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Food tumbling

Library Cafe in Finland

It has been more than three months since the date I backed to Finland – the funland you can imagine 😉 To get straight to the point, one thing in Finland I always find close to my heart is that Finland is a country for coffee lovers. Here, nearly every one drinks coffee, and people can drink coffee anytime anywhere. I love the coffee culture in Finland, and I will keep writing about the coffee culture here 🙂

But first, I want to talk about the cafe in places that are not specially designed for coffee. When I was in Vietnam, coffee is a big culture there as well. However, in Vietnam, we talk more about cafe and places that sell coffee. We don’t think about cafe in library and schools : ) But in Finland, I love the cafe in universities and libraries. The cafe in universities, libraries and museums here are designed with so much personalities and elegance to create a lovely, comfortable environment for reading books and enjoying coffee. Oh one more note, books in city libraries here are free to borrow and the selection is profound and huge.(love love)

To me, there’s nothing more enjoyable than borrowing novels and enjoy the books right in the cafe inside library. Good, affordable coffee and free good books = a perfect combination.

My current quest is to explore the cafe in the libraries in Helsinki city. The cafe I often visit is Itakeskus library, which is so close to my apartment. The cafe in this library is STOA cafe , which has a lovely , funky tone in design:) If you happen to visit Helsinki and you are a bookworm, why you don’t have a library-cafe tour ?;) You will be amazed how wonderful the interior design of the cafes in these libraries.

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Will update soon about other cafe’ in Helsinki:)

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WORK Cafe

This is like the talk of the town – when you consider the town here is about the start-up community of Vietnam. WORK Cafe has its first month in Bitexco, the tallest building of HCMC. WORK Cafe is orignally a small coffee corner in a co-work space named WORK Saigon. WORK Saigon has been pretty popular for being all-in-one ( at some senses); they are the roof for the mobile workers (freelancers, start-up minders), the school for creatives people and ALSO simply a place for food and coffee. Their small coffee corner offers authentic, home-feel food: home-roasted coffee beans, fresh fruit fizz and homemade food. And now, that small coffee corner has its own sister, a designed WORK cafe simply for people who can spend all days working in cafe and love the feeling of working in cafe.

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Top Japanese movies about food

I’m obsessed about food, from the main dish to the tiny desserts, from the cuisine of East to West, from the food’s taste to the presentation. Apart from eating and Pinning constantly pictures about food, I spend hours in watching movies about food. Movies about food calm me, excite me and inspire me. Speaking about food movies, can I say Asian directors have flair for making food movies in terms of content and aesthetic sides? And among the Asian food movies, the Japanese films are specially crazy about food. Japan is a country that is crazy about food from the taste to presentation, and every dimension of food. And yes, the Japanese food is super delicious to my taste bud. When I stayed in Japan years ago, I never had one day spent without trying something delicious. People lining up in front of a humble store, waiting for hours in order to slurp a hot bowl of ramen or 24/24 stores catered for any kind of food crave are among things to say about Japan’s craze about food.

Once time, I read a research about the role of the word ‘oishii’ (meaning delicious) in Japanese people’s behaviours towards food. The way they say the word oishii actually enhances their appetite and appreciation for food. It’s a mental kick. The word is more of a catalyst rather than just a praise. Every time I switched on TV when I used to live in Japan, I always could find at least one channel airing shows about food. Those shows are flooded with words  ‘oishisou’ (look delicious) and ‘oishii’ (delicious). Japanese movies are not simply about the direct, straightforward showcase of food an recipes. They don’t just stop at being the food porn; they are about food bringing people together, about food calm and inspire people. In this post, I will write about my favouriteJapanese movies or dorama about food. Japanes food-based movies are categorised in different style: light-hearted , tranquil diners to the heated , chaotic kitchens. This post is about my favourite slice-of-life, light-hearted Japanese food-based movies / dorama.

1.    Kamome Diner:

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This movie is one of my most favourite movie about Japanese cuisine although the movie was set out in a country far from Japan.

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Have a break, have a tea cup!

I have never been  a tea person; I’m always a coffee addict. I can never get tired of the rich, strong taste and the overwhelming, warm, earthy smell of coffee. I just can’t. However, today, I decided to have a break from coffee, a ‘tea break’. I went to my usual favourite cafe M.O.F , a Japanese cafe and desserts restaurant in District 7. This place used to have a quaint and quiet feel, now turns to be loud and lively thanks to its spot-on desserts and tea. As a way to retreat from the hustle and bustle mood of a sunny Saturday in my neighbourhood, I chose a small table at the corner. After nervously flicking through the menu, I decided to order a tea combo, a peppermint-flavoured black tea set accompanied with a slice of double chocolate orange cake.

Honestly, I felt a little bit nervous while waiting for the tea to come. I have never drunk tea before, no, I meant black teapot in a cafe. I drink matcha a lot of time, but it seems different this time. It’s black tea, and in a tea-pot!  The first experience made me quite nervous. Would it be a let down ? What if I don’t like the taste? What if the tea is too bland for my taste bud? The questions kept rolling in my head. I was anticipating and then I thought about my state of ordering tea. I always found tea was quite bland and …slow. I felt myself growing old for ordering tea instead of coffee. Hahaha no offence intended for tea people; this is just what I feel about myself, ok?; ) Having a teapot , with the book in hand, I could imagine that I was living in European cottage in the freezing winter. Sipping the bitter hot tea while sitting in the rocking chair, clearing my throat and turning pages whilst the fire in the fireplace has tiny crackling, and oh,  outside  the window is  a pit black sky littered with white dots of falling snow. That scene reminded me of Finland so much. That’s what i imagined while waiting for the tea pot to come amid the sunshine rushing to my table, the fading noise of people talking and laughing at the other part of cafe. “That silly girl is daydreaming” – I could expect someone would say that when looking at my face.

Dahhdah, finally, the tea set came. The china cup was lovely with a pure white colour and with the curves on edges. The taste was much better than what I expected. It surprised me that I got along so well with the tea and cake. The tea gave off a pleasant peppermint and tea scent. The taste was light, and not neither too bland nor too bitter. It’s the perfectly right amount of taste and scent. The slightly sweet and bitter aftertaste lingered on my tongue, making me feel refreshing and warm.

The cake is rich and flavourful; it complimented the tea perfectly. I couldn’t complain more. The tea combo was pleasant and lovely for a sunny Saturday. I wished it would rain that time so I could feel the fresh warmth from the tea. Now, I’m a  sucker for tea as well. Yikessss!

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I took pictures of the tea set but unfortunately, I couldn’t find a better spot to get the light and shade in better conditions. Though I intentionally wanted to go with the rustic, moody feel, the pictures turned out to be more of “pleasant” and “bright”. Hope that this feel is still lovely for an afternoon tea break. (It’s super sunny and warm in our place today. I can’t believe it’s December already!!!)

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Top coffee brands for your favorite hot to-go coffee in HCMC

Do you start your day with a cup of hot coffee? If yes, I’m with you. To me,  a hot cup of well-made cappuccino is always a bless for my everyday. I love getting the takeaway cappuccino cup to the office, excitedly opening it,and pouring down sugar. Then, I open my laptop and start checking my task for a day whilst sipping the steamy , foam-filled coffee.

However, takeaway hot coffee (here my case is hot cappuccino) is not that common in Vietnam like in other Western countries, where you can easily grab a hot cup of cappu or latte, walk to trains and easily drink at office. People here commute on bikes, and surely hanging hot coffee on your bike is always trickier than the iced coffee. Moreover, Ho Chi Minh is always hot, and hotter. People always want ice to chill out everything. Therefore, coffee shops in HCMC always downplay the packaging of hot coffee in the menu. To get cost-wise, coffee shops here normally go with plastic cups for every drink. I always cringe when some coffee shops sell me hot cappu or hot coffee with milk in plastic cups. That’s a big NO to me as they don’t give a good damn care about the coffee itself and the customers. In the past 2 years, things have gone much better for my breakfast choice of hot coffee as there are more and more coffee shops offering options catered for hot coffee. It’s time the coffee shops want to touch the niche market of hot coffee (person like me). The market for iced coffee is way too crowded and competitive. And honestly, coffee all tastes the same to me when it was cold.

Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donut just entered Vietnamese coffee markets and have a wide range of hot coffees with different style of paper / styrofoam cups. However, they all are really pricey for every Vietnamese to afford on daily breakfast. The good thing is the enter of foreign big giants make other local coffee brands push themselves harder to have cheaper hot coffee in decent paper cups.

After a while, I have gathered for myself a list of decent coffee shops offering good options for my love for  steamy hot coffee :). To be more exact, here is my list of to-go hot coffee brands. Feel free to comment . I am excited to know about other options in HCMC, the coffee city.

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Awesome Coffee Shop (yes , it’s the name)

I really love our apartment, actually, not for the apartment itself but for the its location. Living in Nha Be grants us a tons of things; the location generously offers us a grand view to the vast greenfield, the blue clear sky. Besides, the area is only 10-minute drive to District 7, one of the most prosperous districts of Saigon. District 7 is very much different from other districts of Saigon. It was not authentically Vietnamese, to be honest, because a large percent of residents in district 7 is covered by foreigners (mainly Korean expats) and upper-class locals. The district is popular destination for a wealthy and healthy lifestyle. Still, I don’t live in district 7 aha, I just happen to live really near that area. So, I enjoy a lower housing cost thanks to living in a rural area and, in meanwhile, the short distance to a great diversity of restaurants, malls and cafe. Most of my friends don’t like district 7 or the area I’m living in because these two areas are so far from the authentic Vietnamese lifestyle. Nowhere can be seen the loud and lively open market, or the street food carts or the low-cost dining courts that you can find in every street of district 1, 2 or 3 in Saigon. I’m living so far from the Saigonese hustle and bustle. Sometimes, I miss that hustle and bustle, but most of the time I feel myself blessed for having peacefulness and quietness. I have had enough during 8 hours working in the centre, so ‘no, thanks!’ for the rest of my day.

Continue reading “Awesome Coffee Shop (yes , it’s the name)”

The Workshop Coffee Shop – the perfect hide out for my writing

Since today, (oy yeah, today!!), I will start blogging in a serious way– not ranting over nonsense matters or mundane trivia anymore. I will start blogging about all the interesting snippets that I’ve collected everyday.

Monday is always the day I hate most in a week, and many people do as well, right? Monday is called ‘the brain dead day’ not for nothing, right? It’s right after an amazing weekend, and is the beginning of a long working week. I always have to drag myself to the office in Monday, regain a little bit energy in Tuesday, Wednesday and then get on high spirit and anticipation during Thursday then Friday. Monday is ‘the dead-fish day’ for me, because I look absolutely tired and sleepy on Monday. Anyway, today is Monday; however, this Monday is different: I don’t have to work in office!!! Oh yeah, my damn boring, gloomy office. Thanks to the power outage, which happens once a month in my office, I have free wills to work from home or work in café till 2pm. The only pros (I used to consider it cons) of working in a start-up and your start-up office is located on the residential area with high density is that you have to experience the power outage once or twice per month. Oh yes, welcome to Vietnam, babe! When I used to work in my former company in District 7, I never once experienced the power outage, or they could be but the whole building had the back-up power source.

When I saw that the power outage happens not occasionally but in a monthly basis, I decided to have a list coming with that occasion : How to celebrate the monthly power outage. It’s also a way to celebrate third world’ problems, right? I felt myself lucky somehow. 😉 Therefore, I set up a list of café shops in HCM that I should visit for each time I can escape from my damn boring office to work outside. I feel myself blessed because: 1/ HCM is home to various, unique café shops with lots of different styles in terms of the coffee and the interior design, and 2/ I don’t have much time at weekend to explore café shops in district 1 as I live so far from the centre.

Today, to celebrate the first monthly power outage of September, I listed out three café I wanted to visit: Air Lounge D.7, The Morning Café D.1 and the Workshop Coffee D.1. At first I picked the Air Lounge because it’s airy, open-spaced and very near from my house. Also, the view of Air Lounge is very romantic which I love most about District 7. However, when thinking back and forth, considering the time and travelling distance also the space, I again rode to my last option, as I wanted to see how awesome the drip-brewed coffee in The Workshop Coffee. Once again, I’m such a sucker for coffee. Awww, it’s such a super duper long introduction to talk about a café…. Hmmm.

The first drawback of the Workshop Coffee is parking your bike. It’s not a surprise to me as this coffee shop is located in the centre, right at the centre of District 1 so parking is nothing short of a hassle. It was pretty easy to find The Workshop, 27 Ngo Duc Ke, right near Me Linh Point and Sheraton. Strangely though, I have never been to this place before because it’s so easy to miss this tiny place. After trying to park my bike, I went into the place and walked a number of stairs to the third floor, bypassing two desolate shops and bars on two first floors, which were closed for a while. On the third floor, I got welcomed by a totally different space. It’s like you walked into a tiny house with a tiny door, but then when you open the door to its room, the door opening to a giant dreamland like in the fantasy movies :). And the Workshop Coffee Shop is that misterious room; it was pretty big and bright, giving a sense of open space thanks to the high ceiling and minimal interior design. The windows with green shades of trees behind gave an utterly feeling of fresh and peacefulness.

I preferred the slot with greener view; however, it meant I had to be sandwiched between two other occupied tables so I turned to the table at the corner. The corner place turned out to be pretty good and romantic too. Not bad at all!! I really enjoyed the view thanks to the green shades of trees outside, the violet shades of flower bush on the old hotel at the opposite, and a clear blue sky. That’s just simply awesome. I ordered a cup of hot cappuccino as usual, and a slice of tiramisu. As advertised, the coffee beans were hand grinded and brewed. The coffee I drank was not from the drip-brewed bottle, so I couldn’t judge that type of coffee yet. The cappuccino I chose was very good, rich and creamy. The tiramisu was soooo good although I am not really a fan of tiramisu. This morning, I craved for a slice of apple pie, but now I changed my mind. The tiramisu simply rocked my Monday; it was so good, fresh and rich in taste. The music and the noise was just loud enough, creating a perfect atmosphere for me to write and roam. This kind of atmosphere was so different from the gloomy and doomy view in my office, with noisy music played by the designers. I was so different from the rest in my office as I was the only copywriter. For designers, they love loud and upbeat music when they need to concentrate. But for me, the loud or upbeat music keeps distracting me from producing words and ideas. Yeah, but I couldn’t do anything except escaping from them and sacrifice my honour and dignity haha. They would tell that I was becoming slack, but it’s fine for me because I found that I could write four times better when I was away from that dimly lit, depressing office.

Sorry that my photos can’t do the justice for the coffee shop as I was too shy to use my camera in a proper way. I was afraid to disturb other people with my flash or camera.

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The Workshop Cafe’s information

27 Ngo Duc Ke, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City , Vietnam

Apart from taking a sip of the heavenly cup of joe, you can also get the cakes, sandwiches, and salad.

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