The Muffin Man & Co., Primrose Hill Market.

The world is a terrible place at the moment, and most of the time I feel helpless about it.

When there is nothing that I can do about a situation, I normally turn to my good old trustworthy friend – food. During my thesis writing period where I felt mostly helpless about not panicking as much as other people thought I should, I consumed some scary amount of chocolate that could make anyone rethink their friendship with me for fear of contracting diabetes by proximity.

But now that I have no more excuse to lead a sugar-clad lifestyle, I stopped doing irrational eating and started consuming healthy stuff again. As I’m writing this, a tray of grilled courgettes are in the making in the oven, drizzled with some conservative amount of olive oil and salt plus a generous dash of black pepper and cayenne pepper.

I know, I almost can’t recognise my own reflection in the oven glass sometimes.

(Nevermind that I gobbled down a big cup of frozen yoghurt after lunch earlier today because that is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to this story.)

Ahem.

So what I’m trying to say is, because I can’t consume irresponsible food for the time being to pacify myself about the world crumbling down, I try to do the next best thing, i.e. recalling some of the delicious food that I had and writing about them. The first guilty pleasure that comes to mind is the pork belly muffin from the Muffin Man & Co. at the Primrose Hill Market.

During my second visit to the market, I vowed not to have breakfast before visiting so I could taste one or two of the stalls piled with delicious looking delicacy.

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Primrose Hill Market, London.

I was recently introduced to a friend of a friend who went backpacking around South East Asia last year. When I spoke to her, I felt a familiar feeling of shame creeping into me, the same one that always appeared whenever I spoke to travellers like her.

She, after a few weeks in my side of the world, has visited more places than I have the twenty six years I was living in the region.

Usually, a few minutes into the conversation, the name Cambodia would come up and I would have to reluctantly admit that I haven’t stepped on that country’s soil even once.

“I have been to Myanmar though,” I normally added in a bid to present myself as a more appreciative South East Asian.

I attribute this shameful phenomenon to what I call proximity ungratefulness. When a place is so close to where you live, you will naturally find it less exciting and will not go out of your way to visit.

I am thus careful of not letting the same thing happen to me here in London. I try to appreciate things around me, even stuff that is within walking distance from my flat.

One of my most recent finds was the Primrose Hill Market.

Primrose Hill is world-famous, and I have been there countless times. It has a beautiful unobstructed view of London and is equally charming during the day and night.

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But today I’m not here to talk about the Hill. I’m here for something that happens at the foot of the hill every Saturday, unbeknownst to many: the Primrose Hill Market.

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Hackney City Farm, London.

At the start of this year I ambitiously declared that I have found a magical way to slow down the time.

Yet 2017 has simply been ramming itself like a charging bull on steroid, and I’m at loss once again on how to make the time stop. With a blink of an eye, it is already March. The weather got a lot warmer, the daylight stayed for a couple of minutes longer each day, and flowers start to blossom; spring is just around the corner.

It is strange to think that just a couple of weeks ago I was trying to ease back into the chilly weather in London, having spent December and January back home in the tropics. And on one of the coldest days of February, we visited the Hackney City Farm.

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Being surrounded by friends who grew up close to the nature, I have often behaved like an ignorant city girl in comparison. I remember asking someone, to both his bemusement and amusement, whether the flowers on the flowerbed we walked past were real (they clearly were).

Don’t get me wrong; I love the nature. I really do (except for those crawling insects that come with the nature in the tropics, and maybe snakes. And a couple more weird looking animals). And I have a weakness for cows – I think they are one of the cutest creatures alive. I am just never exposed to them very much.

So imagine my excitement when my friend told me about Hackney City Farm, which was set up for people like me: so I don’t have to drive (not that I can) for hours to see cows and horses and donkeys, and I get to immerse myself in the earthy smell of manure right at the heart of the city.

We agreed to meet right around lunch time so our first stop was brunch at Cafe Frizzante, which was located inside the complex. It being located inside the farm added a nice touch to the location.

It sounds barbaric now that I think about it, but the first animals that we encountered at the farm were this.

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The bacon and sausage that were once pigs.

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Avocado coffee float by Macehat in Medan.

No offence to the creator of guacamole, but when it comes to creating an excellent culinary out of avocado, Indonesians win hands down.

Whenever I went out to eat at an Indonesian restaurant as a child, there was a default drink that I, and many other people who shared the same happy childhood as I did, always ordered: avocado juice (or jus alpukat in Indonesian).

Avocado juice sounds healthy and odd to those who have never tried it before, but it is seriously anything but. A juice may be a misnomer – it is after all more of a smoothie made out of the fruit mixed with milk and sugar. And no jus alpukat in Indonesia is ever complete without a generous dollop of chocolate condensed milk.

I know, avocado + chocolate, who would ever think that the equation = heavenly?

I don’t know when I stopped drinking jus alpukat, but I suspect it was around the time when I started not being able to fit into most of my clothes. So enjoying the drink was only reserved for special occasions in a bid to stop myself from expanding too quickly.

A visit to Medan, my parents’ hometown, after more than fifteen years certainly qualifies as a special occasion. This was why I was looking forward to visiting Macehat, a coffee joint at Jalan Karo no. 20, that was famous for its coffee based drinks as well as avocado coffee float – the Indonesian jus alpukat with a scoop of chocolate ice cream, a big spoon of Milo powder and a single espresso shot, a modern twist to the classic jus alpukat that Indonesians love so much.

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The interior of the ‘cafe’.

One thing that you have to know about me: I hate coffee. It makes me dizzy and sleepy. People have served me different types of coffee drinks, but all they got from me was a disgusted look after one sip.

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Lobster Roll at Neptune Oyster, Boston.

Boston is a beautiful city…

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That comes with its fair share of delicious food.

One that was recommended to me by a Bostonian was the lobster roll at Neptune Oyster. I first encountered the name of the place through Yelp, but I was highly suspicious that it could have just been a tourist trap. Seriously, what could be more cheesy and touristy than having lobster in Boston? But when my friend, who was born and raised in Boston, recommended it, I just knew that I had to try it.

And boy, I sure was glad I did.

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Normally I would let the picture speak for itself, but I will try to be helpful and give you some heads up and tips in your pursuit for one of the best lobster rolls there is.

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The best food we ate in Taiwan.

I love to eat. A LOT.

So does my friend JY who went to Taiwan together with me (she is slightly taller than me but only half my width which goes to show that the world can be very unfair, but let’s ignore that fact for the purpose of this post).

We also don’t plan a lot when we travel. Hence it is no surprise that we did not have a list of tourist attractions to visit.

But still, we did have a list of food we needed to try. That is simply how much we love to eat.

After eating our way through Cingjing, Sun Moon Lake and Taipei, we had several hits and misses when looking for awesome must-try dishes. So in order to do the world a service and turn the wasted calories into something useful, I have decided to create the list of food we had there that was absolutely worth trying, with occasional notes of which food turned out to be disappointment.

Fried salty mini fish (Cingjing Farm, Cingjing)

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I honestly did not expect much out of the eatery at Cingjing Farm, but this mini fried fish was a nice surprise! It was served hot and crispy with just the right amount of salt, but be careful of lurking fish bones!

Vanilla Roast Chicken (Lao Ji Po, Cingjing)

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This fragrant roast chicken was recommended by our driver from Taichung to Cingjing. I was half surprised and half glad that the main dish of the mountain with the famous sheep farm is not, well, sheep meat. (I find it morally wrong to be eating any animals that I have pet previously. I may have deliberately not pet any pigs in my life because pork).

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Copenhagen brunches.

In my opinion, Copenhagen is one of the most underrated cities in the world.

From time and again, I still get questioning look from people whenever I say that Copenhagen is one of my favourite cities in the world. Some even go so far as asking, “Where is Copenhagen again? Is it in Europe?”.

That’s how underrated this city, and Denmark is. The city where the famous statue of Little Mermaid is situated. The capital city of where the world renowned writer Hans Kristian Andersen came from. The city where Carlsberg brewery can be found (everyone must have heard of Carlsberg, surely!). The city which hosts the headquarter of Maersk, the biggest shipping company in the world. The capital city where LEGO, the world-renowned toy company, comes from. The city where Noma, the world’s #1 restaurant is! I mean come on people. Either I only care about things that no one else in the world cares about, or most people are simply ignorant, or Denmark has the worst marketing team ever.

And now, I shall add one more thing to the already long list of why Copenhagen is amazing: the city has many cafés with some of the best brunches that I have ever had.

Now, brunches aren’t really my thing, so I wouldn’t call myself a brunch guru. But I have had enough of them, especially in Singapore, where they are simply unimpressive. Brunches are always overpriced for the portion that they serve and most cafés, at least in Singapore, only focus on decorating the place and making the food presentation pretty (so they can charge a premium to it)  without paying much attention to how it actually tastes (there are exceptions of course).

But I remember being very impressed with Copenhagen brunches, at least those few that I have tried. Or perhaps I was just being biased about this city as usual. But who cares, here are the list of my favourite brunch cafés in Copenhagen (note: it’s all of them):

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