We saw the sites, we embraced the culture, we bought souvenirs. But mostly we ate. A lot.
I could hardly do justice in a blog post to all the wonderful food we ate on our travels, but I’ll try to give you some of the culinary highlights.
The trip began with two days in Bangkok, the gustatory highpoint being dinner at Celadon Restaurant. The Red Curry Duck and appetizer sampler were fantastic. Sadly the photograph below is lacking my favorite item in the sampler, which was some sort of smokey mussel mousse in a mussel shell. Totally unexpected and delicious.
We travelled next to Phuket, where we spent a phenomenal 5 days at the Indigo Pearl resort, which I highly recommend if you’re looking for an utterly relaxing retreat. The resort sits on the northern part of the island, meaning it is set off from the notorious nightlife of Patong and liveliness Phuket Town.
That also means the resort is set off from many of the restaurants on the island, but for us that wasn’t a gripe. The food at the resort was very good, and there are a bunch of mom-and-pop restaurants along the beach, which the Indigo Pearl directly abuts. But I think the standout at Indigo Pearl was the cocktail menu — outstanding, and one of the most interesting ones I’ve ever seen. Spiced tangerine caipirinha, anyone?
Our time in the next two stops — Singapore and Hong Kong — was far too brief (2 days in Singapore, 1.5 in Hong Kong), but I managed to eat my body weight in both cities, so all was not lost.
Sadly I did not have time to visit the famous hawker centers in Singapore, but I did manage to eat at a few food courts and in the process stumbled across BreadTalk, a Singapore bakery with which I am now officially obsessed. I could have eaten the entire store, but settled on a Fuji pear stuffed brioche (top left in photo above). Yum.
We also grabbed a meal at Blue Ginger, which was lovely, although the flavors in some of the dishes were not to our taste. The Ngo Heong appetizer (homemade rolls of minced pork and prawns seasoned with five spice powder wrapped and fried to crispy golden brown) were delicious — and infinitely unphotographable in that lighting… Sorry guys. The dessert was excellent as well: forbidden rice with sweetened coconut milk. However, the Ayam Buah Keluak (braised chicken flavoured with turmeric, galangal and lemongrass cooked with Indonesian black nuts)…not so much our favorite. The flavor of the nuts was a little too pungent for our uninitiated palates.
In Hong Kong, we gorged ourselves on dim sum at Victoria City Seafood and learned a thing or two in the process (which shall provide material for a later post: How Not to Eat Dim Sum). I think our favorite dim sum was the crispy baked pork bun, but the steamed buns filled with shrimp and chives came a close second. I expected to fall in love with Dan Tat, but alas…I was very lukewarm on the experience.
For our one and only dinner in Hong Kong, we dined at Hutong, which is uber hip, uber chic, uber everything. The restaurant is perched on the 28th floor of a mod highrise on Kowloon, floor-to-ceiling windows providing an unparalleled view of the Hong Kong skyline. Sadly it was misty and gray that evening, so none of my photographs of the skyline came out. Sigh.
The food was very tasty, although I must admit: the crispy deboned lamb ribs didn’t wow me as much as I’d expected, given all the rave reviews. Don’t get me wrong — they were really, really tasty, and Roger loved them, but I was expecting to ascend into the heavens upon my first bite. I didn’t. But I still thought they were quite good.
The highlight of the meal, however, was the Chinese birthday cake I surreptitiously ordered for Roger. We had been traveling the day before, on his actual birthday, so I thought I’d surprise him. Well, I’d never seen a Chinese birthday cake and when it came out, I discovered that it was a very large steamed bun covered in red speckles. Roger was delighted. However, we couldn’t help but notice that this “cake” looked a lot like…well…a freckled backside. So we dubbed it “freckled ass cake.” The cake itself had little flavor and wasn’t very exciting, but given its likeness to a freckled bum, it made the meal and provided a perfect end – literally and figuratively — to our time in Asia.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the last stop on our trip: Los Angeles. We passed through on our flight home and met up with my college roommate and had a wonderful, scrumptious meal at Pizzeria Mozza. Everything about the meal was wonderful, from the arancini to the butterscotch budino (*FANTASTIC*!!!). But mostly we enjoyed spending time with an old friend :).