Birthday Bar

Posted from Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong.

It’s a rainy summer morning in Hong Kong, and after the redeye from Bangalore I don’t know if it’s still my birthday or not. I think it isn’t here, but will be when I get home. The international date line is weird like that.

After texting my wife and making my way through security, I head to Cathay Pacific’s Wing Lounge and grab a scotch to sip (don’t judge, it’s 5pm somewhere) as I watch the planes and ground crews navigate their polkas on the slick tarmac.

Then I remember that this lounge has a feature to explore.

Tucked away upstairs behind the coffee lounge and the bar is a uniquely Hing Kong amenity, a noodle bar.

In an elegantly modern space lined with black marble and bamboo, two women tireless churn out local noodle dishes prepared to order. The top of the short 4-item menu is the star, the Dan Dan noodles.

A black bowl on a black tray quickly arrived on the black counter. Simple thin noodles swim in a thick, creamy broth made with coconut milk and peanut. When you slide on over to the edge of the counter to grab a spoon and chopsticks, don’t forget to dress it up with a dash of chili oil, toasted garlic, green onions, and to cut the fatty broth, some Chinese red vinegar and pickled vegetables.

Slurping up the rich warm broth contrasted with the cool refreshing vinegar and pickles makes a delectable experience. A palate of familiar flavors wrapped up in a new package.

This is comfort food.

Drinking With Dead Heros

Posted from Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

My flight landed at 10:49 and I didn’t get checked into my hotel until 11:30. Knowing I have meetings first thing in the morning, I scrounge around the bars at the north east end of Boston Commons. Of the 3 within spitting distance of my hotel window, the first one with a kitchen still open is Beantown Pub. It’s claim to fame is that it’s the only place in the world where you can drink a Sam Adams while staring at the famed patriot’s grave.

I settle into a chair any a very long bar decked out in typical dark cherry wood. I peruse what’s on tap and am pleasantly surprised to find Yuengling, which of course I immediately order a pint while reading the menu.

The menu is typical pub fare, wings, burgers, etc. Though there’s a standout with lobster and a plethora of sandwiches named after local historical figures.

I eyeball the “Mother Goose” a nicely toasted French roll with marinated grilled steak, sautéed onions and mushrooms, and slathered with melted cheese. The steak is perfectly grilled, tender, and full of rich fatty flavor. I’m pretty sure it’s either brisket or skirt steak. This is a great sandwich – what a cheesesteak should be. Paired with the hot fries, a crisp pickle, and another lager, this is a good introduction to a new town.

It almost makes up for overhearing the local explain that he quit Facebook so that he wouldn’t cheat on his wife with his exes.

Takeoff Tacos

Posted from Los Angeles, California, United States.

I wait in the OneWorld lounge at the international terminal at LAX (status has its perks) and I can’t help but notice I’m enjoying the food. There’s the expected spread of fruits, some buffet salads and sides, a vegetarian pasta and some kind of Indian chicken dish which is tender and well cooked, but a little boring. Of course there’s all the top-shelf bourbon you can drink.

But what stands out is a quintessential LA treat. They operate a taco stand, inside the lounge! Options are limited, chicken quesadillas and beef tacos, but hey, this beats a generic burger or dry grilled chicken breast. I grabbed two tacos. Sadly, the cart is freestanding so the tortillas aren’t freshly grilled, and to appeal to the bland international traveler’s expectations, they use flour instead of corn. But the meat is well seasoned and very tender. Topped with a black bean and corn salsa, some slaw, a hit of sour cream, and several shakes of chipotle tabasco and you’re served up with the closest thing to “real” Mexican food that you’re likely to find inside the sterile confines of the airport terminal.

Is Canadian dim sum any different?

Posted from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

When visiting my wife’s family, we always end up eating Chinese food. So it’s no surprise that even in Edmonton we find ourselves at a dim sum restaurant on a Sunday morning. Edmonton has a rather large community of Chinese immigrants, so Beijing Beijing is as packed as any good dim sum restaurant should be. Even with reservations, we still wait for 20 minutes before securing a table.


My mother-in-law’s favorite is this egg custard in a super buttery flakey pastry crust.

After that is savory sticky rice with ground pork and Chinese sausage wrapped up and steamed in a leaf.

This one was a little different. Usually these noodles have beef inside and are drenched with Worcestershire sauce. But this time, they have mushrooms instead, making them a little lighter in flavor. We ordered one each of shrimp, pork, beef, and mushroom.

Of course we had to get my wife’s favorite, chicken feet.

And the ever-present shumai pork and shrimp dumplings.

Daikon cake, filled with Chinese sausage

This one was new to us, squid in a curry sauce.

A steamed sweet bread


Pork short ribs


And of course no dim sum trip would be complete without my personal favorite char su bao – the BBQ port buns.

All-in-all a pretty good option for dim sum. I would return if I was in the area and in the mood.

Never ending wedding banquet

Posted from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


At this point I feel like I’m becoming an expert on Cantonese banquets as I keep ending up at them every time I travel to visit my wife’s family. This time I find myself at Emporer’s Palace in Edmonton’s Chinatown for a wedding (#auloveyoutu). Off a nondescript street we find ourselves in a new stereotypical  banquet hall, decorated a bit nicer than is typical. The walls have built-in glass cases featuring luxury Chinese ingredients like while shark fins, abalone, and birds’ nests.

So we start the meal off with the Cantonese equivalent of charcuterie, pork belly pressed and fried to a crispy skin, roast beef slices, a bologna-like mystery meat, all served over a bed of jellyfish.

The second course is shrimp and cuttlefish, served elegantly in a fried nest of ultra-fine noodles and steamed vegetables.

The overwhelming food extravaganza continues with deep fried crab claws.


Course number four jumps to soup: a chicken broth with crab and then some shark fin to make it gelatinous.

After a brief break for wedding speeches,  we gorge ourselves on course five, a mountain of sautéed lobster.

Course number six stays with seafood, abalone and sea cucumber over baby bok choy.

Course number seven (as if we weren’t stuffed enough) brings us to a perfectly steamed whole fish in the usual ginger light soy sauce and a pile of scallions.

Auspicious in Chinese numerology, course eight is a chicken dusted in Chinese five-spice and then fried to get a crispy skin.


It always bothers me that in Cantonese cuisine, poultry is chopped into bite sized pieces while still on the bone. It ensures every bite has one or more bones that have to be picked out of your mouth.

And finallly, it doesn’t count as a course, but you know you’re finally done stuffing your face when the typical filler of rice and noodles shows up to ensure there are no unfilled gaps in your stomach.


But of course that’s not really the last of it, there’s always a desert course of a sweet bean soup (this time red bean) and fresh fruit. Along side, sasame cookies and a gelatin infused with osmanthus flowers.