Williamsburg Smorgasburg – Worth it?

What surprises me the most about myself and Smorgasburg right now, is the fact that I have never been there. How is it possible that a foodie like me have never made their way to Smorgasburg??

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For those who do not know what Smorgasburg is, it’s an all in one food spot for all types of cuisines. They have food from the cultures of Moroccan, Mexican, Japanese, Taiwanese, American, Italaian, and many more.

There are many vendors within Smorgasburg that you can find outside of Smorgasburg and around the city. Two that I can state on the top of my head is goa taco and C Bao. So if you find something at Smorgasburg but you cannot make it there all the time, these restaurants got you covered by having more than one location.

Me and my friends went to the one located in Williamsburg, however, Smorgasburg currently has 3 locations within NYC. Their current schedule is Saturdays in Williamsburg, Sundays in Prospect Park, and Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in Varick/Canal Street. I am a little biased since I have only been to the one at Williamsburg, but the location there is great. There are a bunch of places to sit, benches and grass. Plus, you get to view Manhattan’s skyline! Since I live in Manhattan, I only ever get to see the skyline when I am crossing the bridge from other boroughs or when I hit up Brooklyn. If I ever get a chance to go to the Prospect Park or Varick/Canal Street location, I’ll do a follow up article, but for now, Williamsburg Smorgasburg is my favorite.


To see the vlog about my day at Smorgasburg with my friends, click here!


As you can see in the vlog, I got a skewer set from Yakitori Tatsu (Japanese). I got the Tatsu set which consisted of a chicken breast skewer, a pork belly skewer, and an eel skewer. It was a bit pricey, $13 for all three, but it saves you a dollar or two. Although it was expensive, the skewers were really good. My chicken breasts were cooked well, rarely smokey or burnt on the outside, and it was juicy. My pork belly skewer was awesome, but that’s also because I am a sucker for pork belly. My eel was also really good. There was the right amount of teriyaki sauce on it, and it was also not burnt or smokey. Though I do think that $13 for 3 skewers that only contained 4 pieces on each of them is expensive, it was of good quality. If it was a treat yo’self kind of day, I would treat myself to this.

Then my friend Esther got a Vegan Beef Bahn Mi from Si Chuan Bahn Mi (Vietnamese and Chinese). Although I did not get a bite of hers, she really enjoyed it. I did get to try a bit of her vegan beef because she could not believe how great it tasted. She has also been a vegetarian for a long time so she does not remember how actual meat taste like. For my regular meat eaters – you could tell it was not real meat. It kind of tasted like tofu that has been submerged and marinated in a soy sauce or stir fried sauce. Not sure if she got a half or a full, but a half is $9 while a full is $14 (since she only got one side, I believe she got a half).

For dessert I got an ice cream from Bona Bona Ice Cream. I forget what the exact item was called, but it was a scoop of ice cream topped off with a toasted marshmallow. As for ice cream, I got a cookie dough and brownie flavored ice cream. One scoop of ice cream on a cone with the toasted marshmallow was $6. For $3 more, I could have gotten an extra scoop of ice cream. I really enjoyed eating the ice cream with the warm marshmallow. It was kind of like eating a fresh baked brownie that came right out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream.

One of my other friends got a mango flower with spice or paprika sprinkled on top. I know that this can also be found around NYC with all the mango carts so this is something that may be accessible to more people.

My friend Esther was also eyeing desserts and got something from kokus. She got the vitality which had a bunch of toppings on raw cacoa. This was a really lightweight dessert that was much healthier than mine. It cost $9, so it definitely makes a dent in your wallet.


Although I really want to like Smorgasburg, I think it’s because I am a foodie that I have been going to other places for alternative food options than those at Smorgasburg. I do have to admit that all the things I got at Smorgasburg was good, and the scenery was amazing and it was a perfect way to spend my Saturday. However, my wallet would not be able to keep up. I was happy to be surrounded by all the different food at Smorgasburg so that I could see my options, but there are definitely more things within the city (all 5 boroughs) that are friendlier to your wallet for the same quality. I think the good thing is that everything is there so that you do not have to travel far if your friends want different cuisines, but once you know what you like, it might be better to venture into different places for those options.

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Roll It Up just combined two awesome desserts into one store

As many people know, there has been a craze for the Ice Cream rolls and the Hong Kong egg waffles with ice cream. Up until now, there has been many pop-ups for these desserts, but there has never been a store that gave customers the option to get both at the same location.

Although the featured image only shows the Hong Kong egg waffles trust me there are many more options on their menu – take a look.


I have to say that the store is small and cozy, there are a few seats available but definitely not ideal for a big group to sit down and chat. They decorated their store with a sea theme in mind, so they have a lot of boats, fish nets, and blue objects. They definitely chose a great place to have the store because it is close to St. Marks, but not necessarily in the hectic area.

I can not say much on the other desserts that are on their menu, since I only went there once to try this Hong Kong egg waffle + ice cream, but I have a feeling I won’t be going back. It’s not that it was bad, it was good. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with this dessert. However, the order took a little longer than other Hong Kong egg waffle joints. Also, I got a green tea egg waffle, but I could barely taste the green tea. It also does not offer unlimited toppings like other egg waffle joints. The price was the same as other places, and it may be a bit more expensive if you add more toppings, which are 50 cents each. So with that being said, if the same is the same, I would rather pay the same amount but for something of better quality.


Bottom line, their main selling point is the fact that they not only have the extremely popular egg waffles dessert here, but they also have the ice cream rolls, and bubble tea. Thus, this is a great one stop shop for all your friends if you all want to stop by the same place but want different desserts or drinks. Though I do think it is great that they’re combining all this at one place, the quality is just not there. I would much rather go to a place that would be great in one kind of dessert and spend my money that way.

Blue Ribbon Friend Chicken – #cluckyeah

So New York City is known for their burgers from Shake Shack, but could there be competition in town??

This is Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken – located in New York City and also in Las Vegas. I honestly just learned about them through Instagram explore. Of course, me being the food lover that I am, Instagram decided to share this account with me. I was attracted to their burger posts and I knew that I had to try it when I went back to NYC – I might have been studying abroad in China at the time or away at college.

I got The Blue Ribbon with a side of small fries. Honestly, it is not too different from other burgers – definitely no where like Shake Shack because Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken uses only chicken, whereas Shake Shack uses beef. The fries were also nothing special. However, what I did like about this restaurant is the environment and feel. It gives off this southern feel, making it feel homey. This place is also really clean and well lit (lighting-wise) so it feels like a fast food joint for the family. I also really liked the array of sauces they had on the table, giving you the option to build whatever flavor you want.

Definitely a place to try out if you are in the city and is looking for a good burger joint that is not too crowded or mainstream like Shake Shack – not saying the Shake Shack is not worth trying out if you come to New York City. However, if you are into restaurants or food places that are not well known, this is a good place to hit up.

Ice Cream Rolls: 10 Below Edition.

The hype has finally toned down, so the wait is no longer out the door.

Ice Cream Rolls: literally ice cream that are rolled, and usually decorated with whatever topping you desire. AKA stir-fried ice cream.

The way they do this is by adding cream, and the flavor: matcha powder, fruit, etc … to the cream that is on this machine. This machine is cold so that the cream mixture can develop into the “ice cream” texture. The person making your ice cream roll would have to mix and spread this mixture often (usually takes 5 minutes) for the consistency to form.

Enough of that … onto the taste and important stuff.

The ice cream roll featured in this post is from 10 Below. This ice cream roll joint gained popularity and all of Chinatown jumped on to the ice cream roll trend.

Honestly do not remember what I got exactly in this picture – but it was my first time. These ice cream rolls – and this is also true about other ice cream roll joints in the city, is that it is light yet creamy because you’re only catching a thin layer of ice cream each scoop. The flavors are also highly customizable to your likings – it is literally whatever you want with cream. Thus, making it the perfect dessert for those who like to get creative without getting into a food coma. Most places also allows the customers to get as many toppings as they want. What saddens me about 10 Below is that they do not have mochi (rice cakes) – ice cream with mochi is literally the perfect combination. Thus, for this reason, 10 Below is not my favorite ice cream roll spot. But it still is a really good place to go to since it is one of the OGs (original gangsters – the classic and the grand daddy) of ice cream rolls.

Other ice cream roll spots that I enjoy are:
1) Juicy Spot (actually prefer over 10 Below)
2) Penguin Ice Cream
3) Minus Celsius

Korean Chinese Food – For when you don’t want American Chinese food.

I did a recent post about Korean Chinese food and featured 짬(Jjam)뽕(Ppong) – a spicy seafood soup and noodle dish.

As for this post, I went to eat Korean Chinese food, or Northern Chinese food, in NYC. The restaurant I went to is called Hyo Dong Gak. This restaurant is located on 35th street and is close by to Korea town and shopping. I ended up going here because I bought a Groupon voucher and decided to head over with my family to see what was up.

Starting from the upper left hand corner of the picture, we ordered 짬(Jjam)뽕(Ppong) and it was the standard 짬(Jjam)뽕(Ppong). It was at a right level of spiciness. The noodles were thick – not udon size, and chewy. They gave a good amount of seafood to go along with the soup and noodles – I was scared that they were gonna be cheap with the seafood, but nope, they did well. They didn’t give me a lil octopus like the one in Korea, but it was still a good amount of seafood.

The upper right hand corner features 짜(Jja)장(Jang)면(Myeon), which is a noodle dish with black bean paste. Often times it just has onions and meat in the sauce, but I find that most restaurants barely give meat and only a hefty portion of onions. Or in the replacement of meat, diced potatoes. However, this restaurant was a bit more generous. It still did not give a huge serving of meat, but it gave a nice handful of meat in the huge serving. Plus, the meat were also not minced – I hate minced meat, unless in dishes like Mapo Tofu. A side note with 짜(Jja)장(Jang)면(Myeon), you have to mix the dish once it arrives because if you don’t, the noodles will stick to each other and you end up with a clump of noodles that are separate from the sauce.

The bottom pictures feature two different styles of dumplings, or in Korean 만(Man)두(Du). The ones on the left are steamed and the one on the right are fried dumplings. I find that many Americans (I’m Burmese and Chinese American, so I did not know of this before) call fried dumplings “potstickers.” The name makes sense to me now that I have made fried dumplings and they have stuck to the pot. Anywho. These are the two types of 만(Man)두(Du) listed on their menu, and I believe they do have meat in them. My mom personally liked the fried dumplings better because she loves anything fried, but I liked both. I think I would go towards the steamed dumplings more only because the other dishes can be a bit much in flavor so having steamed dumplings tones down the heaviness from the other dishes.

I have to say, the portions of each of the dishes were HUGE. So it definitely does well if you are planning to go “family style” (sharing each dish with the whole table) when coming here. Plus, the prices are super reasonable for the price you are paying.

The Counter – Times Square!

After finish ice skating at Bryant Park in New York City, we were hungry and wanted a good bite of food to eat (this was back in January!)

After searching through Yelp, a mobile app, we found The Counter. It had $$ so we knew it was going to be a little expensive, especially for a college students’ budget, but I was hungry and really wanted a good burger after coming back from China. Plus, other places to eat in this area was still going to be a bit on the pricier side of life anyways, so we did not have too many options for cheap food anyways.

The Counter is located in Times Square/Theatre District, so I expected to find many tourists at this spot but on the contrary, I spotted many people here who were in business, professional attire, so I am assuming this was a popular place to eat with co-workers, and friends.

The waiters there were lovely, they answered well to all of our questions. Despite TheCounter having a casual and busy atmosphere, for some reason there was still a need to act proper, maybe it was because of the area and the type of people who were there that I felt the pressure to act in that manner.

I’m pretty sure that I ordered the “Old School,” which is basically a cheeseburger. You get the option to ask how you would like your meat done – well done, medium rare, and rare.
Through Yelp, we were able to get a free side of fries also (hopefully this deal is still there!) – either regular fries or sweet potato fries. As you can see from the picture, I opted for the regular french fries.

There is also the option to make your own burger, by checking off the ingredients you would like included.
There are also alcoholic drinks, like beer, which would be perfect with the burger, shakes, cause its a burger joint and you have to have shakes, and cocktails, which would probably go better with the salads.

Review:
The burger: It was heavy but not greasy. They give you a good amount of meat and the buns are crispy and fluffy. Definitely need to open your mouth big in order to get a bite outta this huge burger. Nothing about this burger was oily and disgusting but very fresh and the ingredients they used were all fresh and of good quality.
The fries: They were skinnier than I thought it would be – I guess I just assumed that the fries would be like potato wedges or thicker fries since America is all about “bigger is better,” yes, quoting ‘yonce here, but I like that they were skinnier because it made it easier to control my fries intake and create a nice balance when I alternated between my burger and my fries.
My friend ordered the sweet potato fries and we both agreed that we were not that impressed. The flavor of the sweet potato was missing, which I find off because it is sweet potato fries, but it tasted more smoky and barbecued, which overtook the sweet potato’s natural flavor.

Overall, I really like this place and if I ever happen to be in this area or begin my “adult” life and need a burger joint that is not a fast food chain, I would definitely be back at this location.

Vivi’s Cloud 9

Cotton, Ice Cream, Bubble Milk Tea – how do they all go together? Disaster or masterpiece?

Vivi …. always thought it was Uiui because of the bubbly and chubby font they used to have. Insider joke: I ALWAYS and still, call this place Ooo-ee Ooo-ee. My opinion, it sounds so much cooler than Vivi, even though that’s part of my name.

The Vivi franchise is a bubble milk tea store, which also sell snacks in addition to the main menu of drinks. This specific location of Vivi, located in Lower East Side, New York City, is the only location thus far with this drink. I have also noticed that this location has more snacks/food options. Typically, Vivi does only offer small snacks such as fried chicken, fried squid, etc … but this location has ramen, and sushi rolls, making it a great location for not only a drink but also a meal. Now I have not tried the food options, only the fried chicken, from this location so I say whether or not it is a good eating spot, but it is definitely unique compared to the other locations of Vivi in New York City, because of the difference in menu.

Anyways, this product has been circulating well around my social circle and I just had to get it. It is aesthetically adorable, and creative. I have never seen anything like this. Plus, this is something that I know I can not make at home, way too tedious and messy.

They offer the classic bubble milk tea, taro milk tea, and more, but the one I chose was the matcha green tea. It is topped with cotton candy – not sure what flavor, but you do not have an option to pick which cotton candy flavor either. Plus another small container of matcha green tea topped with whipped cream, and a little container of red beans. This drink is definitely overwhelming, you just do not know where to start and how to eat/drink this. The waiter told us that the most popular method to eat this was to take the small container of the matcha green tea and use that to deflate and push in the cotton candy into the main jar. However, the drink overflowed, and everything just got messy. So I ended up eating all the cotton candy first, while simultaneously sipping on the matcha green tea. As for the little pot of red beans, I dumped it into the main jar of matcha green tea, and slurped it altogether. BTW, the main drink had a scoop of cookies n’ creme ice cream, which definitely added another interesting flavor to this drink.

This is definitely a great drink for dates, hanging out with friends, snacking over while having conversations, and relaxing.

I do not think I would order this often, since I consider this more of a “luxury” drink, and a treat to myself – so if I was having a really sh*tty week or day, I would get this to make myself feel better.

Overall, really good drink, and definitely, something you have to try at least once.

**Not sure if they are still offering this option, but if you order this drink and upload this on your social media and show the post to them, they offer a 50% off coupon for your next drink you order at Vivi, but I believe you would have to come back to this Vivi and order a drink (not like this but the regular menu – bubble milk tea, etc …) in order to use that coupon.