/**/ September 2013 - Travel + Decor + DIY

My Dubai Food Blog: Let's Toast to That!!!

Kaya toast was first introduced to me around three years ago during a short trip in Singapore..and I must say, after that, I never looked back. A perfect butter toast will not be complete without a spoonfull of kaya jam.

Every time I have a friend going to Singapore, a kaya jam for Kenneth is always in their list.

When I saw a suggested page in my facebook, advertising Ya Kun Coffee & Toast, my heart skipped a bit…will it be?…is it?..YES IT IS! The famous Singaporean dish has now landed in Dubai and within our reach (I hope this is not a dream). 

This is what I love about Dubai now, it seems that the cuisines of the world are all on their way here in the sandpit.

Last night, along with some of my friends we all head to IBN Batuta where the newly opened Ya Kun Coffee & Toast is located (plus we have some creative meeting so it was just appropriate for us to look for a cozy place to stay).


With high expectations, I ordered their famous set-meal which is composed of: Singaporean coffee (with condense milk), 2 soft boiled eggs and their famous KAYA BUTTER TOAST. The whole meal price is 23dhs.



We were so happy that during dinner/snack/meeting we got to meet the manager, Mr. Mohammad. He told us about his amazing ideas for the shop and he was also generous enough to offer us a yuanyang coffee (milk tea with coffee), green tea frostyz, kaya balls and a weirdly tasty (and brilliant) tom yum sandwich.


All in all, although we were not really expecting it (cause we thought we’ll just be sharing kaya toast slices), we ended up having a full happy tummy and tasted an array for Asian favorites with a Ya Kun twist.

We will surely come back to this place; all geared up with our cameras, notebooks and empty stomachs as we’ll try all their specialty sandwiches, drinks, desserts and varieties of Kaya Toasts (I am excited for this).

For those who are curious if they are selling Kaya Jams, they said that it will be available soon, so let’s just wait for their announcement in their FB page.


You can check their facebook page by clicking this link.

You can also check their main website by clicking this link

Ya Kun Coffee & Toast is located in IBN Batuta, China Court.

To know a bit of their history, hit play and watch the video below.

Ya Kun Kaya Toast 亚坤 - The Toast that Binds … Kinship, Friendship, Partnership from Ya Kun Kaya Toast Singapore on Vimeo.


Travel Tips: The Cheapest Way to Get Around New York!!

As a first time visitor to New York City (and the USA), I knew already that I need all the help that I could get.

Just like the time that I traveled Europe, I did my research and of compared packages upon packages (the hardest was Paris). In places heavily trafficked with tourists, discount passes for famous attractions will surely be available (and for sure New York has something to offer)

As I browsed the internet, It was not hard to see different travel packages..the real work was choosing which one. There were two discount passes that stood out, the New York City Pass and the New York Pass. After carefully comparing them and considering the span of our stay (we are staying only for 4 days), we have decided to get the New York City Pass!..and we are all happy we did.

Basically, the New York City pass saves you almost 40% on admission to six of the most famous attractions in the City. The Empire State, MET, MOMA and Statue of Liberty to name a few. Check out their full list and rate in their website.

These are basically the sites that we wanted to see in our short stay in the Big Apple. If you have seen my old blogs, I have posted stories and photos of these attractions.

I love that it is valid for 9 days, meaning we can take our time planning which attraction to go to and not rush and run just to get our money’s worth (which is the case of the New York Pass).

For those who are planning on a short stay in New York, I highly recommend getting The New York City Pass, not only that you will save a lot from entrance fees, but you will save a lot of time by skipping (the never ending) lines.

Have stress free holiday!!! ^^

Travel Blog: The Empire State of Mind

The Empire State Building. Once known as the tallest tower in the world, it is still the most iconic building in New York City (or can I say in America?).

 Spending our last day at the observatory deck of the Empire State, overlooking a 360 view of the city. What perfect way to end our New York trip!



Although we didn’t plan it, our timing was perfect. We arrived at half past 7, after waiting in line, we were just in time see the city as the sun kissed the horizon. It was magical. Then one by one, the city started to sparkle from building lights, car headlights and billboards. 




I must admit, I became a little (just a little) emotional looking at the city that became our home for the past days. The roads were we got lost and got really really tired (walking) became a very familiar place to all of us. 

I will miss this city. The annoying sound that welcomed us during our first night. The (sometimes) scary side streets and people staring at you, the rude drivers and the cold looking people trying to catch the next train in order not to be late a work. I can’t say that New York was kind to us, but what I can say is that with all the things that I mentioned, this city has a way to slowly creep in your heart and you will learn to appreciate all the noise, the chaos …and above all the life that is New York. 

#TheTravelingJournalProject: New Keepers and The Amazon

"Hey Kenneth! Here you got the traveling journal in Amazon in Ecuador! This is a waterfall nearby the lodges we lived at with the Quichua family that hosted us in the jungle. #TravelingJournalProject”

This is the caption that we got from Ingvild, the current keeper of #TheTravelingJournalProject.


The moment I saw this post in our FB page, my heart jumped with excitement and I can’t believe that our little journal had traveled 3 continents already.

An introduction from their blog goes like this;

"Vi reiste fra Los Angeles natt til 31. august, og et døgn senere ankom vi Ecuador. På veien mellomlandet vi i Guatemala, Costa Rica og Colombia.(We traveled from Los Angeles the night of 31 August and a day later we arrived in Ecuador. On the road between we landed in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Colombia.)”


As part of their Amazon adventure, they lived along with the locals and learned their way of living. This is what I like most when I travel, to be part of the community, know their culture and embrace their environment. Things might be very different from their way of life but will soon (if not right away) discover that you can find treasures in everything (all we need is a little appreciation).



As i read through their blog (click this link) , it is in Norwegian so there is a need for the handy dandy google translate, I immediately added this part of the world in my bucket list and faith goals. 

For the next few days, #TheTravelingJournalProject will be in South America enjoying the very colorful Latin culture!

Follow Ingvild and Andre’s journey in www.yolotrip.wordpress.com

Photos courtesy of www.yolotrip.wordpress.com

#TheTravelingJournalProject: GAME ON!

Most of you have known that Surat Journals recently launched a project called #TheTravelingJournalProject. It is where one journal is on a mission to travel the world (with the help enthusiastic travelers from all over the world).

Click this link for to read more about this project: #TheTravelingJournalProject

As the owner of Surat Journals I had the privilege to be the first keeper of The Traveling Journal. Being a self confessed travel junkie, I instantly thought of getting a photo of the journal in one of the most celebrated structures here in the UAE.

I already had a photo of the Burj Khalifa (see this link), so I decided to take a photo along the Burj Al Arab.

When the tallest tower in the world was not yet constructed, this 7 star hotel reigns supreme throughout the UAE (and in my opinion still is). With the inviting beach background, this is the perfect place to kick start our little journey.


After scribbling a bit of my thoughts on the journal to share to the rest of the future keepers, it is time for me to move on and pass it (believe it or not, it was a bit hard to give it to someone — I have a bit of an attachment issues).

I wrapped the journal and pass it to the next keeper —— all the way to the sunny CALIFORNIA! I sent it to The Hollywood Youth Hostel in Los Angeles hoping that it will arrive on time when the next keeper will check in.


After a few days of waiting (and hoping that it will not get lost), I received this photo in our Surat Journal FB page with this caption:

"Your Traveling Journal Project is ON!!!"


And so it is!

We have received more updates on where the journal has been traveling for the past weeks and all we can say is WOW! We will be giving more updates in this blog and also in our facebook page, instagram and twitter page.

Do you want to be the next keeper of #TheTravelingJournalProject? Send us a comment below and tell us why!


Food Blog: You'd Think You'll Find Only Apples In The Big Apple

Before capping up my blogs about the Big Apple, let’s all have some break first…break meaning, let’s EAT!

Aside from the famous ‘cronut’ (and even before it got famous), New York city has been known to be a food-on the go haven. I think this has something to do with the ‘everything fast’ attitude of every New Yorker.




Having our own Shake Shack in Dubai, trying the original shack stack is a must. In reality, there is no significant difference between the one sold here in Dubai and the one from New York (only the waiting time to get your orders and actually to get a table).


Cupcakes are also one of the famous treats in the Big Apple. We havent had a chance to taste the more famous one like Magnolia (hey we are running here and there…).



What is a visit to NY without having a slice of pizza and a warm chilli dog? I was not able to take a photo of the pizza that we got but it is delish! Hotdogs are everywhere…and you will never go wrong in my opinion.



A sip of your favorite cup of coffee in the morning or a cup to cap the evening. I think holding a grande cup is part of every New Yorker’s fashion statement. You can see everyone in the morning holding their coffee while rushing to their destinations….and coffee here is cheap! We’ve been rigged!!!


With its diverse population, not only hotdogs and pizzas are the popular munchies in New York, but believe it or not Chinese food in one of the sought after delicacies in this city.

Whether a full American platter or a bit of an oriental flare, there is always something for everyone in this big apple basket.


The Traveling Journal Project: one journal on a mission to see the world!

As a globetrotter, and being the journal aficionado that I am, my travel journal has been my one constant companion to every destination. In it are my experiences, memories and other fascinating tales.

And I am happy to have found many a kindred spirit, as photos of Surat Journals have surfaced from all over the world – Paris, Rome, Barcelona, The Grand Canyon and even the ancient Machu Pichu.

These are but a fraction of the sights that these journals have seen with their authors yet have been reason enough to spark an idea and give birth to The Traveling Journal Project

The Traveling Journal Project

One journal on a mission to see the world, passing on the wonders of adventure from one explorer to the next.

Join the odyssey

“To unpathed waters, undreamed shores.” William Shakespeare

A little blank book has been sent halfway across the globe, waiting to see where the itchy feet of traveling folks will take them, discover the languages of worlds unknown and share the journey of as many free souls would have it; it will be known as The Traveling Journal.


  • Say hello to your new travel buddy as you set off to your destination of choice.

  • Make fun memories. Write. Scribble. Draw. The pages are yours to use.

  • Capture the moment. Photos are always welcome at www.facebook.com/suratjournal and please allow us to witness every journey by using #TheTravelingJournalProject and #SuratJournals on Instagram and Twitter.

  • Pass it on. When it’s time, entrust it in the hands of a fellow traveler who will take it further on its journey.


  • Only the current keeper of The Traveling Journal knows where it will end up in. If you haven’t come across it yet, be patient and be alert, it may come your way at any time.


  • Share its whereabouts. We would love to see photos of The Traveling Journal from every corner of the planet. So if you happen to come upon it by any chance, please take a photo with its keeper and share it with us.

It’s time to unleash your wanderlust. Help our little blank book travel the world. And let us all travel with it one page at a time. This is the The Traveling Journal Project

 PS: If you have your own travel journal, please join us by using #MyTravelingJournalProject and #SuratJournals hashtags

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