Category Archives: Culture

Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

Wherever our travels take us, we always ensure a visit to the local Farmer’s Market or the equivalent to check out local and seasonal produce. We love immersing in the food culture unique to each country or city and partaking in the festivities which surround it. During our recent trip to Melbourne, we paid the famed Vic Market a visit and picked up some really wonderful and fresh produce for our dinner that evening. Continue reading

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Seven Seeds and Market Lane Coffee, Melbourne

Apart from the St. Ali group, the cult coffee scene in Melbourne is heavily dominated by the Seven Seeds group and Market Lane Coffee, both of which were our next pit stops on our whirlwind coffee crawl during our short visit down under.

Seven Seeds was our first stop and not straightforward to find, which can be a good thing in our opinion. Located inconspicuously in a row of industrial warehouses with only “prison-like” iron bar windows to allow outsiders a peek into their secret world, Seven Seeds was certainly a hidden oasis that was enchanting and seductive. Entering through their large wooden doors, we immediately felt like part of an exclusive club – it was certainly a treat worth any trek down to! Continue reading

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Neighbourhood crawl: Kappabashi Dori, Tokyo

Kappabashi is popularly known as Tokyo’s ‘kitchen-town’ and is truly a place with shitamachi (old-school downtown) flavour. There are dozens of shops lined along Kappabashi Dori selling kitchenware and anything and everything you need to start up a restaurant – think specialty shops offering plastic food, blackboards and menus, chef knives, yakitori grills, chef uniforms and large ice cream cone fixtures, to name a few. Even if you just love to cook, this street will drive you wild – this is, by a mile, my favourite place in Tokyo and I can spend as much as half a day here each visit.

A day after last Friday’s earthquake, I hurried down to Kappabashi Street, concerned how the store owners and their wares were keeping. I had just been to Mashiko the day before the earthquake stuck and read that many of the stores and museums had suffered substantial damage.

At Kappabashi, business was as usual on Saturday for most stores. While some reported minimal damage to goods, thankfully, most had escaped unscathed. I highly recommend this wonderful stretch of shops just one station away from Asakusa if you are thinking of setting up a restaurant or cafe, love cooking or simply want to marvel at the many offerings on display – one of the most meaningful and fulfilling ways spend an afternoon, in my opinion!

Nearest train station: Tarawamachi Station on the Ginza Line, exit 3.

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Mashiko, Japan


for Michelle

We had the opportunity to meet an extremely talented local ceramic artist over the Lunar New Year period this year and she recommended that we visit the small village of Mashiko on our upcoming trip to Tokyo. Having a great interest (bordering on fetish) in Japanese ceramics, we were, of course, thrilled to hear about this thriving pottery town, some 100km north of Tokyo; the only thing that was standing in our way from jumping on the first train to Mashiko, was the journey. Continue reading

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Neighbourhood crawl: Ueno Park, Tokyo

Kiddies on the way to Ueno Zoo

Ueno Park is one of Tokyo’s most popular destinations for families and tourists to visit and it’s not hard to see why – there’s a place for everyone, young or old. Apart from being Japan’s largest city park, Ueno Park is home to some of Japan’s top museums, including The Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and the National Science Museum (with an enormous life size replica of a sperm whale displayed at the entrance), making it a sheer delight for culture vultures. Also within the park is the renowned Ueno Zoo, several temples and religious shrines. The park’s central pathway is lined with over 1200 cherry trees, and come April this year when cherry blossoms are in bloom, thousands of hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties are expected to be held to celebrate the annual spectacle. Continue reading

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The Baba House and Heritage Walk, Singapore

One dark and stormy night in late January this year, we had the privilege to be two of 16 guests in a post-dinner card game played by Joavian Ng and Paloma Calle in the interactive performance, The Diary of Alice (presented by Theatreworks). We gathered around a long rectangular table in the dining hall of the Baba House sipping copious amounts of Whiskey as our female leads entertained us with their playful artistic exploration of ‘Alice’ and the fascinating universe of identities. The setting could not have been more perfect – as the plot intensified, so did the dramatic shift in weather conditions; rain pelted down right into the enormous air well beside the dining hall, which made for almost perfectly orchestrated sound and lighting effects.

At the end of the play, we were ushered back into the front of the house where a surprise was revealed – we would be given a free tour around the Baba House. Continue reading

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