Eating My Way Through Vancouver, Canada

Kitsilano Beach | Vancouver

Kitsilano Beach

I can’t even begin to extol the virtues of visiting the Pacific Northwest when it is not raining. With all the rain throughout the year, cities like Vancouver really blossom when the sun shines and all the plants are green and lush. If it was like that all year, I think everyone would want to live there!

Coconut Ash and S'Mores Ice Cream at Mister | Vancouver

Coconut Ash and S’Mores Ice Cream at Mister

Besides the proximity to nature (the beach is in the center of town and the mountains are 30 minutes away), Vancouver is bustling with an amazing food scene. I could live there for a month and I wouldn’t make the slightest dent on my things-to-eat list. I did my best in a short amount of time. For novelty ice cream, look no further than the liquid nitrogen treats at Mister (1141 Mainland St.). Their most famous flavor is the coconut ash, which complements the black ice cream cones, but I actually like and recommend the crème brûlée (complete with a crackable sugar top) or s’mores (toasted marshmallow!) more. If you get your ice cream in their signature black cone, expect a massive amount of ice cream. It’s enough to share among 3 people (seriously). Flavors change daily so there’s always a surprise in store.

Lunch at Fable (left) and Ice Cream at Rain or Shine (right) | Vancouver

Lunch at Fable (left) and Ice Cream at Rain or Shine (right)

If you’re looking for a more traditional ice cream experience, head over to Rain or Shine (1926 W 4th Ave #102), close by Kitsilano beach. You can indulge in flavors like coffee toffee and salted caramel. Right next to Rain or Shine, you can grab a bite to eat at Fable (1944 W 4th Ave.). They have one of the best hamburgers I’ve ever tasted (thick-cut bacon and cheese are extra) or you can eat more healthy with local British Columbia salmon and kale.

Granville Public Market | Vancouver

Granville Public Market

Speaking of local salmon, BC salmon is absolutely incredible. Darker and redder in color, the flesh is flaky and ever so creamy with all the rich fish oil. My first stop in Vancouver was the Granville Island Public Market (1669 Johnston St.). The whole island is full of cute boutiques and small art galleries. The highlight is definitely the public market where there is a plethora of lunch choices at different stalls. I had to order the deep-fried salmon and calamari at Celine’s Fish & Chips. It was the first time in my life I’ve ever seen fish and chips with salmon and now that’s all I ever want to eat.

Aburi Sushi at Minami | Vancouver

Aburi Sushi at Minami

When in Vancouver, you have to eat sushi. With fish that fresh, it’d be a travesty if you didn’t. At Minami (1118 Mainland St.), you can try the famed aburi sushi. This flame-seared sushi has an extra touch of magic because the chefs sear the fish with binchotan (Japanese bamboo charcoal). I’d never seen anything like it before in my life! That extra bit of charcoal adds a whole new level of smokiness and complexity to your palate. The salmon oshi sushi (pressed BC wild salmon, jalapeno, Miku sauce) is hands down probably one of my favorite bites of food. Don’t miss out though on the tuna tartare, ebi fritters or Champagne roll (scallop, salmon, cucumber, uni, rolled in golden tobiko, Miku sauce).

Loco-Lomi Poke Salad at the Poke Guy | Vancouver

Loco-Lomi Poke Salad at the Poke Guy

I seriously cannot think of a better place to sell poke than Vancouver. At The Poke Guy (420 Richards St.), you’ll find local Hawaiians (shout-out to Reno!) serving poke with a twist, including toppings like mango and corn. One of their star dishes is the Loco-Lomi salad. Reno was great at explaining that lomi-lomi is a salmon salad with tomatoes and Maui onions. Their salad has smoked lomi-lomi, albacore poke, avocado, house yuzu slaw, kani, mango, peashoots, masago, crispy onion and furikake on a bed of lettuce. While I also loved the Poke Guy’s traditional poke, the loco-lomi salad is definitely unique and worth trying.

Cartems Donuterie | Vancouver

Cartems Donuterie

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Shanghai: Jackie’s 50 Things to Eat Before You Die

Jia Jia Tang Bao: Pork and Egg Dumplings

Jia Jia Tang Bao: Pork and Egg Dumplings


First Thai Boat Noodle

First Thai Boat Noodle


Goga's Wasabi Salmon Salad

Goga’s Wasabi Salmon Salad


Salted Caramel Ice Cream at WIYF

Salted Caramel Ice Cream at WIYF

I find it incredibly hard to believe that I’ve been living in Shanghai for the past three years. I know it’s terribly cliché, but it seriously passed by in the blink of an eye. I’ve always wanted to live and work in Shanghai and it was my ultimate goal post-MBA. I’m incredibly happy and grateful for the experience and will miss this city. After being abroad for four years, I’m heading back to the U.S. and returning to the Bay Area.

Spread at Wai Po Jia

Spread at Wai Po Jia 外婆家


Japanese Style Rice at Ri He 日和

Japanese Style Rice at Ri He 日和


Gentleman Caller Roast Beef Sandwich at Madison Kitchen

Gentleman Caller Roast Beef Sandwich at Madison Kitchen


The Commune Social's Peanut Butter Dessert

The Commune Social’s Peanut Butter Dessert

The food scene in Shanghai is intense and it’s always changing. Due to the competitive restaurant industry (and also changing city laws), places are constantly opening and closing. Despite living here for several years, I feel like I only barely scratched the surface. Before leaving a city, I try and create a food guide, much like my 100 Things to Eat in San Francisco Before You Die, 50 Things to Eat in Paris Before You Die and 25 Things to Eat in Hong Kong Before You Die. In continuing with the tradition, I drafted a list for Shanghai.

In no particular order, I present to you:

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Top 10 Instagram Moments from 2013

2013 was an amazing year. I don’t know if any other year will every compare, considering it was a year of great change. I lived in three different cities, visited 11 cities in nine countries, graduated from my MBA program, found a job that I love and relocated to Shanghai. I fully recognize that I probably will never travel that much in my life ever again. I definitely cherish every single moment of 2013. However, I’m excited for what 2014 will bring and for new Shanghai adventures.

It’s too difficult to rank my favorite moments of 2013, but I did want to capture 10 of my favorites (brought to you by the lens of my iPhone 4 and Instagram).

1. Invalides (Paris, France)

InvalidesI had just moved out of the suburbs of France and into Paris. After having a lovely brunch on a cold, snowy day, the Métro broke down and I had to walk home. What started out as a inconvenience, turned into an absolutely stunning walk and I got to capture this gorgeous shot of Invalides (which never would have happened if the Métro worked!).

2. Burj Khalifa (Dubai, UAE)

Burj KhalifaIt was my first trip to the Middle East and Dubai was such an eye-opening experience. I learned so much about the local culture and was also just stunned with the entire city. Everything was so opulent and it was more than I could have ever imagined. The Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world and I loved the way it was lit up at night with its own sparkling lights like the Eiffel Tower.

3. Château de Chenonceau (Loire Valley, France)

Loire ValleyI felt like I was on the set of Downton Abbey while wondering the vast halls and gardens during my Loire Valley Châteaux tour. It made me feel like a Pretty, Pretty Princess. The Loire Valley is definitely worth visiting and I personally enjoy it a lot more than visiting the palace in Versailles.

4. Victoria Harbor (Hong Kong)

Rubber DuckWho doesn’t love a giant, 6-story inflatable rubber duck? It was awesome to be in Hong Kong the same time as this wandering art installation from Dutch artist, Florentijn Hofman.

5. Arc de Triomphe (Paris, France)

Arc de TriompheThis was the night I found out that I was accepted for an amazing opportunity in Hong Kong and that I would be leaving the wonderful City of Light. It was such mixed emotions for me as I was excited to go to Hong Kong, but I was so sad to leave Paris earlier than anticipated. I took this photo right before hopping on the Métro. It wasn’t until afterward that I realized that I had captured a picture perfect “stolen moment” of a couple in love. I feel like this picture captured the true essence of l’amour and my own love affair with Paris.

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Shang-Hello: Greetings from Shanghai

Shanghai Painting

I call this: “West Meets East.” Cake Pop Meet Shanghai.

I’ve officially been in Shanghai for three weeks now and I’ve been extremely busy. Between starting a new job and adjusting to a new social/professional environment, I’ve barely had a minute to myself to just decompress. However, I am absolutely loving Shanghai. There is an energy here that is practically palpable and the expats I’ve met are extremely friendly. I feel like everyone is in the same boat where we are all outside of our comfort zone and willing to help each other out. It is an unspoken bond among the expat community. I’ve been introduced to friends of friends and everyone has been welcoming and full of advice.

Rather than write separate blog posts, I’m just going to write one giant recap about the blur that has been the past three weeks!

Shanghai Brewery

Shanghai Brewery

I was introduced to Lana by an old co-worker and I was so touched by her generosity. The first time we met at a café, she gave me a card, welcoming me to Shanghai, and a map, outlining her favorite spots in the city. It is a handy guide that I have kept safe in a special drawer (Truthfully, I feel like a little kid who is guarding her special treasure box full of knick-knacks and mementos).

Shanghai Brewery Brunch

Shanghai Brewery Brunch

We met later in the week to have brunch at Shanghai Brewery (15 Dongping Road). Every time I’ve walked by Shanghai Brewery at night, it has been packed with people. It was a pleasant change of pace to find it empty for brunch at 11am. Brunch is really reasonable and for roughly 75 RMB, you can order a full meal (eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, beans, grilled tomatoes, French toast AND a microbrew). Normally, brunch runs for about 150 RMB in Shanghai. I ordered the omelette and it was so tasty that I gobbled it up in about 5 minutes flat.

Stitch & Bitch Shanghai event at Sip 'n Paint

Stitch & Bitch Shanghai event at Sip ‘n Paint

Photo taken from: Stitch & Bitch

Photo taken from: Stitch & Bitch

On top of being an overall nice person, Lana also helps run the Stitch & Bitch club in Shanghai. Every month, she arranges fun DIY events and invites other creative ladies to craft while imbibing in delicious drinks like sparkling wine. I was honored she invited me to her pumpkin painting party and I had a blast meeting new people and discovering my inner artist (said artist is still under development).

Sip 'n Paint Studio and Cake Pops!

Sip ‘n Paint Studio and Cake Pops!

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Hong Kong: Jackie’s 25 Things to Eat Before You Die

Black Pepper Crab at Katong

Black Pepper Crab at Katong

Mango Drink at Hui Lau Shan

Mango Drink at Hui Lau Shan

High Tea at Sevva

High Tea at Sevva

My time in Hong Kong has unfortunately come to an end and I’m off to a new city for a more permanent move. I’ve had the most amazing four months in Hong Kong and this is the longest amount of time I’ve ever spent here. I’ve fallen in love with the city, the people and most of all– the food!

I’m definitely not an expert on the food scene in Hong Kong, because it is absolutely epic here. Between the Michelin-rated restaurants and the down-and-dirty street food, there is such a wide variety of choices! I could honestly live in Hong Kong for years and probably not even make a dent on the restaurant scene.

From left to right: xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung; tomato crab vermicelli soup at Nha Trang; fish tacos at Brickhouse; steamed papaya soup at The Chinese Restaurant

From left to right: xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung; tomato crab vermicelli soup at Nha Trang; fish tacos at Brickhouse; steamed papaya soup at The Chinese Restaurant

I wanted to continue my tradition of creating a food guide when I leave a city. This follows the same vein as my 100 Things to Eat in San Francisco to Eat Before You Die and 50 Things to Eat in Paris Before You Die. You probably notice a pretty gaping hole and ask: “Jackie, where is the dim sum?” Don’t get me wrong. I had great dim sum, but I don’t feel like I’ve been able to truly explore the best of the best of Hong Kong’s dim sum. It was difficult since you can’t really order dim sum for one person. I leave that for my next challenge!

So finally, in no particular order, I present to you:

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RBJello’s 2nd Blogiversary!

Jumping for Joy

Jumping for Joy

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of my blog! It’s been a big milestone in my life. What started out as a hobby has turned into a real part of my life and a piece of my identity. I started my blog with no expectations, but I’ve gained so much from it. It has been a wonderful channel to journal my past year abroad in Paris and my experience in ESSEC’s MBA in International Luxury Brand Management.

I think my biggest surprise was the wonderful network of fellow bloggers I met in Paris. I had never met random strangers through my blog before, but I met a wonderful group of women whose blogs inspire mine. Much love and respect go out to Diane, Grace and Edna who supported me during my MBA this past year. It’s always great to find like-minded, adventurous people who have so many great stories to share (plus, it doesn’t hurt that we’re all super into food).

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite posts from the past couple of years:

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