|July 27, 2013||Filed under California, China, San Francisco, Shanghai|
“And the next course is lobster xiao long bao!” gushed the waiter at Benu, arguably one of the best restaurants in San Francisco at the moment. Having recently returned from Shanghai — home of xiao long bao — I couldn’t help but chuckle as he began to wax poetic about the two dumplings that looked quite lonely atop a beautiful white ceramic serving vessel.
In Shanghai, one orders the soup dumplings by the dozen in bamboo steamer baskets. They are so common and inexpensive in China (granted not filled with lobster) that to see them presented at a Michelin 2-star restaurant was quite surprising. Of course, having been chef de cuisine at The French Laundry, Chef Corey Lee did it with aplomb as one of 15 courses in a 3+ hour dining experience at Benu. (more…)
|June 30, 2013||Filed under China, Shanghai|
“Las Vegas meets Flash Gordon meets RuPaul,” I thought as I gazed at Shanghai’s surreal Pudong skyline. So gaudy and glitzy but grand that I couldn’t help but stare. I was not alone. Thousands of locals and tourists crowded The Bund’s promenade along the Huangpu River on a rare day when blue sky appeared.
Exploring both new and old Shanghai meant traversing some of its nearly 2,500 square miles (that’s 5 times as large as Los Angeles). From solo outings to excursions with newly met relatives to hanging out with expat friends of friends, I had a great first visit to this vibrant city where East and West have been fused by a complex cultural and political history. (more…)
|May 20, 2013||Filed under China, Hua Shan||
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. – Lao Tze
I think I became a better traveler after my excursion to Hua Shan last month. But for the kindness of a stranger, I would not have made it to the Taoist sacred mountain. But for a bit of self-awareness, I would not have made it through the day.
Having eaten one too many bowls of noodles in Xi’an, I decided to burn off some calories and take a hike on Hua Shan, just a 30-minute bullet train ride away. I intended to take the cable car to the North Peak and traverse the ridges to the other summits. That was the plan. (more…)
|April 29, 2013||Filed under China, Xi'an|
Tap. Tap. Tap. Wielding chopsticks, our waitress deftly demonstrated how to cut a manageable piece of the 3-meter long biang biang noodle by using the edge of the serving bowl as leverage. I was mesmerized by the translucent white pasta, the sauces and garnishes, and the hustle and bustle of the famous noodle house in Xi’an.