Sushi Etiquette – what you don’t know might surprise you!

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You have been eating sushi your whole life? Well, what you might not know about sushi etiquette could just surprise you. Like many things Japanese, it’s all in the details. Confession: when my Japanese friend (who is also a sushi chef) gave me these tips, I realized I had been doing several things wrong for years! So here is a quick cheatsheet on the Dos and Don’ts of proper sushi etiquette. Continue Reading →

Best Burger in Los Angeles? Father’s Office

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When I worked in advertising, I was constantly back and forth from New York to Los Angeles for TV commercial shoots. The thing that was immediately apparent to me about this city was the amazing food culture, and particularly the love of burgers. Regardless of where we live, we have all been part of a ‘great burger debate.’ Who has the best burger? Best overall, best taste, best value, etc. When I was traveling there in the early 2000′s, I was told Father’s Office was un-challenged by the city’s denizens as the best burger in town. Today in 2013, Los Angeles is littered with “gastropubs” but Father’s Office is still heralded by many as the City of Angels’ best burger. Continue Reading →

Best Cookbooks of 2012

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I am a cookbook junkie. I have an entire bookcase of cookbooks and food related non-fiction titles. And I have been trying to wean myself from this addiction. Unfortunately, in 2012 there were so many exciting new cookbooks introduced that I couldn’t resist. After reading about so many in my “go-to” food magazines, websites and blogs, I narrowed it down to the top six cookbooks of 2012. These were the most recommended, most blogged about, most inspiring cookbooks of 2012 – and I acquired them all. I simply couldn’t resist and I am glad I didn’t because now I am experimenting with all sorts of cuisines I love but had previously rarely made at home.

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Warm & cosy Christmas treats – Molasses Cookies and Swedish Glogg

It’s that time of year again – the festive season. No matter whether you are in New York (where I am from), Bangkok, Singapore or Shanghai (places where I have lived), it is undoubtably Christmas. However, being from a non-tropical country, I always found it slightly odd to enjoy Christmas in 34° Celsius weather. My Christmas memories of childhood are about frosty windowpanes, hot drinks and cookies warm from the oven enjoyed in the flickering light of the Christmas tree. Continue Reading →

‘Tis the Season for Hairy Crab in Shanghai

It’s that time of year in Shanghai, from September to December, for hairy crab. Having  greatly enjoyed humongous Sri Lankan crabs when I lived in Singapore, these tiny (and frankly ugly) crustaceans took some getting used to. Because the crabs are so small and prickly – imagine a body the size of a fist, and legs like cacti – it takes some serious effort to pick them clean. But nobody seems to mind as the reward of sweet, delicate flesh and creamy roe makes it all worthwhile. Continue Reading →

A homage to Xiao Long Bao – Chinese soup dumplings

Like many people, I first discovered xiao long bao in a famous Taiwanese restaurant called Din Tai Fung. I don’t usually eat in chain restaurants, but I do make an exception for this New York Times rated, Michelin starred eatery which is famous for its xiao long bao. And so after first experiencing the steamy, soupy, pork-filled wonders of xiao long bao for the first time, I became obsessed. Now, it is one of those things I must have weekly or somehow I feel deprived.Xiao long bao means “small steaming purse or basket” in Mandarin, which is a very factual description of a magical dish. These dumplings are traditionally filled with small pork meatballs (although you can find chicken, vegetable and seafood nowadays), and are encased in a thin, translucent dumpling shell with a savory broth within. Continue Reading →

Mother-In-Law’s Recipe for Turkish Kofte

There was a time when I was married to a lovely Turkish man and that meant summers in Turkey. His mother was as obsessed about kitchen arts as I am. As such, I learned how to make a great many wonderful Turkish meals while in their open air kitchen on the Aegean Sea. And among my favorites is her recipe for Kofte – grilled lamb or beef kabobs. This recipe is something between comfort food and the exotic ethnic food that if prepared for friends, never fails to impress.

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Three Hearty Salad Recipes for Dinner Tonight

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I never used to enjoy salads. Really. Where I grew up in the U.S. they always seemed so blah….iceberg lettuce, tomato wedges and such. But as an adult I became a salad fanatic. Why? Because I discovered main course salads can be so much more than lettuce and other assorted veggies. I love roasted vegetable salads, salads with beans and lentils, salads with crunchy seeds and nuts and anything featuring cheese like feta or haloumi. And nowadays, salad often features as a go-to dinner for me on an average weeknight. So, I am sharing with you my three favorite hearty salad recipes for dinner tonight. Continue Reading →

You Si, the Painter that Paints Without a Brush

I had the opportunity to meet with You Si in Shanghai, China at an art gallery event. I was talking in a group that kept expanding and suddenly I found myself talking to a lively Chinese man with an infectious smile and lots of stories to tell. We established early in the conversation that we both used to live in New York and then we bonded over shared memories of the “city that never sleeps.” As it turns out my new cocktail companion was You Si, a Chinese artist who had moved to New York and lived there for more than two decades but had in recent years moved back to China to live in Shanghai. When I asked, “is any of this work yours?”, he replied, “no, none of this is my work, I am a guest tonight just like you.” Continue Reading →

Style expert tells how to get the best from custom tailors in Asia

Have you been to one of the ubiquitous tailors in Asia, perhaps in Singapore, Hong Kong or Thailand, or even Vietnam and China? Have you ever left less than satisfied? I have. Until I met Anthony Moynihan. Anthony is a fashion stylist extraordinare based in Shanghai, China. He has worked for top Asian fashion magazines, styled music videos and ad campaigns, created his own line of couture sold in Japan, done custom designs for Japanese pop stars and has helped many a client and friend learn how to look their best. Continue Reading →