Day 1 in Exeter: A New Outlook After Lockdown

It feel almost so surreal that many months have passed since the beginning of the pandemic. As lockdown begins to ease all over the country, I finally picked up the courage to go travelling again after months of staying firmly indoor. As much as I am excited to be out of London again, I am also telling myself to be extra cautious along the journey. Anyway, it was still exciting to be out on an adventure again! ❀️

Arrival at Exeter St Davids station πŸš‚

After a 3 and a half hours train journey (face mask on throughout 😷), I arrived at Exeter just around lunchtime. My hotel is very conveniently just right opposite the train station, so I was able to drop my luggage off in the room and then headed out to the city centre.

Lunch at Eat the Bird Exeter
Yummy!! πŸ€€πŸ˜‹

I chose to have my lunch at Eat the Bird Exeter after seeing it being recommended online. (Plus, I was oddly craving for a fried chicken burger! πŸ˜‚) I like the idea of ticking off the orders on the menu (reminds me of how we always used to do that in Chinese dim sum places haha.) It was nice to see how many restaurants are taking very nice approaches in dealing with the Covid-19 situation (such as staff wearing masks/visors and asking customers to leaving names and phone numbers to allow contact trace in the event of an outbreak), which really assures me and made me feel at ease about being outside. The food certainly didn’t disappoint! πŸ˜‹ I ordered their Double Dip fried chicken burger which was drenched in a rich gravy – absolutely love the crispness of the chicken! ❀️ But, for me, the highlight was that delicious mac and cheese (especially when drizzled with that spicy hot buffalo sauce! Yum! 😍🀀)

After a very filling lunch, it was time for me to explore the city. πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ But the first bump hit quick when I discovered the iconic Underground Passages (the place I was most looking forward to visiting) was indefinitely closed due to the pandemic. 😒


Nevertheless, my exploration of the city continued… πŸ˜…

Exeter Cathedral – the place is only opened to service today so will be back here again tomorrow
Perfect dessert after my lunch πŸ’› – until a seagull flew straight into it when I was about halfway through… πŸ’”πŸ’”
City bank
There are a lot of ruins dotted around the city – it’s so fascinating
Beautiful rainbow 🌈🌈🌈
Love the street art ❀️
Northernhay Gardens – FYI the seagull sitting at the top is not part of the memorial πŸ˜‚

After a brief nap back in the hotel, I visited the beautiful Exeter Quayside in the evening to finish the day. ❀️

Exeter Quayside
Walking into the sunset πŸŒ… with another ice cream in hand

Crazy Rich Asians

One thing that can really remind me of being back home in Hong Kong is a plentiful, delicious family gathering meal. This was something I used to have with my relatives every Saturday night when my grandparents used to cook up a feast in the kitchen for us all to enjoy. Now with my grandmother no longer with us and relatives scattered around places, the tradition slowly become less frequent. I wonder when will be the next time I can have this with my family again?

An Asian feast!
Inside the food hall

Yesterday’s evening, my friend and I decided to visit Bang Bang Oriental Food Hall. Though we didn’t have the best start when I was screwed over by the maps app on my phone that led me to somewhere 1 hour away from the actual location! 🀯 After a long bus ride, we were finally able to meet up and might have gotten too carried away with how much we ordered in the end! πŸ˜‚ (An Asian feast for two!) Even then, we only selected a very small sample from a handful of stalls this time, so I definitely will be coming back for more! πŸ˜‰ Meanwhile, let’s rank the dishes I had last night!

8. Boiled Prawn Dumplings

This one was a bit of a let-down . The otherwise perfect pastry was spoiled by the bland filling that was underwhelming in flavours and texture.

7. Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao is a Chinese classic that is known to be very hard to execute perfectly. Unfortunately the deliciously juicy pork filling was not matched by the overly thick pastry on the outside.

6. Handmade Noodles with Mince

I actually rather enjoyed this one and the noodles were rightfully the star of the show here. However, my friend thought the mince was too salty. πŸ˜… (I thought it was okay though lol…)

5. Korean Fried Chicken with Sweet Chilli Sauce

If you are a fan of any Korean TV shows, you would have seen this one before. This Korean street food favourite was very flavourful and delicious, though personally I think the sauce was on the heavy side.

4. Spicy Wontons in Red Chilli Oil

A beloved spicy classic! Always a joy to eat! 😁

3. Turnip Cake

Substance over style! πŸ‘ Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. These were almost as good as the ones my grandmother πŸ‘΅ used to make. A taste of home!

2. Beef Kimbap

This was so good I couldn’t stop eating it! 🀀 Kimbap is basically the Korean adaptation of Japanese sushi rolls. Flavourful with a punch! πŸ€› I honestly can eat this all day!

1. Spicy Fried Fish Dumplings

This was a delicious surprise! The fried dumplings were perfectly crispy with a fish filling that very much reminded me of a street food called “fish ball” in Hong Kong (For those of you who don’t know what I mean, you can look it up in google πŸ˜‚), and they paired up perfectly with the spicy chilli sauce they were served with. Definitely one for a second round! πŸ˜‹

And how can I forget grabbing a bubble tea on my way out? πŸ˜‰

Journey Across the Waters

As a Brit who has never travelled across the pond, my obsession from watching MasteChef US has always caused me to crave for rustic American food, especially Southern cuisine. A while ago, I came across a blog on the traditional biscuits and gravy, and that made me wonder if these old American comfort classics could also be found in London.

After a quick google search, I found the Fat Bear – a superb Southern-style American restaurant tucked away in a small alley near Blackfriars station. The place isn’t very big itself but this adds to its homey atmosphere alongside the comfort food they serve. I was sat on the bar table, giving me full view of the wide range of drinks they had available. Since it was Friday, why not start the evening with a little cocktail? πŸ˜‰

For starters, I ordered deviled eggs and the classic gumbo. The eggs were so enjoyable with their creamy texture, and the spices in the gumbo were a perfect stimulation to my appetite for the rest of the evening.

The main was the one I was most looking forward to, given it was my craving for biscuits and gravy that drove me here in the first place. This buttermilk biscuit chicken sandwich literally composed all of the most beloved things in American cuisine in one single dish- buttery biscuits; crispy fried chicken; and a rich, creamy sausage gravy. It was the king of all comfort foods.

The other thing that I really enjoyed this evening was the friendly atmosphere between the staff and the customers. The waitresses were very friendly and welcoming, and the owner who was bartending at the table had very kindly offered me a free sample of their treasured whisky. (It was super strong!) I was sat next to two other customers at the bar. It turned out one of them was a friend of the owners and the other was visiting from the State. I was pleasantly surprised when we struck up a conversation and they even offered to share a piece of their cornbread with me. We all chatted like a group of old friends with the owners, bonding over food, that I forgot that we were just mere strangers who happened to cross paths this very night. But what I did feel was the warmth of humanity that brought me smiling from ear to ear. It almost felt too soon that I needed to say goodbyes to these people.

Feeling fuzzy from the warmth (and the alcohols πŸ˜‚), I decided to take a walk along River Thames, stumbling across various spots along the waters to walk off the calories. Despite being nine in the evening, the outside was still bright like early afternoon.

After a brief walk along South Bank, I came upon one of my favourite frozen yogurt spot. It won’t be like me not to stop for a short dessert break, right?

Let the weekend begins! 😁