Yogurt Pancakes

541A2997-2

It is very very coincidentally, Pancake Day! Which happens the day before Lent starts because it’s full of fat which is traditionally forbidden during Lent. Whoa. That’s cool.

541A2966-2

This is probably my fourth pancake recipe on the blog but probably the easiest and most full-proof one out of all. The best part of this recipe is that it can be done in 30 minutes because it requires no whipping of egg whites separately. I was super tempted to whisk the egg whites separately but I decided to trust that the yogurt would do its job. And sure it did, the yogurt made the pancakes fluffy and tender.

This recipe is going to be part of my breakfast-in-bed series that I’m currently working on for The Auricle, a med school yearly publication so do keep a look out for that :>

541A2931-2-3

Ingredients
makes 15 pancakes
1 1/2 cup self raising flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup yogurt
2 large eggs

Directions
1. Sift flour and soda into bowl.
2. Add in sugar. Make a well in the centre.
3. Whisk milk and yogurt until smooth.
4. Whisk in eggs and butter until mixture is foamy.
5. Pour mixture into well and fold.
6. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes before frying the pancakes.

Advertisements

Cauliflower Cous Cous

541A8975

Thought Catalogue is something I read when I am extremely bored of studying though some of the articles there are quite gross while most of them repeat themselves but when you are bored, you don’t really have an option right? Anyway, I came across this title “Why It’s Essential To Marry A Woman Who Cooks From A Man’s Perspective” and I just had to click it. Don’t judge, hahahaha. It said,

Cooking requires heart. It demands that you give a damn about someone else, the person or person(s) you are cooking for, whether they’re your own hungry kids or someone you’ve just met and are trying to impress in the hope that they might want to spend a little more time with you.

And I completely agree with that part, though I don’t really agree with the rest of the article (read it and I hope you don’t get pissed off if you can’t cook). I love cooking for the people I love, for my family and friends, and just to see the blissful smile on their face when they eat my food makes all my hard work in the kitchen worth it. Cooking is going to be a part of my life and I can’t wait for the day when I can bake cookies for my little kids and tuck them into bed with warm cookies and milk. But first I need to find the love of my life HAHAHAHAH.

541A8987

Anyway! This post is about this amazing blended cauliflower dish that I made while I was still doing my Pseudo-Atkins diet. I would recommend this to anyone, dieter or non-dieter because just eating one plate of this cauliflower cous cous can make you so full. And it tastes delicious! My father loved it so much that he asked, “No one wants anymore right? I’m eating it all up.” and before we could say anything, the whole plate got wiped clean.

541A8942 541A8946

541A8971

I love the flavours of this dish, it’s very mediterranean-like and at the same time, there’s a local twist to it, with a side of curry yogurt to add some kick to this otherwise mundane dish. The best part of this dish was how the nuts and raisins blended so well with the blended cauliflower (oooh punny). I actually loved the crunch and nutty texture to this dish even though I absolutely hate nuts. If this dish can make me love nuts, it is a damn good dish.

My mother made this for my birthday party and it got wiped out too, with everyone only having compliments for it. All in all, it only takes less than 20 minutes to make. I swear. Cooking everything just takes 5 minutes. This dish deserves to appear on Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals.

541A8982-2

Ingredients
3 cups of blended cauliflower florets
2 tbsp of raisins
2 tbsp of hazelnuts
2 tbsp of pine nuts
Bunch of chopped coriander

1/2 cup of greek yogurt
1 tsp curry powder or to taste, depending on how spicy you want it to be
1/4 tsp tumeric powder

Directions
1. Wash and dry cauliflower.
2. Blend cauliflower florets, a few pulses will do. Do not blend it till it’s mushy.
3. Brown hazelnuts and pine nuts in a pan, takes a few minutes.
4. Adding olive oil into a pan, fry the blended cauliflower until it is tender, brown but not mushy.
5. Add the nuts and raisins in for 30 seconds before switching off the fire.
6. Toss the chopped coriander in.
7. Mix the yogurt with the curry powder and turmeric powder.
8. Serve the cauliflower with a side of yogurt sauce and enjoy! 🙂

Lemon Madeleines

541A3432

Lemon Madeleines

When I feel like whipping up afternoon tea really quick (in 15 minutes), I’d always make madeleines using the recipe adapted from my trusty Marie Claire cookbook, Marie Claire Cuisine. I love this cookbook for its simplicity and variety. It covers the basics for all meals and most of the time, the recipes can be trusted. I found my cookbook in a bookstore in the Australian suburbs of Bendigo for $20 and literally jumped for joy because the only alternative to buying this book is going online and it is probably second-hand.

Lemon Madeleines

Anyway, I’m sure you would want to buy this cookbook from amazon once you try this recipe. It produces Madeleines so light and fluffy that you just can’t stop popping one into your mouth. I don’t like my madeleines browned with a harder outer covering but if you do, then just lengthen the baking time. Also, I got bored with plain old lemon madeleines, so I decided to make it prettier by adding a few drops of raspberry juice and swirling it around, just for fun 🙂

Lemon Madeleines

Ingredients
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
60g of all purpose flour, sifted
1.5 tsp of lemon juice
50g of melted butter

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2. Using electric whisk, whisk eggs, sugar and lemon zest until pale and thick.
3. Fold in flour.
4. Gradually fold in lemon juice and melted butter.
(*Remember not to over mix!)
5. Place in madeleine moulds and bake for 5 minutes.

Enjoy! 🙂

Beijing (I)

Beijing

It’s been a while since I posted because I’ve been away on holiday to Beijing to visit my aunt who stays there. Having an aunt who is an expatriate there means going to good restaurants and eating good food :)) Everyone has this perception that all food in China is greasy and unhealthy which is true to a certain extent if we are only talking about their local food but China has so much more to offer besides their local food. The food scene in Beijing is an exciting one, with many foreign chefs setting up shop to offer Beijingers all kinds of cuisine.

In the short span that I was there, here were the eateries that left an impression:

1. Temple Restaurant Beijing

600 year old temple

Named as Timeout Beijing’s top Restaurant of the Year 2014, I can see why. Service is impeccable once you sit down but note, only once you sit down. This restaurant has a terrible practice of overbooking which meant that even though we reserved a table for 1.30pm, we still had to wait 15 minutes for a table (even after complaining like a Singaporean). The manager blames the customers who take longer than expected but they should really figure out a way to solve this problem. Asking your customers to wait while handing out free champagne to pacify them is not the solution

Temple

Complaints aside, the ambience was top notched. The restaurant is situated in an old temple, hence its name. Weekend Brunch includes baskets of pastries and bread. You get to choose a 5 course or a 8 course meal, with or without wine pairing. The food was fantastic though the servings were tiny. Special mention goes to the sea bass which was so fresh and smooth and the cream of mussel soup which tasted like the sea, in a good way.

Dessert

嵩祝寺23号, Shatan N St, Dongcheng District
Beijing, China
+86 10 8400 2232

2. Flo Brasserie

Flo

flo

Beef Patty

Flo is Beijing’s oldest French restaurant and it is of no surprise to me that it is the longest surviving. Its set lunches are very reasonably priced, a deal that you cannot find in Singapore for this quality, 125 (S$25) RMB for 2 courses and 155 (S$31) RMB for 3 courses. The freshly baked mixed grain rolls were delicious and so was the rest of the food we ordered.

Crepe Suzette

Their menu offers Crepe Suzette for an extra $10, which my dad did not hesitate to order as its his favourite dessert. We got a flambé show and enjoyed the Grand Marnier soaked crepes. Yum!

18 Xiaoyun Rd, Chaoyang District
Beijing, China
+86 10 6595 5135

3. Duck de Chine

541A2020

541A1993

duckdechine

Duck de Chine serves Peking duck in the modern way, with almost no fats under the skin. The pancake was a tad too thick for my liking but the sauce accompanying the duck was interesting, a mix of Hoison and Sesame sauce, if I’m not mistaken. Although this Peking duck was the most expensive one that I ate, it was also the best. The skin was crispy and the meat was flavourful, delicious enough to be eaten on its own or in a pancake. Other noteworthy dishes are the Wawa vegetable broth (simmered local cabbage) and the stir-fried lamb.

1949 Club
No.98 Jinbao Street, Dongcheng District
Beijing 100027, China (Tian’anmen / Wangfujing)

4. Lost Heaven

Jiaozi

I hope heaven has such delicious Yunnan food because I would die for their jiaozi, filled with pork and lemongrass, a unique combination that appeals to my Southeast Asian palette.

Mian Xian

Their mianxian (noodles) in soup was such a tasty dish that showed how sometimes, simplicity is simply the best. A must try is their grilled pork! Once dipped in their magical sauce, you’d feel in heaven.

No.23 Qian Men Dong Da Jie
Beijing, China

5. Haidilao

Haidilao

Haidilao is the most famous steamboat chain in Beijing, they even have a branch at Clarke Quay in Singapore. I went to the branch at Baijiazhuang and at 3pm, there were still people streaming in to eat this steamboat. There are 3 choices of soup, spicy and non-spicy. We chose the clear soup, called 三鲜汤 (san xian tang) and ordered a whole variety of meat and vegetables. I especially enjoyed the vegetables, prawn balls and beef slices. The beef was not very expensive and of good quality.

The best part of this local restaurant is their warm hospitality, very unusual of a restaurant in China. Trust me, most of the waiters and waitresses in China are grouchy. Haidilao has games and even nail painting services to keep customers busy while waiting for their seat.

Noodle dance

They also have noodle dances where a man dances around while stretching the noodles that you ordered. Eating here is full of fun!

Visit http://www.haidilao.com for locations of their branches

6. Central Perk Cafe

Central Perk

For everything that China imitates, this is the best replica ever. This cafe is modelled after the Central Perk Cafe in Friends. The furniture and the decor may not be the exact replica but they are similar enough to create that atmosphere which all fans of Friends always wanted to indulge in. The cafe even has a cat (because Rachel gave Gunther her cat in one episode)!

Central Perk

Central Perk

If you are a die hard fan of friends, spend your afternoon in this cafe watching reruns of Friends while sipping on a Cappuccino (they serve good coffee).

616, Bldg A, Chaowai SOHO | CBD, Chaoyang Distrtict
Beijing, China

7. Beijing International Youth Hostel Cafe

Beijing International Youth Hostel

Flowers

This cafe is easily the prettiest cafe I have ever been to in my entire life. That sounds like I am exaggerating but trust me, I am not. The doorway of the cafe is filled with pots of roses and hanging yellow flowers. The inside of the cafe is not lacking in flowers either, with a pot of flowers on each table. It’s a great place to chill and smell the flowers.

No.113-2 Nanluogu Alley, Dongcheng District
Beijing 100006, China (Tian’anmen / Wangfujing)

8. Rooftop drinking at Sanlitun

Nali Patio

Sanlitun is the hippest place in Beijing and you can’t get any hipper than drinking on a rooftop, perhaps Nali Patio?

Homemade Yogurt

Yogurt

Yoghurt

Homemade yogurt is a cheaper alternative to store bought yogurt, and the best part is that it is way healthier. No preservatives, no unnecessary food colouring and no overload of sugar. Once you’ve tasted this yogurt, there’s no turning back. My mother absolutely detests commercial yogurt and loves our homemade yogurt. It’s not difficult to make yogurt at all, at least not as difficult as you think it is.

To make your own yogurt, you have to understand how it works first. The base ingredient is milk and milk contains lactose. You have to add in a starter which is a cup of commercial yogurt or a cup of yogurt from your previous batch because this starter contains the probiotic bacteria that will convert the lactose into lactic acid, the thing that makes yogurt tart and thick. Warming the milk and incubating the mixture provides the ideal environment for the bacteria to work.

Yogurt with thermometer

One important tool you need is a thermometer which you can buy for $13 at Phoon Huat. Temperature is key in making yogurt, you want to make sure you don’t kill the cultures. Another important tool is an incubator. My De Dietrich oven has a yogurt function that maintains the right temperature and I didn’t discover it until I made my first batch of yogurt and started playing with the oven functions. Go look at your oven closely and perhaps you might discover this amazing function! If you don’t have this function, you could just turn your oven light on and place the bottles in the oven or you could place the mixture in a flask.

One tip is to buy many mason jars to store your yogurt, I keep 7 at home. Remember to sterilize all your tools and the jars as you don’t want harmful bacteria to proliferate as well! Once you have all your materials, you are ready to make some yogurt! 🙂

Adding starter

Pouring into mason jars

Ingredients

1 litre of milk (full cream preferred)
1 cup of store-bought yogurt or previous batch of yogurt

Directions

1. In a pot, warm the milk to 82 degrees Celsius.
2. Prepare an ice bath.
3. Once it has reached 82 degrees Celsius, place pot in ice bath. Cool milk to 45 degrees Celsius.
4. Whisk in starter.
5. Pour mixture into mason jars.
6. Place in incubator for at least 6 hours, best results are seen when it is left overnight.
7. Place in refrigerator to chill.

Japan: Kyoto & Nara

JR train

In January, I visited Kyoto & Nara with my friends, Sandra and Qy, as our post A levels trip. It’s the mandatory kind of overseas trip that you have to make with your friends before everyone parts ways and heads for university. We decided on Japan because it was not a usual destination (us being hipster haha) and we love Japanese food. Everyone thinks that Japan is an expensive destination but it really isn’t if you manage to find the cheapest flight and the cheapest accommodation.

We took Malaysian Airlines, which on hindsight wasn’t a very good decision, but it was the cheapest full service flight and only a hundred bucks more expensive than a budget airline flight. I dislike taking budget airlines because the price they state isn’t always the price you pay. I’ll still have to pay for the luggage and the airport taxes; all the miscellaneous fees makes me go mad. The Malaysian Airlines flight was one of the cheapest because it had to stopover at KL International Airport, which is a really basic airport. The only thing you can do there is eat and drink coffee but wasting 2 hours with my friends didn’t feel that long because of the company. If you’re wondering, we paid about $500 for our roundtrip air tickets.

Although we landed in Osaka, we decided to give sightseeing in Osaka a miss because it was just another city filled with shopping malls and shopping in Japan isn’t one of the most exciting things in the world. We headed straight for Kyoto, formerly the imperial capital, a city filled with cultural sights and good food (as with any part of Japan). We spent 4 days in Kyoto before heading out to a small town called Nara, famous for its deers, near Kyoto and spent 2 days there.

For all those planning to travel to this part of Japan, I’m sorry I can only advise you on these two towns but sometimes discovering things for yourself makes the trip more exciting as well 🙂

Here are the top five things you should do when in Kyoto:

Bamboo Forest

1. Arashiyama
It is really easy to take a train from JR Kyoto Station to Arashiyama so there’s no excuses for not doing so. Arashiyama is a small area that can be walked so take your time to spend a day here. We didn’t have a particularly good meal here since everything was pricey with it being a tourist attraction but the sights made up for it. The bamboo forest was breathtaking, the only thing missing was a cute fat panda bear. It’s not a very long stretch of bamboo but long enough to get the peaceful feeling of being amidst the green. We also visited a Unesco heritage site for a temple which was just like another Japanese temple, I’m sorry I can’t appreciate such cultural treasures. Arashiyama has a river in the middle where you can paddle boats or just sit at the bank to enjoy the beautiful scenery. We didn’t pay to enter the monkey forest since we have so many monkeys in Singapore and we can see them for free anyway, but we stopped in our tracks for a musical box shop, contemplating whether we should buy a pretty Japanese musical box back home. I mean it’ll be cool to have a Totoro spinning round while playing the Totoro theme song right?

Kamo River

541A9766

2. Cycling along Kamo River
Sandra and I rented bicycles from Kyoto Cycling Tour Project because they rent helmets too and we, being afraid of dying in a foreign land, had to find a shop which rented bicycles and helmets at the same time. In my opinion, renting the bicycles wasn’t too expensive, it was 1000yen for a day. Being amateur cyclists, we didn’t cycle to travel to places because we wanted to avoid cycling on the roads. Instead, we just wanted to cycle to enjoy the scenery so we chose to cycle along the Kamo River. Well, we had to cycle along the streets and try not to kill pedestrians along the way but cycling along the river was easy peasy. It’s a different way to see Kyoto and a calorie-burning way as well so that you can make way for more sushi to come.

Kinkakuji

3. Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
It’s just a really pretty temple, that’s all. When you go to Japan, you’ll have to visit one temple at least and the best temple to me would be the Kinkakuji. If you’re not a temple fanatic like me, just visit this temple and be on your way to your sushi restaurant.

Fushimi Inari

 

Fushimi Inari

4. Fushimi Inari Taisha
What makes this place unique is the thousands of red wooden shrines. The first time we saw it, we took photographs with it at any opportunity that we could but after that, it got very repetitive and we became quite bored. This place is situated on a hill which means a lot of walking. There also appears to be some mistake with their maps, we walked for quite a bit already but the map showed that we only walked a very short distance. When all of us saw the map, we were like WHAAAT and we gave up. We weren’t the only ones daunted by the map, a lot of other tourists turned back too.

Gion at night

5. Gion

Try spotting a real geisha. It’s easier if you walk the back alleys of Gion during dusk to see the geishas shuffling from one house to another. Don’t worry if you don’t manage to spot any geishas. There are plenty of matcha tea houses around for you to drown your sorrows in green tea.

Here are the top five food places you should try in Kyoto:

Kyoto station sushi

1. Kaiten Sushi in JR Kyoto Station

Apologies for the inability to find the name of the restaurant but it’s difficult to miss this place because it is packed no matter what time it is- morning, afternoon or night. This meant that we ate our sushi whenever we wanted to, for tea, dinner or supper 🙂 Furthermore, it’s in Kyoto Station which makes it convenient for you to eat it any time.

Kaiten Sushi

2. 130 Yen Kaiten sushi
Near JR Nijo station

I’m sorry that I do not have the exact address of the shop because it really isn’t a very famous touristy restaurant. QY was crazy over kaiten sushi (conveyor belt sushi) and wanted to eat cheap and good sushi so we asked the waitress in this cafe near Nijo castle where we could find good kaiten sushi and she directed us to this place. It’s a place where locals frequent, we were the only tourists around and there’s a long queue to enter this huge restaurant. You have to get a queue number, sit and wait for your turn. For 130 Yen, which is about S$1 something, sushi can’t get any cheaper. The quality of the sashimi is really good, as with most places in Japan but one thing different about this restaurant is that it serves really delicious cooked sushi. The beef sushi with some special Japanese mayonnaise on top was perfect and so was the seared salmon belly sushi.

Tacos


Quesaedilla

3. Lajolla

http://www.lajollagrill.jp

536-8 Waraya-cho,kamigyo-ku,Kyoto,602-8144
075-821-4745

I know it’s very strange to eat Mexican food in Japan. To add to how strange we were, we actually reserved a seat at the restaurant before we even left for Kyoto haha. That’s what Singaporeans do when there is a lack of proper Mexica
n food here. This is a really small Mexican place that serves really good quesadillas (cheese cheese cheese!!!) although it is really difficult to find this place. If you don’t look carefully, you’ll just walk right pass this restaurant. It’s more ideal to find the place when it’s bright because I think you’ll get really scared walking down dark alleys trying to find this place.

Nishiki

4. Nishiki Market

Go ahead and try all the different Japanese food this market has to offer. Don’t bother paying 400 yen for that fishcake, I regretted paying so much for it. If you are an oyster lover, you have to visit the shop that sells oysters at the start of the Market. There will be this guy shucking and barbecuing oysters outside. At first glance, I thought no one visits the shop because there seemed to be no one from the outside but I was so wrong. To eat the oysters, you have to be seated in the restaurant inside, and the restaurant is packed full of people indulging in oysters. Try both the barbecued and fried oysters, you won’t regret it. I love the barbecued oysters more though because of the smoky smell and how the oyster is half-cooked. Another hit for me were the tofu doughnuts. The last time I went to Kyoto, there was a long queue for the doughnuts and I didn’t get to try it but this time, there was no queue at all, probably because it was winter and a weekday. The shop selling tofu doughnuts is quite conspicuous, probably around the middle of the Market. If you are still feeling hungry after your food adventures in the market, you can go try Ippudo ramen near the start of the Market. It’s a huge bowl of ramen but they serve the thin kind of ramen which didn’t satisfy me. I love my chewy thick ramen!

Parfait

5. Gion Kinana
570-119 Higashiyama-ku
Gion-machi Minami-gawa
Tel: +81 75 525 8300
Daily: 11am – 7pm
Nearest Station: Gion Shijo (Keihan Line)

I’m warning you first, this place is expensive for the budget traveller. You bust more than ten bucks on matcha parfaits but it’s worth it for the experience and the amazingly smooth ice cream. Their black sesame ice cream was the best I ever tasted. One thing to note is that each person has to order one dessert which means everyone’s wallets die together 🙂

Here is a list of my favourite food places in Nara:

Unagi Don

1. Edogawa, Naramachi 
43 Shimomikadocho, Nara, Nara Prefecture 630-8365, Japan

The unagi rice is really so damn good. It’s pricey, I admit, but it was the one meal that we all decided to splurge simply because you don’t get fresh eel anywhere in Singapore. It was also quite an experience to sit on tatami mats and watch the waitresses turn large tables into smaller tables simply by moving the bamboo screen that separates one table from the next. There were many locals, a sign of good food, and the restaurant doesn’t accept reservations, another sign of good food, so be sure to go early because there is sure to be queue in the restaurant during meal times.

2. Mahoroba Daibutsu Puddinghonpo
Nabeyacho, Nara, Nara Prefecture, Japan

The pudding is to die for. I tried the original caramel flavoured one and only bought one small tub, a decision I deeply regret in hindsight )’: There was a huge bottle of pudding on sale, I guess it’s a family size for everyone to dig in and share or just the right size for a greedy pudding lover. Anyway, when the first spoonful of pudding slipped into my mouth and melted, I was in bliss. I was depressed that it was my last night in Nara which meant that I couldn’t go back to buy more pudding to eat. It was really that good. My friends tried the cheese flavoured one and said it was good. Yup, they have a whole range of quirky flavours you can try. I doubt you’ll ever get sick of that sick pudding.

 

Udon with Tempura

 

Tonkatsu

3. Kanoko
Tel: 0742-27-5036 / 1307-1 Takabatake-cho, Nara / Open: 11:00-15:00 (reservation only for dinner time) / Closed: Thurs.

I can’t stress how much you have to go eat at this place, it’s probably about S$13 for a set that consists of noodles, rice and tempura. They are good with their udon noodles, most people order it in a huge clay pot and you eat it with a huge spoon too. Also, you have to try the tonkatsu simply because the way they cook it is so fascinating. The fried tonkatsu comes in a cast iron kind of pot, you lift up the lid and pour the raw egg in, coating the pork with all that eggy goodness, place the lid back on and wait, rather impatiently, for that tonkatsu to be ready with his fellow eggsmen.

Tea

White Chocolate Cake

4. Patissier Karaku
http://p-karaku.sakura.ne.jp/about.html

Compared to Singapore cafe prices, this place is really reasonable for their cakes. Their cakes are priced at about $3 something Sing :O And the best part is if you sit there and eat their cakes, they serve you a free pot of tea (or two). Anything free for a Singaporean is a plus point. I tried their white chocolate cake (good) and the mont blanc (so-so). But if you’re looking for a tea time place to rest your feet after walking round the town, here’s the place to relax. There are only two tables but in the 3 hours that we were there, no one else sat down. Everyone else walked in to take away cakes. We were also the only tourists there, which made them quite fascinated with us I guess, so go enjoy this gem near the JR Nara Station!

Hostels we stayed in:

Piece Hostel

1. Piece Hostel
http://www.piecehostel.com
21-1 Higashikujo Higashisannocho, Minami Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 601-8004, Japan

All we could say for this hostel was “Spoil market.” For a private room for two, Sandra and I each paid about $40 per night which is competitively priced and so worth it because it is such a hip place to live in. Furthermore, this hostel just opened in April last year which means it is new and clean. I love the modern minimalistic concept that is welcoming and homey at the same time which is a balance really hard to strike in interior designing. I guess since we were the youngest lone travellers in the hostel, no one wanted to make friends with us except this 40 something year old lady with her two children. The hostel serves both Western and Asian travellers but on some days, we seem to be the only Asians and on some days, we blend into the Asian crowd. The hostel offers free movies which you can choose to watch while eating your supermarket dinner/supper. There is also free breakfast in the morning, the cheese buns are really good! Although toilets are shared, I never once had to wait to use the shower which surprised me. Also there are toilets on every level which makes you less nervous when you get ‘the feeling’ (of pooping). Don’t worry, the toilets are so clean, you’ll poop in peace. The location of this hostel is also superb, a 5 minutes walk away from the JR Kyoto Station. Although it’s difficult to find this place, you can always ask friendly Japanese people for directions. This man cycled all the way with us just to show us the hostel 🙂

2. Nara Guesthouse Komachi
41-2 Surugamachi, Nara, 630-8357, Japan
Tel: +81 742-87-0556

We took about an hour to find this place because the woman at the information counter gave us the wrong directions. Basically, google maps this place out before you go on your trip. This guesthouse is only a 5 minute walk from the JR Nara Station which made it an ideal choice for us because we had to leave at 6am to take a train to catch our flight home. The rooms are comfortable and clean, fulfilling the two most important criteria I have. There are bunk beds for 4 in a room and a double bed and tatami mat for 3 in a room. They have a PlayStation 3 in the common area and a TV where you can choose from a whole selection of movies. We watched The Matrix there. The receptionist was really helpful with all our questions and you have to take their map which states where all the good food is.