Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Having recently come from a trip to Japan, I find myself now really appreciating the abundance of Japanese restaurants right here in Dalian. There are just too many to count and it would be impossible to fully explore all of them, but it’s easy to come across a few gems here and there. 

When one thinks of Japanese food, it’s often sashimi and sushi that come to mind. No doubt these are fantastic, delicious and healthy for you. However, sashimi and sushi are usually and traditionally eaten during dinner.

I thought it would be more fun to explore the Japanese-style lunch  – the ramens and Bento boxes that are just as delectable.

Here are three Japanese restaurants in Dalian where you’ll find dining for lunch is always a pleasure…


Genji boasts authentic Japanese cuisine and a great selection of Bento boxes for lunch. The servings are generous and the seafood and meat portions of the highest quality. Located at the Hilton Dalian hotel, it also has a nice Zen-like atmosphere and the perfect ambience for a relaxing lunch with friends.

Hilton Dalian, 2/F
No.1 Gangpu Lu
Zhongshan District, Dalian
Open for Lunch – 11:30am-2:30pm
               Dinner – 5:30pm – 10pm

Tuna and Avocado appetizer - yum!!

One of Genji's amazing Bento Box lunch sets


Koto is a small and cozy sushi izakaya restaurant with probably one of the largest lunch menu selections of Bento boxes I have ever seen. I counted at least 20 choices. So you’ll be sure to find something just for you. The best thing about Koto is the affordable prices. Most bento boxes range from 32RMB (US$5) to 68RMB (US$11).

Harbour Plaza, 2/F
#42 Dandong jie, Zhongshan District

Spinach and Mushroom Salad

One of Koto's many Bento box choices


When it comes to authentic Japanese ramen, this place is difficult to beat. The restaurant works as a 2-in-1 venue. The left side is the ramen room (open during the day) and the right side is the Toriya room (open at night). For lunch, try the Miso Ramen, Shoyu Ramen, Japanese Teppanyaki Ramen or the Dandan Mian (noodles with peppery sauce).  They also have great Gyoza (Japanese fried dumplings).

#14 Yuncheng Lane, Fushou jie
Zhongshan District, Dalian

Shoyu Pork Ramen

Toriya's Gyoza (Japanese fried dumplings)

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Hi everyone! I know I have been gone for awhile and I'm sorry for being away. A ton of things have been happening the past two months along with some traveling which has kept me away from my blog. But I am back and I've got some nice things in store for all of you this coming week. :) 

But first to start off this week, I'd like to share with you some amazing pictures I've taken around Children's Park here in Dalian in celebration of what could be perhaps the most beautiful season...Autumn. I have to say, I still might prefer Summer as a whole (nothing beats the sun, sand and beach!) but the crisp cool air amidst the colors all around you that Autumn brings is incomparable. 

Autumn here in Dalian is a beautiful, prominent season...maybe because Winter is just so cold and long...that everyone just wants to cherish and hold on to Autumn before it's gone. 

So, in celebration of this wonderful season, here's some snapshots of Autumn in Dalian..

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Coffee culture has gone full blast here in China, and it's always something I've found very interesting and amusing. For starters, coffee drinking and cafe culture is a relatively new thing in China (when you think about a civilization that for centuries have only been drinking tea). But Chinese urban society today, especially the youth have embraced coffee drinking fully and whole-heartedly. I have seen this phenomenon in all the cities I've been to in China, but never more so than here in Dalian where life has elevated cafe culture to a whole new level. 

In almost every street corner, and nook and cranny in this city, you will find a cute roadside cafe for your much needed caffeine stop. But of course, not all cafes are created equal. You have the regular social hangouts like Starbucks and Costa Coffee. But I'm much more interested in the quaint, unique cafes with interesting decor and great atmosphere. Here in Dalian, there's no shortage of beautiful cafes with outdoor seating and that one-of-a-kind vibe. 

September is actually a great month to visit Dalian..the weather is still warm but with a cool pleasant breeze..perfect for having that hot cup of coffee in one of the city's many cafes. 

Here are some of my favorite picks:

3rd Floor, Warehouse 15, Renmin Road East
Zhongshan District, Dalian

Monte Carlo is a cute cafe with great outdoor seating facing the East Dalian Harbour. You can take in the fancy, colorful decor while sipping your coffee and watching seagulls by the dock.

Zhigong jie corner Lushun lu (beside Carrefour)
Zhongshan District, Dalian
(many branches around Dalian)

Paris Baguette is an awesome cafe and bakery with goodies as far as the eye can see. From bread, croissants, pastries, cakes, sandwiches and pizza, it's all here. They have great yogurt too and a good selection of coffee. 

Wanghai Street (in front of Botanical Garden)
Zhongshan District, Dalian

This is one of my favorite cafes in Dalian. It is located in an old house by the Botanical Garden. The interior reminds me of an English garden or countryside cafe. It's very rustic and bohemian and just a great relaxing place to go with friends. The French hot chocolate is authentic and amazing!

Fisherman's Wharf (dock area), Laohutan,
Zhongshan District, Dalian

Momi Cafe is a truly unique cafe filled with postcards, notepads and art paraphernalia to suit your fancy. While having a cup of coffee, you may write a friend in one of the many cute postcards and mail it right then and there (one of the cafe's perks - a one-stop mail service). Not to mention, Momi is located in one of Dalian's most beautiful areas, Laohutan, complete with a marina and breathtaking sunsets. 

JPC Cafe
Qiqi Street corner Jiefang jie,
Zhongshan District, Dalian

I recently discovered this cafe with my friend Eya. Owned by a company based in Hong Kong, the cafe is situated in its own building by a small park and is quite impressive. Breads, pastries, a complete food menu and of course, great coffee are just a few of the goodies to be found here. The Blueberry cheesecake is a must!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Even in the heat of summer, our skin needs moisture and good hydration to keep healthy and maintain balance. Lately, I find myself changing moisturizers constantly and trying new brands as my skin can be a bit difficult to shop for. It can be, at times, oily and dry, and acne-prone and sensitive...so finding the perfect moisturizer can be a bit tricky.

I have, however, found a few brands that seem to work for my skin that I constantly go back to time and time again. One of the brands I'll be adding to my moisturizer haul is Aupres by Japanese premium brand Shiseido. 

Aupres ("close to you" in French) is a prestige skincare and makeup brand initially launched by Shiseido to be sold exclusively in China. Since 2012 however, Aupres products are now also available in Malaysia. 

Walking up to their counter in a department store here in Dalian, I was impressed to see that the brand has five full skincare ranges: Pureness Bright, Ultimate White, Premium, Pro-Balancing, and Time Lock Solution. Another thing that impressed me: the price! For a prestige brand, Aupres products are quite affordable in comparison to other product brands of the same quality. 

I was most interested in their anti-aging line, Time Lock Solution, that is said to help skin maintain its vitality and resilience, and eliminating fine lines and wrinkles. The line consists of ingredients such as Yeast extract which enhances the skin's collagen network and Japanese basil extract to maintain skin's resilience. 

AUPRES Time Lock Solution Vitalizing Emulsion II
(130ml.) (230RMB) (US$37.50)

I decided to try the Time Lock Solution Vitalizing Emulsion II (for combination skin) as I liked the fluid consistency of the moisturizer. It is light in texture which I prefer as a daily moisturizer before putting on makeup. So far, I have been using this for quite some time and loving it. It is great for everyday and keeps skin hydrated, soft and supple. 

A small amount like this is all you need to moisturize your
entire face and neck.
AUPRES Time Lock Solution Intensive Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream
(20g.) (260RMB) (US$42)

The star product in the range is the Intensive Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream (so had to buy that one of course!). It is described as a rich and lustrous eye cream formulated with nourishing ingredients to help correct wrinkles and fine lines around the eyes. 
It is quite thick in consistency compared to other eye creams but it is very easy to gently pat around the eyes. I like to put this one at night before going to bed. 
So, if you're traveling around China some time and would like to give this brand a try, I highly recommend it!  

Monday, July 22, 2013


Recently, I've been on the lookout for a really great mascara and the perfect BB Cream. These are two makeup products that are constantly in demand. But with so many out there to choose from, which are the best ones?

These days, I have a growing love for Asian products especially Japanese and Korean brands. So when I found out that the Japanese food store located on the ground floor of the building where I live sold Japanese cosmetics, I practically jumped for joy!

Here are the gems I found:

Volume & Curl Mascara (S01 Jet Black)

Kiss Me Heroine Make Volume & Curl Mascara (US$10)

This mascara with the super cute packaging comes from one of Japan's biggest drugstore cosmetic companies, Isehan. Their Kiss Me Heroine Make Volume & Curl Mascara contains a fiber-in, curl-set polymer extract with volume plumping wax to bring volume and curl to your eyelashes. It is sweatproof and waterproof. It also has moisturizing extracts of chamomile and camellia. 

As I tried it on, it glided on smoothly over my eyelashes with the brush, leaving a shiny and glossy finish and no clumps at all! The polymer formulation keeps the curl and sets it in place. I'm actually really liking this mascara and for the price, I would say it's definitely value for money. 

IMPORTANT TIP: Everything about this mascara is great, but you will need a VERY GOOD eye makeup remover/cleanser to get it off completely at the end of the day. It is a bit hard to remove without a good cleanser.

Mineral BB Cream SPF34 PA++
(02 Natural)

Kiss Me Heroine Make Mineral BB Cream SPF34 (US$10)
I got a free sample of the KISS ME Heroine Make Mineral BB Cream SPF34 in 02 Natural and decided to try it out. I love BB Creams because they are really great for everyday. They are not as thick as foundation yet still give a nice light coverage that looks really natural. They are usually packed with anti-aging skincare ingredients as well that can be really beneficial in the long-term. If you have never tried a BB Cream yet, I suggest you go out to your nearest drugstore and buy one. A little warning though: you might get addicted. 

I noticed right away as I tried this particular one on my skin that it had a bit more coverage than other BB creams I've tried, which tend to be more sheer. This is a medium coverage BB cream that is slightly opaque, perfect for covering pores, spots, dullness and freckles. 

The cream is said to contain hyaluronic acid for optimum moisture and mineral ingredients such as brown algae extract. It is fragrance-free and contains SPF 34. 

Ready to head out: Me wearing the Kiss Me Heroine Make Mascara and BB Cream