France, Paris

Eating my way through Paree

Paris was a food mecca. My initial plan was to crash-diet for 1 week before Tomorrowland, in a feeble attempt to at least get back into shape. But famous restaurants and good food beckoned, so the diet never happened. Instead of sightseeing, I felt that my trip in Paris was more of a eating my way through Paris trip, which I’m not complaining about.

My first stop was Restaurant Chartier, which was superb quality for the price. I first tried escargots in Morocco but didn’t like it. Over here though, it was SO good, and filled with pesto sauce and tasted sublime with bread. The duck confit with potatoes were really good as well, crispy and juicy! And it only amounted to 16.40 euros! Really crowded and popular place, even amongst locals.

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Also, the stereotype that the French are unfriendly people is not true at all! I expected everyone to be hostile, but everyone I met was really nice. The waiters were jovial, friendly and helpful, and there was a lovely old couple beside me at Chartier, who tried their best to talk to me, even though it was hard with the language barrier.

For dinner, I ate at le Relais de l’Entrecote, where there is no menu. It is an interesting concept because there is only 1 dish, which is steak and frites, and you can either choose to have it raw, medium or well-done. No option for medium-rare over here. They refill your plate once, so you get 2 servings of steak and frites, as well as a salad. This comes up to 26.40 euros, so a bit pricey but it was very good as well. Long queues over here, so it is advised to go before it opens!

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The next day I had L’as du Falafel for lunch, which has both a sit-down area and a takeaway counter. A really popular option for vegans and vegetarians. However, the portion was really big and I couldn’t finish it! Value-for-money at 6 euros. There was also a L’éclair de genie outlet nearby, but I totally regret not buying it because I was too full and I never got the chance to go back to try it 😦

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For a snack, I went to Odette, which has seen a surge in popularity due to it’s cream puffs or pate a choux in french which were sooo delicious and cute-looking. Recommended flavors online were the caramel, praline and green tea. I tried the praline one and it was really good! 1.90 euros per piece.

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The supposedly best crêpe is at Au P’tit Grec, where there are both savory and sweet crêpes. I wish I could have tried both, but obviously I couldn’t finish both. I tried the savory crêpe, with eggs, ham and cheese and it was delicious. As I walked along the streets, you could really see everyone looking enviously at it lol. For 5 euros, the portions are huge, and I could only manage to finish three-quarters of it!

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For the best icecream, go to Berthillion. I personally felt that their ice-cream flavors were better than their sorbet flavors though. I had vanilla and passionfruit, and you could really taste the quality in the vanilla icecream but the passionfruit sorbet was just average.

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For my final meal in Paris, I went to Café Constant. As both the famous Les Cocottes and Café Constant were in the same street- Rue Saint Dominique, and in fact a few shops away from each other, I was torn between where to go for lunch. But I decided to go to Café Constant because they had a set lunch menu that was pretty worth it. For 16 euros, I got an entrée and a main course, but you could also choose to get a main course and a dessert. And for 23 euros, you could have all 3! The restaurant was filled with Asians though, like practically the entire floor was Korean lol. I also decided to indulge in dessert, since it was my last meal in Paris, and I had profiteroles with hot chocolate, and it was SO good. The dark chocolate was very rich, but not too sweet.

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Would highly recommend all these places in Paris! It’s hard to have a bad meal here, as long as you do your wee bit of research. Bon Appetit!

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Poland, Warsaw

Warsaw

Recommended days: 1

***Never ever visit Warsaw on a Tuesday! All the museums are closed 😦 We didn’t know till we got there, and it was really such a bummer because we only had half a day in Warsaw to spend, and that day had to be a Tuesday, damn.

Otherwise, we wanted to go to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which is supposedly really interactive and interesting to visit!

Getting around:

If you’re flying in to Warsaw, you have to get an airport bus transfer, because the airport is about 45 minutes away from Centrum!

Book in advance online (Modlin Bus) just in case the bus is full and you don’t get a seat! Being stranded at the airport certainly isn’t fun at all. When we were boarding the bus, some people wanted to buy tickets from the driver itself, but the driver curtly brushed them off and told them it was full and that they had to wait for the next one. Worse is that the bus only comes once per hour, so it’s much safer to book ahead!

If in a large group, a taxi may be cheaper because then you can split the cost by 4 and then directly arrive at your place.

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It was a pity that we only had half a day to cover Warsaw; I would have liked 1 full day because there were certain landmarks we didn’t get to see. I would have wanted to visit the Marie Curie museum as well as Frederick Chopin’s museum! I didn’t know they were polish! I also really wanted to go up to the 30th floor of the Palace of Culture, you can’t miss it, and it’s probably the biggest and most iconic landmark in Warsaw. I would have loved strolling along Lazienki Park too! But the weather didn’t allow for it 😦

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I’m so proud of myself though; I walked more than 10km all over the city! But of course I had aching legs the next day. We walked along the different embassies, onto the main shopping street and then into Old Town.

Keep your eyes peeled out on the left as well as on the right, because there are so many pretty buildings around! However, after awhile it got a little bit boring for me because there were just soooo many churches, it was just church after church after church. Especially for me, because I wasn’t a Catholic, I couldn’t really grasp the significance or appreciate it.

Our airbnb host was really lovely as well, because she had this file that recommended us all the good places to eat, and what to do. It was about a 10-minute walk to Centrum so not too shabby!

Food to eat:

Bobby Burger: This was the lifesaver at night. Because we arrived really late, at like 12.30 due to a delayed flight, it was amazing that it was still open past midnight! It’s a franchise chain, so perfect for when hunger pangs strike. It’s about 14 PLN ($6 SGD) I think?

Charlotte cafe:

This was in our host’s recommended places to eat, and came in highly recommended by tripadvisor as well! It’s more of a breakfast place, selling breads and jams and croissants, and is a French bakery. I really liked the croissants; it was crispy yet soft, and you have to try the butter!! It has a vanilla-ish taste to it, and doesn’t taste like your typical butter. It opens at 7am so it’s really great if you have a long day ahead.

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Other recommendations my airbnb host gave but we had no time to try are:

Butchery and wine: Really good steak

Beirut: Music bar/Mediterranean food (sells seafood/hummus)

Nolita: Fine dining

Signature: Fine dining

Sofra: Mediterranean/Turkish

Miedzy nami: Hipster café

My friend also recommended me to try Cukiernia Pawlowicz, which supposedly sells the best donuts everrr but I didn’t have time to go find it! The reviews sounded absolutely amazing though, rose almond and chocolate filled donuts wowww. It’s like the Krispy Kreme of Poland, go try and tell me how it is!

Traditional Polish food that is really popular and can be found all around are:

  • Pierogi: dumplings (not sure if I went to a bad restaurant, but I didn’t really like it, it tastes kind of soggy)
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Copenhagen

Torvehallerne

13/3

I’m typing this as I sit on the Arctic train to Kiruna, Sweden, where just outside of my window, the land is blanketed in white snow, with fir and pine trees littering the landscape. It makes for a very scenic ride indeed!

Anyway, I’m beginning to really love Copenhagen, kind of kicking myself for squeezing in so many travel plans, and not spending enough time in the city itself.

The weather is starting to become perfect right now – when you’re here, you’ll really see how much the weather makes a difference in one’s mood. Everyone just lounges outside, sitting on the grass, just basking in the sun’s gentle warmth.

I finally tried out the food market that I’ve always wanted to try! There are so many stores, I don’t think I can ever possibly eat my way through them, given the limited amount of time I’m spending in the city 😦 However, I would really recommend the fish and chips! Don’t eat the fishcakes though; they were just really fishy…

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I would love to try the Smørrebrød and pizza next time! As well as their assortments of cakes and pastries. Like oh my god, everything just looked so good, we were spoilt for choice!

And I went to Faith’s place for dinner, and it felt really good having an only-girls’ dinner, simply talking about girly stuff and doing what girls do best hehe!

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Iceland

5 things to eat in Iceland

  1. Bæjarins Beztu Hot dogs

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It is said that hotdogs are Iceland’s national dish. Although there are specialties’ such as fermented shark, ram testicles and puffin (which I didn’t try), hotdogs are by far the most popular snack in Iceland. We went to “the best hotdog stand” in Iceland and it really lived up to its reputation! Don’t bother buying just one, buy two at one go, you’ll thank yourself later. Made with lamb meat, fried onions, garlic, and a special Bæjarins Beztu sauce, we wolfed it down after a trip to the public baths and it tasted absolutely fantastic on a cold, wintry night. Only 380 ISK!

 

  1. Noodle Station

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Another cheap and wallet friendly option in the city of Reykjavik, I really loved the Vietnamese beef noodles. With its thick broth and tender beef chunks, it kept us warm and fuzzy amidst the snowstorms.

1190 ISK.

  1. Geysir Café (Gulfoss Kaffi)

Although I didn’t get to try this place because we missed the stop, their lamb stew is supposedly really good and I would have wanted to try it out! 😦 We didn’t know the lamb stew was at the Geysir itself until we visited the Geysir and left.

  1. Fish/Skyr yogurt

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As Iceland is surrounded by sea, you should definitely order some fish because it’s super fresh and an affordable option! Another thing you should try is Skyr, which is a yogurt, originating from Iceland!

  1. Café Loki

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Situated just opposite the church, this café is super easy to find and gives you a first taste of Icelandic food. I wouldn’t say that the food was spectacular, or maybe it just wasn’t suited to my taste buds but I think it was okay. I ordered the mashed fish potatoes and I quite liked it! It felt like a fish mac n cheese, but wasn’t worth the significantly higher prices.

Honestly, we didn’t eat out that often because most of the times, our breakfasts and lunches were eaten on the road because of the limited daytime hours that we had to catch! But definitely try the hotdogs, we wanted to make a return stop on our way back to the airport but alas we didn’t pass through Reykjavik, so we couldn’t 😦 That’s how good the hotdogs are.

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