Tag: Travel

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Chicha – the authentic taste of Peru in Hong Kong

the space at chicha restaurantWhen I hear about Peruvian restaurants opening in different cities, I keep an eye on them.  The world has finally welcomed Peruvian food as a global phenomenon, and new eateries are popping up in all corners of the world.  On a recent trip to Hong Kong, I visited Chicha, the city’s only Peruvian restaurant – Chicha is known as an exciting trend-setter in the local restaurant and foodie circle, and also the recent recipient of Time Out Magazine’s Best New Restaurant (People’s Choice).

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California’s Umami Burger

When I was in Los Angeles recently, the friend that I was visiting told me that I had to try Umami Burger. Her sister who is based in Singapore had watched a television program about Umami Burger, and being a food blogger based in the USA, how have I managed not to write about burgers so far? Umami, also known as the fifth taste (besides sweet, sour, bitter and salty), has been an increasingly popular catchword in the culinary world for the past few years. Taste receptors in the tongue have been found to differentiate umami flavours and therefore scientists consider it to be unique from saltiness. For me, it is something almost indescribable…like an extra oomph in your food. Umami Burger focuses on bringing out naturally occurring umami flavours in their burgers.

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The making of a wine – visit to Trinchero Cloud’s Nest vineyard in Napa Valley

If you ask almost anyone to name a source region for America’s wines, there is a 90 per cent chance someone will quickly respond with Napa Valley. Napa Valley is a narrow valley to the north of San Francisco, flanked by two mountain ranges, Mayacamas and Vacas. This is home to the wines that propelled California to international stardom in the 1976 Judgement of Paris. In October, I got the exciting opportunity to visit Napa and was hosted by a reputable wine company, the Trinchero Family Estates.

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Siem Reap, Cambodia – a refreshing new resort and simple, comforting food

I’m embarrassed to admit that my travel experience in Southeast Asia is almost nonexistent. Having lived and holidayed in North and South America, various parts of Europe, and even Japan and Korea, it seems like I simply forgot to explore my own backyard – which, given the beautiful photos and pieces of travel writing I’ve seen from friends who have been to the region, is a huge shame. Which is why I decided to fly to historical Siem Reap in Cambodia over the recent long weekend. My girlfriend K had been anxious to visit the magnificent Khmer temples of the sprawling Angkor archaeological park, and I wanted to find out more about the country’s cuisine. Both of us came back happy campers.

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Paul Pairet – the culinary genius behind Ultraviolet, Shanghai’s hottest dining destination

Never before has food been so revered, so playful, so engaging and so inspiring as it is at Ultraviolet. A longtime fan of Paul Pairet and his game-changing helmsmanship at Jade on 36 and most recently Mr. & Mrs. Bund, I couldn’t wait to try Ultraviolet and talk to Chef Paul about his mad new experimental journey with food. In fact, I interviewed Chef Paul about two years ago and he spoke of his intentions for Ultraviolet. Frankly, I had a hard time grasping the idea of food presented together with a complete multi-sensory experience. Could music and imagery catapult the dining experience to extraordinary new levels? After my Ultraviolet dining experience I can resoundingly say, “yes.”

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Rosemary’s in NYC’s West Village – rooftop to table

 

A friend who was visiting brought me to this place, it comes highly recommended by another friend who lives in NYC. Located in West Village and recently opened in June this year, Rosemary is a casual Italian restaurant which only takes walk-ins. The space is wide open with a lot of natural light, with glass windows that open up to the street. Wooden tables are spread across the area with tables lined along the circumference of the restaurant and communal tables in the middle. Bar seats also available. Rosemary is also known for having a simple outdoor garden on the second floor. The garden is worth a tour, if only to see the vegetables that will be served to you at your table, extending the farm-to-table concept further to a rooftop-to-table one.

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A stroll uptown to Zabar’s in New York City

“Zabar’s  is New York …..New York is Zabar’s.”  So goes the tag-line of one of the most exotic gourmet food stores in New York.  Located on the Upper West Side at 80th and Broadway, Zabar’s is the place to go for, well, almost everything.  But it is hands-down definitely the best place on the Upper West Side for smoked fish, olives, cheese, bagels, fresh bread and coffee beans.

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Enji, a cool bar with great food in Ginza

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a pretty obsessive pre-holiday researcher. In order to best decide where my wife S and I should eat at when planning an overseas trip, I’ll spend weeks combing through books, magazines and websites. I’ll also email friends whose palates I trust. Earlier this year, I had purchased a short dining guide to Tokyo called Transit Tokyo, written by Yoshikage Kajiwara. The book contains 70 recommendations for affordable places to dine in Japan’s capitol — no expensive Michelin-starred restaurants in this guide, just simple places that serve awesome grub fit for every day dining. 

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Keiji Nakazawa, the best sushi chef in the world (to us)

When I took my beautiful wife S to Tokyo to celebrate her birthday in March, because we only had three days in town, we had to very carefully curate our dining choices. While we did visit an old favourite, most of the restaurants we visited were new to us, including two sushi joints that we’d been meaning to try for years. One was a much-ballyhooed three Michelin-starred place in Ginza that is regularly discussed on forums like Chowhound and which many punters like to claim is the best sushi restaurant in Tokyo. The other is a much more modest (and much livelier) place in Yotsuya that has no Michelin stars and is rarely mentioned in Western or English-language media. Amazingly–although some Japanese friends tell me I shouldn’t have been surprised–we left the three Michelin-starred restaurant feeling very ripped off and extremely underwhelmed. But, the meal we had at Sushi Sho (also sometimes spelled Sushishou), the cultish little joint just east of Shinjuku, delivered what I can honestly say was the single greatest sushi meal of both my life and my wife’s. S has since been describing the experience to friends as “life-changing sushi.”