a love affair with food, travel, all things design...



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seoul archive



Place with no name (hörnet Nguyen Trung Troc/Le Loi): best bun thit nuong in town 


When I lived in Seoul for 3 years, the one thing I regretted the most was not traveling around Asia as much as I should have. Yeah, I visited a few cities here and there.   Well, I guess you can say it's all about timing.  Perhaps I would not have enjoyed it as much traveling alone then.  Finding the right travel partner does make all the difference!  It wasn’t until after I left Korea did I finally visit Vietnam. So here we go.  Prior to this trip, I had a long list of expectations. Mainly food.  Okay, Vietnam has exceeded my expectations by miles. After picking the brains of 2 amazing bloggers/writers- Jen Yi from ‘Sites and Bites’ and Jan Ekholm who live in Vietnam, their list of favorites not only made our trip worthwhile, it made me anticipate my return trip. Hopefully sooner than later~

When I travel to different countries, I have to 'reset' my mind, body, emotions, habits, and attitude so that I can  'just be present'.  Upon arrival, I wasn’t anxious to know what was going to happen the next day.   Everyday felt like I was really given ‘just that day’ to live and eat, and wanted to take advantage of every moment.  If I didn’t, it would pass by under a blink.

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the back kitchen-brooklyn


For one night only...

Traditional Korean fare meets modern flavors and styling.  A Gluten-Free Menu meets a Brooklyn Pop Up. Acclaimed Seoul Chef Wonil Lee meets Seoul in the City’s Sarah Lee.  

This collaboration promises an innovative, beautiful, and flavorful dining experience.  Don’t miss out on this truly unique interpretation of Korean cuisine! 

Come with friends, bring your favorite bottle of wine or spirits, and grab a seat by purchasing tickets in advance! Tickets can be purchased via pay pal or credit card (see link below). Please inquire about dietary restrictions or general questions to sarah.lee25@gmail.com


An all gluten-free Korean menu:

'Pyogo Juk'

Shiitake mushroom cream porridge, topped with dates, perilla seeds, chili oil


Korean salad made with fresh seasonal greens, tossed with perilla seed dressing, silk tofu, crispy rice bits

'Saewoo Nangchae'

Steamed shrimp tossed in creamy mustard, brown rice, ketnip (Korean sesame leaf) & coriander pesto


Combination of three: bulgogi beef + two variations of tofu + washed kimchi; tofu cream infused with black sesame and garlic

'Bibim Bop'

Quinoa, stir fried dried anchovy, spinach, butternut squash, watercress, red cabbage, quail egg, red pepper paste

'Gokam mari & Dduk gochi'

Walnut wrapped in dried persimmon, fried rice cakes with yuzu glaze


Saturday, January 11th 2014

There will be 3 seatings, 20 seats/per seating.

Brunch-12:30-2:30pm ($25/person)-SOLD OUT!!!
Dinner 1st seating-5:30-7:30pm ($45/person)-SOLD OUT!!!
Dinner 2nd seating-8:30-11pm ($45/person)-SOLD OUT!!!

Nha Toi Restaurant in Williamsburg
160 Havemeyer St. (between 2nd and 3rd street)
Brooklyn, NY 11211  
*street parking available, nearest metro is L train 'Bedford Ave stop' or J/M ‘Marcy Ave Stop'

Please click here to purchase tickets through Brown Paper Tickets



the still life-hudson valley new york

Cows at Sprout Creek Farm-Poughkeepsie, NY

“Memory lives in the body.  Just like taste does.  Food is not simply about finding ingredients-it’s something that runs parallel to life, politics, gossip and histories…it’s something that we re-create every time we gather with our friends to grow and eat our foods.  And we create new memories.”

-Aruna D’Souza

The quote above pretty much sums up my life vision…my everyday vision.  Some of you may remember my previous posts about my farm experiences: Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Bean Table, salt farms in Korea, and visiting any farm for that matter.  So today I'll be sharing about the Hudson River Valley.

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going back to the roots-let's start again...



My sweet addiction: shaved milk+fresh house made red bean paste+house made rice cakes.

Okrumong 오루몽 was among some my favorites.


So I was thinking about writing a serious post on all of the places I went to during my 2 month stay in Korea. Oh what the heck, I just had to start this post off with a large image of my favorite Korean dessert-Red Bean Bingsoo (aka 'Pat bingsoo').  Growing up in a Korean home, you just knew that it was the best treat when your mom busts out the ice shaver that takes like 30 minutes to shave a cup of ice, pours milk and bean powder, throws some fruit and rice cakes, and of course the glorious red bean paste. Then when you have 2 younger brothers, forget it.  Game over.  You can barely get spoon of this down without a battle.  I wasn't a huge fan of red bean paste during the early years, as I just couldn't figure out why it tasted the way it did.  Definitely an acquired taste.  Did you know that a persons taste buds changes every 7 years??? Is what a teacher friend told me once...which I can definitely relate to because I hated fish growing up, and now it's my first choice of protein. Random story.  But true.  Anyhow-I love how simplicity of this dish, and the key is to have shaved milk, house made red bean paste, and house made Korean rice cakes.  Definitely tempting to make my own version of this in Brooklyn.  Next summer that is :)

So my favorite part of this trip was the red bean bingsoo.  There were some amazing things that I tried for the first time, or new discoveries. However, the *winner* was definitely this dessert.  I think I ate it uh...every week? haha.  This explains the extra kilos my body picked up along the way.   

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The Korean American Film Festival New York is going on this week October 24th-26th! This year's theme on 'The Korean War' will feature documentaries and films that touch this subject on all angles.  If you're in New York, please come out and support these filmmakers, their stories, and our community.  Click on this link 'KAFFNY' for more details, and to purchase tickets on their website (tickets can be purchased at the door as well).  I will be there all 3 days-come by and say hello^^