Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kiaora Japan

Kia ora! It means Welcome in Maori language, yes I am in New Zealand at the moment, in the city of Rotorua, a city well known for its geothermal spas scattered around the region where you can smell the sulfur from every corner of the city. Taking a break after a nine-bloody-busy-week during Christmas season, I am staying in Rotorua for three nights and heading to Auckland tomorrow. Walking around the city, much to my surprise that there are few Japanese restaurants in town, one of them is Kiaora Japan on Tutanekai street, the main street toward the lake.

(Kiaora Japan in Rotorua)

It comes to my surprise when I found a few Japanese restaurants in town, one of them is Kiaora Japan on Tutanekai street, the main street toward the lake. It’s an authentic Japanese restaurant packed with tourists and local people during lunch time serving a wide range of Japanese sake and Sapporo beer on tap.

Here are my lunch dishes today,

The lunch set special is NZD 10 comprises two sushi, teriyaki chicken on rice, salad and miso soup, while the shoyu ramen costs about NZD 12

(Shoyu ramen)

(seaweed salad)

On another note about Rotorua,
Are you a fan of Lord of The Rings trilogy? If yes then you should visit the hobbiton movie set tour located about 50 minutes driving from Rotorua. Despite the gusty wind and wet weather this morning I did enjoy walking around the ‘middle earth’ valley, the farm has amazing scenery of thirty-seven hobbit holes, oak trees and breathtaking views overlooking the valley.

Unfortunately, as a condition of entry you are not allowed to share anything on the internet including facebook, you-tube, and blogs. You are permitted to take as much photos or video as you like but Peter Jackson doesn’t allow you to share anything on the internet so I couldn’t share any picture or further information about this beautiful 'middle-earth' valley.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Menya Mappen, it's the third shop of Menya Noodle Bar in Sydney located at shop 11, 537-551 George street just a block away from Town Hall station. This self-serve noodle bar specializes in soba and udon while the first Menya shop in Chinatown offers the best ramen in town.

I always love a Japanese restaurant with traditional and vintage decor and yes this Mappen full of nostalgic posters on the wall from old foodie movies to samurai movie posters like 'zatoichi', which reminds me of 'Gokuraku showtengai' in Namba-Osaka, on top of that you can enjoy old Japanese songs while slurping your udon in hot yummy kakedashi broth.

(zaru soba, a cold soba served on 'zaru' or bamboo tray, topped with fried bean curd topping)

(mini gyudon)

A bowl of udon or soba priced around $4-$5 and the tempura topping costs around $1 - $2.50.

(sweet potato and vegetable kakiage tempura)

(how to enjoy mappen)

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Fruit of a dark red to purplish black 'bing', the smooth skinned drupes last longer if picked with stems attached. Sweet cherries should be firm but not hard, they can be eaten as is or used in desserts or baked goods like cherry tarts and pies.

(Cherry pie)

It's the first week of summer when cherry season is in full swing. Last week I went for cherry picking in Young, the cherry capital of Australia, about 4 hours driving from Sydney. It was a bit too early as most of the cherries weren't quite ripe yet and the weather wasn't perfect, wet and muddy farm yet I still enjoyed picking and eating fresh cherry.