Kamalaya Koh Samui – a holistic wellness retreat beyond compare

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Often, I find myself needing some time off. Time off from the world, from long work days followed by longer dinners, from my computer(s), from my cell phone, from happy hour cocktails, and just from the world… I was seeking a break where I could nourish my body and empty my mind. So I did a lot of research and asked around, considering various options from yoga ashram in India to a Chinese medicine retreat in Northern Thailand. In the end I discovered the best of both worlds in Kamalaya in Koh Samui, Thailand. Continue Reading →

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 →