Monday, August 31, 2015

T- Square Cafe

This cafe is in RMIT's Design Hub hence it attracts all the students from TAFE and the Desgin courses for their coffee fix. Here they have $3 breakfast specials, but I was too late for this.

The place was warm and open but it was hard to get into as it was tucked away.

There are lunches as well and they are reasonably priced. Here I had a Mediterranean vegetable roti wrap which was packed with vegetarian goodness. It had haloumi cheese in it which was quite nice. Also the salad was nice with the balsamic vinegar drizzled on it.

I thought that everything was home made under the caterer came in with the hot dishes and some of the cold stuff.

The coffee was alright. I wonder if they do filtered coffee and I wonder what beans they use. I know they have a catering service.

One the servers was rude: she just plonked everything down and no smile on her face. The other was alright.

Maybe I might come back when the grumpy waitress isn't around.
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Pantry Challenge

As part of Bupa's best blog competition for 2015

This August, RNIS did the Pantry challenge and we enjoyed this. Here we saved up a bit of cash on our groceries and you can too. Our pantry is cleaner and now we are a bit more organised.
Instagram: chiukatherine

Oats. Instagram: chiukatherine

Bean salad: Instagram: chiukatherine

This is a really good challenge for students who want to save some money and their health. We found out about the challenge via a poster on a cafe wall. The challenge is about using the goods in your pantry and in your freezer. You can buy fresh stuff and all the regular things such as coffee, tea and milk. But you should not try to buy bread. Instead you should make your own with Laucke's bread mix.
Leftover museli


Bondi chai: chiukatherine on Instagram

We also made lots of lists of stuff. We saved about $30-$50 this time by doing the challenge and saved all our stuff from going bad. Occasionally though we did forget about the challenge but we came back on track with it. We had a lot of fun during the challenge with thinking up new ways to use stuff.

Before we started we had to clean the pantry and get rid of the mouldy food

Our tips
* Frozen fruits was really easy to defrost
* Make your own bread using your bread machine
* Portion your nuts for the week
* Work out your meals and snacks for the week using what you have in the pantry and not buying.

It is hoped that Meld Magazine will do a similar challenge soon. Students its a good idea for you to clean out your pantry once in a while.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Why should International students make friends with the locals

As part of Bupa's best blog competition for 2015

Many International students make friends with people from their own culture and not with the locals. This is when they first arrive in Melbourne. We explain why International students should make friends with the locals

To improve grades
In order to improve their English, International students should make friends with the locals. A lot of the local students love International students. If International students hang out with the locals then there will be many chances for them to practice English. Hence this will help to improve their grades.

To improve employ-ability
In order to get a good job at an Australian company that employs International students, students must learn the local culture. In order to do that they should hang with the local students. The locals are willing to teach International students

To reduce homesickness and learn about Melbourne.
A lot of the local students go out on weekends and many of them are willing to take International students. Just ask the Couch which is an International student program which has local Australians and International students. They go out most weekends to things like the AFL or a pub or two.

Universities should have programs where internationals and locals can get together.
Yes that is true and in many cases its not known as it is not widely promoted. Usually the uni does have some sort of orientation program at the beginning of the semester for students to get together.

But by doing a blog or joining up to a fitclub or something that you really like you can meet other like minded people.

Love Melbourne: a survey by Meld and the City of Melbourne

Have your say in the latest survey by Meld and City of Melbourne on ways in which Melbourne can be a better city for International students. We explain.

Last year alone there were about 160,000 enrollments for International students from 160 different countries. The highest ranking university is Melbourne with a world rank of 33.

So far the City of Melbourne has these services for students: Study Melbourne Study Centre, iUSe pass and many other things such as the Lord Mayor's welcome. Melbourne is ranked as one of the best student cities in the world.

Our thoughts.
If Melbourne was to become a better knowledge economy for International students then the quality of teaching in universities has to improve and that cannot be done by the City of Melbourne. It has to come from the universities itself which can be a challenge.

There also needs to be more internships for International students. Similarly there also needs to be employers that are willing to sponsor and employ International students other than permanent residents.

It is a good thing that they are increasing their scholarships so that students from poorer countries can study in Melbourne but there needs to be more of that. Maybe some of that can come from the best big companies

You can fill out the survey here. The survey was done by Meld Magazine and the City of Melbourne. They would love to know what you think.

Selene's chocolate bar

Selene's chocolate bar is in Box Hill just outside the Box Hill station, hence it is convenient for all the workers to get their morning coffee/chocolate fix before starting work. I went here on Leandro's recommendation when they posted a lovely picture on Instagram.

I really wanted to try this place. I have walked by it a few times but never got to go in until today when I wanted tea and chocolates. I did not have a chance to look at the reviews on Zomato. Instead the place was busy at 3:30pm which was a good sign.

Not so much of a good sign was when the barista didn't know whether they had pots of green tea. They had to ask. Also they forgot to ask me whether it was eat in or takeaway. Luckily I wanted eat in since that was what I primarily visited Box Hill for.

I wanted to try their matcha truffle chocolate for $2.20. Here it was creamy and smooth, but I prefer Chokolait's one any day. Its just that their's is a lot smoother and richer in flavour. This wasn't so rich.

The green tea was ok for $4.50. In the city they charge $5.50 for this.

Oh well, its good that Box Hill have this kind of cafe. That and Movenpick and now Cacao Green. I'd visit just for their chocolates if I'm around. Otherwise its just out of the way for me.
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Language exchange at Two hands bar

Every Sunday there is an afternoon language exchange at Two Hands Bar. This exchange is run by the Overseas Student Service which helps International students to make some friends in Melbourne. These meetups are held at Two Hands Bar which is an Asian bar that serves cheap meals. And big portions too.

It is easily accessible by train and tram. From the train station it is about a five minute walk and from the city by train it is about 10 mins.


Initially I was invited there by a friend of mine from the Couch. But I couldn't come for the last two Sundays due to other things. I had heard many good things about their desserts in which I was keen on trying. Their desserts are $2 each during the meetup and drinks are from $1-$5.

They also do lunch sets for around about $10-$12 and they come with a soft drink or a free seaweed soup. I tried the curry one and it was good. Someone else ordered it and they let me try it. The rice was well cooked and the curry was very spicy.

I also got to try someone else's chips and they were darn good. The burger looked pretty good and on Thursdays they have $5 Burger night.

My dessert was good and I can't complain about the ice cream. It tasted like Peter's Ice cream and their donut bread worked well with the ice cream. They put lots of fattening cream on the side. Not that I mind as it was afternoon tea.

Language exchange was fun and I'd do it again if I was around in the city or in Abbotsford for the day. You can find out about their meetups on Facebook.
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Chill Bro Palatas presents

Ice cream and Mexican ice cream and churros

All the ice creams here are $5 with toppings for an extra $1.5. Here I had the mind blowing lemon cheesecake with milk chocolate. Charlie was right when she said that these ice creams were good and they were. I loved mine with the nuts on top.

They were also featured at Melbourne Central's shopping night with their Dulche de Leche at $5

There is upstairs seating in which they share with Uncle Jungs and Saigon square. If you ever do get cold then go upstairs.

They also give out samples if you can't decide on the flavour.

Do come on by during the summer when they have their mind blowing flavours
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Yo Yo Sushi

As part of Bupa's best blog competition for 2015

Yo Yo Sushi is a small store in South Melbourne Market. They are next to Clement coffee stall. Here they sell not only sushi, but cheap Japanese meals such as Okomiyaki for $4 and the Japanese don. LATS is currently closed for renovation.
This is what the store looked like at 1pm

At 1pm, they were out of most sushi. This is how popular they are compared to LATS. Loved the freshness of it all. Each roll was $2.50 and I got two rolls. Although the presentation was not great the sushi tasted great.

Come to Yoyo sushi at the market for your health fix and do support the local farmers by shopping at the market rather than the shopping centre.

Address details:
88 Cecil Street, South Melbourne, South Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC

The Satay Klub and MiHub at the Chinatown night market

The Chinatown night market is on every third Friday of the month. Normally it sees quite a fair few people down there but this Friday after 7:30pm it wasn't as busy.

This was good for me as I was able to sample some delights. There were some unusual things such as Gozleme. You don't see that at an Asian market. You also don't see Turkish delight there either. But the friendly guys at Choo La la were there. There used to be a Kombucha stall but it is not there.

Mihub and the Satay Klub have been there for a few of the night markets now and I was keen to try both. They both have kueh but I was not in the mood for dessert. From Mihub I had three curry puffs for $5 and they were so addictive. I really enjoyed the curry flavour which was pumpkin and very spicy.
Curry puffs

I have not had Mee Rebus before so I was keen on giving this a go. Mee Rebus is a Malaysian noodle dish which has lots and lots of sauce. Like Nasi Lemak it has egg and for $8 it filled me up.  It was really spicy as they had a lot of chillis. You can order this without meat but instead have it with tofu.

For both of these I had to wait a while for my food to be cooked. But that meant that I could wander around and also sample the dumplings which were great for 10 for $6.

Do come and visit the night markets and next time the Plus ones should come as it is up their alleyway. I know Brenton would love this sort of food.

The Grand Trailer Park Taverna

Almost everyone in the blogosphere has written up about this place and I have not. Many of these reviews are positive and at that place there is a positive vibe about it.

The Grand Trailer Park Taverna is up some stairs and above from 7-11 below. There is no tram stop at the corner of exhibition and Bourke but the tram stop is at Spring st. The place is close to QV

Here they don't sell onion rings but they do sell a mean serve of Mac Cheese Croquette ($4.2). It is seriosuly that good. That and the chips. Now the chips come in two sizes a small ($2.8) and a regular ($5.50). Most people went for the regular, but I was not too hungry so I went for the small.

All the cheese was oozing out of there and they used the Easy Mac to make it. I love Easy Mac and it is seriously good.

Meh the chips were alright but they were just chips

They specialise in burgers but I wasn't hungry so I went for the croquette and the chips given that it was quite latish when I came and sat down. There were a few people waiting in line.

Rating: 14/20- more mac puh-lease

Do come for the MAC and the burgers and do try and come at lunchtime or after 7:30pm if possible or otherwise you'll need to wait for a table
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Cervo is a Italian cafe in Crown. Like most Crown eateries it is pricey for dinner as they have to pay the exorbitant rent. But for lunch they have a $19.90 lunch special which includes a drink. The special is for any pasta or pizza and you can choose anything.

I had been there once and it was very quiet....a few years down the track, I wanted to see if they had changed their food and their ways. The last time I was here I had a pizza which was not very good.

The service was just ok; it really wasn't that friendly

The place was busy at around 12:30pm. Here people ordered pizza and fried calamari for lunch. I had my usual linguine marinara. I would not be happy paying $34 for this and not receive bread and more seafood. There were three sad mussels on the plate and three big prawns on the plate. Moreover the pasta was store bought and not hand made. For $34 I expected hand made pasta like Etto.

But the sauce had a lovely chilli and garlic kick to it. And there was a huge dose of pepper in there. But no parmesan cheese. I was disappointed.

Rating: 10/20- avoid if you can. There are better places around Crown such as 400 Gradi.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mr kitchen in box hill

Mr Kitchen is a Taiwanese food store known for their congee and hawker style snacks.This is the original store and they have a few more in the city.
Look at how cheap the food is

What is in the bain marie that day. Look at the spelling mistake of Special- is it supposed to be Special or Specai?

This store was smaller and in a food court. I prefer the stand alone stores rather than the food court stores. Like the one in the city this one only accepts cash.
The service there was nonchalent and I was here to buy snacks for $6.50 altogether. Here I bought their egg pancake which was on the sweetish side from the sauce and the pork, chives and prawn pie which had not many prawns to it. They do sell drinks but I hate sugary drinks.

I prefer the city store. Better food and service
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