Wednesday, December 20, 2023

14 Courses

I am fully prepared for a long (and satisfying) evening when I sat down at Amber for a taste of their 2-day collaboration event between Chef Richard Ekkebus and the Dutch-Indonesian guest chef Syrco Bakker in late October. 

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Miraculous Meal

“I am coming to Tokyo in a few days’ time. Do you think you can squeeze me a spot to eat at your restaurant?” I know it’s a big ask when I threw that question to Chef Daniel, and at the end he did just that, which I think is no less than a miracle and made my work trip extra fruitful on personal front. (and it really was a work trip) 

Friday, December 15, 2023

First, Sushi

A decent Tabelog rating, open on Sundays and proximity to where I stayed... Sushi Kiyoshi (鮨 きよし) at Ginza's 7-chome fit the bill when I was looking for a place to eat on my first day in Tokyo during the work trip in September. Most importantly, it’s the place I managed to get a booking for the only free evening I got.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The Legendary One

To be honest, I don't really fancy staying in a 100-year-old hotel but turned out my week in the legendary Imperial Hotel Tokyo was very enjoyable. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Half and Half

After seeing Chef Jayson’s post about the special Mushroom Feast menu they were having at his restaurant Man Ho, I asked whether we could have a customized version with only half the mushroom dishes on the menu and half something else. So a couple of weeks later, we came with some other friends for this “Half Mushroom Feast”. 

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Ode to Celebration

It’s this time of the year for a little celebration and this year it was at Tate Dining Room. We haven’t been back for a while so I figure this is the perfect excuse to check out some of the new dishes by Chef Vicky Lau and her fine team at this venue known for its fancy décor and elegant vibe. 

Friday, December 8, 2023

One Full Circle

We went one full circle and back to Regent Taipei on our last day of the Taiwan trip before we headed home. And part of our last day itinerary is to take care of one of the unfinished business - to try the award-winning Beef Noodles at Regent Taipei.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Old School Onsen Town

The township of Jiaoxi in Yilan County (宜蘭礁溪) reminded me of those old-school onsen town in rural Japan, like Kusatsu or Arima or Dogo. The moment we stepped out of the train station, all we saw was a big sign with the list of hotels and B&Bs located in the neighborhood, and along the street were all the restaurants and souvenir shops, all geared towards tourists and visitors in this town better known for the hotspring facilities. 

Monday, December 4, 2023

Outdoor Moment

This is the day we got plenty of outdoor time, starting with an outdoor yoga session near to the hotel overlooking the stunning river gorges inside the Taroko National Park. Well, body flexibility is probably my biggest nemesis, but it’s good to be round and about with a deep breath of fresh air in the area surrounded by gorgeous scenery and plenty of trees.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

The Perfect Retreat

The Silks Place Taroko Hotel (太魯閣晶英酒店) team certainly made a great first impression when they arranged an elaborate picnic experience for our group at the beach along the coastal front of Hualien County, before we headed up to the resort in the mountainous area further in. 

Friday, December 1, 2023

Dinner for Dinner

Good that our friend P has made a booking to dine at Mandarin Grill for the Dinner by Heston pop-up event before it's all sold out and asked us to come along. Chef Heston Blumenthal didn't come this time for the 4-day event, but their executive chef Deiniol Pritchard was around to introduce a few classic dishes from the restaurant located inside the legendary Mandarin Oriental London. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Kaoshiung Kisetsu Ryori

We quickly settled in our room at Silks Club Kaoshiung before having lunch at Ukai-tei restaurant downstairs. While Teppanyaki is their specialty, either at this restaurant or their main branch in Ginza (the Kaoshiung one is their first overseas outpost), we were served a seasonal omakase menu prepared by Chef Shimpei Hirose and his team. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

A Few Things About Kaoshiung

The town of Kaoshiung caught me by surprise first by how nice our hotel was. Silks Club Kaoshiung was everything one want in a boutique designer hotel. With less than 150 suites right in the city center, an exclusive lounge on the top floor with food and drinks served all day, and top restaurant and bar and the infinity pool completed with full spa facilities, this is just what we wanted when we look for a quick weekend getaway. 

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Burgundy and Beef

This particular dinner hosted by a local wine merchant caught my attention because of their choice of bottles. While many wine-themed dinner focuses on certain vineyard or winemakers, this one featured bottles of Burgundy wines with a nice, “entry-level” selection from different winemakers and through this we could get a glimpse of various styles and characteristics in various recent vintages. And it was hosted in one of the top steakhouse in town, one that was bestowed a Michelin star for a few years already and one we didn’t visit often, so that gave us extra incentive to sign up and go. 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Looking Back, and Looking Ahead

It's a pure coincidence that we dined at 3 Michelin 2-starred restaurants within the same week in early October, and Arbor was one of them during that crazy eating week. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

New Faces

Other than the new faces, with chefs Gaurav Kuthari and Dhiraj Kumar now taking charge of the kitchen, nothing much has changed at Chaat when we went for dinner a few weeks back. The place was still crowded as ever – many dubbed this the hardest restaurant to get a table at this side of the harbor. 

Monday, November 20, 2023

Mid Summer Sunday Brunch

We were surprised by how long the Sunday brunch was when we sat down at Grissini in August for their special menu celebrating the mid-summer Ferragosto Festival. We did try Chef Valerio Mandile's cooking a couple of times since he became Chef de Cuisine of this long standing Italian establishment at Grand Hyatt last year and enjoyed his food, and his Sunday brunch offering was equally impressive too. 

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Gone Crazy on Street Food

Street food culture is pretty much a mainstay in Tainan's daily life, especially at one of the dozen night markets around town which operates from dusk til late. Locals even had a widely circulated mnemonic to remember which markets are open on any given day of the week. 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Royal Feast

We stayed in for dinner at Tainan Silks Place with a special tasting menu prepared by Chef Lo and his team. The menu was said to be inspired by the feast hosted in honor of then Japanese Crown Prince Hirohito (later Emperor) during the 12-day Royal Visit to Taiwan about 100 years ago featuring some of the finest ingredients one could source in town and prepared in the traditional style. Details of the feast were well-documented at that time so the hotel kitchen team were able to re-create many of the dishes served at the time. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Down South

Off we went from Taipei to Tainan via the High Speed Rail on our second day. The efficient 2-hour train ride moved us from the northern tip of the island to the south, arriving slightly after noon. Got to try the famous Taiwan Railway Bento on board too - the warm Yilan cherry duck bento was so neatly arranged and delicious with nice smoky flavor. Can definitely rival those ekiben so famous on trains in Japan. 

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Big Group Gathering

Our CHF big group gathering went upscale this time with dinner at Wing. Our friend G was bemoaning how difficult it is still to get a table at this restaurant so we made plan months in advance to eat in one of their private rooms on a weeknight.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

The Long Awaited

We finally managed to secure a booking at Mosu and went a couple of months ago. With only a handful tables available every night, it did take a bit of effort to get a reservation at this restaurant which opened about a year ago in West Kowloon. 

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Visitor from Saigon

The constant stream of incoming guest chef continued throughout the summer with Chef Matteo Fontana from Da Vittorio Saigon being one of them, doing a 2-day event at Testina with Chef Marco Xodo in August. And I was invited to check out the menu on their first day of service. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Museum and Museum-Inspired Dinner

I managed to check out a famous tourist attraction for the first time during my short stay in Taipei. The National Palace Museum is known for its extensive collection of artifacts from Beijing's Forbidden City from the Imperial era. This time, not only I got a chance to explore the museum with a guided tour, we got to try the special menu inspired by the museum collection afterwards. 

Sunday, November 5, 2023

How The Journey Began...

"We travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more". Somehow, spending a week in Taiwan gave me new perspective of this beautiful island close to home, and in the process, found the joy in travelling once again in the post-COVID era. 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

New Chef, New Era

There were plenty positive about the new Epure now under the helm of Chef Aven Lau as I found out after a recent dinner there. Chef Aven has quite a following since the days when he was the chef at Batard, and it’s been almost 6 months he moved to this side of the harbor in a restaurant which was somewhat different and this time, with a Michelin star he surely was tasked to keep. 

Thursday, November 2, 2023

New on the Block

We saw a series of sushi restaurant openings since COVID and that trend continues with Sushi Kanesaka being the latest entry. This Ginza-based Sushi-ya has grown into quite an empire now with multiple branches in Japan and elsewhere (some under the name Shinji by Kanesaka), and in Hong Kong, they have taken up the space that used to be Masa in CCB Tower. 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Finale "Matine" Brunch

We finished our summer Macau trip with brunch at Mesa at Grand Lisboa Palace in Cotai. I didn’t have a chance to visit the restaurant when I stayed at the hotel earlier this year, but this time I couldn’t resist checking out their Sunday “Matine” menu with generous spread of classic Portuguese brunch dishes. 

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Rainy Crossover

Severe weather the night before didn’t stop us from coming to Ando for a special lunch tasting featuring guest chef LG Han from Singapore’s Labyrinth. It’s not hard to see the striking similarities between the two restaurants and the two chefs behind, both on a mission to re-invent the cuisines of their respective home countries with a new take. 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Boss' Supper Place

We were looking for a place for late supper after concert in Guangzhou and I remembered a place called "Tao Gie Mie Zhou" 頭家夜粥 (pronunciation in Chiuchow dialect) that a few friends were raving about recently, so we decided to pay an impromptu visit. 

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Fortune Meal

I wanted just one proper fine-dining meal in Shanghai but it's a challenge finding a place that can accommodate party of one. Fu 1015 on Yu Yuan Lu is one of those few that serves Tasting Menu in individual portion so I asked hotel concierge to help me book for one of the evenings. 

Friday, October 20, 2023

The One to Visit

Turned out the best meal I had during the Shanghai trip is the only I didn't plan in advance. I was looking for something easy and local on my first evening and saw the review about Ren He Guan so I decided to give it a try. Hotel concierge told me the place could get quite crowded at night and recommended me to check out their new branch just 2 block away - still as crowded but at least I could wait in my room until the table was ready and just hopped over. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Urban Oasis and the rest of Shanghai

Work brought me to Shanghai in September so I spent a week at The PuLi, one of the earlier "urban oasis" style properties opened in this city back in 2009. The city has changed quite a bit since my last visit in late 2019 and I was eager to see and experience this dynamic city in the post-COVID times. 

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Day Time Auor

I was happy to witness quite an evolution with Chef Edward Voon’s cooking at his restaurant Auor since its opening a year ago. This is my third time already (this time being an invited tasting) and seems like his menu is getting more and more elaborate, and began to develop his and this restaurant’s unique style. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Crab Encore

I considered this an extension to my earlier Shanghai trip when I headed over to The Murray before the National Day long weekend to check out the collaboration menu with the chef team from Shanghai's legendary Lao Ji Shi 老吉士 restaurant. 

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Guangzhou: High Speed Rail, Concert, MO, Michelin Cantonese and More

Worth the $100 billion in construction cost or not, the High Speed Rail did minimize much hassle for travelling from Hong Kong to nearby Chinese cities. Recently we spent a weekend in Guangzhou recently with our train ride taking slightly less than 2 hours from the city center of Hong Kong to the city center of Guangzhou (in the past a similar trip would have been twice as long with more stops in between)

Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Before my trip to Singapore I asked a few friends what would be THE restaurant to visit if I got only one night free to eat - and they all pointed me to Seroja, the new restaurant which got its first Michelin star (plus a Green star) this summer. 

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Burnt Ends Re-visited

It was definitely not the same Burnt Ends that we last visited when it's still in its old Chinatown location. What used to be a tight, cozy space with nothing but a long kitchen bar and hole-in-the-wall vibe has been converted into a much larger space slightly off the city center and completed with separate bar and dining areas in the hip neighborhood of Dempsey Hills converted from an old military barracks. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

My First Andaz Stay

Singapore was the first of a few short trips that I made this summer. I haven't been back for a long while (almost 10 years) so there's no surprise that everything has changed, something that I realized when I got out of Havelock MRT station (opened in 2018) right at the doorstep of my favorite Tiong Bahru Market one evening for some long overdue hawker center fare. But then I also found out sadly that one of my favorite Bak Kut Teh shops nearby is closing - so I guess not all changes are for the good. 

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Jade at Fullerton

We made our way to the south side one evening to visit the new-ish Fullerton hotel with dinner at one of their restaurants. The setting of the property was perfect for a family staycation with ocean park and water world just steps away with unobstructed sea view featured in most of the guest rooms. Meanwhile, there were plenty of options available as far as food and beverages was concerned, including the Chinese restaurant Jade, the one we tried this time.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Main Attraction

A lucky few of us were given the opportunity to preview the tasting menu by visiting guest chef Daniel Calvert before his pop-up stint at MGM Cotai. I still haven't had a chance to visit Tokyo and to Chef Dan's restaurant Sezanne so this was as close as I got reminiscing the good old days and his wonderful cooking since he moved from Hong Kong. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Early Dinner

We opted for an early dinner at Imperial Court just as we concluded our visit at MGM Macau with the restaurant conveniently located next to the hotel VIP lobby. The modern and luxury decor of the restaurant gave a little hint of the style of the restaurant, which specializes in traditional Cantonese with a contemporary twist curated by Chef Homan and his team. I love the private room which was tastefully done with ample space for the group of us.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Second Getaway

I went on a second trip to Macau in as many weeks this time courtesy of the PR team of MGM Resorts. While the main purpose of the trip was to attend a special lunch reception on the next day at MGM Cotai (details to be posted later), I did spend some time touring around the hotel and its sister property MGM Macau and had a very relaxing 2-day journey. 

Thursday, September 7, 2023

New Chef On Board

I dropped by Duddell’s for dinner one evening just as their new Executive Chef Chan Yau-leung settled in. With a new chef brought new ideas to the table, and it showed in the tasting menu presented to us, an 8-course affair completed with wine pairing.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Encounter After Two Months

When we met Chef Hung at a Dai Pai Dong in Macau after the Michelin gala, he asked us to come by his restaurant at St Regis some time to check out some of the new summer dishes. Of course that’s something we won’t refuse especially after the restaurant has just been awarded its second star earlier that day and definitely on the rise. So fast forwarding 2 months we were in the private dining room at the hotel enjoying a special dinner menu prepared by the chef and his team. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Summer in Caprice

We went for lunch at Caprice in mid-July after realizing it’s been a few months since our last visit (back during Chinese New Year). There’s always something new to look forward to at the restaurant, with the menu changes constantly depending on seasonal ingredients and flavor. 

Monday, August 21, 2023

Best Tempura in Town

Took me a bit of effort to find my way to Tempura Suzuki before I realized they took up the space of the old Sushi Sase up on Ice House Street in Central – but I still ended up being the first to arrive at this new restaurant with only 8 seats in front of the kitchen counter. A few high-end tempura restaurants have opened in recent months, which is always a welcoming news. 

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Latin American Crossover

I am thankful that Chef Agustin and the team opened the door for a few of us on a Sunday afternoon for a special lunch with guest chef Manu Buffara. There’s no lack of high-caliber chefs passing through town for crossover gig but this one caught my eye as Chef Manu has just been voted the Latin America’s Best Female Chef by the World’s 50 Best team, and I wasn’t sure if I will ever make it to her restaurant in Curitiba Brazil, some 18000 km away from home. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Charming Steakhouse Treat

Recently I was at the new Regent Hong Kong for a dinner hosted by their PR team. It's my first visit to the hotel after it went through a major renovation and the name change, and one couldn't ask for a better welcome than being led into the private room in their legendary Steakhouse restaurant with the long dining table and a sumptuous spread of dishes awaiting.