Food and Film: 4 short animations with food

Short films are the best, because sometimes I get cravings in the middle of the night and there are no restaurants open (I wish something opened between midnight and 5 am, a rice porridge stall or a noodle soup vendor would be nice). 1. Omelette – by Madeline Sharafian. (Copyright CalArts Films) Simple and sweet. 2. French Roast – (Oscar Nominated Animated Short 2010) It’s coffee, not really food, but still…

Eating in Seoul: Spotlighting 4 Hongdae Restaurants


Since Hongdae is where I stayed in Seoul, this is where I had most of my meals. In this post I’ll spotlight 4 restaurants that stood out to me mostly because of the dishes that I had there. These include: Korean-style onigiri (rice balls), kimchi mandu (dumplings), vegetable and meat pancake, and gamjatang (potato soup) without the gamja (potato). #1 Kong’s Riceball It was my second day in Seoul and I was still very overwhelmed with being in South Korea. I had a pretty big lunch at the museum cafe in the War Memorial of Korea and on my way back to my hostel, I wanted dinner but just a small dinner. I remembered passing by this restaurant the day before when my friend was showing me around the area and figured today will be the perfect day to try it! Continue reading Eating in Seoul: Spotlighting 4 Hongdae Restaurants

8 perks of eating out alone

Party of One by Anne Teigen I stumbled on this painting while reading an Art of the Soul blog post.

If you know me in person, you know that my only hanging-out activity is eating with friends. I like it to a sin. Now, recently, First We Feast published a list of “great places to dine alone in NYC“. I find the connotation somewhat unfair against introverts, myself included. Why do we treat “dining alone” as separate from “dining”? EVERY place is a great (or mediocre) place to dine alone. What makes a place great (or mediocre) are the food and the service, NOT the number of bodies you sit with. In college, I noticed that all of my roommates shared a common habit: they ABSOLUTELY had to call someone to go eat with them at the cafeteria, if they couldn’t find someone, they curled up in the room with mac ‘n cheese or some takeout. Recently, a friend of mine felt stressed out, I told her to treat herself to a nice dinner, but she said that wouldn’t work because eating out alone would make her look pathetic. It’s not just her either. You rarely see a table of one at nice restaurants. Somehow, eating out alone is considered sad, awkward, something […]

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Beyond Food Porn: Chirashi at Musashi


Mai has written quite favorably about Musashi in a past post but I have to write about a particular dish that has been about the best thing I’ve eaten in a restaurant lately.   Continue reading Beyond Food Porn: Chirashi at Musashi

HUB Berkeley Innovation Dinner – food, food for thoughts, and some afterthoughts

HUB dinner buffet - prepared by chef Hugh Groman and his catering staff.

Berkeley is known for many things. The protests, the hippies, the arts, homeless people, the diversity and the acceptance of that diversity (you can literally see every type of people and every type of activity in this city, and anyone who has actually lived here would stop seeing them as different types of people, just as people). Berkeley also has the best public university in America, and actually the only public university that ranks above the Ivy league schools in many disciplines. (Public universities usually suffer in rankings not because of the students’ quality or the teaching quality, but because of the professor-to-student ratio, which is lower than those of private schools. Why? Ask the government about funding for public schools.) UC Berkeley was the reason I came to Berkeley, and for a while I hardly thought of the city as anything but the school. For a while, the academic life was my only life, and what I had planned for was a straight path into academia (and never out of it). But things change, and on some days, I feel lost. This is when I find that the city of Berkeley is more than the university it contains. […]

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Eating in Seoul: The Hello Kitty Cafe


While figuring out where exactly I was staying in Hongdae, I printed out the map on how to get to my hostel from the limousine bus stop. The map was marked with restaurants and cafes to use as landmarks while navigating through the backstreets of Hongdae. To my surprise, on this map a location was marked as “Hello Kitty Cafe.” I’m not the biggest fan of Hello Kitty, but there is something about themed cafes that really excites me, so I knew then that I had to go. (Or okay maybe I am a LOT excited about Hello Kitty…) It is PINK in here. It was a little blinding, but I felt so happy once I stepped inside! The music consisted of club dance music too so that definitely contributed to the upbeat atmosphere. I couldn’t decide what to order at first since all the cakes and drinks looked super cute and yummy, but I decided to go with the prettiest treats because how often is it that I get to go to a Hello Kitty-themed cafe? Continue reading Eating in Seoul: The Hello Kitty Cafe

Breakfast at Jodie’s


Friday. Nancy messaged Kristen and me that we should meet up early the next morning for breakfast at Jodie’s. We love breakfast. “How early, though?”, I asked. – I could pick you all up… Mai at 7:45, Kristen at 7:50 ish… – I have to say, this is insanely early, maybe I would just skip sleeping… – Well, it is a TINY place next to a salon, I believe. It only seats eight at a time. The shop opens at 8 AM… There is the possibility of going later – 10 ish – but we would have to wait for “turnover” and wouldn’t be sitting with each other… – … – They have a table outside… it might be cold… They said they can’t predict if there will be only a few people or a lot… so we could always go a little later, but then we might have to wait for the table, but at least when that happens, we could still all sit together… Shall we try for 8:30 then? A bit of a compromise 😉 – 7:45 or 8:30 are the same to me, so let’s do 7:45. 🙂 Now, I’m an astronomer […]

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Eating in Seoul: My Favorite Cafe


As a graduate student, I find that I need to always be constantly reading and writing. However, I am not someone who can study easily in a library – it’s a little too quiet and after a while, I start to freak out. I need a little bit of noise to keep me motivated, which is why I prefer to study at cafes all the time. Seeing that I was in Seoul to present at a conference, I needed to get on top of my studying too and took a few days to relax a little bit and read. For the first half of my trip I stayed in Hongdae, which is a super cute neighborhood outside of Hongik University, an art and design university. There were so many cute shops and vendors open during the day and clubbing at night; I can definitely see why this is such a popular place for young people! My favorite part of Hongdae though are the cafes – each cafe is unique and has its own charms. I obviously did not get a chance to hang out at every single cafe, but I did have a favorite while I was staying in […]

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