Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa of DEN, Tokyo, is a master culinary comedian. And his restaurant is the coolest place in Tokyo to dine in right now.

DEN-DFC3

Earlier this month, thanks to some amazingly cheap deals on Scoot, I was able to whisk my wife S up to Tokyo for a three day eating trip to celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary. We had only three nights in town, which meant (to me at least) making sure each dinner was truly something special. On the first two nights, we visited familiar favorites (including, of course, Sushi Sho). For the last night in town, I wanted to take S somewhere neither of us had been. And after a bit of research, decided the restaurant I most wanted to try — and that I thought she’d really enjoy — was DEN, in Jimbocho. And boy am I glad I did. Continue Reading →

5 Best Weekend Brunches in Shanghai, China

Prive005

Brunch has always been a tradition for me. From the early days after university, after a too late night out – we used to go to a place called Joe’s in NYC and get these amazing Belgian waffles.  And then later when I was married…just a relaxed way to ease into the day after a lazy morning. In Istanbul we used to go to grand old hotels and enjoy the luxurious brunch spreads of various cheeses, olives and breads.  And nowadays in Shanghai, it’s become a traditional as well because it is a common time where everyone can get together no matter what stage of life…a mixture of singles, families and such. And while brunch is about gathering together to share a meal, let’s not forget the most important part – the FOOD!

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Brisbane’s Esq. delivers casual perfection by the river’s edge

montage esquire

When Ryan Squires cooks, heads swivel, grown adults drool like puppies and expectations are sky high. It’s Saturday night at Esq., the casual section of the multi-awarded Esquire restaurant owned by business partners, Ryan Squires and Cameron Murchison.

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7 Rules of Etiquette When Eating & Traveling in China

photo collage for china etiquette chubby hubby

I have been traveling to China for ten years and living here for three. I hear a lot of visitors and / or newcomers talk about how “bad manners” are among the Chinese people. Well, I would posit that these are not “bad” but instead, just different rules of etiquette. Continue Reading →

Uotoku in Fukuoka – a wonderful new sushi and seafood restaurant

Uotoku chutoro

My family’s just returned from a whirlwind trip to Fukuoka over the long weekend, and boy, did we love it. It was a shamelessly gluttonous getaway spent, among other highlights, slurping our way through seven different bowls of Hakata-style ramen over two hours; stumbling upon a fruit farm in the countryside; and devouring what I am prepared to swear on my immortal soul is the best damned wagyu tenderloin steak on the planet…in a town with a population of less than 130,000. But we also ended up meeting some of the most colourful, amiable characters this side of Asia – from a steak chef who almost cooked for Obama, to a family of grape-growers who happily allowed us to pick our own grapes from the vine, to Satoshi Tokunaga, sushi chef-owner of Uotoku in Fukuoka city and my new favorite restaurant.
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Soul Food Mahanakorn, street food, sexy setting in Bangkok

soul-food-fried-chicken

I might very well be the last food blogger in Asia to write about Soul Food Mahanakorn in Bangkok. Which is really kind of pathetic since I consider owner Jarrett Wrisley a friend. And I’ve known about this swanky eatery since before it even opened three years ago. Circumstances, however, had kept me from getting a chance to actually eat at Soul Food until just recently. The meal was really great, which is why I’m now, finally, able to give Jarrett a shout-out here. Continue Reading →

Sydney’s Farmhouse – an enticing rural escape in the city

christmas dinner spread at farmhouseFarmhouse is the new kid on the block; aside from being cool and chilled out, this new kid has a big, warm heart. Continue Reading →

Krua Apsorn, where in-the-know foodies eat in Bangkok

krua-apsorn-crab-curry

A number of years back, when I was in Bangkok on an overnight work trip, a good friend there took me out for a magnificent meal at a restaurant I had (at that time) never heard of. She in turn had first visited there as a guest of our mutual friend Chef David Thompson, who had hosted her along with a celebrity chef visiting from London. In the years since, Krua Apsorn has become one of the most celebrated restaurants in the City of Angels, and yet remains to this day one of its most modest and affordable. Continue Reading →

Foie gras scrambled eggs & other favourite breakfast items in Hong Kong

Cafe Landmark Hong Kong One of the things I’ve enjoyed most during my days as a freelance consultant is having leisurely breakfasts (and pastries) anywhere and everywhere, toting my trusty companion of a Macbook Air (super light and pain free for running around Hong Kong with) along. I’d choose a new interesting looking spot to try out, or head for a regular cafe, and spend a couple of lovely hours working and munching, or just reading away.

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36 hours in BKK, a Metropolitan hotel eat, sleep spa, staycation

nahm blue swimmer crab yellow curry

When I was younger, I loved active vacations, the kind in which you’re jaunting all over a city 24-7 in order to squeeze as much action and eating into a day as possible. A weekend away was akin to a scavenger hunt in which I’d rack up imaginary points based on the number of cool shops and great meals I could pack into a 24 or 48 hour window. But these days, now that I’m older, married and have a kid, the perfect weekend away consists of doing as little as possible, in ideally one location.

Of course, greedy guy that I am, that one location has to serve up sensational food. One such spot that I recommend highly is the Metropolitan Bangkok. Bangkok is easy and fast to get to; every single discount airline flies there. While the Met oozes cool, understated luxury, it’s considered by most travelers to be a business hotel, which means that weekend rates are affordable and rooms are relatively easy to book. The spa is wonderful. And the restaurants, Glow, known for healthy food, and Nahm, David Thompson‘s world famous Thai eatery, are simply fabulous. Perfect for a quick 36 hour jaunt to BKK with the tired wife desperately in need of a little pampering. Continue Reading →