Weekend trip to Bundaberg!

August 8-9, 2015

We finally took a weekend off to visit our friends Yoni, Josiah, and his wife Danya! Josiah and Danya are settled and working in Bundy this year, while Yoni was rotating through for his surgical rotation. and coincidentally also working with Josiah.

Only ~2.5hrs from Gladstone, we left early Saturday morning and stopped at Agnes Water along the way! Didn’t swim but had a nice picnic and the beach reminded us of an undeveloped Noosa 🙂

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We arrived to Bundaberg in the late morning and decided to visit their Botanic Gardens.

Two conclusions:

  1. So many birds!
  2. Definitely worth a visit if you have time!

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Japanese Gardens

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Chinese Gardens – look at all the turtles!

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So peaceful 🙂

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Picking up Yoni after he finished work, yay – finally reunited!

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As Josiah was still busy moving into their new house, we decided to go for a late lunch and meet him later. For the first time this year, Korean food! How I missed you! Had a great meal at Korean food&Cafe “Hello” consisting of…

Bibimbap!

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Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and a side of Kimbap! So good!

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Always ruining my photos!

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Not only was the food good, the restaurant even had a ‘Korean Grocery Store’ section – allowing us to stock up on all our favourite Korean snacks for cheaper!

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The city centre reminded us of Rocky!

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Danya was unfortunately out of town Saturday, but we had a lovely dinner and catch up with Josiah and Yoni at City Elements, which I will share more about in a separate post!

The following morning, August 9th, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Botanica Cafe with some of the most generous portions of food AND hollandaise sauce!

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Of course, a visit to Bundy just isn’t complete without stopping at Bundaberg Rum Distillery!

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Definitely worth paying $15 for a self guided-interactive tour. If you have time, sit and watch the National Geographic segment: Bundaberg Rum Megafactory. Very informative and interesting!

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Did I mention at the end of the tour, your price includes 2 drinks? And those drinks can include the limited edition MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005, valued at $139/bottle? Worth it!

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The boys went to play golf in the afternoon at Bargara Golf Club while I recuperated in bed from a viral illness. Luckily I was feeling much better by late afternoon when Danya returned from Brisbane!

So nice to catch up with these guys!

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One last meal together at the Spotted Dog Tavern before driving back to Gladstone – until next time friends! We miss you!

2014 Korean Cultural Festival in Brisbane

October 4, 2014

By complete chance, Mike and I passed through King George Square before heading to the cinemas to watch Guardians of the Galaxy. As a result, we stumbled upon the 2014 Korean Cultural Festival while it was in full swing.

Numerous stalls lined the square, many offering different Korean street foods, which pulled us in immediately.

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We started off with two kinds of vegetarian dumplings ($5) – yum!

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The stall we found most enticing, Korean hot dogs! For $2 each, we had delicious battered and deep fried hot dogs with a sprinkle of sugar and tomato sauce…

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Yum!

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Delicious Soboru Pan ($2, Korean peanut butter crumbled bread) – which was moist and delicious! Reminded me of a pineapple bun with a more decadent topping.

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I’m not a fan of red bean, but Mike loved this donut with red bean filling ($2)!

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We were also invited inside the City Hall’s main auditorium for a variety of performances including traditional music and dance. Unfortunately, we had a movie to catch!

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What an unexpected and pleasant surprise! 🙂

Fantastic dinner at Seoul

Sept 06, 2014

Had the opportunity to visit Dan and Natalie and see their lovely apartment, meet their cute dogs, and catch up!

We then headed over to Seoul for dinner, one of their favourite Korean restaurants. Tucked inside the first floor of a building on Duke St, you could easily walk by without noticing!

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The restaurant was quite empty for dinner time, with only 2 other tables of Korean patrons. Unfortunate, because from the quality of food we had, it should be bustling! Clean with modest decor consisting of mainly wall decals and accent walls.

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We were immediately greeted, shown to a table and given menus.

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Between the 4 of us, we enjoyed 3 different appetizers.

Kimchijeon (Korean kimchi pancake, $6.99) which was crispy on the edges and interspersed with yummy pieces of the fermented cabbage.

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Tteokbokki ($7.99). Chewy rice cakes with slices of fish cake and onions smothered in a thick gochujang (Korean chili paste) based sauce. Served piping hot, adding to the spiciness satisfaction!

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Gunmandu ($9.99 for 10 pcs) – fried dumplings with crispy shells and filled generously with delicious meat!

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Dan and Natalie!

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For mains, Michael and I shared an order of Bibimbap ($14.50) which is a sizzling dish of rice with an assortment of seasoned vegetables, meat, topped with an egg and served in a hot stone pot. One of our favourite Korean dishes and the quality of this one did not disappoint!

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Natalie and Dan ordered Jaeyuk Bokum ($14.50) which was very tasty! Extremely tender, well marinated pork stir fried with kim chi and gochujang, I think this was the best dish of the night 🙂

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The main dishes also came with a bowl of miso soup and side salad – which were simple yet still good.

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The quality of each dish was excellent, coupled with very reasonable prices! The only hiccup during our dinner – we weren’t checked on during our meal and staff weren’t really circulating as the restaurant wasn’t busy. As a result, empty water glasses around the table while eating spicy food! Would be great to have call buttons at each table like we’ve seen in many Korean and Japanese restaurants, or water jugs/bottles left at the table. That way, staff only need to come around when needed and everyone is happy 🙂 Would definitely recommend Seoul for great Korean food!

So lovely to see you guys again! Hopefully next time we’ll be catching up in Ottawa 😉

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Seoul on Urbanspoon

Catching up over Korean food at Alirang

August 13, 2014

For the second year in a row, I had the chance to catch up with Ruixi during my time back in Ottawa at Alirang, over some delicious Korean food.

Alirang is a little gem on Nelson St across from Loblaws, away from the heavy traffic and the high concentration of restaurants downtown. And, there is parking for those who need it!

It is not a very large restaurant, with tired decor, tacky furnishings, and tables are packed close together. However, don’t let looks fool you. Being greeted by a packed restaurant on a weekday evening tells you this is where you want to be. Service was welcoming and we were seated within minutes of entering the restaurant. Menus were promptly provided as well as their usual warm barley tea.

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My gorgeous date!

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There were lots of yummy items on the menu so it took us a while to decide but we eventually got some delicious topokki ($9.95) to share. Perfectly cooked rice cakes with cabbage and slices of fish cake drowned in hot red chili sauce.

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For mains, I ordered Bulgogi with rice ($13.95) – a gigantic portion of tender, thin and well marinated beef. I had to take home leftovers, but no complaints over that!

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Ruixi ordered the Chicken Soondubu ($10.95) – delicious bubbling hot and spicy stew served with rice!

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The food, as always, was tasty and well prepared, accompanied by consistently good service throughout the night. Would definitely recommend Alirang to anyone wanting some great Korean food!

Alirang on Urbanspoon

Great Korean food at Maru with friends!

Sarah (who’s Korean!) had suggested I try Maru, one of her favourite Korean restaurants, so I made it the last stop of our Food Adventure Day with Yoni on June 29, 2014.

We had just finished watching Edge of Tomorrow in the city, and even though we weren’t really hungry because all we had done that day was eat, we just couldn’t skip dinner. Maru is located on Elizabeth St just beside Malaya Corner, on the 2nd floor.

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Full house on a Sunday evening, luckily, we were able to get a table without reservations and waiting!

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My adventure partner for the day! We also picked up some bubble tea at Hazel Tea Shop just down the street before heading in 🙂

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The menu is extensive, with lots of options including rice dishes, soups, noodle dishes, and BBQ – something to suit everyone! Prices were slightly higher compared to Madtongsan II down the road, but definitely worth the quantity and quality of food!

Loved the side dishes: kimchi, seaweed salad with mayo dressing and fish cakes

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I decided on Omurice with chicken curry – delicious! Loved the crispy chicken and the subtle (not salty!) curry. Extremely generous serving size, I could only finish half and saved the rest for dinner the next day – heated up nicely!

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Yoni got a rice in a stone bowl and meat, possibly pork or bulgogi. Unfortunately, it’s been so long now that we can’t remember and they don’t have an online menu to refer to!

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With a great first impression, both Sarah and I recommended Maru on July 11th when we had dinner with Amanda, Xuan and Mabel!

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Xuan ordered Beef Rib Soup that came with rice on the side, he found it a little bland unfortunately.

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I can’t remember the name of this dish that Mabel ordered, but it was spicy and tasty!

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Both Sarah and Amanda ordered one of the ‘ziggle’ plates – the Korean word for sizzle! They got the Ziggle Spicy Pork which was delicious.

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I got the Ziggle Dadak Beef, which was marinated minced beef sizzling in a pan, also served with rice. Very tasty but I was glad I had friends to share it with because it’s a lot of meat!

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Portions again, were very generous, we were definitely stuffed afterwards!

Also enjoyed some Black Raspberry wine. I’ve only had raspberry wine once before but I really enjoy the berry sweetness! $20 for a bottle shared between 4 people.

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Fast and friendly service with generous servings of delicious food and tasty side dishes (not always the case at Korean restaurants) at extremely reasonable prices – I think I’ve found a new favourite Korean restaurant. Will definitely be back!

Maru Korean BBQ on Urbanspoon

Random recent moments

As I mentioned in the last post, I haven’t done much in the last 3 weeks but there are a few things to share!

My dear friend Amanda gifted me with lovely chocolate covered sultanas by Melba’s and a bottle of Chenin Blanc (Coriole Vineyards), both presents from South Australia. The chocolates are rich, smooth and delicious and of the course, the wine was very tasty. She even wrote a really touching note… just because she’s an awesome friend and is always thinking of other people. 🙂

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Having some of the chocolates and salted cashews = winning snack.

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Craving for Korean food led us back to our usual spot – Madtongsan II for dinner on Oct 16!

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Oct 19 – Could not resist the great lunch specials at Wagaya. Went for my new favourite dish, tonkotsu ramen, so delicious! Even comes with dumplings and an amazing bowl of fried rice!

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For dessert, we chose to share the green tea cheese cake with green tea ice cream. Have been wanting to try this for a while but probably not worth getting again.

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Mike’s squishing me! Long but fun and extremely worthwhile days in hospital this rotation. But sooo tired when we finally get home, not much studying gets done.

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Yoni was in town from Nambour and staying with us Oct 19-20. We went to see Gravity which was good, although I was glad we didn’t see the 3D version because I think I would’ve gotten motion sickness. And we never go without food! My favourite wedges from Beastie Burgers and burritos from Guzman y Gomez, yummy picnic!

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I ordered a few BB Cream replacements recently, and look at all the amazing samples I received! All well known Korean brands too… can’t wait to try some of these out, especially the Ice Mask!

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Boiled quail eggs with some salt and pepper – delicious snack!

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How do you cut a pineapple? This is how I learned from my mom, least amount of pineapple wastage!

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Yummy! Honeydew melon with pineapple and lychee – can’t go wrong!

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Tried frozen yoghurt for the first time not too long ago – how delicious! Biscotti and coconut pandan flavour with fruits – yum!

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A new favourite in our house, basil & blueberry gin and tonic – try it! Very tasty 🙂

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Home made food update? Here are a few things!

Crispy oven baked sweet potato fries

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Creamy mushroom soup – delightful!

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More mango sticky rice with coconut cream, mmm

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Vegetarian pasta salad with Greek yoghurt based dressing

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Pear cupcakes with passionfruit icing for the students in my group

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Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing and carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing as thank you gifts for my med team.

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50% off Korean BBQ dinner @ Hong Depot

An opportunity through Dimmi for 50% off food (not including drinks or desserts) at Hong Depot, a Korean BBQ restaurant in West End. With an 82% rating on Urbanspoon and being somewhere we’ve never tried before – how could we resist?

Xuan, Mike and I had reservations for 5:30pm but showed up a bit early due to the timing of buses. No problems though! We were invited to our table and ordered drinks to start while waiting for the kitchen to open. The boys enjoyed Heineken beer while I got a glass of Black Raspberry Wine – sweet but so tasty!

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The restaurant is quirky but homey, does that make sense?

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Check out the plastic gloves filled with water, hanging all over the restaurant. Nope… still haven’t been able to figure it out 😛

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We were soon ready to place our order and eagerly awaiting our food.

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As with many Korean restaurants, there are always free unlimited refills of side dishes. The ones offered at Hong Depot were sliced fish cake, kim chi, and seaweed salad. All were very good! Never had seaweed salad as a slaw before but the crunchy texture really makes it!

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The dishes soon started flowing out at a very good pace. First dish, Rice Balls ($7 for 4 pcs – mixed with rice, yellow radish, seaweed, sesame and mayo) – very good! I especially liked the added texture of the red rice.

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Mandu ($9 for 8 pcs)! Korean dumplings with vegetable filling.

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Large Kimchi Pancake ($16). Crispy, filled with nice and spicy kimchi.

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When we finished our tapas, the staff set up fiery coals to barbecue our meats…

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Rice with dipping sauces

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We got 4 servings of meat, each 200g: Beef Galbi ($21 – marinated short beef rib), Spicy Beef Bulgogi ($18.80 – marinated thin slices of prime beef), Spicy Pork Bulgogi ($19.50 – marinated thin slices of prime pork) and Jumuluck ($21 – marinated boneless short beef rib). All of the meats were tender and well marinated.

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Loved being able to BBQ the meat to our liking and thank goodness for the table suction fan. Otherwise, we’d be reeking of BBQ on the way home!

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And even though we were getting full, ice cream was just too tempting. Xuan and Mike each got a scoop of Green Tea and I got Black Sesame ($6 each) – creamy and delicious! A very generous portion as well, no complaints!

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With the 50% discount, our bill for 3 people came to approximately $105 – great value! The dinner was great and everything was delicious 🙂 The staff were also extremely friendly and accommodating, despite the restaurant being very busy later in the evening. We left extremely satisfied but would be hesitant to return soon because at regular price, the food is quite pricey for the portion size. Would definitely recommend trying at least once though!

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Hong Depot on Urbanspoon