I've been living in Tokyo for almost 2 months now. It's been a fun adventure trying all the food, especially since everything tastes delicious! My current obsession is konbini (convenience store) food - specifically 7-Eleven. I have a newfound loyalty to 7-Eleven because I am an ice cream lover and after trying many different konbinis, I believe 7-Eleven has the best ice cream selection. While making daily ice cream stops (you are free to judge haha), I've been trying their other foods---onigiri, sandwiches, sausages, cookies, etc. I'm trying everything so you can save your stomach space and just eat the best. The list below is in the order of my favorites. I will continue to update this list as I discover more goodies!
almond milk & strawberry with rice cake ice cream bar
This ice cream bar is the reason I became a loyal customer of 7-Eleven. It's an almond milk ice cream bar with strawberry filling and little mochi pieces. This ice cream might be seasonal because I haven't been able to find it again. Let's hope they bring it back!
country ma'am cookies
I am actually a cookie snob; I only like freshly baked cookies. These are packaged cookies and I, the cookie snob, shouldn't like these, but I like them so much. Actually, I love them. They're soft, chewy and chocolatey. But the real magic happens after you warm up the cookies in the microwave for 20 seconds ... really tastes like fresh baked cookies!
pork, egg & pork broth onigiri
I love Korean onigiris with lots of gochujang (hot chili pepper paste). I haven't found a Japanese onigiri that is packed with flavor like the Korean ones, but this pork and egg onigiri is just perfect. The flavor is amazing and the egg is cooked just right - slightly runny. I could eat this one every day.
ZERO kcal cider triple soda pop
I don't normally drink soda because of the sugar and caffeine level, but ZERO kcal Cider Triple is free of both. My husband thinks it's too sweet, but I think it's a nice refreshing option when you're craving soda! I also tried ZERO kcal Fiber and it tastes like an orange soda!
mint chocolate ice bar
I imagine the mint chocolate chip ice cream bar to be the perfect date dessert. You can enjoy something sweet with your date and have incredibly fresh minty breath after for a smooch. *wink wink*
Natto seaweed roll
I heard that natto is often one of the first foods for Japanese babies. I was hesitant to try it because I heard it's an acquired taste. I guess we are ready to eat like the locals because we loved it! Just watch my son chowing down on his natto seaweed roll. He seemed intrigued by the stickiness!
Cheese corn snacks
Cheese is healthy, corn is healthy... so these cheese corn snacks must be healthy. I will keep telling myself that because these spiral-shaped chips are so tasty! Each bite is packed with crunch and cheese. This one is a family favorite.
I let my daughter choose any snack she wanted and she chose these rice crackers. My daughter was deliciously chomping on them making me question, “It’s just a rice cracker... how good could it be?” I popped one in my mouth and it wasn’t just a rice cracker... it was sweet, savory, crunchy and everything delightful in one bite!
Haagen-Dazs strawberry truffe ice cream sandwich
My husband bought a bunch of ice creams for us to share, but while he was putting the baby to sleep, I tried Haagen-Dazs’ strawberry truffe ice cream sandwich. The wafers were so crispy and the strawberry and chocolate flavors fused so well together. I kept saying telling myself, “One more bite, need to share!” I think I saved him one bite... one tiny bite, but a bite!
Sugakiya spicy ramen
Every time I watch a Korean drama, I crave instant ramen! That's exactly what happened yesterday, so I opted for this spicy ramen. I couldn’t read the label, but I was sold by the amount of chili powder shown on the packaging. It was so spicy, I felt alive!
mintia excare mints
I never thought I would love the taste of mints, but this one is an exception. It tastes like a mix of milky soda pop and mint - like candy that happens to freshen your breath!
Update: My husband just told me that the flavor is yogurt mint... if I could only read Japanese, I could have just read that instead of trying to guess the flavor!
My husband and daughter go to town on konbini sausages. I always declined when they would make a beeline to the nearest konbini for these sausages when we used to visit Japan. I finally gave in and it's... delicious.
These white bread sandwiches are a staple to an office worker in Japan (that one worker being my husband). I like the variety and half & half choices. You can choose from shrimp cutlet to strawberry cream sandwiches.
Hopefully my list makes your next konbini visit delicious and enjoyable. If you have a konbini food recommendation, please feel free to share! I would love to try your favorites too!
Seoul is my FAVORITE city in the world. I've been visiting since I was a child, and I love how it's always evolving and leading in trends (you name it: fashion, electronics, kpop, kids cafes...). Now that I have two young children, it's been my goal to find cute and kid-friendly places each time we go. We've managed to visit 5 times since Senah was born; here's a list of some of my favorite spots:
- Use KakaoMap to get around. You can search the name of the place in the app and the address will pop up. Google Maps doesn't really work in Seoul.
- Use Kakao T to call taxis (you need a Korean number to sign up; if you get a local SIM card, you can use that number).
- I often found it more convenient to leave the stroller at home and just use a baby carrier instead.
1. Peach Gray
Peach Gray is my favorite cafe! You can paint with watercolors while eating the fluffiest pancakes.
2. Lily Daisy Cafe
Slime cafes are super popular in Seoul right now. You make the slime from scratch - picking the type of slime, color and scent. You can then add in colorful and sparkly beads and jewels. Senah played at Lily Daisy for 2 hours and didn't want to leave!
3. DB Story Cafe
Senah said this phone case decorating cafe was her favorite. Similar to the slime cafe, there's a huge selection of pieces to accessorize your phone case.
4. Play in Museum (P.I.M)
P.I.M. is the coolest kids cafe - it has an infinity ball pit overlooking the Han River.
5. Carrie Kids Cafe
How adorable is this toddler spa?! The pampering included a "beauty drink" (apple juice), face mask, manicure (removable stickers) and makeup (baby-safe sun cushion and blush).
If you want to skip the indoor playground at Carrie Kids Cafe and just get spa time, ShuShu & Sassy has several beauty spa locations (we went to the flagship store at Lotte World). I wish my nail salon offered cute robes and hairbands too!
6. Hello Millgaru
Hello Millgaru has flour and rice play boxes - using only 100% organic and Korea-made products. In a span of 2 hours, a teacher will play with your child in the play boxes while you watch and/or relax from the cafe. After playtime, there's story time followed by a cooking lesson. You have to call in advance to reserve a slot for your child.
Senah loves pasta. Senah loves ice cream too. All her food dreams came true at DFIVE.
8. Starfield Library
This is the most breathtaking public library I've ever seen! Senah flipped through all 7 Harry Potter books here in 5 minutes ;)
9. B. by Banila
The B. by Banila makeup store in Coex mall has cute instagram-worthy areas to take photos. Senah loved the camper and pink telephone booth.
How cute is this vending machine door to this cafe called Zapangi?! ("Zapangi" means "vending machine" in Korean.)
11. YND 239-20 Cafe
This cafe reminds me of the book, "Harold and the Purple Crayon"! If Senah had a "purple" crayon, I imagine that she would create a world full of things she loves: ballet, pasta and the moon! You can find a newer and larger location at YND 223-14.
I have yet to really explore DDP, but you should see what new exhibits they have, as Senah really enjoyed the Luna Park exhibit.
13. Style Nanda Pink Pool Cafe
We visited both Pink Pool cafes in Hongdae and Myeondong. The Hongdae location is bigger with a "pool" and there's more pastry selections. But I only found this pretty cotton candy dessert at the Myeondong location.
14. Yellow Cafe
I LOVE banana milk! The original drink from convenience stores taste the best, but here you can find the same banana flavor in soft serve and lattes.
15. Visit kids cafes (all of them)
Seoul has many amazing kids cafes (indoor playgrounds). They're perfect when Senah needs to burn off some energy and I need a break. There's usually a full-service cafe where parents can sit and watch their children play from afar. If the kids cafe is big, there's usually a TV monitor with CCTV of all the different rooms. There's also usually an attendant at every station to supervise and sometimes play with the children.
The above photo is from Lilliput in Cheongdam.
16. Take a photo in hanboks
If you wear a hanbok to a palace, your entrance fee is waived! You can find plenty of hanbok rental shops near palaces and in places like Insadong and Bukchon Hanok Village. We rented ours from a shop called Try On Hanbok near Gyeongbokgung Palace.
17. Order delivery jjajangmyun
Every time I visit Seoul, I HAVE to eat delivery jjajangmyun and drink banana milk. It's a MUST, or it's like the entire trip didn't even happen!
18. Take baby studio photos
You're guaranteed to get super cute photos from Korean baby photo studios. The studios are kept warm to keep your baby happy and the photographer has an assistant, aka baby whisperer, whose main job is to make your baby smile. We took our photos at Baby Soo Studio.
We love living in Singapore because it's very family-friendly! Here is my list of our favorite things to do with our toddler. This list focuses on the Marina Bay and Orchard areas (where we tend to hang out a lot), but I also included some places outside of these areas at the bottom.
1. Future World at ArtScience Museum
This place is magical for both adults and kids! There are amazing interactive art exhibits that incorporate technology.
2. Cloud Forest - Gardens by the Bay
The feeling right when you walk in to Cloud Forest after a hot day of sightseeing is literal BLISS! Cloud Forest is located in Gardens by the Bay, right next to Flower Dome. Many people visit both Flower Dome and Cloud Forest together, but if I had to pick one, I would definitely choose Cloud Forest.
3. Skyway - Gardens by the Bay
Perfect place for a nice view of Gardens by the Bay. You can also see the Supertree Grove from the Skyway! If you don't want to pay S$8 to walk the Skyway, there is a free Supertree lightshow that happens daily at 7:45 pm and 8:45 pm.
4. Sands SkyPark: Observation Deck + Infinity Pool
You have to book a hotel room at Marina Bay Sands to get access to the famous infinity pool. It's pretty awesome, but it is a bit crowded in the pool. If you can't make it to the infinity pool, the view from the observation deck is stunning as well!
5. Food Court at The Shoppes - Marina Bay Sands
The food courts in Singapore are delicious! My favorite is the pepper beef hot plate from Pepper Lunch (don't forget to ask for cheese and egg on top)! Senah loves the hokkien mee. Malls in Singapore all have somewhat similar food courts, but I like going to The Shoppes because it's one of the nicest malls here.
6. Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre
This hawker is loved by both locals and tourists. I love the laksa here! Some tips for visiting hawker centres in general: Tip #1: If there's a line, you line up too! Tip #2: A tissue pack is all you need to "chope" (reserve) a table. Tip #3: There are no highchairs at hawkers. One alternative is to bring a bib that has a catch-all pocket and put your baby's food in there so she can eat it by hand. It's not ideal but it works! Make sure you visit a hawker centre to experience local food!
7. Spectra - A Light & Water Show
There's two shows at 8 pm and 9 pm from Sundays to Thursdays and an additional show at 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. It's beautiful and best of all, FREE!
8. Children's Garden - Gardens by the Bay
Great water play area to cool off in the heat and it's FREE! It's in Gardens by the Bay (near Cloud Forest, Flower Dome, Skyway and Satay by the Bay hawker centre). Don't have a photo of the playground, but here's two swans!
9. Marina Bay at Night
The skyline here is breathtaking! Many of the office buildings have rooftop bars; if you can step out without your kids, check out Lantern, Level 33, Ce La Vi, etc. With the kids, just take a stroll around the bay and say hello to the Merlion statue (Singapore's mascot).
10. Pororo Park - Marina Square
This is one of the cleanest and nicest indoor playgrounds in Singapore! There's something about Pororo the Little Penguin that makes you immediately fall in love with him. Your child will learn how to say "Pororo" real fast. Socks are required.
11. Edge Buffet at Pan Pacific Hotel
We've tried several buffets in Singapore and we keep going back to Edge. Senah and I LOVE the pasta station!
12. National Gallery
National Gallery always has amazing exhibits. Check their website to see the latest exhibits.
13. Bingsu at O'ma Spoon - 313@Somerset
I haven't found very many decent Korean restaurants in Singapore, but the bingsu here is legit.
14. Nakajima Suisan Grilled Fish - Takashimaya
This is my favorite lunch place in all of Singapore. I don't even know what this fish is called. I always show them the above photo to order. The fish MELTS in your mouth!
15. Tai Cheong Bakery - Takashimaya
The flaky buttery crust and sweet-but-not-too-sweet egg custard filling is worth the long queue. We always pick up a box of egg tarts when we go to Takashimaya.
16. Orchard Road
Orchard Road is like Singapore's supersize version of Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. I recommend walking inside of Ion and Wisma and then venturing outside. Try taking a detour to Emerald Hills to see beautiful Peranakan architecture. (Senah is dancing to a street artist singing on Orchard Road.)
17. Buds by Shangri-la
Buds has a large play area with plenty of climbing, sliding and jumping obstacles for your little one. My favorite areas are the "baby karaoke" room and art room!
18. Little Planet - Centrepoint
Another great indoor playground. There's no cafe or restroom inside the playground, but I love how the play areas encourage imaginative play! Socks are required.
19. Sandy Dandy - The Forum
If you close your eyes and touch the sand at Sandy Dandy, you might forget you're at an indoor playground and think you're touching the soft cool sand in Phuket.
20. Dempsey Hill
Dempsey is my favorite area to eat. There are plenty of kid-friendly restaurants that have a nice ambiance here. Look up restaurants like White Rabbit, PS. Cafe, Little House of Dreams, Blu Kouzina (pictured), etc. Huber's Butchery & Bistro has an outdoor playground. There's an indoor playground next to Little House of Dreams called Go-Go Bambini.
21. Haji Lane
Haji Lane is where the cool kids hang out (I think). You will find many fashion bloggers taking photos in front of murals and inside of cute cafes. You can enjoy live music while enjoying drinks outside in the evenings.
Sentosa feels like one giant amusement park! We like S.E.A. Aquarium, Universal Studios and Siloso Beach. We haven't tried all the kid-friendly activities because many seem for older children. Click here to see more activities.
23. Singapore Botanic Gardens
Did you know Singapore is the greenest city in Asia? Singapore does a fantastic job with its gardens, parks and overall effort to be a green city! Singapore Botanic Gardens is spectacular but get ready to sweat!
24. Chili Crab at JUMBO
There are many options for chili crab in Singapore, but I think Jumbo has the best chili sauce! They have several locations; our favorite is the one at East Coast Seafood Centre because you can enjoy the ocean breeze while eating.
25. 328 Katong Laksa
Solid laksa! You can control your soup's spicy level here by adding (or not) packets of sambal.
26. Singapore Zoo
Singapore Zoo is overall, a great zoo. I don't know of anywhere else where can you sit under cover and watch elephants play in a tropical rainstorm.
27. Pulau Ubin
Take a short ferry ride to Pulau Ubin and rent a bike to explore the island. We liked walking the Chek Jawa and climbing the Jejawi Tower. If you're brave like Senah, you can even say hello to some wild boars (but don't get too close!).
28. Chinese and Japanese Gardens
Singapore really has the best and cleanest parks! Make sure to visit the 7-story pagoda and climb the spiral staircase.
I might have enjoyed this way more than Senah, but it's so fun and FAST!! There's multiple locations, usually located in malls.
30. Sunday Folks - Holland Village
It took me 1.5 years of living in Singapore to finally visit Holland Village, and I've been back weekly for the waffles at Sunday Folks. I've tried all the signature waffle dishes and my favorite is the sea salt gula melaka! There's quite a few cute brunch places nearby too, including a branch of the well-loved Tiong Bahru Bakery.
31. Founder Bak Kut Teh - Balestier
One of the best places to eat bak kut teh. There's several locations, but the original branch is located on Balestier Road! I love the peppery broth!
We've taken Senah to Tokyo twice (at 12 months old and 23 months old). I have to say that Tokyo is way more fun with an older toddler. The main reason is because I can finally take her to popular ramen spots - she can now wait in long lines and sit on high stools. When I tried a ramen spot when she was 12 months, there was nowhere for her to safely sit, so I fed her as I carried her in the carrier. She fell asleep while eating! In any case, we love visiting Japan and already can't wait to go back!
1. Tokyo DisneySea
DisneySea is magnificent, immersive and wondrous! I love lists, so here is a list within in a list...
My Top 5 Favorites of the Theme Park:
1. POPCORN (popcorn bucket pictured) - it's not just hype, it's amazing! DisneySea has curry, salted, black pepper, caramel and milk chocolate flavors
2. Mermaid Lagoon - spectacular design from the ceiling to all the themed rides
3. King Triton's Concert - WOW! I've never seen anything like this musical show. Later that night, I had a dream that I was flying/swimming just like Ariel! ?
4. Rides - we couldn't try all the rides because Senah is too small or we didn't want to wait in line (you can only get one FastPass at a time), but my favorites were Jasmine's Flying Carpets and the Caravan Carousel (simply beautiful). The carousel is a double-decker in Aladdin's palace. We also heard Sinbad's Storybook Voyage is great!
5. Food - lots of interesting and delicious food choices! I really liked the ukiwa buns (shrimp).
2. Eat Ramen
True fact: We ate ramen every day during our last Tokyo trip! My favorite ramen is at Nantsuttei - my mouth is watering thinking about the flavorful broth, noodles and onsen egg! This restaurant actually has booths and toddler chairs (many ramen places only have high stools)!!
3. Eat Mochi filled with Strawberry & Cream
I might be a little obsessed with this mochi, but it's soooooooooooo good! I bought one from a different place every day and my favorite is from a random shop in Asakusa!
4. ASOBono Indoor Playground
Senah has been to many indoor playgrounds, but this one definitely impressed us. It's HUGE and there's so many things to do! You can find a ball pit, multiple play structures, bubble wheel (the child sits inside as an ASOBono employee spins the wheel) and jumpy house on the first floor. There's different activity rooms, from train tracks to kitchen play areas, on the second floor.
5. Gyoen National Park
A lovely park to just take a stroll and look at cherry blossoms!
6. Eat Tonkatsu
I love tonkatsu, especially the one at Maisen!
Rent a kimono and walk around! There's many beautiful temples and shops to see!
8. Sanrio Puroland
If you're a Hello Kitty fan, this is your spot! Tons of kawaii Sanrio exhibits, shows and food. It's a little far from city center, but worth the trip; plan to spend around 3-4 hours here.
9. Oedo-Onsen Monogatari
We went to Oedo Onsen Monogatari and spent 6 hours there ?. I overhead a Korean lady say, "Hey! That baby is still roaming around!"
In 6 hours, Senah wore a yukata, soaked her feet in an ashiyu (foot bath), shared an ice cream cone with me, watched me play traditional Japanese carnival games, pretended to play arcade games, cleaned the floors, asked for noodles but ate appa's dinner instead, ran up to random people and shouted, "Eemo! Samchoon!" (Auntie! Uncle!), ate a second dinner, shared a strawberry & ice cream crepe with me and then passed out! ?
10. Shibuya Crossing
We went to Shibuya Crossing and crossed the intersections over and over because it's so fun and crazy! You'll see people doing all sorts of things during the 60 seconds the walking lights are green.
Walk around and take in the vibrant atmosphere, especially Takeshita Street to do some shopping and then check out a harajuku cafe.
12. Animal Cafe
You can find many kinds of animal cafes in Tokyo - owls, cats, hedgehogs and rabbits!
13. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Tokyo
Basically another indoor playground with amazing Lego exhibits, playground, theater, karaoke, etc.
14. Eat at the Basement Floor of a Department Store
I love browsing the variety of food choices and it's actually delicious!
15. Take the Train for a Day/Weekend Trip
We took the train to Kyoto and then Osaka for the weekend. In Kyoto, we loved staying at a ryokan and visiting Nara to feed the deer. We enjoyed the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and 551 Horai's barbecue pork buns with spicy mustard sauce in Osaka!
Toddlers need many things while traveling. Here is our checklist to make sure we never forget anything!
- Keep your checklist on your phone so it's always with you. I use the "Reminders" app on my iPhone.
- Diapers end up taking a lot of luggage space. If it's practical, have diapers shipped to your destination. I use Amazon Prime when we travel to the United States.
- Use Ziploc bags to help organize
- Roll clothes for more space
- Always pack extra for your flight: extra diapers, extra wipes, extra outfits, extra toys, extra extra...
1. Tesselaar Tulip Festival
If you go in the spring, I highly recommend renting a car and driving to Tesselaar Tulip Festival (it's an hour away from the CBD area). You'll find a vast breathtaking field of colorful tulips. There's a variety of food stalls and entertainment. Check their instagram to see if they're open right now.
2. Brighton Bathing Houses
There are 82 uniquely painted boxes from the early 1900s lined up on Brighton Beach. You can buy one for AUD$200,000+!
3. Eat at Meatball and Wine Bar
Melbourne's food is FANTASTIC. Out of all the restaurants we tried, Meatball and Wine Bar was Senah's favorite. She loved the pappardelle with pork meatballs. They don't have highchairs, but Senah sat nicely as she was busily eating!
4. Go on a Rainbow Tour
Senah and I went on a rainbow hunt! We found a rainbow mural at Degraves Street, rainbow sidewalk at 244 Gertrude Street, rainbow hearts sidewalk at Brunswick Street/Bell Street in Fitzroy and rainbow steps in front of the Immigration Museum on Flinders Street. #loveislove
5. Playground at ArtPlay
You'll find the most hipster playground at ArtPlay. I love all the art and graffiti, Senah loved climbing the stairs and going down the slide over and over. ArtPlay is walkable from NGV.
6. Eat at Cookie
Not a cookie restaurant, but actually a super cool Thai restaurant. The restaurant is super happening and loud - no worries if you have a screaming child, no one will notice!
7. Brunch at Kettle Black
I wish we could try all the brunch spots in Melbourne.... sooooo good! We loved the atmosphere and food at Kettle Black. Again, another restaurant without any highchairs, but they have half-booths (more comfortable with a baby than just chairs) and babyccinos!
8. Brunch at Small Axe Cafe
Small Axe Cafe has a breakfast pasta with maccaruni, guanciale, peas, mint salted ricotta and slow cooked egg. Enough said. But if I need to persuade you further... the cafe is cute, staff is friendly AND they have high chairs and babyccinos!
9. NGV and NGV International
Senah enjoyed walking around and saying, "WOW!" at all the art and exhibits. I would visit NGV first, then stop by the ArtPlay playground followed by NGV International.
10. Go on a Graffiti Tour
Melbourne is an instagram heaven with many murals and urban walls. This photo was shot at Hosier Lane.
11. Eat Dumplings
We live in Singapore where delicious XLB is plentiful, but we tried it in Melbourne anyway. We thought HuTong Dumpling Bar's XLB and truffle fried rice were pretty good. Asian food in general is delicious in Melbourne! (No photos of the food, but here's a clip of Senah happily dancing at the restaurant!)
12. Find a Festival and Eat Food
Find a festival and eat street food so you can take videos like this of your kid! :)
1. Bondi Beach
The sand at Bondi Beach is like a birthday cake - it's clean, soft, spongy and everything wonderful. Once the beach fills up, the people look like colorful sprinkles from afar! The ocean pool at the southern end of the beach is pretty cool too.
2. Feed a Kangaroo & Touch a Koala
Feeding and petting kanagroos was so neat! It's only legal to cuddle a koala in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, but you can still touch/pet a koala in New South Wales.
3. Gelato Messina
Delicious creamy goodness! You can see that Senah loved it!
Nubo is a great place for your kid to release some energy while you munch on some vegemite toast at the cafe. It's $10 per hour or $25 for a full day.
5. The Grounds of Alexandria
There are way too many tourists at this cafe, but it's definitely worth checking out. The food is decent, plus a giant pig named Kevin Bacon lives there. The cafe is a 10 minute walk from Nubo.
6. Harbour Bridge & Sydney Opera House
You can avoid the crowds and still get a pretty view of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House by walking the path to the Royal Botanic Gardens and Mrs. Macquarie's chair.
7. Strawberry Watermelon Cake
Try the strawberry watermelon cake at Black Star Pastry. The slice of watermelon surprisingly goes well with the light cake. Their flat whites are also superb!
short sweet lists of our absolute favorite kid-friendly things to do in different cities