When in Tokyo: Gyukatsu Motomura @ Shinjuku South Exit, Shinjuku – Delicious Beef Cutlet Fried Your Way

Ask any Japanophile for must-try food places in Tokyo, and Gyukatsu Motomura will more than likely top most lists. This chain brand has practically become an institution, with its have-it-your-way, deep-fried breaded beef cutlet drawing queue past lunch hours. 


While there are a few outlets scattered across Tokyo, I’ve been told the one in Shinjuku is its OG outpost. You’re advised to stake your spot about 15 minutes before opening time, which is when most customers start queueing. 

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When in Tokyo: Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory @ Setagaya City, Tokyo – Adorable Totoro-Shaped Cream Puffs Limited to 200 Pieces Per Day

Whether you’re a hardcore Ghibli fan or a casual viewer, you can’t deny that Totoro, the titular character of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film, My Neighbor Totoro and mascot for Studio Ghibli is one of the cutest and most iconic creations to grace Japanese animation. 

If you’ve visited the Ghibli Museum and are craving more Totoro – you can get a taste of this kawaii character at Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory in Setagya-Daita, Tokyo!


Tucked away in a cozy, residential neighbourhood, Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory was opened by none other than the sister-in-law of Studio Ghibli’s founder and director, Hayao Miyazaki. It is the only bakery in the world that currently has official permission from the studio itself to churn out sweets and pastries in the shape of Totoro, so you can be assured you’re getting the real deal. 

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When in JB: Kedai Makan Sing Kee @ Jalan Chengai, Taman Melodies – Taste of Home in JB

When in JB, eat cheap (and good) food. During a recent trip across the Causeway, a friend of mine introduced me to Kedai Makan Sing Kee at Jalan Chengai, a homely restaurant situated a short Grab ride from KSL City Mall. After a brief afternoon of mall-hopping, it seemed like an ideal place for a pit-stop to fuel up and rest our feet. 


It’s a pretty non-descript place, but also on the clean side. It was also noticeably empty on both nights we visited. Still, if you’re looking for a food spot that can accommodate larger groups, Kedai Makan Sing Kee is a decent option. 

The menu is also pretty straightforward, with typical dishes you would expect to find at eateries like it. 

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When in Kyoto: Angel Library @ Higashiyama, Kyoto – Whimsical Underground Chocolate Cafe with a Daily Changing Passcode

We visited this place in November 2019, prior to Covid-19. Do check for pandemic-related updates and precautions before making your visit.

CACAO MARKET By MARIABELLE in Higashiyama, Kyoto, is host to a couple of oddities. For one, its quintessentially Western facade stands out from its neighbours of traditional buildings in Japan’s historical capital. For another, well – it’s home to a secret underground cafe accessible only by a secret passcode.


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When in Kyoto: Matcha Republic 抹茶共和国 宇治本店 @ Uji, Kyoto – Traditional Matcha With a Modern Twist in Perfume Bottles

We visited this place in November 2019, prior to Covid-19. Do check for pandemic-related updates and precautions before making your visit.

What do you get when you combine a nearly thousand years old drink with a hip, modern setting and the allure of social media pictures? You get Matcha Republic!


Wandering somewhat aimlessly around Uji, Kyoto and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of shops touting variations of matcha in the hometown of this marvellous, historic drink, Matcha Republic’s minimalist white storefront called out to me from the myriad traditional stores brimming with packets upon packets of matcha powder.

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Capella Singapore @ The Knolls, Sentosa – Luxurious 5-Star Resort for the Ultimate Tropical Getaway

For my birthday, I decided to go all out and treat myself to a weekend staycation at Capella Singapore in Sentosa. A 5-star resort that was thrust into the international spotlight after the 2018 Trump-Kim summit took place there, this luxurious, Bali-esque property had been on my radar ever since travelling became a distant memory amid the pandemic.  


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