Chinese New Year Afternoon Tea at The Langham Chicago

[Translate] For those who celebrate, Happy New Year and 恭喜發財! When we were visiting Chicago two weeks ago, The Langham Chicago was intuitive enough to serve Chinese New Year afternoon tea. The menu is generally inspired by Chinese cuisine while still maintaining the familiar format of tiers of food, served in separate courses, and the pots of very good tea of choice. (more…)

Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits (Chicago, IL)

[Translate] I love desserts in many forms but pie is special because it can be either sweet or savory and typically encased in a flaky pastry. I was craving American Southern style comfort food and we’ve come to love Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits. It’s a cozy space that serves and specializes pie and biscuits in a setting of a neighborhood coffee shop with a cool antique chandelier. (more…)

Dinner at Baptiste & Bottle at Conrad Chicago (Chicago, IL)

[Translate] I’m back in Chicago for a couple of days (started last week, if you’re following me on Instagram) and I can’t believe it’s been five years since I’ve been to this beautiful city! Not to mention, the food scene was and is great here. It always feel like a short visit whenever I’m in town and I have yet to explore and taste the diverse ethnic foods of this city (shame on me) but there is always a next time. To start things off on a classy note, my friend and I had dinner at a new restaurant that..

Paradise at Ritz Carlton Okinawa (Okinawa, Japan)

[Translate] For the final portion of our visit to Asia, we flew over to Okinawa, Japan. Okinawa feels, in some essence, like what Hawaii is to the United States — the islands have its own culture, climate (it’s warm or hot year-round), strategic location for the U.S. military, and the food is a little bit different from the mainland. During our visit to Okinawa, we stayed at the fabulous Ritz Carlton Okinawa. If I had to sum up this hotel stay in a few phrases, it’s a stunning property surrounded by shallow pools, ocean and country club and the hotel..

Marriott Taipei (Taipei, Taiwan)

[Translate] The Marriott Taipei is one of the newest luxury hotels in Taipei. The largest complex of its kind in Taipei, the Taipei Marriott Hotel comprises a five-star 320-room hotel, restaurants, lounge, convention center, shopping mall and apartments. It is located on the north bank of the Keelung River, in the Dazhi district, near Songshan International Airport. As part of Marriott’s “Green Hotel Development” initiative, indigenous shrubbery and flowering plants are found throughout the hotel grounds and are interspersed with pieces of nature inspired art and sitting areas. (more…)

Amazing Shaved Ice at Ice Monster (Taipei, Taiwan)

[Translate] Ice Monster is a Taiwanese kakigori (shaved ice) chain. This shop is famous for its mango shaved ice. Although mango and other flavored shaved ice can be found almost anywhere, Ice Monster has become a must visit for travelers and locals alike that there’s a crowd and a line at the front of the shop to order. All of the bowls of shaved ice — they are called “sensations” that are like shaved ice sundaes — are huge but it’s mostly just fluffy ice. They are great shared and perfect on a hot day (which seems to be nearly..

Great German Fare at Wendell’s Bakery & Bistro (Taipei, Taiwan)

[Translate] Wendel’s Bakery & Bistro has four locations with Tianmu has an outside beer garden. The location in Da’an and Neihu offer just as much selection as the Tianmu, but the menu selection differs a little and they have way more pizza options than the Tianmu location. They offer authentic German bread in their bakery and deli, and also have some other take home items such as cheese, homemade jam, cake, and dessert. The bistro section of Wendel’s serves the best Taipei German food that I have found so far. Everyone else I know, Germans included, also agree that it’s..

Voodoo Doughnuts Taiwan (Taipei, Taiwan)

[Translate] Voodoo Doughnuts is the famous Portland-based doughnut shop that has quirky shaped and oddly named doughnuts (like Old Dirty Bastard named after a well known rapper) that many adore. We visited Voodoo Doughnuts Taiwan for a quick stop for something sweet. The shop looks similar to the original and had the large rotating display cases of various doughnuts they create. We tried the Bacon Maple Bar and the famous Voodoo Doll and a mug of hot chocolate at the shop. The hot chocolate was fine. The doughnuts we had were generally too sweet for our preferences but at least..

Best Bubble Tea and Chinese Snacks at Chun Shui Tang 春水堂

[Translate] Bubble tea shops occupy nearly every corner of Taiwan’s streets. They spread to neighboring countries like Japan, South Korea and China and then to the rest of the world. I admit I never really understood the love of bubble tea since I had one too many mediocre or even terrible cups of bubble tea. It’s either the tea is saccharine sweet or the tapioca pearls (or “bubbles”) textures are off. Chun Shui Tang 春水堂 is founded by Liu Han-Chieh, first came up with the idea of serving Chinese tea cold in the early 1980s after visiting Japan where he..