Sunday, April 29, 2018

Design Society Shekou

The only “sightseeing” stuff we did in our long weekend in Shenzhen was a trip to Shekou on the outskirt of the city now easily accessible by metro/subway. True, our main mission to Shenzhen was to check out the new Muji Hotel, but a visit to the new Design Society complex on the coast of Shekou was also something on my to-do list for a while so I decided to hit two birds with one stone and make a slight detour there before heading home.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Yumcha at Ritz Carlton Shenzhen

We spent the maximum amount of time in our hotel (up until when we were required to check out) chilling in our room and at the library before heading out for lunch during our staycation weekend in Shenzhen. It’s been a while since I last spent significant amount of time in Shenzhen and I am amazed at all the new hotel and restaurant openings in town for the last decade or so – still not at the same rate in the neighboring Macau but now they have all the global hotel brands you could think of making a presence here with different ranges from the most luxurious to the simple boutique hotels.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Chaoshan Beef Hotpot

We thought about just stay in for dinner nearby for a completely lazy vacation but at the end decided to go out to eat in the city center of Shenzhen. I was curious about the ever-popular Chao-shan Beef Hotpot scene in town so we hopped on a taxi and head towards one specialist restaurant called Fu He Cheng. We may have well passed the season for winter hotpot with temperature now in mid-20s but the place was still packed when we arrived slightly after 8pm.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Staycation of Doing Nothing

We figure we should stay put during the Easter long weekend since half of people in Hong Kong were gone elsewhere so we could enjoy some much-needed tranquility in town, but it didn’t stop us from hopping onto the bus and head just north of our border to Shenzhen for a short overnight break for a staycation of sorts. Especially there’s a certain new hotel we would love to visit in town.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Visiting Sushi Chef

"The name sounds familiar…" I told myself when I saw the online post about the pop-up dinner in town featuring chef from Ginza Sushi Aoki, and only after checking my picture album I realized I did visit the restaurant in Tokyo some years ago during one of my business trips. Obviously that meal didn’t leave much an impression for me (otherwise I would have recalled that easily) but I was happy to enjoy an evening at FUMI in Lan Kwai Fong where Chef Toshikatsu Aoki, second generation owner of his family namesake restaurant, showed off his skills and ingredients for 3 days only as the visiting chef.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Restaurant Doubled as Art Gallery

After I bid farewell to my fellow tour group-mates and guide at The Secretariat Building at the end of our morning heritage tour, I followed our original path back to a restaurant called Pansuriya for an early lunch before I left for the airport in the afternoon. The place was quite easy to spot on Bo Galay Zay Street on the eastern side of the city just across the street from the YWCA Building (another heritage structure built in 1902) – the path right outside is almost like a little garden of theirs lined with pots of green plants and the shop sign clearly visible.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Something New from an Unknown Region

Question marks floated over my head when I reached the door of Root Restaurant, a long 15 minute walk to a quiet neighborhood in the eastern side of Yangon. I saw the online reviews of this relatively new restaurant (opened 6 months ago or so) which talked about its specialty of Wa cuisine from Wa ethnic group residing in the mountainous area in the northern side of the country neighboring China. Well I know absolutely nothing about Myanmar geography nor its ethnic composition nor culture, but I was eager to try something new, something that I have not heard of before, let alone trying, so I decided to take a shot. But then when I arrived and found the half-empty restaurant with only a handful customers, I started to wonder whether it’s a good idea.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

That Hipster Local Place

My friend was spot-on when she described Rangoon Tea House as a hipster joint serving fancy local food at an elevated price. That said, almost everyone I know who have visited Yangon – included those I trusted for travel and eating advice - recommended highly of the restaurant and so I went there to check it out, not once but twice, during my short stay in the city.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Walk in the Historical City

Before departing for Bagan on a domestic flight in late afternoon, I spent the morning on my last day in Yangon walking with a volunteer guide at Yangon Heritage Trust, an NGO formed a few years ago to advise, advocate and provide technical assistance in conserving many of the heritage buildings. Part of their work was to bring public awareness to their cause and shine light on the architecture and historical significance of many old structures that remained in the city, so they hosted guided tours twice a week on different routes, covering a good part of the city center.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Serious Bistro Fare

A few casual (and unrelated) chats with Chef Daniel Calvert of Belon on social media led to a dinner reservation at the restaurant last week. I realized it’s been a while since I last visited the restaurant and not since Dan took sole helm as their head chef, and CYY has been bugging me for not having been to the place herself at all, so I figure we should make amends on both situations with a meal there on the first evening when both of us were free.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Hidden Gem in Kau U Fong

I have heard a lot of good things about this new restaurant Beet in Kau U Fong and always wanted to try, so we were glad to have come a few weeks ago with the restaurant hosting us to check out their dinner tasting menu. The restaurant took over what used to be Le Port Parfume, the delightful bistro with rather generous corkage policy, under the same ownership. Giving way to the Parisian art nouveau décor and classic French dishes was minimalist interior, dark colored wall with abstract art hanging, fewer tables with more space in between, and a much simpler menu structure – for dinner there were only 2 choices, regular or vegetarian tasting menu.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

White Asparagus Menu

The day after Easter long weekend seems to be the perfect day for a simple leisurely lunch with the holiday mood still at the back of my mind. Better yet it’s at my favorite hotel coffee shop in town, and for dishes from the new seasonal menu. Even better yet I could spend time catching up with my friend over the meal (with the hotel playing host). Yeah, life’s been good.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Shopping in Yangon

It’s hard not to shop a bit in Myanmar as the country and its people were known for centuries the arts and crafts works, most of them still made purely by hand with traditional methods carrying on from generation to generation. The first stop of my shopping spree was at Bogyoke Aung San Market, one of the major indoor bazaar in central Yangon and one that everyone should not miss if they only had time to shop at just one place.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Mohinga and Noodles

Ask any local what’s the must-try dish in Myanmar and you would probably hear Mohinga mentioned more than once. Many considered this the national dish of the country and the breakfast of choice for most people. First time I tried Mohinga was at a restaurant called Feel near the embassy row where I went for breakfast on the second day. I made a leisurely scroll over after my morning visit of Shwedagon Pagoda on my way back to the hotel, and it’s almost impossible to miss the place once you reach the block where the restaurant was located. By 8am the place was packed with people with an interesting mix of locals and expats, some presumably working in the embassies next door on the same street.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Temple and Train

With the temperature potentially soaring to 36C high at this time of year, I tried to avoid being out and about on Yangon streets during day time at all cost. And thanks to the travel tip I got from my friend A, I started my day of sightseeing early, really early – by that I meant I woke up at 4:30pm and left the hotel before the sun came out. My first stop was the Shwedagon Pagoda complex which houses Yangon’s most famous landmark of the gold-plated giant pagoda viewable even from miles away. I figured by getting there early I could avoid some of the day-time tourist crowd, beat the heat, plus maybe I could find a good spot for some sunrise pictures.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

First Night in Yangon

“Once a year, go some place you've never been before” – whoever said that got to be a very wise person. At the turn of this new year, I took advantage of having a break in between jobs to travel a little bit around, particularly to places that I have never been. So far in January I was in Kyushu then in Taichung, and it didn’t stop there. One night I casually mentioned to my friends that I would love to go to Myanmar if Cathay Pacific offered discount tickets for the direct flight to Yangon, the country's gateway city and former capital. Then a couple of days later, I had the air ticket booked through Cathay’s Fanfare promotion to travel there at the end of February.