The day after Trump’s inauguration, I was in Tokyo doing some food ‘research’ on route back from my pop up dinner in Niseko. An American friend of mine Elizabeth, who had moved there a couple years back, invited me to join her and some others on a march at Hibiya Park, one of the 676 sister marches planned around the globe in alliance with the Women’s March on Washington. About 650 of us, mostly expats, traversed the city in a respectful, quiet and distinctly Japanese fashion, in a neat double file to the side of traffic on the road. Later that night, I returned to my Airbnb in Shibuya and watched as Gloria Steinem declared that “God may…
So you are in Shanghai. Now what?
The People’s Snacks
Head to People’s Square early to avoid traffic and chaos. Get dropped off at the corner of Huanghe Lu and Fengyang Lu and walk down the popular food street. There won’t yet be a line at Jiajiatangbao (90 Huanghe Lu), so settle down with a hot bowl of egg and seaweed soup and basket of crab roe xiaolongbao. Don’t forget to order sliced ginger on the side. Watch and learn how locals slurp their dumplings, and indulge in one of the most perfect foods in the world. Possibly the most talked about spot in Shanghai, you’ve finally tasted what all the fuss is about, and they weren’t lying.
That was a nice teaser, now walk across the street to Xiaoyangshenjian, the other fabled chain that serves what can be called the bastard brother of XLB, the shenjianbao. Rougher around the edges but just as delicious. Thick, bread-like pork buns are pan-fried and coated in sesame…
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What do you get when you mix the purity of Champagne’s terroir with the precision of German winemaking, and inject it with the sophistication of a French luxury group? You get the experience of Krug, one of the finest- and priciest bubblies on the market.
And what do you get when you put ten bloggers in a room and pour them copious amounts of said champagne? Well, you get a bunch of happy, drunken bloggers.
I was honoured to be part of that group invited by Krug for a tasting of some of their best bottles paired with a multi-course meal at 3 Michelin star 81/2 Otto e Mezzo in Hong Kong last week. As mentioned not least on Krug’s list of differentiators is its price tag, with some bottles upwards of $4000 usd. And I probably don’t need to tell you that a seat in 8 1/2 Hong Kong is a highly coveted commodity that can take …
Just steps from Tiananmen Square and Zhongnanhai, the walled compound where China’s top party officials live, is the quiet, tree-lined Nanchangjie. Driving down this street, it is easy to miss the doorway of number 38, a small courtyard that houses one of Beijing’s most exclusive restaurants.
Chengfu Courtyard is named after its founder Cheng Ruming, official Zhongnanhai chef and one of 16 “Treasured Culinary Talents” in the country. In 1954 he became the personal chef to Mao Zedong, responsible for the daily meals of Mao’s entire family and whipping up elaborate banquets for visiting heads of state.
Today, his grandson Liu Jian runs the small restaurant of only four private rooms, and because of guanxi, is able to source all of the same ingredients that are delivered into Zhongnanhai. This may be the only place outside of the walled compound where you can rest assured your food is completely safe, organic and free of any artificial…