First meal of the day in Kyoto was 牛ロースカツ膳 Chuck Tail Flap (¥1480) and 牛リブロースカツ膳 Rib Eye Roll (¥1380), with 10% tax, which came with free-flow rice, miso soup and cabbage. This place was definitely tourist-friendly, with its multi-language guide on how to eat 牛カツ Gyukatsu aka beef cutlet. We were quite impressed by the crispy exterior of the cutlets while the inside was medium rare and juicy.
One of the main highlights of this trip was to visit the beautiful 高千穂峡 Takachiho Gorge!
We had a hard time deciding if we wanted to do this as a day trip (might be too rushed), or to do an overnight stay and watch the cultural show at night (which we might not understand at all). Eventually, we decided to take it easy and stay one night at the gorge, as we would be travelling long distances often during this trip.
It took us a while to find the B&B 浮き雲 Ukigumo, where we would be staying for the night. The friendly owner spoke English very well, and directed us to a shortcut to get to the 高千穂峡 Takachiho Gorge 🙂
Other than chicken, Miyazaki is also famous for its high quality 宮崎牛 Miyazaki Beef, and we really really wanted to try it!
We had read about the dinner buffet at 焼肉レストランAPAS Yakiniku Restaurant APAS (a very popular chain of restaurants specializing in 宮崎牛 Miyazaki Beef), which required reservations to be made in advance. Hence, we had popped over here the night before to make enquiries and to make reservations.
The 120-min 食べ飲み放題 Eat-And-Drink-All-You-Can dinner buffet was ¥6,000 (~S$70) for men and ¥5,500 (~S$65) for ladies, and would be even more value-for-money if you could drink a lot; shochu, wine, whiskey, beer, etc, were all part of the free-flow drinks menu.
We wanted to grab some dinner prior to making our way to the airport, and once again, we went to the nearby 애성회관 곰탕 (Aeseong Hoegwan Gomtang) Aseong Hall Beef Soup, recommended by the hotel.
We got ourselves some 곰탕 (Gomtang) Beef Soup 牛肉湯 (₩8,000 (S), ₩10,000 (L)).
Simple, and super delicious, the beef slices were thick, tender, and flavourful.
We recommend getting the big bowl for the extra beef! The noodles quantity seemed to be the same, and they were worth slurping too. The soup was served warm (not piping hot), and it was very flavourful too.
What a delicious meal to end our trip with 🙂
Location: 서울특별시 중구 남대문로5길 23 세창빌딩 Seochang Building, 5 Road, 23 Namdaemunro, Jung-gu, Seoul
After our cherry blossom viewing, we walked back towards 여의도역 Yeouido Station 汝矣島站, and the IFC Mall was nearby, with plenty of food options. Since we wanted to have Korean food, we opted for 사리원 Sariwon Bulgogi, which had pretty good online reviews.
The menu was available in English, Chinese and Korean, and we took a lunch special 육수 불고기세트 (Yuksu Bulgogi Seteu) Hand Marinated Prime Beef with Broth Set 肉湯烤肉套餐 (₩18,500 per person).
We found the 냉면 (Naengmyeon) Cold Buckwheat Noodles 冷麵 to be the highlight of the meal. Delightfully chilled, we enjoyed the texture of the noodles very much. The beef was so-so. Not exactly a satisfying or cheap meal, but well, it was located in a mall.
Location: 서울특별시 영등포구 여의도동 국제금융로 10, 910 Gukjegeumyung-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
I was sleeping off the effects of the flu medicine and we ended up having a really late lunch near our hotel, at a restaurant recommended by one of the hotel staff.
It was past lunch time and the restaurant was really quiet.
Browsing through the menu, we decided on 2 sets, a Mushroom Beef Galgogi Pot (₩13,000) and a Special Korea-style Ribs (₩15,000). The staff enquired if we wanted 2 bowls of rice, and seemed surprised that we only wanted 1 bowl.
Food was served quite quickly, and we gotta say that we were very impressed with the food! The flavours were never too spicy or salty; in fact, we found the balance of the flavours to be very soothing and welcoming.
We decided to check out Wheeler’s Estate (sister outlet of Wheeler’s Yard) at the newly opened Seletar Aerospace Park for our Christmas Eve lunch 🙂
Our first impressions of this place was that it was really pretty! The restaurant resides in a restored black and white colonial bungalow, amid lush greenery.
All the food were beautifully plated as well, so practically everything was Instagram-worthy.
Pulled Apart Bread ($14++): This was the highlight of the meal. The interior of the crispy bread was so soft and yummy we even did a takeaway for the portion that we were unable to finish. It still tasted great the next day after we warmed it up!
Cheeky Swine ($25++): We felt that this had the porky smell in addition to being too fat for our liking.
Scotch Fillet ($45++): We chose the roasted pumpkin with spiced honey yoghurt as the side to accompany the 300g steak. The steak was juicy and flavourful enough but not very memorable.
Location: 2 Park Lane, Seletar Aerospace Park S(798386)
We came by the area to purchase my favourite 大排档 Dai Pai Dong 2-in-1 milk tea, so it seemed rather fitting that we should have dinner at the nearby dai pai dong 盛記 Sing Kee. There were many customers having seafood here, but we did not dare to try. Instead, we had:
時菜豬什 Assorted Pig Offal & Seasonal Vegetables (HK$48): The choi sum was not bad, and the pig offals were quite tender.
嘟嘟雞煲 Sizzling Chicken in Pot (HK$59): Oooh, this was quite addictive and the chicken pieces were quite tender.
干炒牛河 Stir-fry Beef Hor Fun (HK$50): Unfortunately, this was missing a little wok hei, and a tad too salty and oily. The beef slices were quite tender though.
Location: 中環士丹利街82號舖 82 Stanley Street, Central (Google Maps)
Nearest MTR: Island Line Hong Kong Station 港島綫香港站 (Take Exit C and walk 6 mins)
Our last meal in Beijing was 涮肉 (typically mutton shabu shabu), and we wanted to try the 老北京铜锅 which is a traditional bronze hotpot with charcoal inside and a trench of water at the rim for shabu-ing the meat.
We found one near our hotel that looked quite traditional (because it’s housed in an old traditionally-looking building which we later realized was what the name of the restaurant 四牌楼 referred to) and had a few customers and has the words 百年老店 (which meant that it was a time-tested brand and literally around for 100 years), so we figured it should not be too bad.
Of course, there were also many restaurants that claimed to be 百年老店 or 老字号 as we had found out in this trip, haha.