souffle. Matcha Matcha Man was too sweet for me and if it was less sweet, it’d be more enjoyable. The souffle wasn’t anything special to shout about. The C’Wow however… Impressive.

We stayed there for about two hours to chat, hoping the rain would stop but it didn’t and we just went back home to prepare dinner.

day two

This time around, Caryn and I woke up early to head to Macdonald campus of McGill University. It was a two-hour journey via the subway and the bus. It’s on the western end of the Island of Montreal.

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Posing in front of the St. Louis Lake

Thankfully, it was sunny out today and so we managed to stroll around the area. It was very much spacious compared to the downtown campus and I just used the WiFi to play some Pokemon Go while Caryn settled her stuff.

We head to lunch at Schwartz’s Deli. It’s a famous 80-year-old deli that has served the likes of numerous celebrities including Celine Dion. I must say, it is really famous.

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Schwartz

They’re extremely famous for their Jewish Montreal-style smoked meat and is usually served as a sandwich. Of course, you can order it to-go as well.

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The Famous Smoked Beef Sandwich served with Mustard and Rye Bread

I dare say, this is worth the hype. It’s definitely worth lining up under the hot sun for. Oh my gosh, it was delicious. The blend of the smoked meat with the mustard tastes amazing. I wished I could’ve tapao some and bring back to Ottawa. This was so far one of the best food I’ve had in Canada.

We later walked around the area in hopes of finding a dessert store but that didn’t happen as the one we wanted to go to was closed. 😦

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Murals around the area

Because we didn’t manage to tour around Old Port yesterday, we’d thought today was the day and yes, it was.

We went back to Notre Dame to just view the architecture of it from the outside. I wasn’t going to pay 5$ this time to go inside because I went yesterday but when I come back, I’ll pay the 5$. 😛

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Basilica Notre Dame behind me | Wearing So Basic Scuba Top from Peep Boutique

We continued walking towards Old Port and enjoyed the views along the St. Lawrence River. Unlike most people, we took out our umbrellas as it was too hot to walk without a cap.

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Trying to find out what the building is | Habitat 67 from a distance | Fun, fun activities for the family
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Caryn and I taking a break from the walking and hot sun
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Xiao Long Bao at Sammi & Soupe Dumpling

For dinner, we went to Sammi & Soupe Dumpling along Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest. The Xiao Long Bao’s skin was thicker than usual but it was still good. We also ordered the Fried Pork and Green Onion dumplings. That was too oily and greasy, it made me feel so guilty eating it.

Once we were done with dinner, we head and fulfilled my long-awaited visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for the Pompeii exhibition.

If you don’t know, Pompeii was an ancient Roman town-city in Italy that was buried by the ash and pumice of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The exhibition presents artifacts and an simulation of the situation from the event.

montreal-32 Since it was a Wednesday night, admission price was only 10$ unlike the usual admission fee which is 12$-20$. Needless to say, the museum was packed! Packed, packed, paaaaaaaaaaaaaaacked.

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Some Roman art sculptures from different periods of history.

The exhibition was still pretty fascinating—they had sculptures, frescoes and mosaics from the Archaic period and so on.

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Frescoes and mosaics

But the artifacts that I most wanted to see were the Pompeii plaster casts of the volcano eruption victims.

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Pompeii Plaster Casts
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Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

It was pretty eerie looking at it but it definitely gave us a sense of how helpless these people were from the volcano eruption.

day three
Caryn and I at Downtown campus of McGill University | Wearing Black culottes from Peep Boutique
Caryn and I at Downtown campus of McGill University | Wearing Black culottes from Peep Boutique

On my last day, we began with a rough tour of McGill University in downtown. The buildings here are older and preserved well.

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Caryn and I at the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Building
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Looking super studious in this library | Wearing Black Culottes from Peep Boutique

I really liked the library here. It was huge and was nicely arranged with different places specifically for different uses. The library also has a lot of resources including newspaper from different provinces and different countries which is rather impressive.

We later hiked up Mont Royal. The hike was rather easy but because I was in the wrong attire, it was slightly difficult.

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View from Mont Royal
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Caryn, Yunyi and me!
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Casually walking out of the Chalet du Mont Royal
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Inside the Chalet du Mont Royal

For the longest time, I was imagining this chalet hosted numerous of fancy dinner parties in the olden days until I found out that this chalet was recently built. -_- #dreamscrushed

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Meet Baika, the Border Colli and Husky Mixed Dog 😉
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Selfie because I was happy with my make up

After descending Mont Royal, we went to Yokato Yobai Ramen for lunch. I was very excited for this lunch because… RAMEN.

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One of the many entrances
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Ramen menu
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One of the sections of the ramen restaurant
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The bar

The ambience was pretty cozy, artsy and Izakaya-ish. I believe this restaurant is also part-Izakaya which would make sense. I explored around the area and was really fascinated by the large space they have.

The ordering system here is a bit different. They provide you with a paper to fill up your order individually. So one person, gets one paper and you can add however many extra stuff you want with the cost.

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Pork Tonkotsu Ramen

Overall, my ramen broth had a milky texture but it wasn’t a heavy broth. Thankfully, it was not salty although it was normal saltiness which is great. In my opinion, the flavor was a bit mild compared to the other ramen I’ve tried in other places. Chasiew was fatty and tasty too. I also ordered the salad and well, it’s a salad. Yunyi ordered the karaage and it was tasty. Oily but tasty!

After lunch, we needed to walk it off and so we went to Habitat 67. It took us 20 minutes to get there from the closest bus stop and what a walk it was…

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Habitat 67

Habitat 67 is basically a collection of condo cubes. It’s an alright place to visit, really nothing much. I wouldn’t go there to just admire the architecture, it’s just not my cup of tea. It’s just really cool to look at the interior of people’s living area. I was thinking it’d be inconvenient to live there if you don’t have your own car as it’s so far from everywhere and there are no bus stops close by.

Once we were done with that, we head back for me to do some last minute packing and showering before I left this gorgeous city and Caryn. -sobs-

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Sad, I was sad.
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Canal de Lachine

The ride back home was rather melancholic because the sunset happened. Look at it. 😦 So gorgeous that it makes you think deeply about life.

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Gorgeous sunset on the way back to Ottawa

Yeap, basically that was it from my Montreal. Rather short trip BUT I WILL SURELY RETURN. It’s only two hours away. 😀 That is all from me now~ Bai bai!

Wandering Around Hotspots of Singapore

Today’s OOTD theme: Day to Night Day Two of Touristy Things! Started the day strong with breakfast at Forty Hands! I ordered the Eggs Benedict with organic bacon, sautéed baby spinach with side of spicy roasted potatoes alongside a Mocha while my sister (Wei Ni) had the Eggs Cocotte (Free-range poached eggs, sautéed spinach, Portobello mushrooms, truffle oil, homemade toast) with a piccolo latte.

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Clockwise: The smaller cup is the latter while the larger cup is the Mocha | Eggs Benedict | Eggs Cocotte
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My super tasty breakfast!

I honestly thought the food was super tasty and by far, the best food served from a “hipster” cafe. Up till this day, I’m still craving for it, especially the roasted spicy potatoes with the bacon, eggs and errything! The Mochas was really filling for me, taste wise it was on the bitter side but not too bitter for me to go “ew, this is too coffee like. I don’t like coffee”. Anyways, Fortyhands is really small so you won’t be able to comfortably hang out with your friends for long. So just eat-and-go! Done with breakfast, time to begin touristy activities! We first went to Orchard Road because I’ve heard like so much hoo-ha about it but I’ve never really been there. I actually thought it was like Sungai Wang but I was wrong, it’s a Pavilion! #fail Since we were there rather early (just when the stores were opening), it wasn’t crowded so it was pretty easy to browse through the stores with no fuss!

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Some cute soft toys and an awesome graphic tile we saw at 313@Somerset

We walked around for a bit, checked out the major retailers including the infamous Abercrombie & Fitch. They had really nice clothes but oh man, their store had this really bad intoxicating smell all around their store. It’s their signature perfume smell but it was just too much. I don’t think I could ever work there… Just… Ugh, no! We also had some ice-cream from Cold Stone Creamery. My sister and I shared the Mud Pie Mojo because it was going to be lunch time soon.

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Cold Stone Creamy Signature Ice Creams | Mud Pie Mojo, uhm uhm GOOD!

The Mud Pie Mojo was glorious. Ahmaigad, I want more of their ice-creams! They need to bring Cold Stone over to Malaysia, please! The mix of coffee ice cream, oreo, peanut butter, roasted almonds & fudge was amazing. I don’t know what to say, all I know is that… I. Want. More! Oh, it was quite filling since there were a lot of heavy ingredients inside. We did more walking but ended up not buy anything except a few pairs of socks from Cotton On that were on sale. We had lunch shortly after that at P.S Cafe, Paragon. From the reviews I’ve read, P.S Cafe is always crowded so my sister and I thought it was going to be a long wait. But that wasn’t the case because of their really cool queuing up/walk-in reservation system. The only line for you to q-up was to leave your phone number into the iPad prepared, along with your name and number of people then you leave to do whatever you want. When a table opens up, the app from the iPad will automatically call you and you can return to the restaurant to order and eat! I don’t know about you guys but I thought it was really cool since we don’t often see this around. I was still kind of full from the ice cream so I couldn’t really decide on what to eat and ordered a pasta, Smokey Tomato Rigatoni. I didn’t take a photo of it because the presentation wasn’t spectacular.

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My sister’s Bangers & Cauliflower Pea Mash

I personally felt that I ordered the wrong dish as I wasn’t impressed by the pasta or maybe I was just too full to eat. My sister’s dish was comparatively better however the ambience and the service was really good. The staff was very, very efficient and I loved how they served cucumber & fruit infused water. On our way to the MRT station, we managed to catch a glimpse of the Gundams! I didn’t even know they would be in SINGAPORE! Not many people know but I am a fan of Gundams. I’ve watched a few Gundam series and am still in love with it although I haven’t watched the latest one. Heh. My sister and I didn’t enter the exhibition hall but snapped some photos outside with the Gundam and Zakus instead.

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MS-06 Zaku II | RX-78-2 Gundam

I’m wearing the Cold Shoulder Crop Top in Blue & Paperbag Writer Shorts in Black for a more casual and daytime look.

Selfie with a Zaku
Selfie with a Zaku

We made our way to the hipster central of Singapore, Haji Lane. We didn’t do much there either but enjoyed the murals and artworks around the area. Of course, we took some photos too!luixia-tiongbahru-fortyhands-orchardroad-hajilane-gardensbythebay-04

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My sister is wearing the Emily Flutter Top with pleather shorts.
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Wider view of the awesome mural

We finally head down to our last destination of the day, Gardens by the Bay! Hoorah! I’ve heard so many things about its beauty and seen so many photos of the Supertrees that I knew I just had to visit the gardens. Funny thing is my sister really wanted to go see the Supertrees at the gardens but didn’t know what it was called so she continuously used hand gestures to describe the Supertrees. Anyways, to get to the gardens is pretty easy, easier than the route that Google Maps provided me with. Why did you fail me Google? 😦 You can basically get to the gardens by MRT by exiting from Bayfront (CE1) MRT Station. We took the shuttle service from the MRT station, which brings you to the Cloud Forest/Flower Dome area and back to the MRT entrance costed SGD2 each. You can also walk there but we were quite tired from a lot of walking. At this point, it was around 4pm and we didn’t realise that the shuttle service ended at 5.45pm so when wanted to return, we couldn’t use the shuttle service. Bummer. Anyways, behold the CLOUD FOREST!

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Clockwise: The view above | View of the Supertrees | Orchids! | Lego Rafflesias

Do note that it can be quite cooling inside this dome so prepare yourself a jacket if you’re not too fond of the cold. Oh right! Since our theme for the day was Day to Night, my sister and I brought a midi skirt each along to switch our casual shorts to something a little bit more dressy.

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My sister snapping a photo of the ground and me having an OOTD moment.

To my surprise, my sister is afraid of heights (especially since she actually bungy jumped with no problem) so she was constantly holding the railings and when she was taking the photo of the ground while holding the railing, I found it so funny that I had to capture this memory. Of course, so funny must take photo mah! 😛

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Inside the Cloud Forest

I found the Cloud Forest very educational, it had info graphics & videos about self-sustainability at Gardens by the Bay as well as awareness for living sustainably.

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Cute spot for a photo. Roar! 😛

By the way, did you know that the Cloud Forest dome has the world’s tallest indoor waterfall? The dome has a 35-metre tall mountain covered in lush vegetation shrouding the 35-metre waterfall which showcases plant life from tropical highlands up to 3,500-metres above sea level. Isn’t it amazing? Next up, the Flower Dome! This dome has tons of flowers so you’ll get to take plenty of flower photos just like we did! 😛 Hence the spam of flower photos that you’ll be seeing below. luixia-tiongbahru-fortyhands-orchardroad-hajilane-gardensbythebay-13 The Flower Dome has flowers all around the world including the Mediterranean and semi-arid subtropical regions of the world. luixia-tiongbahru-fortyhands-orchardroad-hajilane-gardensbythebay-14They also have themed Floral Displays! When we were there, the theme was Nursery Rhymes!

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The Old Lady in Her Shoe

luixia-gardensbythebay-nurseryrhymes-june-01So needless to say, it was decorated with elements of Mary and Her Little Lamb, the Old Lady in Her Shoe, Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, Humpty Dumpty and many more!

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Smelling flowers.

To be honest, the flowers from the photo above did not smell pleasant. Those flowers are only good for photos because they smell like sweat.

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One of the only grand shots I got to take of the Supertrees.

It was really difficult getting a good shot with the Supertrees and we only managed to snap one whereby I had to run quite far away to get a shot at it.

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Can you spot Wei Ni? | Taking photos with the camera timer switched on!

From the photos above, you can see people walking on the skyway. It costs SGD5 so we didn’t really see the point to be up there. But if you like, you can check it out. 🙂

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Map of Gardens by the Bay | Wide shots of the Supertrees

I’d just like to recommend you guys to check out the Supertrees in the evening (don’t worry it’s free of charge to be around the Supertree Groves) as you can see it light up! It’s a really nice view from far and near so if you’re up for lovely night-time photos, this is the place!

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Night views of Singapore

That was our day after so much walking and travelling. It was a lovely day, wasn’t raining nor was it too sunny but it was tiring. Nevertheless, we returned home to rest and be prepared for the next day to RIDE THE MOVIES at Universal Studios Singapore! See you soon on my next post where my sister and I visit Universal Studios Singapore!

A Japanese Food Kind of Day

A Japanese Food Kind of Day

Phew… that was a long day. Started off with waking up bright and early. Well, not as early as on a working day but still early… At 8.30am! Yes, quite early. I’m very used to waking up at around 7.30 with an alarm but if my alarm doesn’t ring, I usually wake up at around 8 plus.

Anyways, my parents, sister(Ping) and I went to Amcorp Mall for BookExcess’s Fiction Flash Sale! Whoop whoop! BOOK SALE! Every FICTION book was priced at RM9.90 and it was brilliant! Not as great as the annual Big Bad Wolf Book Sale but hey, it’s good enough especially for this time of the year.

I didn’t get as much as I wished because there wasn’t a lot that caught my eye.

Among the books I got were China Mieville’s Railsea, Philippa Gregory’s The Order of Darkness series, Eugenia Kim’s The Calligrapher’s Daughter and Daily Dose of History.

For lunch, we tried Umei-Tei in Amcorp Mall. All of us had the sets which I believe are priced mid-range. The portion is reasonable, especially if you want to eat enough to fill your stomach.

Each set varies in dishes but almost all come with rice (option of White or Garlic rice), Miso Soup and chawan mushi.

I got the Miso Beef Katsu Set.luixia-umeitei-03

On the left: Miso Beef Katsu Set which consists of beef katsu covered with miso sauce, mashed potatoes and salad, pickled vegetables, garlic rice, chawanmushi, miso soup and kimchi. On the right: A close up of the Beef Katsu covered with Miso sauce.

Overall, it was definitely filling for me which means the portion is quite big la since I can eat a lot and don’t get full easily.

I liked almost everything except for the kimchi. The kimchi was sad and almost tasteless. I know it’s not a big issue but I like kimchi and so, I get pretty particular with my kimchis. Other than that, the beef katsu’s crust wasn’t spectacular. I definitely had crispier and more flavourful katsus before.

Later in the day, we didn’t know what to eat. Well, my parents knew what they wanted. They wanted to eat at somewhere new but nearby. It was my maid’s birthday so they wanted it to be a bit special. Her special day, mah!

So after driving around, we saw Awesome Canteen, a new Chinese restaurant next to Awesome Canteen that I forgot what it was called and Shokudo Japanese Curry Rice. We somehow ended up eating at Shokudo. Another Japanese restaurant! Only Shokudo specialises in JAPANESE CURRY.

Have I mentioned how much I FREAKING LOVE JAPANESE CURRY? No? NOW YOU KNOW! I love Japanese Curry.

I first had it at a Japanese Primary School in Japan. It was deliciousssss!

luixia-japanesecurryinjapan-01How my first Japanese Curry Rice looked like. #throwback

The kids bring their own cutleries and clean it themselves afterwards. So disciplined!

So Shokudo just opened up in February 2015. They mainly serve Japanese curry rice and Udon. No usual sushis or teppanyaki. Just plain Japanese curry rice and udon. You have the option of having it with pork, beef, seafood, chicken, croquette, egg or vegetables. Take your time to pick!

luixia-shokudo-12Entrance to Shokudo!

It took me awhile to decide what I wanted as well since I had Japanese food for lunch.

Pretty new and the set up inside was really simple and pretty. They had Japanese decorations all over, ranging from Japanese arts & crafts, cute teacups and porcelain ornaments. It was super cute and pretty! Really, you can see like it feels like you’re in a really tiny Japanese art museum. Okay, I’m exaggerating.

luixia-shokudo-04Has an old-meets-new Japanese vibe.

luixia-shokudo-02Ordering Counter.

The restaurant is almost fully self-serviced. You order at the counter, take your number and pour tea or water for yourself. The food is served by the waiters and waitresses.

luixia-shokudo-13 See how cute and pretty these things are arranged? luixia-shokudo-14Right: A Tapir painting and how I table usually is set up. Right: Close up of some other decorations

luixia-shokudo-05Assorted teacups.

I really like the teacups because they come in different patterns and designs, and some of them are KAWAII.

Anyways, about the food….

luixia-shokudo-06Beef on the left, Pork on the right.

luixia-shokudo-07This is my TonKatsu Curry Rice Set!

It’s priced at RM 18 and RM15 for ala carte. The set comes with soup, ocha and salad.

luixia-shokudo-08Left: Close up of the Tonkatsu. Right: Butaniku curry udon.

luixia-shokudo-09Omu-yaki Curry Rice

I personally felt that it wasn’t up to my normal Japanese curry rice standard. Although it is more affordable ranging from RM13-16, ala carte. The curry was pretty bland for me and I have had better Japanese curry in Malaysia. Maybe I’ve been spoilt by authentic Japanese curry in Japan? The tonkatsu was once again, not fried too well. It wasn’t the perfect crunch I had hope for. In my opinion, I still think Coco Curry has the best Japanese curry right now although it is pricier.

I took a bite of the others like the Beef, Pork and Omu-Yaki curry rice and Butaniku curry udon. My favourite would have to be the Omu-yaki as the egg felt quite fluffy, just how it should be. The rest wasn’t great as it had pretty much similar flavour, nothing to shout about.

Since I don’t eat Japanese curry very often regardless how much I love it, I’d be willing to eat at Coco Curry and probably not here.

I’ll probably only come here when I want to eat Japanese food nearby.

That’s all for this week. See you all soon!

Oh, before I forget….

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!